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The finances of blended families - 10/27/2023

A blended family is when you and your partner build a life together that includes children from prior relationships for either or both of you. There is no one right way to manage the finances of a blended family. Like most financial situations, communication is key.

In a first marriage for both partners there can be money issues that arise due to the different financial backgrounds of each partner. When a family is blended this gets more complicated because there may also be prior spouses and extended family that are still involved in the relationship due to the children. Add the various expectations and different money values that each of us have and it can create a challenging situation.

Communicating expectations and realities is the first step toward bridging these differences and creating a financial future that is most likely to work for everyone. One way to do this could be for you to create a list together of future issues you are expecting to have to deal with such as higher education, health issues, or other known financial challenges. Then each of you, individually write a list separately that includes your expectations, values, and ways you think these challenges could be dealt with. After you have had time to consider them independently, sit down together and discuss where you agree and where you vary. Take time and do this early on, so that you have a chance to address your thoughts and feelings before something comes up that needs an immediate answer. Most importantly, don't keep financial secrets and try to stash money away from your partner. (Intentional separate accounts are fine, but separate accounts that unknowingly take 'family' money from one partner are a red flag that you aren't a partnership)

You can bring your lists and concerns to a financial advisor to help you come up with options and opportunities you may not have considered if you are having trouble reaching agreements.

Remember, the end goal is to face any challenges together as a family.

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