Merging money

My fiance and I have started to discuss how and where to merge our money. We knew everything about the other’s financial situation coming into this engagement, which is a great thing. He only has a couple thousand dollars on his credit card, and I only have wedding expenses (dress & half the honeymoon) on mine. My car has been paid off, and his lease is up in May. Other than that, we don’t owe anybody anything.

We’ve determined that after the wedding, it will make the most sense for us to, as Simon & Garfunkel so eloquently put it, “marry our fortunes together.” As of now I write the check for the rent and the household bills (phone, utilities, cable) and he gives me a check to cover his half for the month. It will be so much easier to just have our paychecks deposited into the same account and pay everything out from there.

We each have 401(k)s and cash investments. Since our savings are almost equal, neither of us have a problem putting both of our names on those accounts so we can access them for something like, say, a down payment one day!

Some of my tips:

1. Talk about your finances and expectations. You don’t want to enter into a serious relationship or marriage without knowing each other’s spending habits. If you like to buy $1,000 purses and he likes to go to Atlantic City every week, you’re going to have problems!

2. Discuss debt. Make sure you’re both on the same page about spending. If you can’t stand wasteful spending (like me) and your significant other’s discretionary spending for a month is more than you allot for half a year, you’re going to need to compromise. Inform each other about what type of debt your carrying and the amounts.

3. Start slowly. Open a joint account and have a portion of your paychecks deposited each month to get a feel for saving together. From there, you can judge how well you’ll do were you to combine your finances!

How do you, dear readers, handle finances in a two-income situation?

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