William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Partnership: How to Combine Finances After Marriage

Finances turn out to be one of the major causes of disagreements in the home. As a matter of research, money-related matters are responsible for divorces far more than many realize.

Oftentimes, with each spouse coming from a place of good intentions and possibly blinded by them, couples get locked into disagreements over their finances. This happens because no two humans are exactly the same, and even couples who love each other and have good intentions can honestly disagree.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Without taking care, many of these disagreements simply spiral down into a divorce. As you prepare for or try to find a balance between love, family life, career, and raising children, getting the financial piece of the marriage puzzle right is one you cannot afford to postpone.

Get actionable steps in this straightforward guide on how you and your spouse can combine finances for a strong and healthy marriage. At the end of the guide, you will find a brief commentary on avoiding marriage deal breakers.

Key Takeaways

  • Key steps in combining finances include agreeing on needs, defining extras, creating budgets, opening joint accounts, and maintaining personal accounts.
  • For easy collaboration, couples should prioritize communication, negotiation, empathy, and compromise for financial success.
  • Maintaining separate accounts can provide freedom while keeping shared accounts can foster common goals. Remember to seek expert advice for harmonious financial partnership.


The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning and financial management here. More on disclaimers here.

Apply the advisor advantage

While couples should spend time talking about everything from your monthly expenses and your credit card balances to a monthly budget and your credit card debt, bringing in a financial coach to guide some of these conversations cannot be underestimated.

A financial professional knows their way around finances and can show you what works best. This will enable you not only to resolve disagreements but also to increase your chances for success in finances and ultimately in marriage. A financial planner whom both spouses can trust their expert opinions is one of the few practical solutions for resolving financial disagreements, in order to attain financial success in a marriage.

Ekenna Anya-Gafu, a certified financial planner, is one of the leading financial planners in the US guiding couples into financial wholeness in their marriage. His expertise ranges from estate planning and vacation planning to investing for college and retirement planning. He can help you create a comprehensive financial plan as a solid financial foundation for your marriage.

To take advantage of Ekenna's expertise, book an appointment with him today.

Steps to combining finances after marriage

Combining finances after marriage is an important step towards building a stable and harmonious family. To create a financially strong marriage, it's essential to follow these steps:

Agree on your needs

Start by listing your recurring expenses individually. These should cover essential daily living expenses. Categorize these needs into various time frames such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. This exercise helps you understand each other's financial requirements comprehensively.

Spell out your extras

It's crucial to differentiate between needs and desires. Create a separate list for personal expenses that fall under extras, preferences and wants. Being transparent about these non-essential expenses allows you to make informed financial decisions.

Create a budget

Develop a comprehensive budget that includes both current and future needs. This serves as a roadmap for managing your combined finances effectively. Allocate funds for essentials, savings, investments and leisure activities while maintaining a balance between practicality and enjoyment.

Open joint accounts

Consider opening a joint savings account to cover shared expenses like household bills, mortgage/rent, groceries and family outings. This shared pool of funds ensures that essential needs are met collaboratively, fostering a sense of partnership. Also, a joint checking account promotes trust and transparency.

Keep personal accounts

While joint finances promote shared financial responsibilities, maintaining individual accounts is equally important. Respect each other's financial independence by keeping separate accounts for personal preferences, hobbies and personal spending.

Maximize investment accounts

To enhance your financial stability and purchasing power, explore investment opportunities both through joint and individual bank accounts. Consulting a financial advisor can provide expert guidance tailored to your financial goals and circumstances.

Key ingredients to successfully combining finances

These are steps you can follow to ensure success in combining your finances:

1. Avoid Assumptions

Making assumptions can easily lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. It is important that you and your spouse maintain good communication about your financial expectations, goals, and concerns to ensure clarity and alignment. The money talk is important.

2. Prioritize Negotiation

Making financial decisions as a couple requires compromise and negotiation. You should always approach discussions with an open mind, and be ready to find solutions that balance both partners' needs and desires.

3. Cultivate Empathy

A good dose of empathy is the foundation of understanding each other's financial viewpoints. Your financial histories and values are different and they contribute to each person's perspective on money matters.

4. Embrace Compromise

Being flexible is key to resolving financial disagreements. You should always be willing to meet in the middle and adapt your approach to accommodate your spouse's preferences.

5. Letting Go as a Choice

Understand that not every difference in opinion needs resolution. Sometimes, letting go and allowing your partner's choice to stand can contribute to a healthier financial dynamic. At the end of the day, understanding is not simply an intellectual activity, it is also an emotional experience.

6. Differentiate What Matters

Finally, you need to develop the skill of discerning between significant financial decisions and minor preferences. This discernment ensures that your energy is focused on discussions that truly impact your financial well-being.

As a couple, implementing these steps and key ingredients in your financial journey can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling marriage. Remember that the path to financial unity is a continuous process that requires communication, empathy, and a shared commitment to building a secure future together.

Common questions on combining finances

Is it okay to keep finances separate when married or should you combine finances when married? These are two very different but related questions. Each deserves individual responses.

Is it OK to keep finances separate when married?

Yes, you can. If you're married and living together, you can choose to have your own money without combining everything.

There's no strict rule that says when you're married, everything must be combined. For some couples in specific situations, like those with step-families, couples with differing money approaches, or one partner with an inheritance, keeping at least some money separate might work better.

Experts suggest that 'if you and your partner have really different ideas about saving and spending, it might be better to have separate accounts. This way, money habits don't cause problems in your relationship.' Having separate accounts could also give more freedom to each of you.

Though you're married, you remain an individual person. And it's important to recognize your differences and figure out how much separation makes sense for your relationship right now.

Should you combine finances when you get married?

However, even if you keep things separate, you'll still have things you want to do together and bills to pay. Just like with anything in a relationship, talking to each other about this is really important.

Combining finances is as simple as finding common ground areas where you both agree on what should be done. It's like sharing your things to make your marriage happier, which is what most couples want when they start their journey together. Couples tend to be happier when they have a joint account as well as personal individual accounts.

What is the best way to combine finances when married?

To combine bank accounts, couples need to go to the bank together and sign papers to add both of their names to the joint bank account. It's a good idea to keep all the accounts open for about a month or two. This gives enough time to move over any money that's automatically put in or taken out of the old accounts. After that, they can close the old accounts without any worries.

Avoid turning these into marriage deal breakers

The following are common elements of marriage and family life:

  • Residence
  • Career
  • Children
  • Vacation
  • Finances

However, surveys show that any of these can become a deal breaker in marriage. But some experts have suggested that many of the other reasons that could lead to a breakdown in marriage somehow find their root in money.

So, you should be careful when you and your spouse discuss these matters, and keep in mind that there is a money angle to them.

Remember, assumptions are costly, negotiation is key, empathy is crucial, and compromise can save the day. Marriage is a dance duet, especially in finances; it works well when moves are coordinated, especially when guided by a coach.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings, headquartered in Palo Alto, is a renowned wealth management firm that specializes in financial planning, investment advisory, and risk management. What sets them apart is their unique approach of effectively managing overall risk and volatility, rather than solely focusing on maximizing returns.

Under the esteemed leadership of founder William Huston, who was recognized as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors for 2021, Bay Street stands out as one of the two Black-owned firms among the nineteen recognized in California. Their collaboration with Resthaven Properties in real estate earned them a finalist position in the prestigious Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion category at the 2023 WealthManagement.com Industry Awards.

Bay Street demonstrates its commitment to diversity and support for emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs by being a finalist in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category for the Asset Manager in 2021. This acknowledgment followed a rigorous selection process involving over 900 nationwide firms, showcasing their dedication to making a positive social impact.







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