Confession: It took me awhile to finally merge bank accounts with my husband. It wasn't all because of the fear (which I'll get into), it was also about just plain laziness. It took us a couple months to go to the bank, meet with a financial planner, and get our finances in order. It also took a few discussions to get there. Merging of the finances isn't for everyone. Some spouses may want to keep that piece of their independence. It totally depends on you and your spouse. So is merging right for you? Ask yourself these couple of questions:
1. How will we buy each other gifts going forward?
When you share a bank account, gift giving gets taken a whole new level. You need to make sure there's no peeking in the bank account to see what was bought and where, but what happens if you have to look at the bank statement? You need to make sure you're cool with the extra hassle of taking out cash and then spending -- it's your call. It can definitely make things a little tricky, but it can be done.
2. Are you okay with one person being the “manager” of the finances?
I haven't taken a math class since I was 19 years old and I majored in English in college. So, you can probably infer that I am not super great with numbers. Math has never been my strong suit. My husband on the other hand feels very comfortable managing our budgets and bills. To be honest, it was a relief once we finally merged accounts because I trusted him with our money. A free financial advisor! Yay!
3. Your income is no longer “yours,” are you cool with that?
This one is still difficult for me, if I'm being totally transparent. I am the bread-winner of the two of us, and when it comes to my urge to buy that Kate Spade purse that's 75% off ...well, I have to make sure that it's cool with my husband. My money is no longer just mine. I can't just buy a purse because I want to, because I earned it. I have to check with the person I share those dollars with. Even if technically that money is mine -- it's not anymore. That's what happened when we got married and agreed to share our money. Are you cool with that?
4. Ready to compromise?
Oh man, marriage is compromise. You might want to say that it's just one big, giant compromise (It's also very fun, I swear). Are you going to save 10% of your paychecks? 20%? Are you going to budget for a trip? How much will you spend on groceries? My husband loves music and plays every single instrument under the sun. If he wants to spend $200 on a new guitar pedal, best believe there will be conversation about it and best believe that down the line, I will be getting a nice $200 handbag. See? Compromise!
After going through these questions, does merging bank accounts with your spouse sound right for you? It's definitely "traditional" but not 100% necessary. Talk to your partner and see what works for you as a couple.