You’re getting married and you’re wondering how this whole money thing is going to work from here on out. You’re not sure of the best financial plan to execute together, and having those conversations is uncomfortable to say the least. I’m here to hopefully give you some insight into the world of blended finances. Today, we’ll go over what options you have when it comes to blending finances as well as what that might look like when you have significant student loan debt.
Let’s Talk Money
Talking about finances is not necessarily a fun conversation to have with anyone, let alone your significant other. However, many people, once they get married, choose to blend their finances into one lump sum to use together. As such, it’s imperative that if you are in this situation, you have a discussion with your partner about money.
Of course, the two of you have the power to decide what kind of stance you’d prefer to take when it comes to money. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand what kind of situation your partner is working with when you rely on them for financial stability. Yes, money is a touchy subject, but it’s not anything that can’t be talked out and agreed upon. Complete transparency might feel scary and difficult to reveal to another person, but once everything is out there, you can only improve on your current situation.
As such, if you are getting married or are in a serious relationship, it’s not a bad idea to think about having these types of conversations. Once you lay it all out on the table, you can collectively decide where to go from here. You can decide to tackle your financial battles together. Although, how it is achieved may look very different for each couple.
Decide How Bills Are Going to Be Paid
For some couples, blending finances in the traditional sense just makes things too complicated. So, don’t feel bad if you’re not ready to share a bank account just yet. Blending finances can also include having your own separate accounts, but you’re open about money and who can afford to pay which bills.
You’re still having that conversation about your own separate incomes. You know how much each of you makes on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. As such, you can decide how to split the bills in a way that is comfortable for both of you. Think of it this way: all of your separate financial investments have now become both of your investments. Choosing to spend money on something is now usually a decision that you make together.
For example, if you have a car that you purchased before the marriage and you’re making payments on it, that investment used to be your monthly responsibility alone. However, after you blend your finances, the selling of that car will earn a return for you and your partner, which you can both decide how you’d like to use together. As a result, you might come to the conclusion together that you’d like to both pay some of that car payment. It’s totally up to you.
That scenario fits into a situation where you both decide to keep your separate bank accounts, but you’d both like to take responsibility for all of your bills together. On the other hand, of course, you can choose to deposit all of your earnings into a single account and simply pay everything from there.
My point is, it’s important to have these conversations and understand what investments are worth sharing. The fact of the matter is, any financial decisions you made before the marriage are still going to exist afterward. Those choices are going to have an effect on both of you no matter what, which is why many people agree to “share the burden,” so to speak.
Examine Your Student Loan Debt
So, how does this work when you have a really big debt, like student loan debt, looming over your heads? The first big hurdle is simply getting the information out there. Let your partner know what kind of financial situation you are in.
From there, you can both make decisions about how to blend your finances. You may decide to make payments from your joint bank account, or you could prefer to pay it separately for now. Whatever the case may be, once you’ve had that conversation, you can make a plan of action.
Another huge point to be cognizant about is how you feel about your debt. It’s possible that you’re sharing this information with your partner because you’ve got a significant amount of debt and you’d like some help. Most individuals that have student debt feel overwhelmed by the amount of debt they’re dealing with. I personally feel that this information is very important to share with your significant other.
The reason I say that is because everyone needs help every once and a while. Sharing the fact that you’re overwhelmed with your debt helps your partner to understand you’d not only like some financial help, but that you’re open to ideas about how to better handle this amount of student debt. As they say, two heads are better than one. Your partner might already have some ideas about how you can both share the burden when it comes to your student loans.
Understand You Have Options
Lastly, after all of that is out of the way, you can both understand you have options that can help you out if finances are tight. Your student loans do not have to become a sore spot every time you need to discuss them. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably time to start looking into things like refinancing your student loans or loan forgiveness. In addition, you may be able to put off your loan payments for a short period of time with deferments or forbearance.
Every student loan situation is completely different from the next, so it’s crucial to take a look at what options you might qualify for. Your income, current bills and when you started paying your loans off will all have an influence on what programs you could be eligible for. Whatever the case may be, finding an option that works for you can significantly help the stress you feel about paying off your student loans going forward.
Blending households and finances can be an intimidating idea, but it can really paint a greater picture of your total earnings and your ability to tackle the bills you share. Accepting your partner’s financial situation comes along with choosing to get married. You’ll vow to love each other for better or for worse, which means you’ll back each other up even when things get financially difficult. If you’re transparent about your debt, there’s nothing the two of you can’t conquer together, even pesky student loans.