4 Things Couples Should Keep In Mind Before Combining Finances

There are a few landmarks in most committed relationships – first date, moving in together, engagement and marriage, each of which need to be addressed with careful consideration. Whether you and your partner are leasing an apartment together or opening a joint checking account, you both are making a big financial commitment. Before you decide to do so, there are a few matters that you should first consider.

Money and finances  are often the source of conflict in any relationship. If one partner is not pulling their weight, it can hurt not only the relationship, but the their financial state as well. Before you open a new line of credit or combine checking accounts, be sure to do your research. Following these suggestions can help a couple combine their finances and credit in a smart way.

Communicate with each other

Honest communication is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy relationship, and this goes for finances. Before you begin to merge your finances, be open with your partner. Being honest about any debts or credit issues up front can prevent an argument about finances down the line.

A couple should first review all their financial records together. This includes credit reports, saving accounts, student loans, open lines of credit and income. Being upfront about where you both stand in regards to credit and finances can help you better plan for the future and avoid any unforeseen debt payments in the future.

Get on the same page

Along with understanding your partner’s financial standings, it also helps to know their routines. Many experts recommend waiting 12 months before combining money. During this time, you can see what your partner’s spending habits are and how they act when it comes to finances – whether they just pay the minimums on credit card debt, for example, or if they are putting money into a savings account. If you see any worrisome actions from your significant other, then this may be the best time to discuss them and figure out a way to amend them.

Plan your future accordingly 

Once you are comfortable with your partner’s spending habits, try setting up a monthly or even weekly date on the calendar to talk about finances. During this time you can discuss how you will pay for bills and how other debts will be assessed. Creating a budget is the best way to handle each other’s debts and how you will pay for them in the future.

As you are laying out your financial plans, write down all the bills and payments you make a month. These can be car payments, mortgage payments, utilities, food and insurance. This is the time to figure out all the monthly debts you need to pay. Making a plan of how to handle things and discussing it can prevent late fees on payments or any other financial troubles. You can revise your budget as time passes by, but creating a game​ plan before pulling your finances together can help your overall financial state.

Things to keep in mind

Even if you have decided to take the plunge to combine credit or finances,  remember that you are still responsible for the state of your own credit. A couple may assume that once they pull everything together, they have one unified credit report. Although this may be true in terms of joint spending accounts, you still have your own individual credit report. This is why making a plan in regards to payments and bills is extremely important. An integral thing to remember is even though you have your own personal credit history, the financial decisions you make will also affect your partner.

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