Financial blogger Ash Cash shares his take on the pros and cons of conjoining finances and some things to take into consideration along the way.
You've made the decision to share your life with someone. Should you share your bank account with your spouse, too? Marriage offers many financial benefits, but it can also come with a few disadvantages. Conjoining your finances is a major decision that involves weighing both pros and cons carefully.
Marriage can result in higher taxes. Two high earners filing together can push themselves into a higher tax bracket than they would have fallen into separately. But marriage can result in paying less in taxes, too, because you can share deductions for children, mortgage payments and other aspects of a joint life that generate significant savings. Additionally, spouses can share a health insurance plan. The exact rules for this vary by state and employer, but you might save thousands in premiums when you're both covered by the same plan.
When you're married, property you own together is protected in the event of death or divorce — the law makes sure each spouse receives his rightful share if something should go wrong. Unmarried couples that purchase a home together may have difficulty recouping money invested in the down payment, maintenance and repairs. At the very least, it can involve a more complicated and expensive legal battle if you break up, and if one of you dies, the other may have no protection at all. Marriage confers an array of special statuses, many of which historically apply to property and land holdings, specifically.
When a married couple parts ways, one spouse may be legally required to pay alimony or spousal support to the other if they earn significantly more. That type of financial assistance isn't always an option supported by a legal remedy without a marriage certificate.
Credit issues can be tricky, as well. If you decide to consolidate credit accounts, know that you're both responsible for debts you accrue jointly. A missed payment would likely negatively affect both your credit scores, even if you have a private agreement between you that only one of you will be responsible for the account. Keeping at least one credit account in your own name can also help you establish your own credit history — something you'll need later if you ever choose to separate.
Marriage should be a sacred thing; don't allow money to divide you. Communicate as much as possible to ensure that you're on the same financial page, and share the same outlook for your financial futures.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Experian.