7 On Your Side: How to merge love, money

July 2, 2013 8:21:26 PM PDT
Summer is a popular time for weddings, but before you say "I do," there are a few questions you may want to ask first. 7 On Your Side takes a look at mixing love and money.

The couple's lives may merge, but what about their money? Does it merge? Getting those issues sorted out early on can get a couple on the road to a long and prosperous marriage.

There's no doubt what song 7-year-old Cole Drescher wants on his dad's wedding play list, as he dances to "Gangnam Style".

The big day is less than a week away. The last minute wedding details are the easy part. The more difficult issues for Tom and Aimee Drescher have already been worked out, like picking who is going to take care of the finances.

"I think we really never had trouble talking about things that are difficult, which is really a great part of our relationship," said Aimee.

"She takes care of a lot of the day-to-day bills. However, we talk regularly about where we are, where we're going and where we need to be," said Tom.

They've also discussed whether they will have a joint account or separate accounts.

"Aimee came in with a sizable savings account, so we talked through that," said Tom.

"You know, I think I look at it as our money," said Aimee.

The two plan to maintain their own separate accounts so they can buy each other gifts, but will also maintain a joint bank account for most other expenses. This is Tom's second marriage. He has two children, Cole and Riley.

"The way I look at it is the children, they have their mother. But I'm going to be as much of a support financially and emotionally as I possibly can be," said Aimee.

That includes building up a savings account to send them to college. Laura Ross is with the CPA firm EisnerAmper and former president of the California Society of CPA's.

"She's got a plan. She's bringing her assets into the relationship and hopefully her plan, and with his assistance, is going to allow her to actually put together something that's going to take off," said Ross.

Ross calls this a good situation with Tom having a steady job and good income and Aimee having built up enough reserves to start her own practice. She recommends the couple look into tax planning.

"So if you're both higher wage earners and you get married, you do have to anticipate you're going to have a slightly higher tax rate potentially," said Ross.

However, she said that could be offset with the mortgage deduction. She also suggests the couple merge their financial records, even if they don't merge their accounts. Know that your credit score could be impacted if you have joint credit cards and one partner has a significantly lower score than the other. The most important thing is talk everything out. The tips are the same for gay couples married in California who earn their income and plan to stay here.

"Our spending habits are very similar in the sense that we like to get nice things and we see saving as a priority," said Tom.

Do all of that and you'll conquer one of the most difficult situations of any new marriage.

"Sounds like a pretty ideal situation actually," said Ross.

We have a link to more tips from the California Society of CPAs here.


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