I’m getting married one week from today! I can hardly believe how quickly the day has crept up on us, but considering my fiancée and I have dated for the majority of the ten years since we met in high school, some might say “it’s about time”. Although at the moment we are consumed by planning the final details of our big day and ensuing honeymoon, we do take a moment here and there to talk about how this big step will change our lives after all the celebrations have passed. Of course, finances are no exception. But guess what? We don’t expect our finances to change much, if at all, after marriage. How so?
As with many modern couples, my fiancée and I will remain fairly financially independent with the exception of joint expenses. We already live together and do this using a joint credit card. (We put all groceries, meals out, and shared bills on the card and each pay our half—in full—every month). We also split our housing expenses down the middle.
After marriage, we are also talking about opening a joint savings account to begin saving for future vacations, home improvements, and other big purchases. We will keep separate spending accounts and, most likely, separate emergency funds.
In a perfect world, both of us would be entering marriage debt-free. We’re not quite there yet.
I’ve got a year or two left on my debt repayment strategy from my ignorant early twenties spending binge. She, having just graduated law school, has some student loans (though fortunately a very small amount compared to most law grads). As of right now, our debts will also be our own. (Which is fair. These were our debts before marriage, not something we accumulated together after marriage).
Going forward, I hope to convince my wife-to-be to live without debt with the exception of our home. Given my past experience with debt, that’s how I want to try to live going forward. I recognize that she doesn’t completely feel the same. She managed her debt in the past a lot better that I did. At the same time, she never got the “come to Jesus” experience with debt that I did. But we both recognize that marriage will involve compromises, and that the key to avoiding any bad blood is to talk about our financial decisions and be completely transparent. No secrets. I’m confident that being strong financial partners helps make marriages work, and can even save your marriage when things get shaky, as they inevitably do.
Do you agree? Are you married or getting married soon? How did you change your finances or do you expect to change them after marriage?
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