Getting Married — and Marrying Your Finances

Marriage

Getting Married — and Marrying Your Finances

Ahh, weddings. No matter the time of year, marriage is a beautiful thing. It brings families and friends together to celebrate love as individuals say their vows and become one.

Something else that they might join? Finances.

And I’m not just talking about the costs involved with weddings. Aside from the rings, attire, ceremony, reception, and all the other expenses that go along with getting married, some couples decide to unite the financial side of their lives, too.

But if you’re hearing wedding bells in the not-so-distant future or you’ve recently tied the knot, how do you know whether you should unite your financials? 

Should you combine finances?

The decision to become one financially is a couple’s choice, and there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s unique for every pair. Some couples combine finances before marriage or even before they’re engaged, some do at or after marriage, and some don’t at all. Then, for those who choose to, there are also varying degrees of combining, whether it’s equal ownership down to splitting the last penny, sharing a checking account for common spending and keeping other accounts under separate ownership, or another arrangement entirely. While the situation can be different for everyone, here’s a list of pros and cons that might help you — and your other half — decide whether or not to marry your finances:

The case for combining

It can be easier to manage finances — and catch any potential mistakes — when they’re all together in one place.

Combining finances means you can avoid keeping tabs on who has paid more or who will pay the other back later.

Sharing account access can help maintain transparency because both members of the couple can see where their money is going.

Planning for joint financial goals can be more straightforward with shared funds.

With both names on your accounts, you can access funds if something were to happen to your significant other.

The case for individualizing

Unequal earners could find issue with combining, especially if one member of the couple is more frivolous — or more frugal — with spending.

Couples may also choose to keep finances separate if one partner has a much higher amount of debt or savings than the other.

Combining can put all the financial burden on one member of the couple while keeping at least some accounts separate can help even out this responsibility.

Keeping individual funds can facilitate “secret” purchases — like surprising your partner with the watch they’ve been eyeing for your anniversary.

Having your own accounts can offer a sense of independence when treating yourself to something special or spending on something that doesn’t involve your spouse.

Whatever path you decide on, you can rest assured knowing you’ve made the right decision for yourself and your spouse. But once you’ve chosen, what are your next steps?

If you decide not to combine

If you’ve chosen to keep at least some of your finances separate, it’s still important to stay on the same page money-wise. After all, you’ll likely share some expenses with your spouse, like paying your rent or mortgage, saving up for your second-honeymoon getaway, or seeing the symphony on your anniversary. One thing I always recommend to my clients, whether combining finances or not, is to budget. Sitting down and creating a joint budget can give you the peace of mind of knowing where you’re at financially as individuals and as a couple. From there, you can plan and adjust your finances to fit your needs, whether it’s finally paying off your student loans or setting a joint savings goal for your second home.

If you choose to say “I Do” (financially)

Should you decide to combine, keep a few things in mind. For one, you’re not just bringing your finances together. You’re also entering into a new facet of your relationship that includes all the preconceived notions you and your spouse have about money. Each of you might also have some financial “baggage” — and it might not surface until you change yours from solo to joint accounts. Speaking of, here’s a quick how-to on how to merge your money:

Head to your local bank. For checking and savings, just choose where you’ll do your banking. Then cash out the accounts you’ll no longer use at this or other financial institutions. Take the funds to your new bank and open a joint account or fill out some paperwork to add your spouse to yours and transfer the cash. Just don’t forget to bring your IDs!

Contact your financial planner, advisor, broker, and/or insurance agent. Adding your spouse to your account title or opening a new joint account generally requires some simple paperwork, a copy of your marriage certificate, and a couple of signatures. If you or your spouse already have accounts open and have changed your last name, you can also update your account titles to your new legal name with a bit of paperwork and your marriage certificate.

Call your credit card company. Have a credit card with a great rate or a points system you love? You may be able to add your spouse as an authorized user without them having to undergo a credit check. And if you’d like to change your account type so you can add your spouse as a joint user, an application from and credit check on your spouse is usually all it takes.

Did You Know?

Colorado is a Common Law Property state. Whether you live in a state under the Common Law system or one of the nine Community Property states, it can be helpful to understand how marital property ownership works where you live.

Before you close old bank and investment accounts, it can be helpful to make a list of any automatic or recurring payments attached to your debit cards and the accounts themselves. And while I wouldn’t suggest closing credit card accounts, which could hurt your credit score, you may want to review what you’re charging, especially on an ongoing basis. This can be a great opportunity to put products or services in both of your names and set up payment under your new joint account — or to evaluate them and decide if it’s worth it for you to continue paying for them. And don’t forget to add your spouse’s name to the title of any assets you’d like to own jointly, like your home and vehicle.

Ready to take the how-to into practice? It’s important to review your finances — including debts, assets, income, and savings — as well as goals and financial plans together beforehand. This can allow you to get an idea of what the combination would look like and to make sure it’s right for you and your spouse. 

Marriage can mean some significant financial advantages. From reduced tax rates to the ability to open a spousal IRA and benefitting from your spouse’s Social Security or workplace retirement plan, the upsides are many. Working with your financial professional before and during your marriage — whether you combine finances or not — can help you make the most of these benefits.

One more perk of combining finances? You won’t have to choose who will pick up the tab from the open bar at your reception.

If you have questions about combining your finances with your significant other’s, feel free to try the chat feature at the lower-left corner of this page. 

Want to learn more about planning your financial future? You can visit our How It Works page for information, then simply schedule your no-cost initial financial planning consultation.

Jason Speciner
jason@fpfoco.com

Jason Speciner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, an Enrolled Agent, and the founder of Financial Planning Fort Collins, a 100% employee-owned and fee-only firm. He is also a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and XY Planning Network (XYPN). Since 2004, he has served clients of all ages and backgrounds with unique experience working with members of generations X and Y. To learn more, check out Jason's blogs and see the media he's been featured in.



MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds.
ANNUAL FEE
1.00% of assets under management ($100 per $10,000 managed). Debited from your account(s).
FINANCIAL PLANNING
Strategy:FOCO financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Assets Under Management (AUM)Annual fee as a % of AUM or flat-dollar
$0 - $249,999(See Invest:FOCO)
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,9990.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999$15,000
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999$20,000
$5,000,000 or more$25,000 + $2,000 per additional $1mm
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
ANNUAL FEE
Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$100,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%

inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,000/year or $100/month
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
ANNUAL FEE
Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$100,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%

inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,000/year or $100/month
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds. Invest:FOCO is currently available for Individual, Joint, Traditional IRA, and Roth IRA registrations.
ANNUAL FEE
0.65% of assets under management ($65 per $10,000 managed)
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds.
ANNUAL FEE
0.65% of assets under management ($65 per $10,000 managed)
TAX PREPARATION
Invest:FOCO clients are eligible for a 10% discount on income tax preparation services offered through Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC. This discount applies to the base cost for return preparation as well as Schedules B & D. More details can be found here.
MINIMUM RELATIONSHIP SIZE
There are no minimums when utilizing inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.

When investment management services are desired, there is a minimum initial investment of $125,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities. inStream proactive financial planning is then included at no additional cost.
ANNUAL FEE
inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,250/year or $125/month

Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$125,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%
TAX PREPARATION
Strategy:FOCO clients are eligible for a 50% or 100% discount on income tax preparation services offered through Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC. This discount applies to the base cost for return preparation as well as Schedules B & D. More details can be found here.
Monthly Economic Update
Stay in the loop with our Monthly Economic Update. It's a great way to catch up on the things effecting your financial plan in an easy to read and relatable format.

We promise to only use your name and email address for sending our Monthly Economic Update. We will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your name or email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Monthly Economic Update
Stay in the loop with our Monthly Economic Update. It's a great way to catch up on the things effecting your financial plan in an easy to read and relatable format.

We promise to only use your name and email address for sending our Monthly Economic Update. We will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your name or email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
Minimums do not apply to always-on, real-time financial planning as a stand-alone service.

For investment management services there is a minimum initial investment of $125,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. Investment management fees are generally debited from the accounts to which they apply. Financial planning services are included for Strategy:FOCO investment management clients at no additional charge.
ANNUAL FEE
Always-on, real-time financial planning as a stand-alone service:  $125/month or $1,250/year

Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$125,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%
Five Savings Secrets
Are you 30 - 60? Let us give you a few tips with our free white-paper: Five Savings Secrets. Then stay in the loop with periodic emails featuring relevant information on financial planning, investment management, and income taxes.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Notice

This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the privacy policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the privacy policy.

By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.

FINANCIAL PLANNING
Financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Assets Under Management (AUM)Annual fee as % of AUM or flat-dollar
$0 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,9990.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999$15,000
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999$20,000
$5,000,000 or more$25,000 + $2,000 per additional $1mm
ESTIMATE YOUR FEE
Your fee is determined by the complexity of your needs and situation. The primary proxy we use for complexity is your investable net worth, which is generally your total net worth, excluding your primary residence. Your investable net worth includes the value of cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, rental real estate, and other business or financial interests. This aligns with the holistic nature of our comprehensive services. You can use the chart below to estimate your fee based on your investable net worth. In some circumstances, your fee may be more than the minimums in the chart below.
Annual Fee Investable Net Worth (INW)
$4,000 (minimum for an individual)Up to $500,000
$6,000 (minimum for couples)Up to $1,000,000
$8,000Up to $1,500,000
$10,000Up to $2,000,000
$11,000Up to $2,500,000
$12,000Up to $3,000,000
+ $1,000per additional $1,000,000 of INW
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Do you have a cash surplus? Learn more what to do with extra money in the free-preview of our Teachable course: Sudden Money and Windfalls.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Are you here because of a big change in your finances? Subscribe for our PDF on 6 questions to learn the benefits of working with a full-time fiduciary.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Inheriting Money Can Be Overwhelming.
We have the expertise to be your guide as you navigate receiving a windfall.
Equity Compensation Can Be Confusing.
Let us make it less complicated for you. Whether it’s a one-time award or ongoing compensation, we know how to help.
ESTIMATE YOUR FEE
Your fee is determined by the complexity of your needs and situation. The primary proxy we use for complexity is your investable net worth, which is generally your total net worth, excluding your primary residence. Your investable net worth includes the value of cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, rental real estate, and other business or financial interests. Our transparent pricing aligns with the holistic nature and value of our comprehensive services. You can use the chart below to estimate your fee based on your investable net worth. In some circumstances, your fee may be more than the minimums in the chart below.
Annual Fee Investable Net Worth (INW)
$4,000 (minimum for an individual)Up to $500,000
$6,000 (minimum for couples)Up to $1,000,000
$8,000 - $12,000$1,000,000 - $3,000,000
+ $1,000per additional $1,000,000 of INW