It's a sad but common tune: debt threatens to divide or break up an otherwise strong couple that hadn't set up any financial ground rules. Love and money don't always go hand in hand, which means it's crucial to consider the long term repercussions of sharing your life and bank account with another person. There's no magical credit card or anti-debt potion, but here are some tips for keeping the communication lines open, piggy bank full, and both of you crazy in love.
In every serious, long-term relationship, you reach a special moment when one of you has to pop a very important question: joint or individual accounts? (To be clear, this query is not fit for first-date chitchat; merging your finances is as big a commitment as exchanging keys or vows.) The right answer will be as unique as you are. “There is no magic bullet,” says David Fleisher, president of Firstrust Financial Resources, a financial-planning firm in Philadelphia. “But the healthiest of relationships that I see are those who ensure that both people are on the same page.”
You just have to talk out your financial goals and agree on a plan that works best for you and your mate. Be sure to consider your respective money attitudes and behaviors when deciding your strategy. Ask each other: What bills need to be paid regularly? Are you a stickler for paying bills on time, or do due dates tend to slip past you? What short- and long-term savings goals do you have? What are your spending habits? And of course, you’ll want to address these 4 Critical Money Questions to Ask Before You Get Married.
I just got engaged to my boyfriend of four years. We have lived together for four and a half years (roommates before). We have always been great with sharing expenses. We have never had any problems with sharing the responsibilities of bills, groceries etc. Recently my fiance has been pushing to combine bank accounts — something that I just assumed we would hold off on until marriage. When I expressed this to him he told me that I have "trust issues" about money, something he has never said to me before. The wedding isn't for a year and a half. When do you think it is best to combine accounts? What are the benefits of waiting until after marriage vs. doing it now?
Engaged and confused
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