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Merging your finances successfully

08 Feb 2013

With Valentine's Day on the horizon loved-up couples everywhere are taking the plunge and merging their finances.  To help make the move from single to joint go without a hitch, first direct has come up with 10 tips for a smooth path to financial happiness:

  1. Take your time. Sit down with your partner and honestly discuss your financial histories - the good, the bad and the ugly. You should both be fully aware of what you're getting yourself in to.
  2. Compare budgets. If one of you is a thrifty miss and the other a spendaholic it might come as a shock when finances are combined, so it's best to get a feel for your partner's spending habits before you commit to a joint account.
  3. Create a joint monthly budget. List all bills and expenses, how much you both earn and who will pay what to get a clear picture of what your financial merging will mean for you both.
  4. Baby steps. Rather than jumping in to a joint account with both feet it might be worthwhile to keep your finances separate and just have a joint account for bills. That way you maintain financial freedom whilst sharing the costs fairly.
  5. Consider pro-rata. If you earn oodles, but your partner a pittance it might not be fair to split the bills 50/50. Look at what percentage of your total household income each of you earns and split the cost of the bills the same way.
  6. Who will be in charge? Discuss who will look after the finances, will you both be involved or is one of you better at that sort of thing? The other can always take the bins out instead.
  7. Research the best account. Allow plenty of time to search for the current account that best suits your needs. Are you passionate about great customer service or is a good overdraft facility more important?
  8. Save for your future together. Consider opening a joint savings account to get your financial relationship off to a strong start, and then if you want to take the next step you've got your wedding fund/ house deposit ready and waiting.
  9. Set financial goals and budgets. When discussing merging finances with your partner, discuss where you want to be financially in 5 or 10 years' time that way you can plan to reach your goals together.
  10. Count to 10. Finances can often be a personal and somewhat touchy subject; try to be open and honest about yours and allow your partner to feel they can be about theirs too. If you feel yourself getting cross count to 10 to avoid an argument.
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