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Finding Financial Harmony in Wedding Season

By Marie Burns June 03, 2023 Managing Money

In my mind, Spring marks the beginning of wedding season. Although realistically I know weddings can be any month of the year. I remember in 2020, I was talking to a wedding venue owner here in Arizona and asking how he could possibly reschedule 67 weddings that year due to COVID.

His answer: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Rather than put weddings off for a different month or even another year or more, families chose to reserve open dates on the calendar which meant non-traditionally having a wedding on a weekday/night. What a great idea to keep your business on track and keep your clients happy!

Marrying Your Finances

No matter when you got married, whether it was a large or small gathering or you eloped, the question of marrying your finances also comes with the territory of entering a committed relationship. So in an effort to help reduce the horrible statistic that now 60% of marriages end in divorce (and that percentage is higher for second and third marriages), I want to share some food for thought on what I have seen when it comes to co-mingling finances, or not.

Co-Mingling vs. Separate Finances

Money matters can significantly impact a marriage and are right up there as one of the top reasons for divorce. So I want to take a deeper look by using the newest AI fad, ChatGPT, to help us explore the pros and cons of co-mingling vs. separate finances to see what AI comes up with vs what I think couples should do, from a Certified Financial Planner perspective, when it comes to money (and a better chance to avoid money issues). I hope it helps find the right balance that suits each unique relationship.

Co-Mingling Finances

Co-mingling finances involves merging all income, expenses, and assets into joint accounts. I have helped clients consolidate accounts, even years after they’ve gotten married, once they realize the hoops they need to go through if one dies suddenly or ends up in the hospital without having everything either titled jointly, or in the name of a trust or naming a beneficiary or Power of Attorney on an account. What a mess that can be for the survivor!

This joint approach can foster a sense of shared responsibility and transparency. It simplifies bill payments, enables joint financial goals, and promotes a sense of unity. It also forces you to communicate about money, which is vital for a healthy relationship. And it allows for better financial planning as a team which can reinforce trust and commitment.

Separate Finances?

Opting for separate finances means maintaining individual bank accounts and handling expenses independently. According to AI, this approach allows each partner to maintain financial autonomy and privacy and can be beneficial for couples with different spending habits or income levels, which could avoid potential conflicts over money.

I Beg to Differ

I have seen the separate approach lead to distrust, less communication, and a tendency to think in terms of mine/yours vs us/ours. I cringe when I hear decisions tied to income, for example. If one is the main income earner now, does he/she get the most say about financial decisions?

What happens if/when that role reverses (many women out-earn their husbands now, for example), then you switch who gets to make those decisions? When you don’t both seem to be approaching decisions together, with pooled resources, that wedge can add additional challenges and control issues in the relationship in ways beyond money.

Second or Later in Life Marriages

I have seen, however, when it can be advantageous to keep finances separate in cases of second marriages or when one partner brings substantial pre-marital assets or debts. Preservation for legacy reasons to the original families involved can certainly come into play in those situations. That can often mean that assets are kept separate, but not necessarily income and expenses.

Finding a Middle Ground

For many couples, a hybrid approach may be the best solution. Each can maintain separate accounts for personal expenses while establishing joint accounts for shared expenses like rent, utilities, and savings. This approach offers financial independence while promoting collaboration on essential matters. Regular discussions about financial goals, budgeting, and long-term plans are crucial to ensure transparency and alignment with each other.

What Is Best for You?

When it comes to co-mingling vs. keeping separate finances in a marriage, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s essential for couples to openly discuss their financial values, goals, and concerns to find the approach that works best for them.

Whether choosing to co-mingle, separate finances, or a combination of both, the key is to establish mutual trust, open communication, and a shared understanding of how money will be managed. Couples can lay a strong foundation for a successful and fulfilling partnership by finding financial harmony!

A Tool to Help

I have written a Before and After Marriagechecklist for all ages to help foster conversations around these money decisions like separate vs joint finances. We live and learn, so consider sharing or using this tool to improve your own financial harmony.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What’s been your experience in separate vs joint finances? Any advice to help women with that discussion and decision?

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I remarried after being widowed. I was single for 10 years and set up my accounts and trusts to benefit my children. When I re-married I had a prenuptial agreement that clearly established that all debt and assets that pre-existed the marriage were the sole property/responsibility of the individual. We chose to establish a joint account that covered marital expenses such as mortgage, utilities, home maintenance, joint travel, food and household expenses.

The problem arose when checks and charges were made on our joint account for personal or business expenses. The lines started to blur and depending on the state you are in pre-nups won’t protect you from debt incurred by a spouse in a joint account.

Although this was but a very minor incursion, it pointed to a much larger character issue that ended the marriage after 15 months.

Frankly, unless you are the one in need and have found a generous man to take care of you, I don’t recommend re-marriage. Too much is at stake financially and it is difficult to really get the full picture from someone who is inclined to lie to get what they want you are extremely vulnerable.

I’m interested to know how others have navigated this rocky path to a successful second or third marriage after age 60.

Lisa Stege

I agree with Marcia completely. My last marriage showed me how vulnerable I could be if something happened that would leave me financially liable for bad decisions on my husband’s part. I dissolved the marriage before something like that could take place, ending up losing my share of equity in the property we had purchased together, but in my opinion, it was worth it to come away otherwise unscathed.

Marie Burns

With so many different circumstances, I know we can’t generalize but my experience has been to see women not remarry after widowhood for at least two years or not at all vs men remarry within two years. I found some interesting stats that share more detail around the subject of remarriage after widowhood, it’s definitely a challenge to avoid financial risk regardless of a decision:

Carol Grice Glasscock

I paid for the download but the link does not work. Please help.

Marie Burns

Thanks for letting me know Carol. It appears some are not having an issue and others are so my marketing team is looking into it. I emailed yours to you and apologize for the technical difficulty!

The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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