Many financial considerations come into play when entering into a marriage with children from previous relationships. To keep the peace in your relationship and reduce future financial stress, it's important to determine yours, mine, and ours. From avoiding shared credit responsibilities to trying the raw contribution method, here are seven answers to the question, "What are your most helpful tips for merging finances in a blended family?"
How Families are Merging Finances in a Blended Family
Keep Credit Cards in Your Own Name
Having your financial plans together with a blended family is great, but if you want to keep your credit accounts separate, this way, you can keep building your own credit.
You can add a person as an authorized user on your credit card account so that if you like a particular card for rewards, they can use it for household expenses, but it is easy to take them off the account if an issue arises. I think the only merged account should be your mortgage.
Jeanne Kelly, Founder, Kelly Group Coaching, Inc.
Go All in With Lifestyle Expenses
Go all-in on merged finances for day-to-day activities. Create a joint bank account for housing, utilities, and activities. It starts with your finances if you want your family to feel cohesive.
There are certain financial areas that you need to keep separate. For example, the original owner should keep assets each party had before entering a marriage. But both partners should contribute to lifestyle expenses and have access to accounts to pay for necessary and discretionary family bills.
Melanie Musson, Insurance Expert, USInsuranceAgents.com
Create a Blended Family Budget
With merging finances in a blended family, one of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to build a household budget. By constructing and agreeing to a plan for how the money will be allocated across the family, everyone clearly understands their expectations, and there are fewer chances of disagreements.
This family budget should consider the individual needs of each party and focus on what's best for the whole family. A great way to develop this unified plan is to keep detailed records about spending habits, assess them together, and devise strategies for achieving common goals.
Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com
Establish Clear Boundaries and Expectations
This involves determining who pays certain bills and expenses and setting rules for shared expenses, such as dining out or entertainment. It can also include setting individual spending and saving guidelines to meet everyone's financial needs and goals. Having clear boundaries and expectations can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts down the line.
Brian Meiggs, Founder, My Millennial Guide
When blended families come together, they bring in multiple house rules, which can turn the finances into a confusing jumble. Establishing one concise set of rules is key to harmonizing blended families and finances.
Being consistent with standards ensures everyone meets the same expectations, creating fair competition for household activities and responsibilities—financial or otherwise. Not only does this make sense from an organizational perspective, but it also makes things easier for everyone by setting understandable parameters and boundaries.
After all, successful financial blending isn't just about sharing resources—it's also about creating strong relationships by showing respect and trust between blended family members. Bottom line: setting one set of house rules from the start will keep everyone on the same page without overwhelming confusion, leaving more time to enjoy your blended family life!
Piotrek Sosnowski, Chief People and Culture Officer, HiJunior
Have Family Finance Meetings
Having regular family meetings is one of the best practices for merging finances. At the end of the day, everyone likes to agree about financial matters, even kids, when it is explained in an age-appropriate manner. When a regular expense changes, gather everyone together and explain the update or reach a decision about it as a family. Transparency is vital to a happy family.
Annu Daniel, CEO, Elohim Company
Use the Raw Contribution Method
With this method, couples contribute the same amount of money regardless of how much they make. For example, Jerry earns $4,000 a month, and Kelsie earns $6,500 a month. They both pitch in $1,500 and keep the leftovers in separate accounts.
This can be advantageous for a blended family because it keeps the higher earner from feeling penalized for their success and the lower earner from feeling subsidized.
Dakota McDaniels, Chief Product Officer, Pluto