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5 Financial Tips for Newlyweds

Divide Accordingly

Whether you've made it to your 20s, 30s, 40s or 80s before tying the knot, you've probably had at least a taste of financial independence. Some people are perfectly fine with establishing completely joint finances as soon as they get married; but for others, it can be a struggle.

There's no law saying that when two people tie the knot, they have to close all individual accounts and open only joint ones. You can, of course, combine everything, and if only one spouse is working, that may be the best move. But if both spouses get a paycheck, it sometimes makes sense to divide your earnings in other ways. These days, lots of couples have a joint checking account for joint expenses (such as rent or mortgage, groceries and entertainment), into which each puts a percentage of his or her earnings. On top of that, they'll also have two separate, individual accounts where they keep "their own money." They may even have both joint and separate savings accounts. Some spouses don't combine their earnings at all.

The advantage to separate accounts is that both of you get to retain some level of fiscal independence. Many working adults can find it somewhat restrictive to suddenly need "permission" before buying a new set of speakers or pair of shoes. Keeping something aside that's just yours can go a long way toward alleviating any issues of independence that may arise with a joining of the finances.

Still, lots of couples find it ideal to have only joint accounts, which makes sense considering your lives are now legally and financially tied together. But that's not the only acceptable way to do it. Consider whether you and your spouse would benefit from maintaining some degree of financial independence, even if that simply means some "mad money," and go with it. What matters is what works for you, not what your parents or your friends did.

Of course, there are some things that every couple should do ...