BOSTON (CBS) – Couples are marrying later in life; the average age of a man is 29 and a woman 27 in the U.S. That means merging two households. So what should be owned individually or owned jointly?

  1. If you both own your own home, you may want to consider selling them and buying one jointly. If you sell one and move into the other one, decide the ownership issues. Do you add your new spouse to the deed? Do you add them to the mortgage as a responsible party? Have fun deciding which furniture you keep and whose goes to Goodwill.
  2. A marriage does not automatically meld credit histories. If one of you has a lousy credit report and is getting out of debt, be sure to keep things separate. If you do want to buy a house in the future you will have one good credit score.
  3. If you bring credit card debt or school loans into this new union you are responsible for your own debt.
  4. Consider a joint checking account for household expenses and savings, but keep your individual checking accounts if you are both working. It is good to have your own money to spend as you wish.
  5. Credit Cards: keep your own card and you are responsible for the payments. Consider having a joint card for the household purchases. No one needs more than two or 3 credit cards!
  6. Stocks, savings, and mutual funds: any assets you bring into the marriage leave in your individual accounts. Then discuss joint accounts for your future goals dipping into your individual accounts to help reach those goals.
  7. Retirement plans: be sure you are both taking advantage of what’s available from your employer and contributing the maximum you can afford.
  8. To be sure your spouse inherits your life insurance, IRAs, retirement plans, pensions or annuities update the beneficiary designations.

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