There are a lot of things that go into making a new family. First and foremost, for most, is getting married. But many couples neglect to plan ahead before the nuptials to make that transition from individual to team player as smooth as possible. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make before getting married is to put off financial planning, and especially how to work out bank and credit union account mergers. Here are a few tips to make the transition less bumpy.
First of all, long before the marriage, talk with each other frankly about any outstanding debts — from credit cards or vehicles or business or student loans. In many states the spouse of a debtor is still legally liable for their debts and can be harrassed by bill collectors. That’s no way to start a honeymoon. So know each other’s liabilities as well as assets.
Next, decide where you want to keep your joint account. And yes, you will have a joint account; it doesn’t mean you can’t have your own separate account, but marriage counselors say that not merging finances is one of the top reasons marriages founder during the first five years.
Finally, of course, work out a budget — and be frank about how welcome children will be, how many you want, and how to afford them!