The wedding is over, you are back from the honeymoon. Next, you are hit with a reality check; it’s time to put your finances in order. Combining finances as a couple helps you ease tasks such as paying loans, paying bills, or even buying groceries. Studies show that couples that merge finances find it easier to plan for their future and to achieve financial goals together.
Combing finances means going all in, from your debts, savings, and household budgets. You might even have to change you or your partner’s spending habits, or the way you handle money. Whereas most people recommend couples combining finances, there are some scenarios where this is not a good idea.
Every relationship is different, and they almost always change over time. Just because it may not be a good idea to combine finances at one point in time does not mean that finances cannot be combined down the road. It is important to look at your current dynamics and openly discuss what is best for you as a couple.
1. When One Partner Is a Spender and the Other a Saver
It is not easy to budget when one of the partners is all about spending and spending. When you find yourself in such a situation, it might be hard to strike a balance because the saver wants to protect their money, whereas the spender does not want to be held accountable for “misusing” the money. The last thing you want is to come off to your partner as bossy and controlling.
2. Debit or Credit Card Debt
If your partner has a poor credit score or debt before you get married, then you might have an excuse for not combining your finances. For instance, if you plan to buy a house, it will be hard to get a loan with someone who has poor credit.
Take a minute to figure out how to solve this debt; this is the time to support your partner come out of debt. Keep in mind that merging your finances or not does not take away debt, and this might affect your own financial life. The best thing to do at this point is to take a step back and figure out a solution to these issues.
If you haven’t combined your finances yet and you realize your partner has addiction issues, it might be prudent not to merge finances. The last thing you want is your funds to go missing because of drug addiction or a gambling spouse. Shopping addictions also have the same effects. Regardless, seeking marriage counseling to work through these issues is a good idea. Alternatively, if you are the one who struggles with some form of addiction, it may be a good idea to let your partner control your finances. This way, you are limited in how far your addiction can take you.
4. Having Former Relationship Baggage
Everyone comes to a relationship with their baggage. To some, it might be worse than the others. For instance, if your partner had a partner who excessively spent, it might be hard for them to trust you with their finances. Some people might have grown up in a broken family with parents who always fight because of money and they may be wary of combining finances.
Regardless of all these issues, all is not lost. There is always a way to work through these problems. There are marriage counselors who are available to help you work through your challenges. Alternatively, you can approach a financial advisor who will teach you how to plan and budget together as a couple. In any case, as a couple, it is important to have open and honest conversations about money and your personal finance goals.