Determine what you own separately and together

Life’s Financial Journeys

Heading Off to College
Getting Out on Your Own
Blending Two Lives
Having a Child
Emptying the Nest
Entering Retirement
Death of a Life Partner
Military Life

When you combine your finances with another person you are bringing assets into the arrangement. Separate property is either income earned or assets acquired before your marriage. Inherited assets, whether acquired before or after marriage, are generally treated as separate property. Joint assets are earned or acquired after marriage.

State law governs the treatment of joint and separate property as well as inherited property. You should check with your state laws before making final decisions on how you and your new partner will treat income and assets owned before the marriage.

The following resources may assist you in determining what you own separately and together:

Looking back on “How You Learned About Money”

Assets for Your Balance Sheet

Assets, Liabilities, and Equity

Determining What You Own

Preparing Financially for a Family

Blending Two Lives Tasks

1. Creating a joint spending plan
2. Building shared credit access and usage
3. Managing dual careers
4. Protecting your income with life insurance
5. Estate planning

Creating a joint spending plan Subtasks:

1. Determine what you own separately and together
2. Determine what you owe and your joint net worth
3. Determine your income and expenses
4. Develop a spending plan
5. Decide how you will manage your day-to-day finances


NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation
8700 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 700N
Chicago, IL 60631
(847) 483–5400 ext. 106