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Becoming one household

If you and your partner have different financial outlooks, having frank and ongoing discussions about money will be critical. Here are some topics to consider.

The better you communicate about money, the better your chances for a successful relationship. Take time to gain a clear picture of your financial future together. Clearly understanding the following can pay off down the road:

  • Salaries or self-employment income
  • Other sources of income (such as trusts, family support)
  • Any additional money either of you expect to receive
  • Credit scores
  • Existing debts
  • Insurance plans
  • Interest and dividends from investments

The Net Worth Statement Worksheet is a great place to start.

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Approximately what percentage of U.S. adults who are in live-in relationships have kept a financial secret from their partner?

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In fact, Gen Z currently has the highest rate of financial infidelity at 67% followed by Millennials at 57%, Generation X at 34% and baby boomers at 33%.

It’s 42%.

Generation  Z has the highest rate of financial infidelity at 67% and baby boomers, at 33%,  are least likely to keep financial secrets from their partners.


Looking to start off on the right financial foot? 

Read our article on Marriage and Money: 10 Tips for Financial Bliss.

Yours, mine & ours

Determining whether to pool assets or keep them separate, or deciding how you’ll handle income, expenses, saving and investing is an individual decision. There is no right or wrong answer. Some couples wouldn’t dream of keeping their finances separate. Others (especially if one partner brings substantially more assets or debt to the relationship) may wish to protect the assets they bring to the marriage with a prenup and/or a trust.

Common Law Property

Most states adhere to common law marital property provisions, where only property and debts acquired by the parties during the marriage are subject to equitable division.

Community Property

In the handful of community property states, assets owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, or gifted to/inherited by one spouse during the marriage, are generally considered separate property.2

5 Steps to more honest financial conversations

You and your spouse/partner may be entering the relationship with very different financial values, attitudes, behaviors and resources. So careful planning and a lot of frank upfront and ongoing discussions about money will be critical.

Review your insurance

Could you save money by becoming a dependent on your partner’s health insurance rather than maintaining your own employer coverage? Do you need additional life or disability insurance coverage? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who relies on me and my income?
  • How long could they maintain their current lifestyle with only our accumulated assets?
  • What would happen to my loved ones if I can no longer earn an income? 
  • If I lost my job, could I afford to replace my insurance? 

Take your time

You may want to jump right in and begin combining your finances. But mistakes can be very costly and difficult (if not impossible) to undo. So be thoughtful and deliberate, and ask questions that will help you avoid potential pitfalls such as:

Plan ahead

For married couples, laws automatically protect the interest of spouses. However, that’s not necessarily the case with unmarried couples. So, it's critical that you establish and maintain documents that reflect your wishes for each other.

Domestic Partner Agreements

Similar to prenups, these legal documents outline
the sharing of income, expenses and property,
as well as your intentions for asset division.

Disability Planning

Creates durable powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney and guardian documents for any minor children in the event you’re unable to manage these matters.

Estate Plan

Consider what you want to happen to your assets when you die. An estate plan sets out the actions needed to realize those intentions and ensures the right documents and beneficiary designations are in place.

It’s always a good idea to consult your personal legal advisor before making any
planning decisions.

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