Small Steps Towards Merging Finances

Here are the financial actions my fiancée and I have taken since getting engaged:

1) Opened a joint savings account with monthly contributions for future vacations.

2) We started reading Smart Couple Finish Rich.

3) We reviewed my fiancée’s checking, savings, and Roth IRA accounts so I could get an idea of her process for managing her money.

4) We opened another Sharebuilder account with $50 bonus. It was free money so we couldn't pass it up.

5) We put my fiancee's financial accounts into MS Money. While she doesn't actually use it, when I am over we can open it up and update her accounts. This gives us 2 benefits: a) My fiancée and I can track her net worth and b) I hope it will help us merge our financial records since all my records are stored in MS Money as well.

6) We signed her up for a monthly contribution to her Roth IRA. My fiancee had a Roth IRA, but didn't actively contribute to it. I see the Roth IRA contributions as a must, my fiancee agrees to contributions but as long as it doesn't affect her current saving/spending routines. We started her on a $50/mo contribution which I see as a huge step in the right direction. Now I just need to find opportunities to have her bump it up by little amounts each time.

Just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a start.

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Comments (7)

I was just wondering if you use the basic sharebuilder package or one of the monthly charge accounts. Since it would depend on how many monthly investments you would be making, how many stocks/etfs are you investing in through sharebuilder? If you don't mind my asking.

Also, I just got engaged and am going through the exact same thing as you are. Although neither one of us has much cash to spare at the moment, I am trying to figure out a savings plan as best I can. Keep the posts coming.

My Fiance and I have kept our finances separate; we spend money differently but we've divided the bulk of the bills down the middle. For us I feel this is a good approach at least initially. When we buy a house together or a cottage and we need to merge our finances then we will. In the meantime we both like having control over our individual finances.

But I like your suggestion of the book; I do beleieve that I'll be recommending we read it.

I have only used the basic plan at Sharebuilder with the $4 purchase fee. I am not sure the monthly subscription plans are a good idea yet - I am leary of paying something every month whether I use it or not.

Remember while you are doing all this that your future wife is not an asset to tally in to your net worth. She's the love of your life. Try to not be too hard on her.

Wow, that's a lot of positive steps already. Especially reading "Smart Couples Finish Rich" together. I have one question. It sounds like most of the changes being made are to her financial management (5 and 6), or you reviewing her financials (#3). This is not to be critical, this way works for many couples, but my question is, do you see yourselves as a couple managing your finacial affairs together, or one of you doing the majority of it?

I think it can work either way, as long as goals are discussed, as you have mentioned, and both of you continue to work towards that.

I think my fiancee's changes are to level the plaving field a bit. They appear one sided, but that is probably because I am already socking away for retirement, tracking my net worth, etc. Its clear we have been at different levels of financial/money management. I guess the real difference is she hasn't taken the time to really get organized with her finances and alot of these early actions were to help us assess where she is at and establish good behaviors.

I do see us managing finances together certainly at a high level. I am hoping reading the book will help us put together a joint financial plan and strategies for getting there.

Can I ask where her Roth is held? Is it through work? We've been looking for a Roth account for my teen which will allow him to contribute about $50 to $100 a month, ideally investing in index funds (his choice), but the best we have found is Fidelity which is $200/month. Since he works part time at minimum wage, he rarely makes $200 a month!

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