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Consolidating finances when marrying

You can still spend what you want—within your means—without having to worry about how it affects the other person.

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How to do it: It’s best to sit down and draw up a plan to consolidate accounts—rather than add another person to all of your open accounts.If you’re planning to contribute equal amounts to the joint account, each person should set up a transfer to contribute 50% of the total each month.If you are going to contribute different amounts based on how much each person makes, calculate the percentage.Set up paychecks so they are directly deposited into the joint checking account and set up automatic withdrawals to your savings account.Why it works: If a couple is on the same page with how to spend and manage money, this option makes it really easy to work toward shared financial goals.All checking and savings accounts are combined and each person plays an active role deciding how money is spent and saved.

For simplicity, one person may manage paying all the day-to-day expenses, but both should be fully engaged in the responsibility of planning for a joint financial future.

List all of your accounts and think about what accounts you will need to keep in order to make it easy for two people to manage money.

You’ll want to start with a joint checking account, one or more joint savings accounts, and a joint investment account (if you plan to invest your money as a couple).

The most important thing is to have open, honest discussions and to change something when it’s no longer working for you.

To get you started with this conversation, here are the four most common ways to combine—or not combine—finances and why each option can work. What it looks like: The couple has one joint checking account and uses it for shared expenses like rent, groceries, and eating out.

If you are each paid a similar amount and have similar lifestyle tastes, you may want to consider each contributing the same amount to the joint account.