Whether you’re getting married, you’re recently married, or you’ve been married for years, finances play a massive role in your relationships.

Before we go any further, let’s start with this. In any relationship, open and honest communication is key. This applies to so many areas in a marriage, but it is especially important when it comes to shared finances. Strong communication creates financial alignment, trust, and transparency, helps eliminate conflicts before they begin, and prepares couples together to face emergencies. It’s also key to creating budgets together, planning for goals, and approaching major purchases as a married team.

Having conversations about money as a married couple can also feel daunting. Financial conversations can come with emotional baggage, challenging individuals’ attitudes toward money, budgeting, saving, and spending. At the same time, talking about money can bring up fears, past financial mistakes, and an overall lack of financial education.

With that in mind, here are a few areas you should be exploring together as a couple when it comes to your joint finances.

Joint vs. Separate Bank Accounts

For couples, joint bank accounts create an environment where resources can all be pooled together in one place for transparency and convenience. This can be especially helpful when working toward common goals like saving for a house or planning your next vacation. Joint bank accounts also allow for immediate access to funds in the case of an unforeseen emergency.

Couple Looking at Finances

Separate accounts allow each account holder to control their finances freely, protecting their privacy and financial independence. For some couples, this makes sense, but it can also create some complications. Division of expenses can be more difficult, emergencies can become more challenging, and a lack of transparency can lead to conflicts.

How to approach your accounts, joining them together or keeping them separate, is up to you. Our advice is simple. Explore the pros and cons of each way, and choose a path together that will help you reach your goals as a couple.


Open conversations about debt are essential to creating financial harmony in a marriage. This begins by talking about what debt each of you currently has and thinking through what debts you share. Then, as a couple, you should establish some goals for paying off your debt efficiently. By creating an aligned strategy for managing your debt, setting some priorities for your debt repayment, and working together, you can keep debt from creating wedges and friction in your relationship. Some of these strategies may include refinancing or consolidating your debt. A banker can help you envision what’s possible and create a plan you can follow together.

Monthly Bills

We all have them… Monthly bills that need our attention. As a couple, knowing what bills each individual has, as well as what bills the couple has together, helps create a clear picture of a household’s financial foundation. This impacts everything from budgeting to expense management and is especially important when it comes to making decisions for the future. Understanding cash flow, in and out of a couple’s finances, is one of the things that drives reaching financial goals together

Financial and Retirement Planning

As a couple, planning for the future has to be part of the conversation. This may mean adding life insurance to a couple’s financial plan or including an IRA account in a retirement strategy. We believe in starting these conversations early and setting some common goals that both individuals are aligned around. Depending on your current financial situation, how you approach these conversations differs, but at the end of the day, talking about the future is an ongoing process that should be reviewed and adjusted regularly.

Happy couple in new home

Budgeting and Goals

Finances within a couple are a shared responsibility, and this responsibility begins with budgeting. Although making a budget may not be the most exciting thing you do as a couple, it is one of the most beneficial. From managing debt and monthly bills to planning for the future, working from a budget is the launchpad for financial success. This includes setting fun short and long-term goals as a couple and including those in your budgeting process so you ensure you’re working toward those as you’re managing all of your other monthly responsibilities.

Budgeting allows married teams to allocate their resources, track progress, and stay on track in the financial arena of their relationship. It’s also a great way to support conflict resolution and keep conflicts from arising in the first place. When couples are talking about their budgets actively and working together to stay on budget in their spending, it leads to stability and less stress in the relationship.

It All Comes Back to Communication

Successfully navigating finances as a couple begins and ends with talking about your finances. To help simplify the process, we’ve developed our easy-to-use, one-page Joint Budget Planner. Our suggestion is this… Print out the planner, take it out to dinner, and talk through it together. Planning together as a couple, especially when it comes to sharing your goals, can be one of the most exciting things married teams do – and it all starts with a conversation!