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Merging Finances: A Conversation for Engaged Couples

Avoid troubled waters in your relationship—have a conversation about finances before you marry.

Merging finances is a big part of being married. If you are planning to walk down the aisle soon and want to ensure that your marriage is a bed of roses, learn how to avoid the thorns. Have a conversation about merging finances.

Relationships built on mutual trust last longer, and the surest way to establish trust is through open communication and honesty. Talking about your finances honestly with each other helps to build a strong marital foundation. Below are a few things you should talk about:

The Debt Dilemma

Everyone has debt. Once you’re married, you’ll have each other’s debt. Each of you should know how much debt the other one has, and that includes everything from credit cards to student loans. If one or both of you has an exorbitant amount of debt, such as a maxed-out credit card, talk about ways to pay it back. Starting a new marriage with a load of debt on your shoulders can be burdensome, and too much debt can bankrupt you. Merging your finances also involves merging your minds—two heads are better than one. Find ways to reduce your debt.

The Condition of Your Fiancé’s Credit

Whether good or bad, the condition of your finance’s credit score will impact you. When you make a big purchase together, the creditor will pull both your credit scores.

Check your credit reports together. You get a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can check each other’s report and look for any inaccuracies. Working together to correct errors and to improve your credit score may even enhance your relationship.

Establishing Savings Goals

Saving money for life’s most important events is crucial to financial security. Talk about your short- and long-term financial goals. Having conversations about when to have children and when to buy a new home if you don’t have one is important. Retirement planning for young couples might not seem like something to discuss right now, but it is. If you plan on having kids, saving for college is equally important. Starting a savings strategy early will help to ensure that you have enough money to reach your financial goals.

Spending Styles

Is your better half a big spender? If he or she is, you should know about it. Outrageous spending can disrupt the happiest of unions. If your fiancé is a heavy gambler or likes to keep up with the Joneses, take necessary precautions—you might need separate accounts.

Lack of money and bad credit can take a heavy toll on a marriage. Merging finances when you get married shouldn’t lead to a struggle. Rather, it should ensure that your marriage is a success. Talk about merging finances before you walk down the aisle.

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