Merging Finances

As soon as we got engaged I wanted to dive right into our finances. I immediate saw it as an opportunity to cut costs and get both our balance sheets moving in the same direction towards financial freedom.

My fiancée knew this was coming and has been very patient me. However, I quickly realized this was going to be a slow process. How are we going to handle our money? Do we even have our goals aligned? Does my fiancée even have financial goals? Are her financial habits conducive to mine? Everything was popping up at once.

In truth we hadn't really talked about money in-depth in some time. She thought we were very similar but over the years I have realized how different we are in our money management styles. She doesn't like talking about money like I do - its the best way to put her to sleep :-). Thats ok - if both of us were so focused on financial stuff I think our lives would be pretty boring and pathetic - she definitely helps balance me out.

I realized we needed to take a step back and start over - now that we knew we were going to be spending our lives together we needed to rediscuss everything that is important to each other (financially) and revisit all those casual conversations we had in the past.

We looked around and decided to pick up a copy of Smart Couples Finish Rich to read and discuss together. Even though I haven't been thrilled with some of Bach's previous books, I read a lot of positive things about this book and it seemed to be just what we needed. We hope this book will help us flush out everything again and help us begin this long process of merging our finances.

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Comments (8)


Good idea, I think I might have to have a look at that book. My fiance and I have kept most of our finances separate to date and I don't even know her financial goals (or if she has any)

We are only through the 1st two chapters so far, but it has been helpful. I'll definitely post more about if and how the book was helpful later on.

Good thinking. Differences on finances can destroy a marriage (I speak from experience). You really have to be on the same page. If you cannot be, then you need to figure out how to respect eachother
(separate accounts, separate investments, goals, etc). Obviously, the first option is best- but these are really things you need to settle before you move forward. Money is a deal breaker. In laws are the other one. (like I said, experience)

Hey, as the new (4 mos) wife of a money-saavy fellow such as yourself, I can testify that going from money idiocy (my former state) to money wise is a long, slow journey. I'd recommend you both put together net worth statements, or at least divulge all major assets and liabilities to each other. Also, in addition to Smart Couples Finish Rich, which is excellent, I'd suggest that your financee/finance partner take a look at some or all of the following:

* Smart Women Finish Rich
* The Automatic Millionaire
* The Millionaire Next Door
* The Millionaire Woman Next Door (or whatever it's called)
* Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover
* Barbara Stanny's Prince Charming Isn't Coming
* Barbara Stanny's Six-Figure Women

I think you'll find that men and women tend to have VERY different, sometimes shockingly different perspectives on money, especially when you're still in your 20s and finding your way in life. Anyway, I strongly suggest you encourage your financee/finance partner to explore these issues outside of her relationship to you. If she has confidence in herself as an earner, saver and investor, it'll do a world of good for your relationship and your mutual relationship with money. :)

If you ask most people of they are nice looking, almost everyone will say yes. If you ask people if they feel they are good with money, again many will say yes. I find that my wife thinks she is far better than she actually is at many things and money is a big one.

There is an old saying "If you want to see how your wife treats you, look at how she treats her father and how her mother treats her father". To some degree, the same could be said for money. Women learn their "mental image" of finances from their parents and as the years progress you can begin to see patterns. They may tell you that they have "learned from those mistakes" or "won't end up like their parents" but it's almost always the case.

If you want to get a good sense of what your wife's financial skills are you cannot ask her. You need to ask one of her siblings if possible. For some reason, friends and parents are pretty protective but the siblings rat them out like there is no tomorrow.

My bottom line opinion is this: You marry for love and you often have little control over that. You are smart enough 2Million to control your financial endeavors and I have every faith that although you will struggle with this aspect forever in your marriage- you will succeed.

1Mil

1Mil,

You sound like the voice of experience. If my fiancee treats money anything like her parents do (they appear to be very frugal people) then I should be ok. However, I still think she has a lot to learn.

Good post, finances are always a hot topic. My wife and I have been together 7-years, and married for 3, however, we're just now starting to take savings and financial goals seriously. This is mostly due to the fact that I was in school until last year, so we didn't have a lot of money with which to save.

It seemed to me that our financial goals were similar, but more and more I realize how different they are. It seemed like we were able to save a lot of money, even while in school. However, after we were married, and our savings dropped due to all those costs, it seems we haven't saved much at all. Granted we've been investing heavily in real estate, but we have no equities, and only a small amount of cash to work with. My wife is also dreaming of many big ticket items such as remodeling the kitchen, putting in a swimming pool, and taking some vacations. So, it will be interesting to see how easy it is to agree upon our short and long-term financial goals.


Good luck!

NG

This was one of the books that changed my outlook on finances. my wife and i read this book together on vacation one year and i have to say, it really is great. good luck and congrats on keeping focused.

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