Asking for a friend: Does marriage have to be a financial merger?

When I think of getting married, I think about sharing my life with my partner. Home, kids, pets. But up until a few months ago, I didn’t realize it would mean sharing my finances as well. In retrospect, maybe I should have known. But in an age where marriage takes place after individuals set up their individual careers and lives, can you really blame me for thinking I’d continue my financial life as is? (Yeah, yeah, opening a joint savings account for the wedding should have been a tip off but still…)

Since I obviously know nada about this, I have furiously searched for answers to: What’s the best way to handle money matters when you get married?

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As you can probably guess, Google had a lot of answers. Here are the things that have been most helpful to me:

The Newlyweds’ Guide to Financial Success, TIME If you only read one article on this issue, this should be the one. Be prepared and carve out some time in your day; it’s a long one. It’s very thorough (even includes pieces for people getting re-married and those closer to retirement) and full of real life examples.

How to Not Suck… At Merging Your Money When You Marry, Consumerist  So you opened up the TIME article and got overwhelmed? Well, here’s the TL;DR version of the topics to think through when talking finance pre-marriage.

Pros and Cons of Sharing Your Finances as a Married Couple, USA Today  Once you understand the general issues you’re dealing with from one of the above articles, you and your partner are probably going to weigh what to do next. This should help with the joint or not conversation.

How a $500 Monthly Allowance Saved Our Marriage, Slate My fiance sent me this one (after we had the awkward joint or not conversation) and it seems like a great model to follow – in fact, some of our married friends practice this in real life and say it’s working for them!

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten
about merging money when married?

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