I came across a very well-written essay called “We Became a Family When 2 Bank Accounts Became 1” by Bowen Close. I think it should be required reading for all couples anticipating marriage. The piece is written from the first-person perspective of a married woman who was asked when did she and her husband begin to feel like a family. For her, that moment happened before they married, when they decided to move in together and combine their finances. The author brings up a number of good points about fairness, sharing, and a willingness to compromise, and the essay inspired me to share it on this blog and reflect on the unfortunate fact that some couples never consider the implications of taking their dating relationship to the next level. As a result of this lack of foresight, many of them end up divorced and in my office at the lowest point in their lives.
With marriage comes a shared responsibility for spending choices, retirement planning, and other financial decisions. Some couples decide to maintain their separate financial lives by executing premarital agreements or informally agreeing to maintain separate bank accounts and financial profiles; however, it is important for each person to consider how this arrangement will affect their overall relationship. Thankfully, every couple can decide what amount of financial interdependence with which they can be comfortable, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to an issue as personal as marital finances. You may already be married and come to the conclusion that without a change in the way you handle your finances, you marriage could be in trouble. For a personalized discussion about your marital (or premarital) finances, please call 713-574-8626.