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A Guide to Merging Your Finances for the First Time

Whether you need to streamline bill payments, ensure adequate life insurance coverage, or create a unified approach to managing money, merging finances can help you and your partner build a solid financial foundation.

Merging finances can go beyond simply combining bank accounts or sharing expenses. It represents a profound commitment to transparency, trust, and shared goals. Here are six steps to help you merge finances with your partner and create a harmonious financial future.  

Have Honest Conversations

When talking about your financial situation, it’s essential to prioritize honesty and transparency with each other. Openly discuss each of your financial histories, including any debts or credit issues that could impact the merging process. If either partner finds it challenging to discuss financial matters, you can even consider appointing an unbiased third party. This level of transparency can not only make it a smoother process but also help prevent potential conflicts down the road.  

Assess Your Financial Situation

Before you and your partner embark on merging your finances for the first time, it’s crucial to clearly understand your current financial standing.


 Start by reviewing each of your incomes, credit scores, debts, investments, and assets.

Establish a Joint Budget

A joint budget helps keep track of all income and expenses, allowing you to make informed decisions about where you’re directing your money. Deciding on how much each person needs to contribute to shared expenses and other financial commitments is also important. Start by writing down how much of your income goes toward essential expenses and debt payments such as mortgage or rent payments, student loans, credit card payments, insurance, food, utilities, and transportation. Next, decide how much you can put toward savings or other investments such as retirement accounts. Finally, determine how much you will spend on discretionary expenses like entertainment or vacations.

Set Financial Goals Together

Setting goals together is key to creating a successful financial partnership. Discuss short-term and long-term goals that you both want to achieve.

Some Short-Term Financial Goals for Couples Can Include:

  • Building an emergency fund
  • Repaying high-interest debts
  • Saving for a vacation
  • Setting aside funds for a home down payment

Long-Term Financial Goals Can Include:


  • Saving for retirement
  • Purchasing a home
  • Saving toward a child’s education
  • Becoming debt-free

Short and long-term goal setting can help you stay on track, pay off debts, and save for the future.

Assess Life Insurance Coverage

While merging finances, reviewing your life insurance can be an important step. Life insurance can play a vital role in any financial plan—it can provide financial security in case of unexpected tragedy. Whole life insurance, for example, covers you for your entire life as long as you pay the required premiums. It offers a lifelong death benefit and builds cash value over time.

Consider Opening Joint Accounts

Now that you both know your financial situation, goals, and budget, it’s time to consider opening joint accounts. Think about which accounts best fit your needs—checking, savings, investments? Keep in mind that the terms associated with these accounts vary based on the institution, so check the fine print before you sign any documents.

The Bottom Line

Merging finances is a process that requires ongoing attention, so make sure to regularly review joint accounts and credit reports and adjust your budget to stay on track. A financial advisor can show you the right steps to take on your financial journey together.