Married and Moving In: What Does That Mean for My Money?

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Getting married and moving in with your partner is a significant turning point in both your lives. But in the process of packing up and combining all your worldly goods, things can get a little bit hectic. You may have found your dream home, but this is just the beginning – in the midst of all this excitement, you shouldn’t forget to keep a critical eye on your personal finances.

Things can get a little weird, so with that in mind, here are a few money protips to help you navigate life as a newlywed.

Clear the Air and Tell Eachother Your Debts

First things first: communication isn’t just crucial for your feelings! Openly communicating about finances is a massive step towards keeping tension out of your marriage.

Make no mistake: money is (perhaps unsurprisingly) one of the biggest causes of stress in relationships. So be honest and forthcoming with each other about your finances prior to moving in, so you can work on a plan to move forward together. That means laying all your cards out on the table. Make sure to discuss:

  • Your spending habits and priorities
  • What you each carry in terms of debt
  • Your credit standing
  • Current investments and income
  • Your goals are for the future

The more you communicate, the better you’ll be able to negotiate your financial landscape as a team.

Knowing What’s Mine and What’s Yours: What’s Separate in the Eyes of the Law

The distinction between separate and shared marital assets differs from state to state. In general, assets acquired before marriage, as well as gifts, inheritance and personal injury awards are considered separate.

Most other assets, specifically those acquired during a marriage, are seen as shared. This includes retirement accounts (like IRAs or 401(k)s), businesses, properties, income and investments. However, remember that some of these assets will be assessed differently depending on whether you live in one of these common law or community property states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

This can totally affect how you handle those assets, so read the links and be prepared!

Do You Share Debts Too?

In common law states, assets owned by only one spouse are legally considered separate, which can provide what’s sometimes called an asset protection advantage.

Those community property/common law states I talked about earlier, on the other hand, treat both spouses as equal contributors to the family unit, regardless of individual income level, which means they divide all assets 50/50. This includes everything earned or purchased during the marriage years, no matter if the deed, title or account registration is only in one person’s name. This also means that here, debt or liabilities acquired by one spouse are shared equally by both.

Yep, that means in the event that you want to override your state’s property laws, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement. This will stand in court even if you move between states that apply different property laws.

‘Till Death (and Taxes) Do Us Part

Tax laws can be complicated, so make sure to do some research to determine whether you should file jointly or separately as a married couple. It will highly depend on factors such as children, rate of income and even nationality.

Filing jointly means your tax liability will likely change, pushing you into a lower or higher bracket. However, even with a higher tax rate, there are benefits. Married-filing-jointly couples receive exemptions, deductions and credits not available under other statuses. Adjusting your W-4 to the married rate or claiming the additional allowance also reduces the taxes withheld from your paycheck. Plus, spouses are also allowed unlimited tax free gifts to each other, which can affect how you handle larger assets.

Add it All Up – Together

One of the most proactive steps you’ll need to take is to – for real – sit down and make a mutual budget. This will keep both of you accountable to the shared responsibilities you’ll now have, so you don’t fall into debt.

Even if you decide to put one of you in charge of the finances, it’s still important to create a plan together. List all of your expenses, most of all including:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Utilities
  • Food and entertainment
  • Car expenses
  • Loan and credit card payments
  • Savings and retirement contributions

Discuss individual needs or preferences and make sure you come to a compromise in areas where you disagree. You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll split everything equally, or have each person contribute a percentage to the household based on their earnings.

Save for a Rainy Day

Finally, build an emergency fund! This is critical in keeping your marriage stable when life gets rocky, and is severely lacking on most people’s ledger. It is guaranteed to come in handy when the car breaks down, the basement floods or a family emergency occurs. It will also protect you during job losses, serious accidents and extended illnesses.

There’s no way to predict what or when these events will crop up, but one thing is for sure: something always does. Make this a priority so an unexpected life event doesn’t end up driving your marriage into the ground.

Moving into a new home together as newlyweds can get a bit daunting as you’ll have to do things a bit differently. Make sure you take the previous tips into consideration when planning out your finances for your new life together – it’ll make many of your future issues a lot easier to deal with so that you can focus on each other and your marriage.


Beth Kotz is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, where she continues to live and work.

How I Managed to Move While I Was 6 Months Pregnant

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Yes, it’s true: I was living with my husband in a one-bedroom walk up when my pregnancy test came back positive. We were both thrilled, but any excitement I felt about the baby’s arrival was dimmed by the depressing prospect of bringing a newborn home to such a small apartment. Despite the inevitable trouble that comes with moving while pregnant, I ultimately preferred those issues over sharing our already cramped space with a screaming baby.

And that’s how I wound up moving while six months pregnant.

The bad news is that pregnancy complicates an already exhausting process. The good news is that I survived—and you can too. Below is how I managed to move into my new place.

Plan to Work During Your Second Trimester

Moving While Pregnant Tip - Plan on Working

The famous real estate mantra is location, location, location, but a positive moving experience (especially while pregnant) also depends on timing.

That’s why you should capitalize on your second trimester.

Most women feel a surge of new energy after the initial morning sickness dissipates. Even if you can’t move into the new house yet, use that valuable energy in productive ways—for example, box up items you won’t need until after the move (like books or holiday decor), research paint options, or just use that time to reserve the moving truck.

Always Prepare for How You Will Feel Later, Not Just Now

Your body and your overall mental state change rapidly during pregnancy. What you feel comfortable with one day, you may dread just a few days later. Welcome to the moving while pregnant rollercoaster.

Early in the packing process, I filled probably a dozen cardboard boxes with books. Even at the time that I packed these boxes, they seemed heavy, but I was largely unconcerned. Weeks later, I was experiencing major back pain—and after having others move the boxes into the house, I couldn’t even manage to push them along the floor to where I wanted them. I had to leave the books scattered in inconvenient locations for days. Anticipate your body’s changes better than I did!

Care for Your Body, Because Someone Depends on It

Moving While Pregnant - Plan for Rest

Your sleep, diet and other health choices impact not just you, but your child too. Even if you feel you are coping well with the strain of moving while pregnant, don’t neglect your physical well-being.

Set an alarm to eat (seriously)

There were days when we spent hours packing or painting or somehow preparing for the move without any consideration for food. With my already decreased appetite, I sometimes forgot about entire meals. But not eating will only make you feel sicker. Before you start a long project, designate a specific time to stop and eat, then mark it with an alarm on your phone.

Prioritize sleep

That includes everything from taking frequent naps to making sure that you have a bed situation sorted for the first few nights in the house. We didn’t leave enough time to assemble our Ikea bed on move-in day, so we wound up on the floor in the living room—not ideal for a pregnant woman!

You CAN Help Moving While Pregnant—Just Not at Your Own Expense

Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to friends and family even if you’re already enlisting a moving company (which I recommend, because honestly.) On moving day, more is always merrier.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help wherever possible

Some may welcome the excuse (or rather, extremely valid reason) to kick back and watch other people work, but if you’re anything like me, you might actually struggle not to jump in and contribute when you see your friends sweating and straining.

Don't be afraid to ask for help when moving while pregnant

Find alternative ways to contribute

I guarantee no one will think you are lazy for not moving boxes—there is plenty to do that doesn’t involve heavy lifting. You can do a deep clean of each room, direct other people about where to put boxes, run out to grab food for everyone helping, etc.

Whatever you do, if you’re moving while pregnant you will likely grow tired quickly like I did, so remember to take frequent breaks.

Overall, the key to survival when moving while pregnant is to embrace the positive aspects of the situation rather than dwelling on the complications. When you’re at your most stressed, just remember that the final outcome will be a home for your baby, where you can create sweet new memories as a family.


The four most important things in Kelsey Down’s life are her coffee, her cat, her dog and her kid. As a first-time homeowner and a working mom, Kelsey loves to tackle topics like home improvement, family life and wellness while finding balance in a chaotic life. She has been published on sites like TODAY.com, Mommyish & KSL. Follow her on Twitter @kladown23.
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