First Comes Love, Then Comes… Financial Security?


(Photo courtesy of Berg & Associates)

Planning a wedding or moving in with your significant other can be an exciting time in a couple’s life. A beautiful dress, new furniture or a romantic honeymoon may consume your thoughts. But there’s an often-overlooked aspect of commitment — financial security.

According to a study published by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce.

OnPoint Community Credit Union branch manager Kristen Gillis suggests setting aside time for a frank discussion with your partner about finances, including debt, savings plans and how to manage your accounts together.

“It’s not always easy to determine how to divide finances in a partnership. However, splitting bills is a fact of life for many couples that share expenses and responsibilities,” said Kristen. “It’s important to decide together how you want to manage your funds. Is a shared bank account the best decision? Or do individual accounts make more sense?”

She encourages couples to consider the pros and cons of all options and make an educated decision together:

  • Shared Accounts: You and your partner may choose to share one checking and savings account and direct both incomes into these accounts. An advantage of this arrangement is ease of use. All your expenses come from this account, and you can quickly move money from checking into savings. This arrangement doesn’t have to be stressful, but to make it work, it requires an open conversation about finances that you both can agree to and stick to.
  • Separate finances: If you prefer more control over how you spend your money, you might consider not sharing accounts. The main advantage of this approach is financial independence, but you will need to get creative with how to tackle shared expenses.
  • Combined accounts: Many couples choose a “best-of-both-worlds” approach, where each person has their own personal checking and savings accounts but share joint checking and savings accounts. With this approach, you can easily pay for shared expenses because each person can contribute their part to the joint account while keeping other costs separate.

Once you have decided how to manage your funds, Kristen recommends outlining what your finances will look like moving forward and offers these three tips for couples as they outline their financial future:

  • Be honest about your history. It’s important to understand your partner’s financial situation and their financial habits, such as credit card debt and spending behaviors. These facts may become obstacles when qualifying for a mortgage together or reaching other financial goals.
  • Play to your strengths. If you’re an avid sales shopper and your partner is a calculated risk taker, rely on each other to manage those distinct aspects of your finances. It might evolve as your relationship does, but you should agree on an approach before taking the next big step.
  • Check in regularly. A new job. New car or home. Children entering the picture. These are all events that can impact your financial situation. Dreams and aspirations can also change, so it’s essential to have regular check-ins about short- and long-term financial goals. Rank your top three financial priorities and have a weekly or monthly meeting to track your progress and discuss any new items.

Love and money can both be complicated, but these financial strategies can help you and your partner start your life together on solid financial ground. Visit any of OnPoint’s 57 branch locations to discuss your options.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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