Breaking Down the Average Cost of a Wedding in 2018

There are few things more exciting than finally meeting the love of your life after suffering through blind dates and swiping right on your share of mismatches.

Whether you get engaged after dating for seven months or seven years, planning a wedding with your person is exhilarating. But it’s also not cheap. Planning your big day means coming to terms with some bracing cost realities. Before you start, you’ll want to understand how much things typically cost and ways you and your partner can manage to pay for it all.

Obviously, everyone’s wedding is different. You might not need a doughnut bar AND a chocolate fountain, and you can opt to have your uncle run the photo booth, but you might still end up having to pay for things like food and a venue.

According to a study by The Knot , which polled nearly 13,000 couples who wed last year, couples spend an average of $33,391 on their weddings. And that doesn’t even include the honeymoon! The good news? That number is actually down a little from a high in 2016, when the average came out to $35,329.

If that amount is making you sweat or wonder what else you could buy with all that cash, don’t worry. You don’t need to have all the wedding bells and whistles. We’ll walk you through a wedding cost breakdown that will help you see where you can save.

What Goes Into the Cost of a Wedding?

So, where does all that money go? There are so many costs that just don’t come to mind right away. This wedding cost breakdown will help you see where almost every penny is spent. (Most of these totals are courtesy of The Knot and have been rounded when necessary.)

First, the biggest chunk of cash goes, unsurprisingly, toward the venue. Including the space and rentals you need to fill the space (tables, chairs, etc.) couples spend an average of nearly $15,200.

For catering costs, most couples pay about $70 per guest. For a 100-person wedding, that’s about $7,000.

The engagement ring can also set you back a cool $5,700 on average. Brides also spent an average of $1,500 on their wedding dresses.

Couples often pay big money for things like the reception band which can cost around $4,000, or if you choose a reception DJ it can come in around $1,200, flowers at about $2,400, and the ceremony site, separately from the reception venue, which might cost around $2,300.

Documenting the wedding can be yet another big expense. Photos can set you back an average of $2,600. And a videographer will be an additional $1,900.

And then there’s all the little things that add up. A wedding planner costs an average of almost $2,000, the rehearsal dinner typically costs about $1,300, and hair and makeup averages another $1,000.

Related: The Cost of Being in Someone’s Wedding

The rest of the costs are that couples were surveyed on were under $1,000, but they add up. You can estimate about $800 for transportation, $540 for your wedding cake, $400 for invitations, $280 for the groom’s suit, and $250 for favors.

One way to lower your costs could be to decrease the number of guests you invite, since the average cost per guest is up to $268 per person. The cost per guest is so high these days because plenty of couples decide to spend money on sparklers, selfie booths, lawn games, and other fun reception additions. So, if you want to keep your costs in check, you might have to skip some of the extras, too.

Who usually ends up paying for the wedding?

These days, figuring out who pays for the wedding (and how) can sometimes be unclear. Back in the day, the bride’s family was expected to pick up the whole tab, but that’s pretty antiquated at this point.

Now it’s much more common for both families to chip in, but often the couple pays for a large part of the costs on their own. In fact, The Knot reports that couples pay for 41% of wedding costs themselves.

If you and your partner are on the hook for 41% of the wedding, then going based on the average costs, that will be about $13,690. That’s not pocket change. Given that many parents might not be able to contribute financially to the wedding, you could be looking at a much larger bill.

Looking into Smart Wedding Financing Options

A bigger question than who pays for the wedding is: How do they pay for the wedding? Often couples use their savings. But not all couples have cash sitting around that they can easily tap into. And even if you do, you don’t necessarily want to deplete your emergency fund or take money away from saving for a down payment on a house.

That’s why taking out a wedding loan or turning to some kind of wedding financing option can make sense. Usually couples end up charging wedding expenses to a credit card, but paying off that balance can be pretty costly. The average interest on a credit card is around 16%. Do you really want to be paying 16% interest on your entire wedding? The fact that all the deposit costs come at the same time makes it even more difficult if you’re charging everything to a credit card.

Related: If you have credit card debt, consult our Credit Card Interest Calculator and find out how much you are paying in interest alone.

You have to deal with credit card maximums, and to keep your favorable credit score, you should only use 20% to 30% of the available credit on your card. If you’re looking to buy a home soon, the ding your credit can take from carrying that wedding debt on a credit card could cost you when it’s time to apply for a mortgage.

Using a Personal Loan to Fund a Wedding

What are wedding loans? They’re exactly what they sound like. Essentially, a lender just offers you an unsecured personal loan to cover your wedding costs.

A personal loan will give you a broader range of options than a credit card when it comes to the term length on your loan, the amount you can borrow, and the interest rates offered. Interest rates on personal loans tend to be pretty reasonable, so they’re likely to be lower than rates on credit cards.

With a personal loan, you can choose how long you want your term length to be. If you need a few years to pay off the loan, your lender will probably be able to accommodate that. You can also choose a fixed interest rate, so that you lock in a manageable rate with the guarantee that it won’t shoot up later.

One of the benefits is that a personal loan can also help you build your credit. That’s not just because you won’t be using too much of your available credit, it’s also because you’ll be diversifying the type of credit you have. This could make it easier to get approved when you apply for a mortgage loan on your first love nest.

While swiping a credit card is an option that’s available immediately, you can get your personal loan disbursement fairly quickly. If you know you want to start making deposits on your wedding soon, you and your partner can apply for a personal loan today, and get the money you’ll need usually within a week.

SoFi offers personal loans with low rates. Getting pre-qualified takes just a few minutes to apply and start funding your wedding responsibly today.

SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law, license number 6054612.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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How Divorce Loans Can Help

When you walked down the aisle, you never dreamed that you would one day be Googling divorce attorneys. But, unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned.

Deciding to get a divorce is difficult enough without having to worry about the expense of it. But all those internet searches likely showed you something you already suspected: Getting divorced can be costly.

So, just how expensive is a divorce? According to a survey by Nolo , the average cost of a divorce is $15,500. The total costs of a divorce can range from as little as a few hundred dollars to well over $100,000, or even into the millions if you’re a Hollywood starlet or Wall Street tycoon.

Why so expensive? In addition to obvious costs like attorney’s fees, there are costs for other things like time off work, court costs, mediator costs, real estate fees, a financial planner’s fees, accountant’s fees, and maybe even a plane ticket to the Bahamas so that you can take a break from it all.

Before you get worried about your divorce costing six figures, let’s break down the real cost of divorce and discuss some ways to finance it.

A Breakdown of Typical Divorce Costs

Are you crossing your fingers and hoping that you’ll have one of those divorces that only costs $400? If your divorce is not contested, or you agree on everything from the distribution of your assets to who gets your kids during the holidays, it could be relatively simple and inexpensive. Often couples draft up their own agreement and just bring it to a lawyer to make it official.

But let’s be honest, when was the last time you agreed on everything with anyone, let alone with your ex-spouse about things that important? Couples often need at least a mediator to help them come to an agreement.

If you disagree over dividing your finances (and you don’t have a prenup), or you can’t decide who should have custody of the kids, then you’ll likely both look to hiring attorneys.

Further, you could end up going to court if you’re not able to reach a settlement. Attorney’s fees make up the bulk of divorce costs with the average couple in Nolo’s survey paying $12,800 in lawyer’s fees to break up.

After that, there are court costs, and the cost of experts to bolster your case. Not sure what experts you could possibly need? Think child custody evaluators, accountants, and real estate evaluators. Speaking to any or all of them can continue to rack up a tab.

The Hidden Divorce Costs You’ll Need to Prepare For

Unfortunately, the total costs of your divorce are broader than just what it takes to reach a financial settlement and custody agreement. You might have to sell your home even if the market is not so great, or sell investments during a downturn.

There are real estate and closing costs, down payments on new houses, and moving costs. That alone could cost thousands and might include one costly trip to Ikea. If you have kids, you might even need to buy extra clothes and toys for both houses so that your kids don’t feel like they’re living out of a suitcase.

There are also other hidden costs that come with going to court. You might miss out on work and income in order to meet with lawyers, or have to pay for child care while you’re both meeting to finalize the details. You might also need help from your financial planner or accountant as you separate your finances and plan for your own financial future. If you have shared debt, there could even be costs associated in figuring out how to divide it or pay it off.

Then there are ongoing costs related to child support or alimony. If one partner used to stay home with the kids but is now re-entering the workforce, day care or after-school care could be another added ongoing expense. Counseling could also be necessary to deal with the difficulties and changes in your life—for both yourself or your kids.

That’s not even counting all the pints of chocolate ice cream or books about restarting your life after divorce that you may or may not impulse buy.

How a Personal Loan Can Help Finance a Divorce

The challenge with divorce costs is that they are often all due around the same time. Since we don’t generally save for a potential divorce in an account labeled Divorce Fund, there’s often not enough cash on hand to cover everything.

Many people resort to using credit cards, but expensive interest rates only make your divorce cost more in the long run. Getting a divorce loan might sound strange, but it’s often a crucial way to pay for your divorce without going into credit card debt.

A divorce loan is essentially a personal loan that you take out to finance your divorce. If you have good financial history and a good job, you’ll be might be eligible to qualify for a much lower interest rate on a personal loan than a credit card would offer.

A personal loan can pay for divorce attorney’s fees or allow you to pay the movers. It can help you pay off existing joint debt, and even be put towards a new budget.

Having the funds from a personal loan can give you time to space out the costs over a longer period of time so that you don’t have to sell that painting your Aunt Mary left you. A personal loan to fund divorce costs could mean breathing room, peace of mind, and respite in a difficult time.

If you think a personal loan sounds like the plan for you, check out SoFi’s personal loans to help finance your divorce.

The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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How Much Mortgage Can I Afford?

If you’re considering buying a home, you’ve probably done some research on home prices and how much home you can afford. This is a common first step. Generally, folks like to kick off the process by looking at home prices in their neighborhood of choice. And while it’s fine to scan Zillow for the perfect A-frame in your favorite area, shopping around doesn’t actually help you figure out what you can afford.

First-time home buyers can be bamboozled by the true cost of buying a home, because there’s a lot more to consider than just principal and interest. Before buying a home, you should crunch and become familiar with the numbers for the total cost of your mortgage, including insurance, taxes, fees, bills, furniture, and so on. Only with a good grasp of what each line item will run can you make an estimate about the size of the mortgage, and therefore the home you can afford to buy.

Post-Redfin dreamin’, your next step is to determine how much you are willing to spend each month on all housing costs—without even knowing what those might be. Your total housing costs, ideally, should be no more than 28% of your total gross pay (before taxes). So where does 28% put you? Let’s find out by calculating your total mortgage costs.

Calculate Your Total Mortgage Cost

If you have been looking at homes, you’ve probably plugged your information into a mortgage calculator at some point. This is a fine place to start, but as mentioned, this number is far from all-inclusive. Still, it’s good to be familiar with the tool.

With any mortgage calculator, you will be asked to input hypotheticals, like the cost of your future home, your down payment, and the interest rate on your home loan. You’ll also need to choose which type of loan you plan to take out; It will likely be a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Using your hypotheticals, the calculator will tell you what you’re likely to pay each month. It should also provide the breakdown between what is paid to interest versus what goes toward the principal. An amortization graph shows how payments shift from being very interest-heavy at the beginning to covering mostly principal toward the end of your loan.

Mortgage CalculatorMortgage Calculator

Factoring Insurance and Taxes Into Your Mortgage

Have you heard of the acronym PITI? It stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. It’s is often pronounced “pity” and is therefore used endlessly in corny jokes by folks in the finance biz. Anyway, the PITI acronym includes the four major costs that every homeowner must pay. With our mortgage calculator, we determined the “P” and “I” of PITI. Next, let’s consider the “T” and second “I.”

Mortgage Taxes:

Property taxes are determined by your state and county, and they are based on the assessed value of your home and land. Generally, property taxes are paid to your city, county, and local school board. Because each county has their own methods for calculating and assessing property taxes, you’ll have to check with a realtor or look online at the county’s website to get a better idea of what they might run you. To help your calculations, 1% is a rough national average for property taxes. That means you’d probably pay $5,000 in annual property tax on a $500,000 home.

Homeowners Insurance:

Homeowner’s insurance depends on several factors like the value and condition of the property, and how much coverage you need. For example, a home in a state with a history of tornadoes or hurricanes will likely charge more than a state that’s less prone to such natural disasters.

As with property taxes, homeowner’s insurance may be collected by your lender and deposited into your escrow account, and other times you take care of the bill on your own. (You’ll want to ask your lender to be sure.) The national average for homeowner’s insurance in 2016 was $1,083 per year, or $90 per month.

Keeping Track of All Other Mortgage Fees

Private Mortgage Insurance:

If you put less than 20% toward your down payment, you may have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance. Why? Essentially, borrowers who put down less than 20% are considered a slightly higher risk because they do not have as much equity in the house.

The cost of PMI is usually determined by your credit score, the percent of your down payment and the amount of coverage required by your lender. Your lender will be able to provide you with an estimate. In general, you can expect your monthly PMI payments to run from $25 to $75 per $100,000 you borrow. The Homeowners Protection Act requires that lenders cancel your PMI when your loan-to-value ratio reaches 78%.

HOA Costs:

Homeowner’s Association fees are charged by condominiums, townhouses, and other shared-community developments, and are used to maintain common areas, provide security, manage amenities, and enforce HOA rules. HOA fees can vary depending on a number of factors, so it’s important to educate yourself on the costs and coverage before buying a property. The HOA for a single-family home in a closed neighborhood might run $50 per month, but a villa in an upscale ski town could cost $1,500 per month.


Don’t forget your monthly bills. For utilities, research what similar-sized homes in the area are spending on energy, garbage, water. Factor in cable, Wi-Fi, and any other utilities you’re accustomed to.

Closing Fees:

Though not a monthly fee, you’ll also want to be prepared to cover closing costs, which may include loan origination fees, appraisal fees, title insurance , taxes, deed-recording fees, and other charges.

Closing costs can run anywhere from 1% to 5% of the value of the mortgage loan, and can be paid by either the buyer or the seller. And remember, it is always, always recommended that potential homebuyers build up a significant emergency fund for repairs. When you’re a homeowner, there’s no one else to come and deal with rusty pipes or broken heaters!

Are You Ready to Afford a Mortgage?

Feeling overwhelmed by all the expenses we just laid out? The good news is there are ways to save money on these costs: You can and should shop around for homeowner’s insurance rates. Improving your credit score will get you a better interest rate on your home loan, which could save you thousands. Not all lenders are created equal, and you should get quotes from several financial institutions before deciding who you want to work with.

Are you ready to explore SoFi’s competitive mortgage rates with no hidden fees? Get a rate quote in just a few minutes (and no, it won’t hurt your credit score).

The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Mortgages not available in all states. Products and terms may vary from those advertised on this site. See for details.


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How to Talk About Money with Your Partner

You talk about your job, your dysfunctional family, the dream home you want to live in someday—but your finances? Ugh. If you’re like most couples, money is right up there with exes on the list of topics you avoid like the plague.

In fact, a whopping 43% of people don’t even know how much money their partner makes, according to a Fidelity study. “I think there’s still a taboo surrounding finances today. It’s not a topic that you typically share with your family members or loved ones,” says Alison Norris, a Certified Financial Planner at SoFi.

That’s probably because talking about finances can be, well, tough. After all, when you talk about money—and I mean really talk about it—you end up discussing much more than just dollars and cents. Having a meaningful discussion means chatting about your biggest dreams and deepest fears, and that can be straight-up terrifying.

But as you start to get more serious with someone, talking about money isn’t only a logistical reality, it’s a crucial step in making sure you plan and live the life you’ve both dreamed of.

The good news? If you approach the conversation the right way, it can actually bring you closer. Here’s how to take the plunge.

1. Take a Moment to Reflect by Yourselves

Before you even begin to talk to your partner about finances, you need to do something a little touchy-feely on your own. Bear with me, though—it’s worth it.

Ready? Put your phone down for a few minutes, channel your inner Freud, and take a deep look at both your past and your future. Ask yourself questions like:

• What did my parents teach me about money?

• When I think about money, which feelings come to mind?

• What are some good money habits and some bad money habits that I’ve developed over time?

• What goals do I want to reach in the next 5, 10, or 20 years—get married, buy a house, explore Australia, become a CEO, have two kids, get a puppy, purchase a sports car, give a certain amount to charity?

• What will retirement look like for me—where will I live and how will I spend my time? Are you on track for retirement? Consult SoFi’s retirement calculator to see where you stand.

Those answers will help you steer when you’re making financial decisions. “Money is a tool and it’s about looking at how you can really use that tool for things that bring you happiness,” says Norris.

For instance, maybe this exercise will shed light on the fact that you’re an impulsive spender, and it’s putting you deeper into debt. Or perhaps it’ll teach you that you’ve been buying a lot of clothes, even though travel is what truly excites you. Or maybe you’ll realize that since your parents barely made ends meet when you were a kid, you carry around a lot of anxiety, and that’s why it’s so difficult for you to have conversations about finances without wanting to curl up into the fetal position.

Spoiler alert: You may not like your answers, and that’s OK. The only thing that matters is being honest. Remember: You can’t figure out how to make changes and move forward until you know where you’ve been and how you got there.

The next step, says Norris, is to define your personal values. Take a look at the list below, and circle the three that are most important to you. Or, feel free to add your own!

Values: Adventure, Balance, Change, Community, Education, Experience, Faith, Family, Fun, Generosity, Harmony, Inner Peace, Lifelong Learning, Mobility, Opportunity, Personal Growth, Pleasure, Presence, Prestige, Prosperity/Wealth, Reliability, Respect, Security, Simplicity, Travel, Variety, Well-being

This second exercise is similar in that it forces you each to think about your priorities, which should inform how you spend your money going forward.

Now, ask your partner to do the same (alone), and then…

2. Come Together to Talk about What You Learned

Once you’ve had your separate me-time, go over what you discovered about yourselves. (Here’s a fun bonus exercise: Try guessing each other’s values before they’re revealed to see how well you know each other.)

You may find that you’re very much in sync in terms of what you want out of life, or you could learn that you’re total opposites. Whatever the case may be, you can still be compatible, according to Norris. “Most of the time, couples can agree on at least one value or aspect of their life that’s important,” she says. “Talk about why those values matter to you and share stories with your partner.”

One of the benefits of doing this is that it gives you a frame of reference and helps you understand where the other person is coming from. For example, you might be more likely to agree to an expensive home alarm system if you find out that your partner’s family home was burglarized.

Or maybe your partner will stop asking why you splurge on a pricey gym membership when you tell him about how you’ve struggled with your weight for years. Admitting these things involves making yourself vulnerable, which isn’t easy, but it’s bound to lower the friction in your relationship—both financial and otherwise.

3. Look at Your Net worth and Cash Flow

After you’ve done the hard work of opening yourselves up to each other, get down to the nitty-gritty numbers. Schedule a financial date one evening (feel free to include wine), sit down at a table with your laptops, log into all your investment and cash management accounts, and get cracking.

If you don’t have a joint account yet, consider SoFi Money®. Once you open up a SoFi Money account, it’s easy for you and your +1 to merge your finances with a joint account.

First, Norris advises calculating your net worth and showing it to your partner. Your net worth is everything you own (your assets) minus everything you owe (your debts). Then ask your partner to do the same, and write these figures down in a shared Google document with the date.

This process forces you to talk about things that might be a little embarrassing. For instance, if your partner has $30,000 of student loan or credit card debt, you don’t necessarily have to help pay it off, but you do need to know about it, because that may affect how soon you’ll be able to reach certain financial goals.

Next, analyze your cash flow from the last month by focusing on how much money you earned (your income), how much money you spent, what you spent it on, how much you saved, and what you’re saving it for. A website like can put all of your financial information in one place and do the math for you for free.

Yes, this means revealing your salary, as well as any habits that you may have been trying to hide, which can be tough. But the more honest you can be, the better. “People have a tendency to overstate what they make and understate their debt. I’m not sure that there’s malice involved—it’s more tied to insecurity and worrying that you won’t measure up in your partner’s eyes,” says Norris.

That’s why it’s so important to be intentional and look at the actual figures together. Making yourself have “the talk” will keep you one step ahead and give you a more realistic sense of what you’re doing well and what you can do better.

4. Figure out How Your Resources Will Be Spent

The final step involves making joint decisions based on the knowledge and insights that you’ve just gained.

Discuss how you have been paying for “couples” stuff in the past and how you’d like to pay for it going forward. These types of expenses might include dinners at restaurants, concerts, or weekend getaways. If you’re already living together, it could include bigger-ticket items like rent and utility bills. And if you’re engaged, it may include wedding and honeymoon costs.

Do you split everything exactly down the middle? Or does the person with the higher net worth pay a larger percentage? Or is it less precise: One person handles rent and the other handles everything else? It doesn’t matter what you decide—only that you come to an agreement that feels fair to both sides so there’s clarity and no resentment, says Norris.

Keep in mind that the solution that you choose doesn’t have to be permanent. You can experiment from month to month to see which strategy works best, and your financial circumstances may change over time. One of you might lose a job, get a promotion, or receive a large sum of money through a bonus or inheritance, which could prompt an adjustment.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused, or if you find you’re butting heads and could use some gentle conflict resolution from a neutral third party, arranging a joint meeting with a financial advisor can help you come up with a monetary game plan that’ll help you work toward your goals and feel less stressed.

SoFi Invest® is all about empowering you and your financial future, and we’re here to help. Schedule a complimentary personal consultation with one of our licensed financial advisors who can help you plot your path forward.

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How to Combine Your Finances: 3 Approaches to Consider

Whether you’re engaged, married, or simply spending all of your time with someone, figuring out what to do with your bank accounts as a couple can be a challenge. As your relationship becomes more serious, the conversation often moves from “Who’s paying for drinks?” to “How are we going to split rent payments?” to “How are we going to save for the down payment on a house?”

When the stakes get higher and your joint expenses become larger and more complicated, pressure and anxiety can rise, too. Which is why it’s important to have a financial plan. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry: You’ve come to the right place.

There are three types of paths that you can take as a couple: completely separate accounts, completely joint accounts, or a combo (having both joint accounts and personal accounts). How do you know which strategy is best for your particular scenario?

“The trend is to move toward combining at least some accounts, especially if you get married, because your financial life tends to be more complex at that point in time, but it’s not necessary. It’s more important that you understand day-to-day money management, whichever way you decide to go,” says Alison Norris, a Certified Financial Planner at SoFi.

Take a closer look at the pros and cons of each approach so you can stress less and get excited about what the future holds for both of you.

Completely Separate Accounts

This is most common among people who aren’t married, especially among those who haven’t been dating for very long, says Norris.

Pros: You don’t necessarily have to open up any new accounts, so you can continue doing whatever you’ve always done. You predetermine which expenses each of you covers. You can still split expenses with your partner (say, splitting rent 50/50, or a percentage that reflects both of your incomes), you’ll just pay for things from your different accounts.

There’s also less judgment about your spending habits since your partner isn’t logging in and looking at your bank statements. You have full control over your money and you don’t need to check in with anyone to spend it as you see fit.

Cons: If you have a joint savings goal—such as trying to save for a vacation or wedding—it’s harder to know right away whether or not you’re making progress. You have to communicate more with your partner and make sure you’re both contributing in the way that you’ve agreed upon.

Some Joint Accounts, Some Personal Accounts

This is what Norris does with her partner, and it’s the approach that she sees couples take most often.

Pros: You might see this as the best of both worlds, because you can keep your individual accounts for judgment-free discretionary spending. But you can also have joint investment or savings accounts for things like a down payment or a shared car. With joint accounts, you can always see how much your partner is contributing to make sure you’re on track to meet your goals. You get the feeling of teamwork without losing all of your financial independence.

Cons: You’ll have to open some more accounts, which will make your finances a little more complicated than they were before. Beyond just remembering more user names and passwords, you’ll need to monitor all those accounts regularly to have a complete picture of your finances. It requires a little more time and effort than the first approach.

Completely Combined

This means combining every single account that you have—all checking, savings, and investment accounts—except your retirement savings accounts (government regulations mean those have to be individual).

Pros: It’s simple in the sense that once you make the switch, you have the smallest number of accounts to monitor and you have the clearest picture of how you’re doing financially as a couple.

Cons: It may feel drastically different from what you’ve been doing in the past—and more limiting. For instance, sharing a cash management account can be tricky if you don’t budget ahead of time with your partner. Let’s say you have $800 in the account, and you each go out and make a $500 purchase without consulting each other—you’re looking at overdraft fees.

Another downside: In this scenario, your partner can see every single transaction that you make and you may not want him or her weighing in on your discretionary spending. Does he really need to know just how often you hit up Starbucks or what your regular haircut actually costs?

Questions To Ask Yourself

Before you make a decision, consider these factors.

1. Are you 100% comfortable giving your partner insight into all of your purchases? If so, then #3 may be best for you. If not, then go with #1 or #2.

2. Are you actively saving for something large and further down the horizon beyond just next month’s rent? That’s a scenario in which having at least one joint account may be helpful, so you might want to consider #2 or #3.

3. Are your incomes and expenses roughly the same, or very different? If the latter, try to find a way that you are both able to save a proportional amount of your income. Consider your take home pay minus fixed expenses and minimum debt payments. Then use that figure to determine who should pay for what. Remember that fair doesn’t always mean equal, and you will likely keep separate debt obligations and retirement accounts for all options.

No matter which strategy you choose, make sure that you and your partner are both comfortable with it, and set up ground rules. The goal is having clarity about your financial situation so there’s no confusion or resentment. Communicating about it might feel awkward at first, but it can help reduce friction down the line.

And if you’re not sure which way to go, meet with a financial advisor like Norris who can take a look at your specific financial situation and give you advice. SoFi’s team of licensed financial advisors is here to help—and it’s absolutely complimentary.

SoFi Wealth, LLC does not render tax or legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and we recommend that you consult with a qualified tax advisor for your specific needs.
The SoFi Wealth platform is operated and maintained by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Brokerage services are provided to clients of SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of FINRA / SIPC. Investments are not FDIC Insured, have No Guarantee and May Lose Value. Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.

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