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April 17, 2017

Merging Finances with Your Significant Other

Beautiful things can happen when two become one—but is that true of combining financial accounts?

You’ve found your perfect pair, your other half, your soulmate. You know you want to spend the rest of your lives together, but do you want to combine finances? At the end of the day, this is a deeply personal question that only you and your significant other can answer together. That said, reviewing the financial documents mentioned below can help you make an informed decision.

Financial documents to review with your significant other

While reviewing paystubs and fixed expenses (housing and transportation costs, etc.) can provide a picture of your other half’s monthly cash flow, there are other documents that can provide better insight into his or her overall financial health. Don’t forget to review each other’s:

  • Credit reports. Just because your significant other brings in more money than they spend each month, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re financially healthy. For instance, not paying bills on time can have a serious impact on their credit score—regardless of whether there’s money in the bank to cover the bills. It’s important to note that, even if you’re married, you’ll always maintain two separate credit scores. However, if your significant other has poor credit, your credit score could be affected if you open joint accounts.
  • Credit card statements. Knowing whether or not your partner is in debt is one thing, but knowing why they’re in debt is something else entirely. If his or her credit card statements reveal shopping habits that don’t jibe with your financial philosophy, you might want to think twice about opening joint credit cards.
  • Investment statements. Reviewing these documents can spark important conversations about your long-term financial goals. Seeing each other’s retirement account statements will reveal in black and white if you’re on the same page about investing in the future.

While you’ve got money on the mind…

Thinking about and discussing finances isn’t always easy and you and your partner should be commended for tackling the issue head on. Keep in mind that, if you or your significant other’s past or present finances aren’t picture perfect, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a blissful financial future. If necessary, take this opportunity to do a thorough financial review and get your finances in shape.