You just got married and reality is setting in… Everything is now “our” everything! It is time to decide where the money is going to live and in how many accounts and who has access to what. What is the answer to all this? To find out you have to sit down and have a long chat where you lay everything on the table. Once you both have a good grasp of the financial situation, which might take more than one chat, it is time to pick a strategy and there are plenty available:
- The Lump Sum Approach: You are fully merged, just like the good old days. Sometimes it is best to start fresh by opening a joint checking and savings account or perhaps you just add your spouse to an existing account.
- The Hybrid Approach: You have a common account for common expenses but keep your personal spending confined to separate accounts. To do this each person transfers a set amount into the common fund each month after being paid.
- The Independent Approach: Everything stays as it was, totally separate, and perhaps you should have considered a pre-nuptial agreement as well?
Whatever approach you choose have a plan and stick to it. Make a budget. There are plenty of tools like Mint.com to help you get your financial life in order to get those bills paid and avoid overdraft fees during the transition. If it all seems overwhelming, just pick up the phone and ask for financial help. A close friend, financial advisor, or even your bank can provide you with the tools to start your new life together on the right financial footing.
Account Consolidation Takeaways
Have a plan
Understand the plan
and finally… Get help if needed!