Marriage moneyAs my wedding day approaches, I am beginning to understand that marriage is not just a union of love; it's also a joint venture that includes, at least to some extent, the combining of financial assets. Cue the discussion of ... The Shared Bank Account.

It's at moments like these when watching a chick flick becomes extremely appealing to me, and football games become enthralling to my fiancée. Far be it from us to underplay the value of distraction when such emotionally charged, grown-up topics are at hand.

For us, the conversation started when we established a joint account for wedding expenses. Our families had generously agreed to help us pay for the nuptials, so we deposited those funds in the account and tracked our budget together.

But after dipping a toe into the waters of joint finances, my fiancée recoiled from wading in any further. "I don't want to lose my independence," said my rugged Midwestern individualist.

Is there any one method that works best for newlyweds? Perhaps not: But before walking down the aisle together, you ought to make a trip arm-in-arm through the marble bank foyer to address your financial future.

To Join or Not to Join?

When two people agree to link their lives together, they take vows of trust and partnership. When one refuses to open a joint bank account, it can undermine that feeling of trust.

"There can be questions of why doesn't he or she want to have a joint bank account," said Deborah Wilburn, author of For Richer Not Poorer: The Newlywed's Financial Survival Guide (Perigee Trade, 2005). "What's being hidden? It reflects on trust and how you feel about this partnership. And if the accounts are separate, they're wondering, 'Well, don't you trust me?' Then it's up to each person to be completely clean about what they have and what's going on."

On the other hand, to leave someone a chunk of their financial independence can reflect an even greater level of trust.

Either way, whether you officially pool your financial resources or not, fiscal transparency in marriage is important. Experts agree you need to come clean about your financial status and history before you tie the knot.

"You don't want to be hashing this out after you get married," Wilburn said. " You want to exchange your spreadsheet of your assets and your debts. You don't want any big surprises -- like finding out on the honeymoon that he has $17,000 of credit card debt."

The Importance of Full Disclosure


Stewart Welch III, author of The 10 Minute Guide to Personal Finances for Newlyweds (Macmillan/Spectrum, 1996) and founder of wealth management firm The Welch Group, said the time to start talking seriously about finances begins when the couple gets engaged. Couples should list all their assets and liabilities, as well as major anticipated expenses like graduate school or a new car.

"At the stage you get engaged, you have to have full financial disclosure and make a list of everything you own and everything you owe," Welch said. "The couples that don't do that -- it comes to light too late, and in way too many cases where it is very unpleasant."

Putting all assets, debts and income on the table will give you a clearer picture of where you stand, and what you'll have left after you cover your basic expenses. It also gives you a starting point for setting larger priorities on spending: What will you earmark for saving to buy a house, going to grad school, taking vacations or just having a nice dinner out on occasion? How well do your ideas on these subjects match with those of your spouse-to-be? It's important to find out.

Welch notes that couples may bring different budgeting tactics to a marriage, but he suggests that setting up a good old-fashioned spreadsheet can do the trick in most situations.

Once you've done all this, it's time to take the plunge. To offset cold feet, you may want to take baby steps into the joint pool.

Little by Little: The Three-Pot System

When people get married these days, they've usually been managing their own money for awhile. It can be a psychological hurdle to give up that control. For this reason, many new spouses acclimate themselves to the joining of finances through what's called the "three-pot" system.

"Some couples like to ease into it, so they'll open a joint account and keep individual accounts," Wilburn said. "They may have separate savings accounts and agree on how much they're putting into the joint account until they get a better sense of their partner's money style." Collective expenses like rent and utilities should come out of the collective pot; discretionary expenses like highlights or video games, the individual pots.

More accounts mean more paperwork, and there's no inherent financial advantage unless someone is coming into the marriage with excessive debt or bad credit. But if it provides a psychological advantage, having multiple pots of cash can pay.

The three-pot system can also allow couples to get used to tracking each other's expenses and give them time to find a financial rhythm.

Three-pot System, Turned Upside-Down

Not everyone agrees with the yours-mine-and-ours framework.

Welch, for one, advocates against it: He views the scenario as ripe with potential for disagreements. If one partner has the checkbook and the other has the ATM card, there could be overdrafts, for example.

"It's a formula for a conflict and for a system that's going to break down," Welch said.

Instead, he recommends a single joint "control account," from which three sub-accounts emerge: a "get rich" account for 401(k)-type retirement savings and the like; a "live rich" account that includes a discretionary spending budget for each spouse; and a programmed savings account for long-term aspirations that are not monthly, like a down-payment on a home or car.

Avoiding the Power Struggle, Emphasizing the Partnership

For newlyweds, the most important thing is to avoid a power struggle over money. "In almost 100% of the cases, one spouse is going to be earning more than the other, but the personal money they get to spend should be the same," Welch said.

If a couple keeps separate accounts and both spouses contribute equally to the joint "household expenses" account, you could end up with three pots and a Pandora's box.

If the higher earner is left with more discretionary income, "it can set up a psychological dominance," Welch said. To avoid this scenario, Welch said, each spouse would have to contribute proportionally to the joint account in a way that would leave both with equal amounts of discretionary income.

But in Welch's view, for a marriage to achieve both wedded and fiscal bliss, the partners need to remember that they can only succeed as a team: The partnership is strengthened psychologically when the joint "control" account is the initial pathway for all the money. It emphasizes the partnership and alliance of the marital bond. The three-pot system, by contrast, financially presents each spouse as a fully separate entity first, part of a team second.

Moving Forward

As my fiancée and I wrestle with the logistics of wedding planning, we are taking the financial merger slowly. Over time, no doubt, we'll devise a system that best fits our lifestyle, but for now, a more important money question looms: What kind of wedding cake should we get, and how much will we spend on the grand, multi-tiered dessert?

It's a good first big decision to have to make -- a win-win with a super-sweet value proposition.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

89 Comments

Filter by:
Suzan Perez

Sometimes,Life can be very displeasing especially when we loose the ones we love and cherish so much. in this kind of situation where one loses his/her soul mate there are several dangers engage in it. one may no longer be able to do the things he was doing before then success will be very scarce and happiness will be rare. that person was created to be with you for without him things may fall apart. That was my experience late last year. but thank god today i am happy with him again. all thanks goes to Dr. EDIONWE, i was nearly loosing hope until i saw an article on how Dr. EDIONWE could cast a love spell to make lovers come back. There is no harm in trying, i said to my self. i contacted him via email: edionwesolutiontemple@yahoo.com. words will not be enough to appreciate what he has done for me. i have promised to share the good news as long as i live.

July 19 2015 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pual Jennifer

Hello
My name is JENIFER PUAL from united states married to ALEX PUAL , Daly city ca. i am married with two kids. Life has been a misery for me and my kids for over six years when my husband dumped me for his new mistress due to some minor misunderstanding that we had. So he engage in a fight with me and throw me out of the house, so all through these sorrowful period of my life, i have been in pain. So one day, as i was browsing through the internet, i came across many post about spell casters testifying how they were helped by them so i decided to seek help and advice. but naturally i didn't believe in spells or magic powers but due to the fact that i was deeply in love with my husband, i decided to go for a try, So i came in contact with DR.IMONAH of drimonahspiritualtemple@yahoo.com so when i contacted this DR.IMONAH, he assure me that he will help me to reunite my marriage, so he told me every thing i will do , which i did ,and then he cast a love spell for me and he advice me to wait for just 24 hours. I actually waited as he said, so when it was 24 hours after he cast the love spell, my husband actually called me on my mobile phone and started apologizing for everything that he had caused me and the kids. This was how my marriage was reunited again and Starting from this point till date, i and my husband has been living peacefully and happily. Anybody viewing this testimony should please stop by and read and if you are so interested in contacting for any help, simply do that via his email : (drimonahspiritualtemple@yahoo.com) or call him with is number via(+234701648910) and remain happy.Thanks

April 17 2015 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex Becky

GREAT DR. TAJU THAT HELP ME SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP.
Good Day everybody, my names is ALEX BECKY, am from the United State of America, i want to give thanks and honor to Dr. Taju for the great work he did for me, he brought my lover within 48 hours which i never taught it will ever come through in my life, but this great man Dr. Taju proved to me that powers can do wonders, i got his contact from a friend in the USA who he helped, this friend of mine told me that this man is great but i felt as hmm are you sure? cause i hardly believe those kind of things,so she told me not to worry that when i contact him, that she is guaranteeing me 100% that my lover will come back that if it does not work that she will be the one to give me back my money, to show her sincerity to me, she gave me her car that if it does not work that and she did not pay me the money that i spent that she i should collect her car and she gave me all the documents, i was so so surprised she was very serious about it so that was how i contacted him and i told him what i want he just told me that everything will be done within 24 hours so with the assurance my friend gave me i was having confident, so in the next 24 hours that he told me i just heard a knock on my door i never knew it was mark, so that was how i opened the door the first thing he did was to go on his knees, he started begging me to forgive him that he is very sorry for everything, i was really surprised and was also happy, so that was how i forgived him and now we are living together happily than ever before, am very happy thanks be to Lucy who gave me his contact and honor be onto Great DR. TAJU who helped a lot, if you need his help or you want to thank him for me you can contact him through drtajulovespellhome@gmail.com or drtajulovespellhome@yahoo.com. you can contact him through his web address: http://greatrdrtajulovespellhome.webs.com. or contact him through his mobile number number +2348110496031
You can also read my testimony on my blogger site: http://alexbecky11.blogspot.com ....

March 25 2015 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank Silver

HELLO i have read testimonies about this great spell caster called Dr. Ekpiku how he helped people to bring their lover back. so i decide to give him a try, i am here today to give my own testimony on how this great man brought my ex back within 48 hours for just to contact him. this girl has broke up with me over 6 weeks but she came back just within 48 hours that Dr Ekpiku said he will make her come back to me. just contact this man and he will bring your ex back here is his email address mail. Ekpikuspelltemple@live.com

March 03 2014 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Orlando Wilson

i almost took my life because of my ex who left me and stop picking my calls. He said do not trust me anymore, I tried to convince him, but he will not believe me until we had a fight and broke up for 10months, after then I realize I can not live without him because of the love I have for him. I tried everything possible to get him back, but non worked for me, some fake spell casters scammed me and went away with my money until I came across this man called dr. malawi, he cast a spell for me and behold my ex came back after 5 hours , begging me for forgiveness, I was so surprised that spell caster like dr. malawi still exist. If anyone here needs some help, with all sincerity, contact dr.malawi via his email:spellofsolutiontemple@gmail.com

January 29 2014 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blenda Park

My ex-boy dumped me 6 months ago after I accused him of seeing another woman and insulting him.I want him back in my life but he refused to have any contact with me.He changed his line,block me from sending him email and facebook.I was so confuse and don't know what to do. So I reach to the internet for help and I saw a testimonies of how this powerful spell caster help them to get their ex back. So I contact the spell caster whose name is Dr Shiva and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 2days that my ex will return to me, and to my greatest surprise the Second day my ex came knocking at my door and ask me to forgive him.I am so happy that my love is back again. Once again thank you Dr Shiva,you are truly talented and gifted. Email: reunitingexspell@yahoo.com . He is the only answer to your problems.He can be of great help and I will not stop publishing his name for the good work he did for me andpeople are still talking about him on the Internet. REUNITINGEXSPELL@YAHOO.COM

December 28 2013 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tucker Conrald

A GREAT SPELL CASTER (DR. TEBE) THAT HELP ME BRING BACK MY EX GIRL FRIEND BACK TO ME.
Am so happy to testify about a great spell caster that helped me when all hope was lost for me to unite with my ex girl friend that i love so much. Am from CANADA and my name is TUCKER CONRAD, i had a girl friend that love me so much but something terrible happen to our relationship one afternoon when her girl friend that was always trying to get to me was trying to force me to make love to her just because she was been jealous of her friend that i was dating and on the scene my girl friend just walk in and she thought we had something special doing together, i tried to explain things to her that her friend always do this when ever she is not with me and i always refuse her but i never told her because i did not want the both of them to be enemies to each other but she never believed me. She broke up with me and i tried times with out numbers to make her believe me but she never believed me until one day i heard about the GREAT DR. TEBE and i emailed him with his email greattebespelltemple@gmail.com and he replied me so kindly and help me get back my lovely relationship that was already gone for two months. Am so happy and all thanks to the GREAT DR. TEBE that help me with his white love powers. If you have any kind of problem email him now for help with his email greattebespelltemple@gmail.com or call him with his number +2348112277054 His web site address is http://greattebespelltemple.webs.com

December 09 2013 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Santo Westley

Am joyce from Australia. After being in relationship with my boyfriend for five years,he broke up with me,I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 5pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. Contact him now for your relationship or marriage problems or any DISEASE via this email tunijaspelltemple@hotmail.com He's going to solve your problem for you have faith.

December 02 2013 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rose Maria

Miss Jessica make my All thank to DR. Okpoko for bringing joy and happiness to my relationship and my family. I lost my boyfriend, and i required help until i found DR okpoko for his male spell caster, And she assured me that I will get my boyfriend back in one days after the spell has been cast. one day later, my phone rang, and so shockingly, it was my boyfriend who has not called me for long, and made an apology for the heart break, and told me that he is ready to devote the rest of his life with me. Dr Okpoko released him up to know how much i loved and wanted him.. right now me and my fiance is living a happy life and our love is now stronger than how it were even before our break up.. All thanks goes to Dr Okpoko for the excessive work that he has done for me. Below is his email address in situation you are undergoing a heart break, and I assure you that as he has done mine for me, he will definitely help you too. Dr. okpokospellhome@gmail.com

November 23 2013 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jessica Make

My name is Jessica Make ,From USA ,and I’m happily married with a lovely husband and three children.I had a very big problem with my husband few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his things away from our house. He left I and my kids for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best and effort to bring him back.I discussed it with a very good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that can handle my situations and problem,that he’s always ready and able to do anything related to spell casting and helping of the needy, Pls every every one i would like you all to contact him with his email address,which is as follows. dr.okpokospellhome@gmail.com I never believed in spell casting,but My friend convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email address,and i discussed with him all my problems and worries and so surprisingly,he told me that I’ll get my husband back a day after. I didn't believed Him, until when i got home,the next day,my husband called me to inform me that he is coming back home…..So Amazing!! That’s how i got my back through spell casting and our relationship was stronger than ever. One of the price i was asked to pay was to tell it to the people around me that problems like this,can always be solved by Okpoko. So! my advice to you out there is to visit this same E-mail address,and tell him your problems too,if you are in any condition related to love issue or getting your ex back or and problem at all, pls Contact him and have a happy life. you can contact him via email (dr.okpokospellhome@gmail.com) God will bless you and your family love you farther.

November 20 2013 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply