If you are just getting married, it can be difficult to begin to merge finances. This becomes especially difficult when it comes down to debt and savings. It may be difficult for the partner who has little or no debt and a lot of savings to want to merge the financial situation with a partner who has large amounts of debt and no savings.
The first step to successfully merging your finances is to agree to do so. It may sound silly, but if you hold something back or hide part of your finances from your spouse, then it will never work. If you feel more comfortable leaving part of the money out of the merger as a safety net for you, then you should be open about it.
The second step is to sit down and plan out a budget together. You should include all the debts that need to be paid, savings goals, and both incomes. While it is important to merge everything, it is also important to have some individual spending money as well. You should both receive the same amount of money. If one of you just wants to save it, that is fine, but it is your money to do what you want with it.
The third step is to open up an account together. You may decide to just add each other to your existing accounts, or choosing one of your accounts to leave open and close the others. This will give both of you the ability to access the money, pay the bills, and take care of financial matters.
The fourth step is to decide who will pay the bills. In most relationships one person is generally responsible for the day to day bills. Some couples sit down and pay the bills together. You can decide what works best for you. Regardless of what you decide you should have a financial meeting once a month to check in how you are doing. It is important that you are both aware of what is happening to you financially at all times.
Some people are not comfortable merging finances this completely. If this is the case you may want to write up a household budget, and decide what expenses will be covered under this budget (rent/mortgage, food, health care, cars, insurance, child care, savings for a down payment on a house, house repairs and so on). Then you will each need to contribute to an account specifically set up to pay these bills. If this is to be fair then it should not be a fifty/fifty contribution, unless you make the same amount of money. You should do this with a ratio adjustment. So you would each contribute the same percentage of your income.
To figure this out you will take the total amount of your budget, and then divide it by the total of your combined incomes. You should come up with a percentage number, which you will multiply by each of your individual incomes to determine how much you will deposit into the joint account each month. For example if your budget amount is $3000.00 a month and your combined incomes are $5000.00 a month you will end up with the number .6 or sixty percent. Then if you make $3000.00 a month, you will contribute $1800.00, which is sixty percent of $3000.00. Your spouse makes $2000.00 a month and will contribute $1200.00, which is sixty percent of $2000.00.