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Engagement Finances

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  • Engagement Finances

    I often see questions about how to handle your finances while engaged. I guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist, in that I think that the right move is usually keeping everything separate until the wedding day, then combining everything once married. But I've seen a wide difference in opinion on this. What do you think? Did you combine anything while engaged? Did you keep anything separate after marriage? Why or why not?
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  • #2
    All separate before marriage.

    All combined at and after marriage.

    I would suspect some of the difficulty comes from engaged couples who live together before marriage.  Some for years.


    • #3
      agreed. if not married, its separate. doesnt mean ppl wont mix anyways, but that was our feeling.

      once we got married, we pooled everything, but she still has her old checking account and i mine. they just dont do much these days.




      • #4
        We pooled as soon as we were engaged and taking marriage prep classes together so that we could air out all of our finances.  But we did not live together until we were married.  If finances is one of the biggest reasons for divorce, I would do everything to understand each other's finances before getting married.


        • #5
          Unfortunately I was contemplating starting the opposite thread: Divorce Asset Division Advice  . Still might...


          • #6
            My wife and I were together for 10 years before getting married, including a 1 year official engagement. We got married during my intern year.

            We kept everything separate until the engagement and then starting combining things when I first started making money in residency. It was just easier to start combining things beginning with my first paycheck.

            After automatic pre-tax contributions, all money goes into a common account that pays for mutual and household expenses. From there, automatic transfers are set up for additional savings and a small "allowance" into our individual checking accounts.


            • #7
              Currently engaged in residency.  We keep everything separate for the most part.  However, we are very open about all finances in regards to savings, debt, ect.  No secrets.  We also hold each other accountable for purchases and spending.  (although, when I do question a purchase, I usually get the "it's my money and I'll spend it how I want to" haha 


              Will combine accounts after marriage and after I become an attending.


              • #8
                I am actually hoping my spouse will scale back on work after having our first child so our finances are still separate and I handle everything out of my account.


                • #9
                  I have only been married for 6 months, but our financial lives have been a big part of our relationship.  We realized two months into dating that we had totally different spending habits - he was a Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) and I was a resident who thought I deserved to live like an attending.  I had credit card debt at the start of our relationship and my loans were in forbearance. Early on we had some significant discussions about money and realized we were not on the same page.  This is actually how I found White Coat Investor.  After a few months of reading the blog I realized the errors of my thinking.  We then used the blog as a jumping off point for many of our discussions and future planning.  He has toned down some of his MMM ways, and I have completely changed my financial outlook.

                  With this in mind, we kept everything separate before we moved in together.  When I moved into his townhouse then the money I was spending on rent I used to pay down the credit card debt I accumulated.  Eight months later we got married, and now that we are married everything is combined.


                  • #10
                    I guess I'm traditional, too, because I agree with WCI. My wife and I learned about each other's financial philosophies during dating (which really just involved spending habits, since we were young and neither of us were very financially educated), got into specifics (how much money in each account, debts, etc.) during engagement and planned how we would combine (we decided to open new joint accounts and close our individual accounts), then executed our plan and combined everything after marriage.

                    We didn't cohabit before marriage and were married at 23 and 21, which kept things simpler for us than for many other people.

                    Managing money can be complicated enough, and I can't imagine how much more complicated it would be if we were trying to do it separately, yet coordinated. I like simple (and traditional). One bed, one bank account.


                    • #11
                      Engaged during residency currently.  We are both very open about are financial information in regards to earnings, savings, and debt.  I'm basically in charge of making sure we are maxing out the Roth IRAs and her 403b match.

                      Given this website and the knowledge gained, I began steering her financial future very early in our relationship even before we got engaged!


                      We do not plan on combining bank accounts or anything like that till after marriage.  Probably even keep her account open as she continues to have a job to make things more fair or accountable (ie. she pays going out expenses while I'll pay bills or something), until I become an attending and we start a family.


                      • #12
                        Combining finances while engaged = one more mess to straighten out if you don't make it to the altar. For anyone contemplating marriage, this blog post I wrote last year may be helpful.
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