The commitments Nicole and I made to each early on in our marriage have helped us to remain a strong, supportive and loving couple. One of those difficult decisions was whether or not we should combine our finances together when we got married. We figured that if honesty and teamwork were the pillars that hold up a strong relationship, joining our bank accounts and declaring it's not “my money” and “your money” anymore was a great place to start.
I understand that all marriages are not the same. The joint bank account and combined finances situation doesn't work for all couples. It's worked well for us though.
Here are 3 reasons why combining our finances has been great for our marriage:
It Solidifies our Partnership
Nicole and I have been the most successful in our marriage when we're working as a team. Whether it's with paying down debt, doing our monthly budget or figuring out how to get our kids to brush their teeth (GOD HELP US!), Team Hill always wins.
Based on this understanding that two people working together is better than one flying solo, we knew combining our bank accounts was the best way to go. Not only was this a symbolic gesture to prove we're in this together, it forced us to think in terms of “our money” instead of “my money”.
As an example, when we got married we were both working and making around the same salary. A couple of years later, we decided it would make sense for Nicole to go part-time when our daughter Zoey was born. This change decreased Nicole's overall income by about 40%. Now, if we had separate bank accounts and separate finances, I have no idea how this situation would have turned out. I'm guessing horribly. Instead, we made adjustments to our budget together, changed our spending habits and our family grew stronger because of it.
It Builds Trust
Nothing says “I love you” like being completely open and honest with your partner. Trust is truly the cornerstone of a successful marriage. Our ability to be completely transparent with our finances has brought us together in the difficult times and made the good times even better.
Since our joint checking account and credit cards link up to our Mint budgeting app, we always get a total view of our current collective spending. This allows us both to be completely transparent about our spending choices that month. And if we go over budget in certain categories, oh man … it's fair game to harass each other like the person just committed an egregious sin. Seriously, it's one of our favorite parts of our budget get-togethers – “Nicole, you spent what at Target!?” “Andy, you bought another tech gadget?!” Spousal harassment – I highly recommend it.
It Makes us Feel Supported
There will be times in our marriage when I'm the bread-winner and there will be times when Nicole will be. There will be times when I'm sick or injured and our family needs her support financially. If we've declared this is “our money”, none of those ups and downs of life will matter because we're supporting each other no matter what difficulty comes our way.
When we got married, I came into the marriage with quite a bit of student loan debt. Nicole immediately jumped in and said, this is now “our debt”. Together we were able to clean up $48,132 of debt in 1 year. We could not have done this without supporting each other.
We're there for one another through the good times and bad and definitely for richer or poorer. That's my favorite part of being married … knowing my best friend always has my back.