What to do before you say, “I do”—The past

As a financial advisor, I help couples with retirement and estate planning every day, so navigating sensitive financial topics is nothing new to me. However, blending finances as a newly engaged couple was uncharted territory to me.

A few weeks after being engaged to my fiancée, Rebecca, I looked at her one night and said, “Should we have the money talk?” We’d been tiptoeing around this topic for a while, revealing salary details but never going as far as sharing our personal account details.

After putting off the conversation long enough, we decided to finally roll up our sleeves and dig in. We entered our usernames and passwords into our money apps, counted to 3, and pressed log in. A few minutes later, we’d laid bare our financial lives for each other to see.

We looked at each other. Stared back at our screens. Then Rebecca said, “Now what?”

Though we’ve grown to know each other on a much deeper level, the sound of wedding bells chimed in with new and important considerations, especially since we’d now be making important decisions together. During these conversations, we realized not only did we need to blend our finances, but we should also be planning for mutual goals like buying a home and starting a family.

An extensive web search led us mostly to articles on budgeting, Roth IRAs, and credit cards, but few articles ever mentioned the human side of this process. We decided to approach things differently, by examining our past, present, and future.

So in this 3-part blog series, we’ll cover how Rebecca and I navigated a series of discussions as we combined our finances. I’ll share how we built a solid foundation, blended our money, and established relationship goals. Keep in mind though: Navigating and blending your finances isn’t a onetime event—it’s an ongoing journey through the past, present, and future.

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