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It's Yours, Mine and Ours When Your Money Gets Married, Too

When you get married, it’s with hope & promise for a lifetime of happiness. But what about preparing for the marriage of your finances? Here's what to avoid.

When you get married, it’s with hope and promise for a lifetime of happiness. So how do you prepare yourselves to avoid potential pitfalls?  Many couples participate in pre-marital counseling to get ready for the joining of their lives, but what about preparing for the commingling of their finances? After all, one of the most common causes of strife in marriage is money.

Keep It Separate or Put It Together

One of the earliest financial decisions you make together is whether you want to keep your money separate or merge it in a joint account. If you decide on putting everything in a joint account, who manages that account? If you’re the primary wage earner but your spouse is managing the joint account, how do you feel about suddenly having someone else control your spending?
While an all-in joint account may be the most effective way to control cash flow and keep spending limited to a preset budget, it also can be a frequent cause of arguments. Whether you’re the spouse who has someone looking over your shoulder at every expense, or the spouse who has to play “financial cop,” it’s not a comfortable situation for either of you.
Many marriage counselors recommend against all-in joint accounts for that reason, advocating instead that each spouse should maintain a separate spending account in addition to a joint account. The joint account makes sense for shared living expenses, such as mortgage and car payments, insurance, taxes, utilities and groceries. A joint savings account also makes sense as you plan for your future together.
Combining separate accounts and joint accounts helps newlyweds keep some autonomy as they learn to be a couple with their money.

Create a Realistic Spending Plan

Bringing realism to your spending plan starts with open dialog and setting goals together. What are the essential expenses that you and your spouse need to be prepared to cover each month?  Your financial values come into play in answering that question, because what constitutes an essential expense to you may not be considered essential by your spouse. This requires that you work together to create that list, including living expenses, utilities and other bills.
Next, use both spouses’ spending history as a springboard for discussion. Put everything on the table, because even small items add up. A clear picture will help you decide how much to put in your individual spending accounts for everyday incidentals, as well as what to put into your joint account as you begin your life together.

Create a Realistic Saving Plan, Too

Vacations, medical emergencies, home maintenance, car repairs and accidents are just a few of the reasons why you need cash reserves in savings. Your first savings goal should be to set aside enough money to fund three to six months of living expenses in case they’re needed. Purchasing insurance for your home, property and life is important, too, because insurance can help offset the impact that the unexpected can have on your savings.
Why take a chance on letting money troubles come between you, when some simple financial planning can help you alleviate tension that might affect an otherwise fulfilling marriage? With the many innovative financial tools available to you online and through mobile apps, find one that’s easy to use and make it a part of your everyday financial life.

It’s easy to manage your bank accounts, separate and joint, with TotalMoney, a feature of Cadence Online and Mobile banking. Open your separate or joint account at Cadence, then view all your accounts, even at other banks, using TotalMoney from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. TotalMoney can automatically set up a budget based on your prior spending, and then you can adjust the budget for your changing needs. Best of all, there’s no additional charge to add TotalMoney to your Cadence checking account.

This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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