Tips & Advice
Financial intimacy starts with better communication. Couples who discuss money matters feel more secure, argue less.
Presented by the Financial Advisors at Apple Financial Services*
Some spouses share everything with each other – including the smallest details of their personal finances. Other spouses decide to keep some individual financial decisions and details to themselves, and their relationship is just fine.
Just as a marriage requires understanding, respect, and compromise, so does the financial life of a married couple. If you are marrying soon or have just married, you may be surprised (and encouraged) by the way your individual finances may or may not need to change.
If you are like most single people, you have two or three bank accounts. Besides your savings account and your checking account, you may also have a "dream account" where you park your travel money or your future down payment on a home. You can retain all three after you marry, of course – but when it comes to your expenses, you have a fundamental decision to make.
After you marry, the two of you may also find it best to have three checking accounts – yours, mine, and ours. Essentially, a joint account is set up specifically for household expenses, with each spouse retaining an individual checking account. Of course, each spouse might also maintain an individual savings account.
Do you want to have a joint bank account? The optimal move is to create it as soon as you marry. Some newlyweds find they need a joint bank account only after some financial trial-and-error; they would have been better off starting out married life with one.
If you only have individual checking accounts, that forces some decisions. Who pays what bill? Should one of you pay most of the bills? If you have a shared dream (like buying a home), how will you each save for it? How will you finance or pay for major purchases?
It is certainly possible to answer these money questions without going out and creating a joint account. Some marrying couples never create one – they already have a bunch of accounts, so why add another? There can be a downside, though, to not wedding your finances together in some fashion.
Privacy is good, but secrecy can be an issue. Over time, that is what plagues some married couples. Even when one spouse's savings or investments are individually held, effects from that individual's finances may spill into the whole of the household finances. A spouse who has poor borrowing or spending habits, an addiction, a sudden major debt issue, or an entirely secret bank account may be positioning himself or herself for a money argument. The financial impact of these matters may affect both partners, not just one.
A recent Ameriprise Financial survey of 1,500 couples found that nearly a third of them argued about money matters at least once per month.
About 70% of the respondents in that survey reported making purchases without informing their spouse or partner. Seventy-three percent said that they made money decisions differently than their better half did. In households like these, a little communication could help everyone stay on the same page.¹
So above all, talk. Talk to each other about how you want to handle the bills and other recurring expenses. Discuss how you want to save for a dream. Chat about the way you want to invest and the amount of risk and debt you think you can tolerate. Combine your finances to the degree you see fit, while keeping the lines of communication ever open.
If you and your spouse find money conversations difficult and unproductive, you may need to bring in a financial planner to help. Schedule your no cost, no obligation consultation with a CFS Financial Advisor at Apple Financial Services*. Together you'll build a spending and saving plan that'll make everyone happy.
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. ("CFS"), a registered broker-dealer, (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Apple FCU has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. Apple Financial Services LLC is a subsidiary of Apple FCU and is not directly affiliated with CFS.
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
1 - bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-09-29/couples-can-spy-on-each-other-s-spending-with-this-new-bank-account [9/29/16]