How to Make Combined Finances Work in Your Marriage - Marriage & Money Mini Series

I have really loved talking about money and marriage with you guys this week! I appreciate the different perspectives you have given me and the conversations we have had about combining finances in marriage and handling personal spending once you've combined your finances. While I realize that not everybody will combine their finances when they get married, I can't suggest it enough! Not viewing our money as 'his' and 'hers' makes budgeting easier, makes us feel like more of a team and makes our discussions about money a lot more pleasant! If combining your finances is something you've been considering, here are some things that you should keep in mind.

Combining finances successfully in marriage

Trust is key! If you can't trust your spouse or they can't trust you, how do you ever expect to join your money and have it work out? It actually might cause more issues and conflict in your marriage. Combining your finances should strengthen and help your relationship, not harm it.

Communication about everything related to your budget and your spending is important! The more you talk about your money, the better it will all work out. If one of you makes an big, impulse purchase, talk about it. When your budget isn't working anymore, for whatever reason, talk about it. If you want to buy something that your spouse might have a problem with, let them know and come to an agreement. When you communicate and discuss your money as you go, you avoid unnecessary conflict later and argument later on.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! You're in this together, don't ever forget that! You both want to pay off your debt, buy your dream house, build up your emergency savings, etc. Work toward those goals as a couple, you'll be a lot more successful.

Don't quit if something goes wrong. There are always going to be mistakes with your budget and your spending. It's frustrating, but if you let those little slip ups ruin the progress you've made toward your goals, you'll be even more upset in the end.

Reevaluate your budget and your goals from time to time. My friends, The Florkens recently went over their budget again because the one they'd set just wasn't working for them, and it made me so happy! Joe and I do this often. We adjust our envelope system when we feel like we've been putting too much money into one or not enough into another. This week we're going to be reworking our budget after the purchase of our new house. Life changes, income changes, expenses change, so should your budget :)

Do you keep your money from mowing lawns, doing hair, etc. to yourself as fun money or does it "go in the pot"?

We don't count our "side businesses" and income when we are putting together our budget. All of that income is kept in separate accounts that we use only for those businesses. At the end of each year, we pay ourselves with the profit we earned and use it to pay off debt, save for something big or do something fun together. So in the end, it goes in the pot, unless we decide together that we should each get some of the money to spend how we want.

What should you do long-term to provide for yourselves as a couple?

*Question answered by Joe*

If your company offers a match on their 401K's it is good to fund your 401K to that match.  After that, if your budget permits, I would suggest investing into good growth mutual funds that have around a 20 year history or more, within a Roth IRA.  You want to use a Roth IRA because of the tax benefits that it offers. These benefits are great, so they limit the amount you can contribute. Right now it's only $5,500 a year. A married couple could each get a Roth IRA and contribute $11K a year.  The key is to start as soon as possible! For example; if you start investing $100 a month at 25 years old, you will have over a million dollars at retirement.

Also get term life insurance for about 10 times your annual income if people rely on your income, or help for maybe raising children.  Term life insurance is good so that if the bread winner passes away, they can leave the family with the blessing of not worrying about how to pay for a funeral, and the house payment.

How do you plan to make your finances better and prepare for the future?