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  • How to merge money in marriage

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    Published October 2, 2012
    How to merge money in marriage
    There a number of options available for couples to make merging their finances a little easier.

    You’ve taken the leap and married the love of your life. Now begins the process of combining your possessions, your homes and your money.

    After taking the step of merging your lives, how do you go about merging your finances?  Here are some options in beginning to share your money (or not).

    1. Joint accounts
    The most traditional option available for newlyweds is to combine your separate accounts into a single joint account. If you both work, you can both set up your paycheques to direct deposit into a single account. In this route, you both pay for various expenses out of that same account.

    Both partners have full access to a joint account and can make any changes to the account (updating changes of address, ordering a new set of cheques, etc.).

    While this is the most orthodox way to merge your financial lives, it may not the best option for every couple.

    2. Maintain separate accounts

    For those who love their financial independence, it might be best to opt for separate accounts. Each spouse maintains full financial autonomy with their own chequing accounts.

    For shared expenses, couples can divvy up their bills. For example, one can pay the electric and cable bill from their account, while the other pays the gas and phone bills.

    This is optimal for couples who are both employed and prefer financial autonomy. Instead of having a discussion every time someone wants to make a large purchase, each person can make their own purchases – account balance permitting, that is.

    One of the disadvantages of this system is that it sometimes becomes difficult to fairly divvy up any shared expenses and juggling several different accounts can often become confusing.

    3. Hybrid system
    For those who want the best of both worlds, there is a third option that is favoured by many couples. Many couples choose to get a single joint chequing account and also maintain their separate accounts. That way, any shared expenses or bills can be paid from the joint account and each spouse still has their own money to spend each month.

    There are even two different options for this blended system. Spouses can both deposit their cheques into the joint account and then transfer over whatever is left at the end of each month. Conversely, spouses can have their paycheques deposited into their individual accounts and then transfer the exact amount needed for bills and shared expenses into the joint account each month (or as needed).

    There a number of options available for couples to make merging their finances a little easier. It’s doesn’t have to be an all or nothing system that induces major headaches. In addition to these three financial arrangements, major banks and credit unions often offer their own versions of these systems to ensure every couple has a more customized fit for their finances.

    Whichever system a couple favours, it’s always a good idea to examine your spending habits and consult with a financial advisor on which option is best suited for both your needs.

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