A marriage is a union of not just souls, but also finances.
Unlike souls, though, finances can prove to be a thorny issue especially for couples who don’t know how to manage their money jointly. It’s no wonder money is a leading cause of divorce in the United States.
If you’re just married, you’re probably wondering how to merge your finances. It can be even more complicated if you both have individual debts.
What should you do? Help is on the way!
Continue reading to learn how to deal with joint debt after marriage.
Start on an Honest Plate
A mistake far too many couples make is going into a marriage without having a clear picture of their finances. At best, such couples probably have a rough idea of how much their partners earn – nothing more.
If you want to effectively deal with finances in marriage, don’t be like these couples. Be honest about your money. Tell your partner how much you earn (net salary) as well as how much you owe. Your partner should also be able to tell you more about your finances.
When you begin on an honest plate, it’s easier to make sound plans about merging your finances as a couple.
Merging Your Incomes
Merging your incomes doesn’t necessarily mean dumping the money you make into one account – although that wouldn’t hurt. In most cases, you just need to know how much both of you are making after taxes and other fundamental deductions.
With your net income, you can then draw and fund your household budget. You can also take other important steps, such as saving for a rainy day and making investments.
It’s understandable that you might want to maintain a certain level of financial independence. That’s fine, but you need to let your partner know; otherwise, they can easily think you’re being dishonest with your finances.
Merging Your Debt
While merging incomes might be easier, merging debt is a lot harder.
In fact, it’s hardly possible to merge individual debts you secure before you got married. This is because the lender only recognizes the borrower as the only person who has the responsibility to repay it.
Here’s what you can do, though.
List down all your debts then develop a joint repayment plan. Because you have already merged your income, you can determine how to increase the minimum monthly repayments for high-interest loans or the loans with the biggest balances.
If the debts are overwhelming, you can pursue debt consolidation. Each of you will take out a consolidation loan and use the funds to settle the loans. You will remain with two loans (one loan each).
That being said, be sure to learn your options before making a conclusive decision.
Handling Debt After Marriage
Money is vital to the success of any marriage, but it can also be the downfall of your marriage if mishandled. Debt, especially, is a big issue among many couples. With this guide on how to merge finances and handle joint debt after marriage, you are now in a better position to make the right decisions.
Keep reading our blog for more financial and marriage tips.