If you recently got married, you might be wondering how keep your marriage and finances strong. One way to do this is to merge financial accounts with your spouse. Many couples choose to merge financial accounts to have a sense of unity after they’re married and also to work together towards goals like buying a house or saving for retirement.
It’s important to note that not all couples merge accounts. TD Bank recently released the results of a survey regarding separate bank accounts. Apparently, 38 percent of people who have separate bank accounts have them because they feel more independent. So, the decision to merge accounts or not really comes to personal preference, but if you do want to merge accounts to have that sense of unity in your marriage, here are the steps to take:
Do Inventory of Your Personal Accounts
The first step you need to take to merge accounts with your spouse is to take an inventory of all your accounts. How many checking accounts do you have? How many credit cards do you have? How much debt do you have? Now is the time to come clean about all your debt, especially if you have some you haven’t let your spouse know about yet. Once you do this inventory and have all of your accounts listed, it’s time to decide how many bank accounts you want. Some financial experts recommend having one checking account, while others say it can be good to have multiple accounts just in case something happens with one of them. Decide together how many accounts you want to manage and which accounts you want to keep before taking the steps to consolidate them.
Take the Steps to Transfer and Close Accounts
Although this step isn’t hard, it can be time consuming. Once you’ve decided which accounts you want to keep, you want to first make sure both of your names are on the accounts you’re going to keep before moving money around. Then, once you both are on the accounts, start to close and consolidate the accounts you’re not going to keep. Remember to change over any automatic withdrawals and direct deposits you might have set up and make sure all checks have cleared before closing your accounts.
Make Sure You Both Have Access to Merged Accounts
Once you’ve merged all accounts, it’s important that you both have access to all your accounts. You want your relationship to have a sense of equality in terms of account access, so both people need to have all user names and passwords to all accounts. One person shouldn’t have all the access and then give the other one an “allowance.” Instead, access should be open and equal, as long as you agree on spending limits and your joint financial goals.
Meet Regularly to Discuss Your Accounts
It’s no secret that many divorces happen due to financial issues, and it can be hard to keep both your marriage and finances strong. In fact, recent research from Kansas State University confirms this, explaining, “Results revealed it didn’t matter how much you made or how much you were worth. Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all levels.” So, in order to keep your relationship healthy in terms of money, don’t forget to openly communicate about money once all your accounts are completely joined, and keep meeting regularly to make sure you are on the same page financially now and in the future.