Managing finances for a blended family requires clear and open communication.
Newly married couples often face some hiccups as they merge into a family unit.
This merging can be even more stressful and complicated when the new marriage creates a blended family.
Children from previous relationships and the financial habits formed from time as a single parent or married to someone else can lead to moments of tension and confusion.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “Yours, Mine and Ours: A Checklist for Blended Family Finances,” these old habits and expectations can be hard to break.
This is true whether the spouses entering into remarriage are doing so after the death of a spouse or a divorce.
Young couples and those in retirement who are creating a blended family will need to have many conversations when planning their financial management in accordance with their priorities.
What specific aspects of finances should be discussed?
Even if your spouse was not married before, he or she has a concept of money shaped by family, culture, and experience.
Some people account for every penny and are frugal to a fault.
Others believe money can and should be spent spontaneously on occasion.
Some have no concept of saving for the future and live and spend beyond their means.
And they are astounded when there is more month left at the end of their money.
Although most people do not live in either polar extreme, it is important for couples creating a blended family to understand how their partner and how their children view money.
Financial accounts and bills.
After couples have an understanding of their respective financial preferences, they will need to identify how money decisions will be made and how finances will be handled.
Will finances be kept separate or blended?
Blended families, where the adults have similar financial expectations and habits, may find combining finances to be the best choice.
Those who have different financial goals may decide to keep accounts separate.
Timing of the marriage can also influence whether accounts are separate or combined.
If the children in the blended family are older and each of the spouses is financially established, it may make more sense to keep things divided.
Again, there is a hybrid approach.
Some couples may benefit from choosing to keep some things separate but utilizing common household accounts, investments, and savings for goals as a family or as a couple.
Within a blended family, there are often children from previous relationships.
If these children are young, child support may be required of one or both parents.
The financial budget should address child support and college funds for the children.
Finances are also deeply entwined with estate planning.
If you are concerned about how to provide for your children and your new spouse, without “unintentionally” disinheriting anyone you love, work with an experienced estate planning attorney and your financial advisor to create a plan to meet the needs of your blended family.
Reference: Kiplinger (June 27, 2022) “Yours, Mine and Ours: A Checklist for Blended Family Finances”