joint accounts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8030/all en-US 11 Tips and Tricks for Merging Finances http://www.wisebread.com/11-tips-and-tricks-for-merging-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-tips-and-tricks-for-merging-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-finances-494780839-small.jpg" alt="couple finances" title="couple finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting married can be a chaotic ordeal. It's one thing to combine household contents (which blender will you keep?) or decide which side of the bed you'll sleep on. It's quite another to go through the hard work of putting together money accounts and arranging for a single budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-worst-money-mistakes-married-people-make?ref=seealso">The 7 Worst Money Mistakes Married People Make</a>)</p> <p>As someone who has been happily married for 12 years, paid off a mound of consumer debt from before the marriage, and has kept an excellent credit score throughout, I've learned a thing or two about what I did right &mdash; and wished I had done right.</p> <h2>1. Take Inventory</h2> <p>This important step is sometimes painful for couples to do. It includes writing down every account you hold, including the balances, as well as all the debt and loan accounts that are owed on. It's best to do this before the marriage, as full disclosure is probably wise before that trip down the aisle.</p> <h2>2. Figure Out Your Net Worth</h2> <p>Next, it's probably a good idea to tally everything up and see what you'll be worth as a couple. Get it out of your mind that there are &quot;his&quot; and &quot;hers&quot; assets. You'll likely own everything together now. (Legally, this is also true in many states. With certain exceptions like trust fund payments and inheritances, some assets may be kept separate. Check with your CFP or attorney for details.)</p> <h2>3. Decide Which Accounts to Keep</h2> <p>Do you really need four checking accounts, 12 credit cards, or two car loans? If it's possible to combine some accounts, do so. Likewise, if credit card payments can be simplified by transferring balances and culling payments down to just four or five creditors, it might be the best solution for both of you. Note: Be mindful of closing any accounts right away. Scrapping lines of credit may be detrimental to your credit score, as it will lower your available credit amount by quite a bit. A more suitable option may be to agree to not use any cards from several accounts until they are paid off and then closed. Or you could choose to keep them all open, but not use them indefinitely.</p> <h2>4. Add Your Spouse to Keepers</h2> <p>Now comes the fun of getting a second credit card or debit card, adding a second name to the checkbook, and putting another authorized user on the online account access. This can take many days, as some banks still require both account holders to come in person with their documentation and papers to sign. Since banking must be done during &quot;bankers' hours,&quot; it may require taking time off of work. Get everything in order before your big day to ensure you don't run into any snags.</p> <h2>5. Pick a Payer</h2> <p>While you'll both be involved in the planning of finances, it is usually wise to pick one person to actually pay the bills. Setting your accounts up for automatic payments can cut down on some of the work, but someone will still need to follow up monthly to be sure payments were made. If you don't want to be saddled with the job for long, you can choose to switch off every few months or so, which is also a great way to ensure that there are no financial secrets between spouses.</p> <h2>6. Set a Budget</h2> <p>Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. What financial goals will you set as a couple? What can you expect to live on? What will you do with the extra money every month (if any)? A budget can be as simple as writing two columns for spending and income on a piece of paper, or it can be as complicated as a budgeting software program will allow. The important thing, however, is that you just do it!</p> <h2>7. Communicate</h2> <p>Things change daily in a marriage, and this includes the financial realm of it. A broken belt on the car or a change in work schedule can really throw your best-laid plans into turmoil, but most things can be overcome by talking it out early on. Remember that spouses hate to have things sprung on them suddenly, so pick a safe time to discuss these things each day. Don't have the talk right before bed.</p> <h2>8. Adjust as Necessary</h2> <p>Marriage is a funny thing in that it is never quite like you expect it to be. Personalities can cause conflict, and expectations will need to be lowered quite often. Finances reflect this in that your budget and plans won't be perfect, either. Learn to laugh at mistakes and do better next time.</p> <h2>9. Forgive</h2> <p>Your spouse will screw up royally at least once in your marriage. This will likely have financial consequences. You will, too. Forgive easily, and you'll find grace when it's your turn!</p> <h2>10. Ask for Advice</h2> <p>If all your best intentions have failed, and money merging is still a painful or aggravating part of your marriage, it may help to enlist a neutral third party to help you along. Financial planners can be a good source of common sense in an otherwise emotional conversation. Just avoid employing anyone you both knew well prior to the marriage; it will keep things professional and easy to agree with.</p> <h2>11. Remember What Money Means</h2> <p>Finances should be handled with sensitivity because money rarely just stands for money. Spending can mask hurts that your spouse is dealing with, and trying to solve money issues can be taken personally. If you find that after merging finances the advice of your professional goes unheeded, it may be time to take things to the next level with a marriage counselor that specializes in financial problems. Sometimes, there really is an underlying cause to the money woes.</p> <p>My marriage hasn't been perfect, but it has been one of the most enriching parts of my life. Having the money issues under control has allowed my husband and I to spend our energy on other, more pressing issues, like our six children!</p> <p><em>Did you merge finances when you tied the knot? How did it go? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-tips-and-tricks-for-merging-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-a-divorce-improve-your-finances">Could a Divorce Improve Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-navigate-3-common-money-arguments-with-your-significant-other">How to Navigate 3 Common Money Arguments With Your Significant Other</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-federal-minimum-wage-increases-this-week-are-you-getting-a-pay-raise">The Federal Minimum Wage Increases This Week - Are You Getting a Pay Raise?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance couples and money joint accounts marriage money Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1210858 at http://www.wisebread.com Making a Relationship Work When One Partner Earns More http://www.wisebread.com/making-a-relationship-work-when-one-partner-earns-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/making-a-relationship-work-when-one-partner-earns-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7331854942_0d93e8c611_z.jpg" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Often, the spouse in the relationship who brings in less income than the other can feel inadequate and insecure about not being able to contribute equally to paying the bills or sending the same amount of money to savings.</p> <p>First, you should understand that it&rsquo;s natural &mdash; 99% of the time, one person is going to make more money than the other, which makes it almost impossible for each of you to contribute equally. Second, it&rsquo;s important to recognize that there are ways to even out the playing field so both partners can feel appreciated and valuable for their individual contributions.</p> <p>To help get this conversation started in your home, I&rsquo;ve put together a few tips to help you navigate a rather touchy subject and handle it in a way that&rsquo;s positive for your relationship. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married:&nbsp;24 Tips From a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a>)</p> <h2>1. Talk About It</h2> <p>Many spouses avoid this topic of conversation because it ends up in fight with hurt feelings all around &mdash; but it doesn&rsquo;t have to be that way.</p> <p>The first step toward working out unbalanced incomes and finding common ground is to sit down and have a frank discussion about how much each partner brings in, your joint plan for saving, and your ultimate financial goals. Maybe one spouse is OK taking on the majority of the bills, no questions asked. Or perhaps the lower earner wants to take on a part-time job to contribute to the overall income a bit more. The only way you&rsquo;ll come to an amicable resolution, however, is with open and honest dialogue about what&rsquo;s expected, what can be done to ensure both spouse&rsquo;s happiness, and a plan to achieve it.</p> <h2>2. Crunch the Numbers</h2> <p>A great way to compromise on how much each spouse contributes to the monthly bills is to compare your salaries to see how much difference there is between them. Does one spouse make 25% or 50% more than the other? Whatever the percentage above the other, consider breaking down the bills with that gap in mind. The higher earner, since he or she brings in substantially more, could reasonably afford to pay a higher percentage of the rent/mortgage, cable, and utilities relative to their salary.</p> <h2>3. Establish a Joint Slush Fund</h2> <p>If one spouse is constantly pinching pennies while the other is seemingly sitting pretty, it may be hard for the lower earner to get on board with recreational activities that they can&rsquo;t afford on their own. To eliminate this problem, open a joint account that&rsquo;s specifically for fun. Decide how much money you&rsquo;ll contribute to the account on a regular basis &mdash; $100 a month? $200 a month? It should be an equitable amount that the lower earner can afford &mdash; and start building it up. After a while, you&rsquo;ll have an account to which you both contributed, so both of you can feel comfortable dipping into it when you want to do something together.</p> <h2>4. Put an Emphasis on Free Activities</h2> <p>Even if one spouse has more than enough income at his or her disposal, that doesn&rsquo;t mean that you always have to spend money on activities as a couple.</p> <p>Start changing the way you think about spending time together, and try to eliminate the money factor several times a month. No matter where you live, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-5-to-30-date-ideas-for-every-budget">fun and free activities</a> perfect for facilitating togetherness &mdash; all you have to do is look for them. You&rsquo;ll soon find that it doesn&rsquo;t cost a dime to spend quality time together &mdash; which leaves all the more money to send to your slush fund or savings account.</p> <h2>5. Think About a Second Job</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re the lower earner and your inability to bring in as much income as your spouse is really weighing on you, consider picking up a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">part-time job or freelance gig</a>. The higher earner will be proud of you for being proactive about your financial situation, and you&rsquo;ll lessen the stress you put on yourself worrying about money issues. There are plenty of side jobs out there for people with special skills &mdash; like graphic design or handy work &mdash; or you can go on the hunt for something more permanent in your area.</p> <h2>6. Earn More by Doing More</h2> <p>Another great way to contribute to the relationship &mdash; even when you can&rsquo;t do it financially &mdash; is to contribute physically. If your spouse makes more and pays a higher percentage of the bills based on that higher income, show your gratitude by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chore-time-allowances-for-adults">taking on more of the household chores</a>. In the working world, those chores are assigned a monetary value, which means the time you put into them is worth money. Even though you won&rsquo;t get paid for it, the value the extra work on your part brings will show your spouse that you value your relationship and that you appreciate his or her financial support.</p> <p><em>Are you the higher or lower earner in your relationship? How do you make it work? What tips can you offer? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-a-relationship-work-when-one-partner-earns-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-a-second-marriage-be-celebrated-and-paid-for-like-the-first">Should a Second Marriage Be Celebrated (and Paid for) Like the First?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-and-your-spouse-planning-the-same-retirement">Are You and Your Spouse Planning the Same Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle joint accounts marriage and finances personal relationships Wed, 02 Jan 2013 10:48:37 +0000 Mikey Rox 960250 at http://www.wisebread.com Simplify budgeting with personal money http://www.wisebread.com/simplify-budgeting-with-personal-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/simplify-budgeting-with-personal-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/notebook-budget-pen_1.jpg" alt="Notebook with budget and pen" title="Notebook with budget and pen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many couples keep their finances partially (or even completely) separate. One big reason is that spending joint money on individual expenses can lead to disputes, and keeping separate accounts can reduce that. There is, however, another reason to keep some amount of personal money: Simplifying budgeting.</p> <p>Lots of couples merge their finances to some extent. From completely merged to completely separate, you'll find someone at every point along the way--for example, joint accounts for handing certain joint expenses, but not others. As far as I'm concerned, anything that works for you is fine, and I don't much want to advocate that any point along that spectrum is better than any other (especially with regard to dispute avoidance).</p> <p>Having said that, I think keeping a certain amount of personal money in personal accounts can simplify budgeting.</p> <p>Once you get past the big budget categories (taxes, housing, groceries, medical, transportation, utilities), what's left are a bunch of smallish categories that can end up being very fiddly to deal with properly. Does going to a pottery class count as education or entertainment? Does a toothbrush count as household, grocery, or medical? What category do sheets and towels go in?</p> <p>If you've got a working budget, you've probably answered all those questions already--but you probably also have stumbled over <strong>some</strong> expense, somewhere along the line, that doesn't seem to have an obvious category. Especially problematic are unusual expenses that are rare enough that they don't have their own budget line item, but large enough that you really can't just shove them in &quot;miscellaneous&quot; and leave it at that.</p> <p>For example, I just went to an Esperanto conference. What budget category does that belong in? Education? Travel? Vacation? Entertainment?</p> <p>It was within driving distance so the travel expense was modest, and the conference fee itself was quite reasonable, but the hotel costs added up (even though I shared a room with my brother). It was enough money that it couldn't just be ignored, but it wasn't obvious what category to put it in--which worked out fine, because I paid for it out of my own personal money.</p> <p>By creating personal accounts and allocating a certain amount of money to them, my wife and I greatly simplified our budget. For example, we don't budget any money for books or magazines--we buy what we want with our own personal money. We don't budget for meals out, except for entertaining guests. (Meals out with just the two of us, one or the other of us pays with personal money.) Personal money also covers things like hobby tools and supplies, premium booze, and electronic gadgets.</p> <p>We could budget for all those things, but it'd be complicated. Lots of those categories would be small, and they'd also be very inconsistent. (Years go by when we don't buy any electronic gadgets.) By just allocating a lump sum to &quot;personal money&quot; we get the important part taken care of--we know the total amount of spending--but we don't have to fiddle around with details.</p> <p>Take the idea of personal money all the way, of course, and it's kind of like having no budget at all. I wouldn't recommend that. There's a lot of benefit in having a budget, as a way of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">keeping your spending in line with your values</a>. But you get a lot of the benefit early--in those first seven or nine categories that eat up eighty percent of your money.</p> <p>It's a personal decision, of course, but I think the simplicity of leaving a bit of money unallocated--except to be spent on one person's whim--is an overall win.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplify-budgeting-with-personal-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-your-wants">Plan for your wants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-be-frugal">Too broke to be frugal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-the-rest-of-us-or-how-to-follow-a-budget-without-breaking-down-in-tears">Budgeting for the rest of us, or How to follow a budget without breaking down in tears</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting budget budgeting joint accounts Mon, 01 Jun 2009 13:40:32 +0000 Philip Brewer 3218 at http://www.wisebread.com Post Divorce Finances: 7 Steps to Rebuilding Your Financial House http://www.wisebread.com/post-divorce-finances-7-steps-to-rebuilding-your-financial-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/post-divorce-finances-7-steps-to-rebuilding-your-financial-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/post divorce finances.jpg" alt="new horizons" title="new horizons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">My, how life changes when you close one chapter of your life and open a new one. Severing a conjoined life and combined finances as a result of divorce is painful through and through. The jump to a single income lifestyle paves the way to feeling the cash crunch, and if children are involved it is even more pronounced. Even if the breakup is liberating, there is still some mopping up to do after the storm. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Here are seven things you can do to set your new life up on the right foot:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Joint Banking Be Gone</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Close all <a href="/separate-bank-accounts-till-death-or-banking-do-we-part" target="_blank">joint bank accounts</a>, joint non-registered investment accounts, and <a href="/sexually-transmitted-debt-eewww" target="_blank">credit cards</a>. Not only is this a tangible form of evidence to demonstrate a date of separation (in locales where you need to be separated for a time prior to applying for divorce), but it also protects each party from destructive actions the other may take in anger or apathy. </p> <p>   <br /> <br /> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Remove all Beneficiary Designations</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Here is a list of items you may need to look at in terms of removing joint or beneficiary designations:</p> <ul> <li>life insurance policies</li> <li>retirement funds</li> <li>auto insurance</li> <li><a href="/credit-card-insurance-no-thanks" target="_blank">credit card insurance</a></li> <li>pension funds through work</li> <li>health care plans through work</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you are required to designate a new beneficiary and are not sure who to choose just yet, simply choose your estate for now, or until you hear otherwise from your lawyer/accountant/financial planner. Although an estate designation may not be the most tax-efficient option, it will keep things simpler until all the divorce paperwork is properly nailed down and you get on your feet again. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Create a New Budget</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Flying solo means creating a whole new budget – a crucial step of the process. You may or may not have been actively involved in the finances while married, so creating a new budget could be an exercise in learning how much things cost, or simply reallocating income streams accordingly. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Update Your Will</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Updating a <a href="/wills-the-basics" target="_blank">will</a> doesn’t have to be a laborious process. If it is simply a matter of changing beneficiaries, a codicil (a one page addendum that attaches to the will) can suffice. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Review Your Estate Plan</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Although you will have covered most of the bases with reassigning beneficiaries and updating your will, your <a href="/estate-planning-why-me" target="_blank">estate plan</a> may incorporate some larger issues or opportunities given the new financial structure of your life. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">For example, your previous estate plan may have been mindful of your ex-partner’s <a href="/is-it-time-to-talk-with-your-parents" target="_blank">parents</a> who are – or will become – financially or physically dependant. Or maybe children from a first marriage have been incorporated into the estate plan and now the structure of trusts or income streams needs to change. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Don’t Blow the Financial Settlement!</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Just in case you had eyes for a new stereo system or a bigger house, you may want to seek counsel before spending any financial settlement that arises as a result of your divorce. From tax efficiency, to your overall financial plan, there could be ways to greatly help or detrimentally cripple your finances by virtue of what you do with the settlement. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you are the one doling out the settlement, then refer to the following point to help you sort through the noise:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>See a Financial Planner</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Your <a href="/how-to-choose-a-financial-planner-yes-you" target="_blank">financial planner </a> will be instrumental in helping you with many of the above chores. Many financial planners can help with the transition and separation of accounts, but if you are uncomfortable meeting with the same planner you used as a couple, then ask around for a referral to a new planner who you can trust and establish a new relationship with. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You face lifestyle changes (in some cases drastic ones), income differentials, emotional transitions, tax plan modifications, and investment time frame readjustments. Your <a href="/asset-allocation-for-all-markets" target="_blank">asset allocation</a> plan may change, either because your investment personality is different from your ex-partner’s, or because you plan to utilize your investments differently (ie: your time horizon is longer, or you need to draw down on some investments now). </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Courier New'">As crushing and stressful the trauma of severing your life from a loved one can be, you must try to maintain a level head throughout the process. By covering off the bases above, and keeping your eyes on the road ahead, you can survive the ordeal and move forward without falling into so many of the traps that lurk along the way. Life will go on, and in some cases, may even improve. </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/post-divorce-finances-7-steps-to-rebuilding-your-financial-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wills-the-basics">Wills: The Basics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-online-stuff-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Online Stuff After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/estate-planning-why-me">Estate Planning: Why Me?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-common-estate-planning-myths">Debunking Common Estate Planning Myths</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance beneficiary designations divorce and money estate planning joint accounts post divorce finances wills Tue, 28 Oct 2008 04:06:55 +0000 Nora Dunn 2548 at http://www.wisebread.com Separate Bank Accounts: 'Till Death (or Banking) Do We Part? http://www.wisebread.com/separate-bank-accounts-till-death-or-banking-do-we-part <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/separate-bank-accounts-till-death-or-banking-do-we-part" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couples banking.JPG" alt="joint accounts" title="joint accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="354" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Many couples today boast separate bank accounts and successful relationships. But is it possible? Or are separate bank accounts a recipe for disaster?<br /></span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In this day and age, anything goes. Common-law relationships can be accepted to be as serious as married couples, and married couples can be as independent from one another as two strangers. I have seen both first-hand.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>So how do couples navigate through the sticky world of finances in this brave new world? </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>First of all, I can&#39;t stress enough that communication about finances is the key to a happy relationship. The number one thing couples fight about is money, and I believe many relationships can be saved (or avoided) with proper communication about finances. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It&#39;s funny - people are more comfortable sitting around the dinner table and talking about their sex lives before they&#39;re comfortable talking about money. Why is this? Is it a dirty or shameful thing? Do our personal money matters hold some secret key to our identities?</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In any case, I don’t think that anybody can dispute the fact that proper communication about finances can avert some of the worst financial and emotional disasters. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It is my personal belief that separate bank accounts can be a good thing for relationships - as long as it is accompanied by proper and full communication. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Managing your own bank account (even if you are part of a &quot;till death do us part&quot; duo) is empowering, and a life skill that nobody should be deprived of. It brings personal accountability, budgeting, and a sense of financial pride to the owner of the account, no matter what the balance is. Even slowly digging your way out of debt is something to be proud of if you can say you did it on your own. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I once met a guy who was living with his girlfriend, and their only checking account was held jointly. He transferred a substantial sum from his savings over to their joint checking account, with the intention of withdrawing it the next day to purchase an engagement ring which he had been saving up for ages. As luck would have it, the girlfriend happened to be doing some online banking, saw the balance, and immediately applied it to some household bills without wondering where the money actually came from. Needless to say, the engagement was held off for a bit! </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I actually see a few problems with this situation. Not only was it sad that the boyfriend was bamboozled out of presenting the engagement ring on the perfect occasion due to the joint account, but I am surprised that the girlfriend didn&#39;t first wonder what that money was doing in the bank account before paying bills with it. If the couple had proper financial communication, the bills would have been properly budgeted for, and extra sums of money wouldn&#39;t immediately be applied unless there was a conversation about it first. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Some would say that separate bank accounts indicate a lack of faith in the relationship. I would hope that a testament to commitment in a relationship can be deeper than names on a bank account, and in fact I have seen many a divorcing couple separate their joint bank accounts too. So joint banking is certainly not a way to cement a relationship.<span> </span></span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Another argument for a joint account is to pay for joint assets, such as the house, bills, kids, and other miscellaneous joint items. Some couples successfully navigate this through the use of a joint account specifically designated for bills, but still maintaining separate primary accounts. Each member of the couple deposits &quot;x&quot; dollars each month into the joint account to cover off the bills. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>This can be a very effective way to manage the finances. It still requires a certain amount of communication to budget the optimal amount of money required to cover the bills (since mum or dad doling out twenties for the kids&#39; miscellaneous expenses can add up quickly if it isn&#39;t accounted for), and this method allows each person to have their own financial independence with their individual accounts.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It may, however, entail a few extra monthly fees to maintain a third bank account, depending on the financial institution and services used. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In any of the serious relationships I&#39;ve had (which includes marriage), there has been no problem with maintaining separate bank accounts, even to cover the joint bills. Usually one person takes care of a major monthly expense (such as living expenses), and the other takes care of the rest. When one person paid more of the joint expenses than another, we simply reimburse each other for the difference. The trick is we have always been lucky enough to have sufficient financial communication and budgeting to make anything work. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>And if your relationship is solid, you too can communicate your way through to a system of budgeting, accountability, and empowerment that works for everybody in the family. Even with separate bank accounts. </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/separate-bank-accounts-till-death-or-banking-do-we-part">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplify-budgeting-with-personal-money">Simplify budgeting with personal money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting couples banking joint accounts merging finances Sun, 21 Oct 2007 23:15:05 +0000 Nora Dunn 1309 at http://www.wisebread.com