Financial management is easy enough for one person, but if you have a new partner or spouse, or have recently entered into a common-law relationship, there are new financial considerations you should be aware of. From simple budgeting changes to long-term family investments, Provincial Credit Union knows that a new family means new financial concerns.
An important step in integrating your finances is establishing joint accounts. A joint chequing account can cover shared expenses like rent, utilities and automotive costs. Supporting this account with a jointly held credit card can make unexpected expenses that affect you both much easier to handle. With any joint account you should both agree beforehand what the account is for and how much money each of you is able and expected to contribute.
Keep in mind that it's still important for you both to maintain your credit ratings as individuals. Keep your own accounts and credit cards for personal expenditures. You don't want your partner deducing what his or her anniversary present is from a monthly statement on a joint account!
In some ways, budgeting for two can be easier than budgeting for one. Fixed living expenses can be paid out of a joint account, and, with both of you making regular contributions, you may even find the account accumulating money over time. In any case, it's especially important for partners with joint accounts to budget carefully and discuss their finances regularly. An open, honest approach will prevent any hard feelings, especially if one partner earns significantly more than the other.
You and your partner should definitely make long-term investment plans together. If you have children or are planning to have children in the future, you may want to consider starting an education fund. Also, by planning your RRSP contributions together you can maximize the tax benefits for both of you. Spousal RRSP contributions can protect more of your income from taxation and help both of you retire more comfortably.