Yes, Married Couples Should Combine Finances

Yes, Married Couples Should Combine Finances

YES, MARRIED COUPLES SHOULD COMBINE FINANCES

Don’t look at money as a scary ‘other’ thing.

By Rachel Cruze

A lot of married couples believe the best way to avoid fighting about money is to have separate bank accounts. His paycheck gets deposited into his account, her paycheck gets deposited into her account, they split the bills, and everything’s fine—right? Wrong. This can actually lead to some serious issues with your money and your marriage.

Now I know combining finances is controversial these days, and if it wasn’t modeled well for you growing up, or if it’s not what you’re used to, the idea can feel downright scary. Everything you spend becomes visible, and you’re suddenly accountable to someone else, and that’s a vulnerable place to be. I get it.

But the truth is, once you say, “I do,” you’re one. You’ve gone from doing your own thing on your own terms to promising you’ll have each other’s backs and be on the same team for life. If you trust someone enough to make that forever commitment to them and you believe marriage brings you together in all other ways, why draw the line at money?

Because let’s be real: Money’s involved in every part of our lives. It impacts everything—from what groceries we buy to our family’s future dreams. We can’t keep our lives separated into neat little categories. And if there’s tension or misalignment in an area like money, it’s going to affect other areas, like parenting or intimacy. Plus, having separate finances makes it easier to keep secrets from each other about how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. (Yes, financial infidelity is a real thing that’s destroyed way too many marriages.)

Of course, if you’re in a situation where major trust has been broken, there’s an addiction that hasn’t been addressed, or you feel like you’re in danger, then you need to protect yourself. But for the majority of couples out there, working together and combining accounts will unify you more than living with separate accounts.

OK, now that we’ve covered that, please hear me when I say that sharing finances doesn’t mean trying to control each other. It also doesn’t mean that once you combine finances, only one of you handles money-related things from that point forward, while one of you takes a hands-off approach.

Remember, this is a team effort! Together, you two should come up with a plan—a.k.a. a budget—for how you’re going to spend your shared income in a way that helps you work toward your shared money goals.

Depending on your financial situation, there can be some flexibility in your budget. My husband, Winston, and I like to put a category in our budget for “his fun money” and “her fun money.”

We still don’t hide purchases from each other unless it’s a birthday or Christmas surprise, but having those budget categories gives us the freedom to set an agreed-on amount and then spend that money how we want.

So, if you’re married but haven’t taken that step to combine bank accounts yet, here’s a short checklist of actions to take as soon as possible:

1. Have a conversation with your spouse.

Talk about combining finances, get on the same page, and plan how you’ll move forward.

2. Block time on your calendar to combine accounts.

Actually schedule a date and time when you and your spouse will take care of all the logistics, like setting up new combined accounts (one for checking and one for savings), moving any recurring payments and direct deposits to the new accounts, and closing any old accounts.

3. Make a budget together.

Use a budgeting app that you both can access (my favorite is EveryDollar) to simplify the process. If you’ve never made a budget before and don’t know where to start, this article will walk you through it. Set up a budget meeting with your spouse at the start of each month so you always have your budget ready to go.

Building a solid marriage takes time and intentionality. It can be uncomfortable and frustrating sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with a sensitive topic like money. But remember: You chose this person for a reason. They chose you for a reason.

You’ve already made a huge, permanent commitment—and money is part of that. It doesn’t have to be this scary “other” thing.

Start treating each other like people who trust each other with their whole lives (because that’s what you signed up for), and watch how it deepens your relationship.

I promise the work will be worth it.

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