"With regards to all marital money matters, I like to start with the concept of a 'financial three-way', which consists of 'yours, mine and ours'," said financial advisor Manisha Thakor, director of wealth strategies for women at The BAM Alliance.
A couple may decide that everything related to housing, food, transportation, entertainment, and vacation is considered "joint" and they pay for these out of a joint checking account. Another couple may decide that other items such as charitable giving, personal grooming, clothes, presents, and hobbies are "separate." Any of these "solo" expenses would come from separate checking and savings accounts.
You could use the same approach with credit cards, but understand the potential downsides too. "When it comes to 'joint' anything in a relationship, the actions of one party will have lasting effects on the other," said Thakor, a member of the CNBC Digital Financial Advisors Council.
New York-based financial advisor Stacy Francis agrees—and adds that merging finances doesn't necessarily prevent financial infidelity. "You can have joint accounts, but that does not protect you from your spouse opening an account without you being any wiser," said Francis, who is also a member of the council. "If you spouse wants to hide something- they will."
That's why financial advisors say it is so important to be open and honest about your finances. Keep talking!