Author Topic: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?  (Read 26440 times)

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #100 on: January 31, 2015, 04:31:05 PM »
When you're married - or even, I submit, living together, but that's a separate conversation - what one does affects the other.  His choice or my choice to work "overtime" (we're both salaried, so overtime pay doesn't really exist but his job requires extra hours more than mine does - and he's compensated for it), most definitely affects the other.  We're not doing "nothing" when one is working more paid hours.  We're picking up the slack around the house.

Not for us. If I work late overtime, he has leftovers for dinner (we keep about a two day supply of ready-to-eat, portioned out meals) and I eat at work (free). If he works late, I delay making dinner until he gets home (it takes no additional effort for me to change the time I start dinner). We do the minimum amount of housework we can get away with to not live in a pig sty, so there's very little to do on a day to day basis. It's pretty rare for one of us to step in and do the other's jobs - I can think of only a handful of times, and they involved surgeries, injuries, and hospital stays.
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MicroRN

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #101 on: January 31, 2015, 04:48:45 PM »
We go all in - the only truly "separate" accounts we have are our retirement accounts, but we fund those equally.  We each have a couple accounts that the other person isn't on, but those are ones that are barely used for anything, and just have a couple hundred sitting in them.  I can access my husband's accounts, and he could access mine if he bothered remembering my login.  We both have our paychecks direct deposited to our main account.  All bills are paid from the common pool.  I handle the finances, but we discuss them enough to be sure we're on the same page.  If we had big spending issues, we'd probably go to a system where each person gets a monthly allowance to spend.  My husband makes quite a bit more than I do, but a lot of that is because of a joint decision for me to only work part-time while the kids are little.  It makes everyone's life better, especially since I'm able to devote time to decreasing expenses, cooking, and other useful home activities.  I ended up with over $100K in inheritance this year, and that went into the pot as well.  I don't consider that "my" money any more than he considers his paycheck "his" money.   

caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #102 on: January 31, 2015, 04:49:34 PM »
When you're married - or even, I submit, living together, but that's a separate conversation - what one does affects the other.  His choice or my choice to work "overtime" (we're both salaried, so overtime pay doesn't really exist but his job requires extra hours more than mine does - and he's compensated for it), most definitely affects the other.  We're not doing "nothing" when one is working more paid hours.  We're picking up the slack around the house.

Not for us. If I work late overtime, he has leftovers for dinner (we keep about a two day supply of ready-to-eat, portioned out meals) and I eat at work (free). If he works late, I delay making dinner until he gets home (it takes no additional effort for me to change the time I start dinner). We do the minimum amount of housework we can get away with to not live in a pig sty, so there's very little to do on a day to day basis. It's pretty rare for one of us to step in and do the other's jobs - I can think of only a handful of times, and they involved surgeries, injuries, and hospital stays.

And what if you had children?  You'd make them wait for dinner since he was working late?  That's not going to happen.  Plus then you'd be watching the kids solo for extra hours while he got to keep all the extra money he made. 

I don't have kids but this line of thinking would work even with pets.  If DH works late and I have to feed the dogs at night (normally I do AM and he does PM) does he have to pay me the going pet sitting rate out of his overtime?

This is just way too complicated and impractical.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #103 on: January 31, 2015, 05:09:03 PM »
When you're married - or even, I submit, living together, but that's a separate conversation - what one does affects the other.  His choice or my choice to work "overtime" (we're both salaried, so overtime pay doesn't really exist but his job requires extra hours more than mine does - and he's compensated for it), most definitely affects the other.  We're not doing "nothing" when one is working more paid hours.  We're picking up the slack around the house.

Not for us. If I work late overtime, he has leftovers for dinner (we keep about a two day supply of ready-to-eat, portioned out meals) and I eat at work (free). If he works late, I delay making dinner until he gets home (it takes no additional effort for me to change the time I start dinner). We do the minimum amount of housework we can get away with to not live in a pig sty, so there's very little to do on a day to day basis. It's pretty rare for one of us to step in and do the other's jobs - I can think of only a handful of times, and they involved surgeries, injuries, and hospital stays.

And what if you had children?  You'd make them wait for dinner since he was working late?  That's not going to happen.  Plus then you'd be watching the kids solo for extra hours while he got to keep all the extra money he made. 

I don't have kids but this line of thinking would work even with pets.  If DH works late and I have to feed the dogs at night (normally I do AM and he does PM) does he have to pay me the going pet sitting rate out of his overtime?

This is just way too complicated and impractical.

But we don't have kids, so it's not applicable. Presumably if we did we would come to some sort of logical arrangement to account for that, like we do in every other aspect of our lives.

I feed our cat when he works late, but given that it takes me all of five seconds, I'm wouldn't consider that any sort of hardship.
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NoraLenderbee

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #104 on: January 31, 2015, 05:30:47 PM »
My spouse and I pool everything. However, separate finances obviously work for some people, so why is it necessary to keep arguing that they're wrong?

caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #105 on: January 31, 2015, 05:48:00 PM »
My spouse and I pool everything. However, separate finances obviously work for some people, so why is it necessary to keep arguing that they're wrong?

For me it actually started out as curiosity, because I literally can't fathom how keeping things separate works.  Maybe that's because my husband is about as financially uninvolved as he possibly could be.  I told someone earlier in the thread that if it works better for their peace of mind, more power to them.  But I think they were BF/GF and I hadn't thought about the question of kids...then I did think about the kids/pets thing and wanted to know how they would handle it? 

I should be better about qualifying my more judgmental statements with a personal pronoun..."this is way to complicated and impractical for me."

h2ogal

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #106 on: January 31, 2015, 06:18:41 PM »
People feel really strongly about this topic for sure!

The thing is that often the agreement EVOLVES.....DH and I have been together forever.  At the start we had very different thoughts on finances...I thought he was cheap and he thought I was spendy. We kept everything separate.

As the relationship evolved we started sharing more and more:
 
Start - We have totally separate bills and accounts...Rent in my name, electricity and cable in your name, etc.  Trust is pretty low.  We have frequent $ conflicts.

Middle - Yours, Mine and Ours - Children. House in both names, Joint Bill Pay account for Basics Household Income, but all hobbies and discretionary accounts paid from individual accounts.  Conflicts are less.  We realize however that we are not "optimizing" due to the separateness.   We go through some ups and downs...I support the family while he starts a new business.  He supports us when I lose a job.  He watches the kids while I get my MBA.  Later, I take over doing all the yard-work for a few years while he focuses on growing his business and works every weekend. We start to feel like a team.  I start to earn more and save more.  With our higher income be becomes more spendy.

NOW - We agree it is all 'shared'.  From a decision making stand-point we each 'own' our own investments and decisions and trust each other.  I don't get involved in every little decision he makes on his businesses, but he may consult me on the really big ones.  He doesn't tell me which index funds to pick in my accounts, but I sometimes consult him before making big changes.

Money Styles: Over time we rubbed off on each other...I started earning more, but also kept spending more.  I started saving more and he started spending more.

Now, decades later, we have almost switched places.  He spends much more on cars, lawnmowers, etc. than I think he should.  I turned into a big earner and also a big saver.


We definitely would consult each other before taking on any debt, or making a major change in strategy.

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #107 on: January 31, 2015, 08:32:04 PM »
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My wife has a spendy friend who is very unhappy in her marriage of 25+ years. She and her husband have always had separate finances, splitting household costs 50/50. He has always earned more than her. She has no idea how much money her husband has.

Why have they not discussed their finances?

Quote
All she knows is she has no money, has credit card debt, and feels trapped & miserable. She seems to think (wrongly of course) that, by virtue of their separate finances, if she leaves she has no claim on his assets. My wife suggested she talk to a lawyer but she says she can't afford one. The suggestion was made that she should inquire about what legal aid services might be available to her. The response "Oh I can't do that -- legal aid is for poor people" - so her other problem is pride.

So she spends all the money she makes (and then some). That is due to her own decisions, and that is not his fault. She should not expect him to subsidize his lifestyle for no reason.

It is irritating how you portray this woman as lacking in agency.

I mean really "All she knows is she has no money, has credit card debt, and feels trapped & miserable".

As though she has no idea how that happened.
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KMMK

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #108 on: January 31, 2015, 08:37:59 PM »
For the people with joint finances I don't understand how it works if:
- 1 person wants to retire
- 1 person wants to work part time or not work at all
- 1 person wants to start a business
- 1 person wants to go back to school

What do you do then? Do you try to compromise or stop them or have a complex negotiation?
This is mainly why I have separate finances and feel it's super easy. As long as the other person is paying their share, they can do whatever they want. I don't have to worry about laziness or a failed business affecting my life. Of course I chose a man who I trust completely to be responsible, but I like that I feel that I never have to try to control him at all,and vice versa.
And what about different investing strategies? We each have strong preferences on that front. The compromise is to make our own decisions.

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #109 on: January 31, 2015, 10:41:36 PM »
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For the people with joint finances I don't understand how it works if:
- 1 person wants to retire
- 1 person wants to work part time or not work at all
- 1 person wants to start a business
- 1 person wants to go back to school

Then there is massive resentment, stress, and ill-will. No matter what the outcome is, at least one person (if not both) is unhappy.

I've seen so many threads posted on various forums about one party being unhappy that the other has (unilaterally) made a decision that benefits them, at the cost of the other. Where one person wants to stop working, and expects the other to support them. Where one person wants to take a low-paying, but more enjoyable job and expects the other to continue working just as hard and support them both. Where one person wants to take on student loan debt (that only benefits themselves) and expects the other person to support them.

And there is nothing they can do about it since "it's our money".

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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #110 on: February 01, 2015, 09:33:11 AM »
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For the people with joint finances I don't understand how it works if:
- 1 person wants to retire
- 1 person wants to work part time or not work at all
- 1 person wants to start a business
- 1 person wants to go back to school

Then there is massive resentment, stress, and ill-will. No matter what the outcome is, at least one person (if not both) is unhappy.

I've seen so many threads posted on various forums about one party being unhappy that the other has (unilaterally) made a decision that benefits them, at the cost of the other. Where one person wants to stop working, and expects the other to support them. Where one person wants to take a low-paying, but more enjoyable job and expects the other to continue working just as hard and support them both. Where one person wants to take on student loan debt (that only benefits themselves) and expects the other person to support them.

And there is nothing they can do about it since "it's our money".

Here is how it works, when it works well.

"Hon, I think I'd like to go to grad school."
"Okay, let's talk about it."
(talks about it, enrolls.)

"I'm thinking about starting a business."
"How would it impact our finances? How would you pay your startup costs?"
"I've done some research... Here is what I think we can expect.... "
(Makes a plan, starts business)

"How would you feel if I dropped my hours by a third next year? It would reduce our income a bit."
"I think you should. I'd do the same if my job were flexible!"
(Drops hours)

These are all actual conversations I've had with my spouse. And I *have* gone back to school, started a business, and gone part time. We support each other's goals. It's never unilateral, there is always discussion and planning and calculations. But in the end, we want each other to be happy, so we look for ways to say yes to the things that matter deeply to the other person.

I still think that "whatever works for the couple" is the best strategy. But I think you are mistaken when you say sharing creates resentment and ill-will. Splitting or sharing is just math. What matters is how you treat one another.

SIS

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This past summer, two months after we got married, DH's disability got so bad that his doctors told him not to drive, and he was basically forced to resign his job.  We had a 3-month emergency fund in the bank and not much else; we'd bought a house six months previously, had just rescued 2 dogs, and I'm still in college, so I have a fairly limited earning potential. 

There's no ill will or resentment, and our relationship is a lot stronger now that we've gone through sThat situation sounds terrifying and a lot of people would probably think I was crazy for sticking around.  We figured it out.  I went to work for a friend, making $150/wk for 3ish days of fairly hard labor.  We burned through the entire emergency fund and started living off credit cards.  There were months I chose between paying the electric bill and paying the mortgage.  Eventually the VA disability came through and we're okay again.  He still doesn't work, and I work around 10 hrs/wk in between classes.  He might never work again, and I'm okay with that.  He does stuff around the house that I did when he was the only one working -- cleaning, cooking (sometimes--he is a fairly terrible cook), etc. 

There's no ill will or resentment, and our relationship is a lot stronger having gone through something this challenging.  Now, we're both absolutely positive that we're in this for the long haul and committed to getting through life as a team, and we have actual trial-by-fire proof that we can do that.

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #111 on: February 01, 2015, 11:58:16 AM »
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"Hon, I think I'd like to go to grad school."
"Okay, let's talk about it."
(talks about it, enrolls.)

That is a nice thought, but quite idealistic.

What happens when the working person is uncomfortable with the idea of paying for everything - including tuition - simply so the other person can do something that only benefits themselves?

Then you have a problem that cannot be solved when finances are shared. One person will be unhappy no matter what the outcome is.

If finances are separate, then there is no problem.

Quote
I still think that "whatever works for the couple" is the best strategy. But I think you are mistaken when you say sharing creates resentment and ill-will. Splitting or sharing is just math. What matters is how you treat one another.

Sharing finances does not create resentment, that is not what I am saying.

Sharing finances when the two parties disagree on what they want causes resentment (one party wants the other to pay for everything, but that person opposes it), and that is simply a fact.

In contrast, with separate finances, there is no catalyst to cause resentment, since each person is simply spending their own money on what is important to them.
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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #112 on: February 01, 2015, 12:29:18 PM »
Quote
"Hon, I think I'd like to go to grad school."
"Okay, let's talk about it."
(talks about it, enrolls.)

That is a nice thought, but quite idealistic.

What happens when the working person is uncomfortable with the idea of paying for everything - including tuition - simply so the other person can do something that only benefits themselves?

Then you have a problem that cannot be solved when finances are shared. One person will be unhappy no matter what the outcome is.

If finances are separate, then there is no problem.

Quote
I still think that "whatever works for the couple" is the best strategy. But I think you are mistaken when you say sharing creates resentment and ill-will. Splitting or sharing is just math. What matters is how you treat one another.

Sharing finances does not create resentment, that is not what I am saying.

Sharing finances when the two parties disagree on what they want causes resentment (one party wants the other to pay for everything, but that person opposes it), and that is simply a fact.

In contrast, with separate finances, there is no catalyst to cause resentment, since each person is simply spending their own money on what is important to them.

Why does going to grad school only benefit the person who attends school?  Presumably there would be a higher income after getting the degree, which would benefit both parties.  Not to mention the fact that one half of the couple would also presumably be more satisfied/fulfilled with their job/career, which would bring intangible benefits to both parties. 

A responsible couple would pay for grad school out of savings, not on a month to month cash flow basis.  If both members of the couple were working before one went to grad school, the savings would be a mutual asset that they both contributed to. 

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #113 on: February 01, 2015, 03:44:50 PM »
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Why does going to grad school only benefit the person who attends school?  Presumably there would be a higher income after getting the degree, which would benefit both parties.  Not to mention the fact that one half of the couple would also presumably be more satisfied/fulfilled with their job/career, which would bring intangible benefits to both parties.

Because one person getting education only benefits that person. Only one person is learning new skills or getting a new certification/degree.

I think I see the problem. You, and the people advocating shared finances, automatically equate one person in a marriage with the other. Therefore, anything that benefits one person and one person alone, translates to benefiting both.

Quote
A responsible couple would pay for grad school out of savings, not on a month to month cash flow basis.  If both members of the couple were working before one went to grad school, the savings would be a mutual asset that they both contributed to.

Given the high percentages of people saving 0-10% of their income, that is an unlikely assumption. In which case, the one party would be paying for all expenses.

Even if we did assume there was sufficient savings - we then further have to assume that the person going back to school contributed at least 50% to the savings, which makes it more unlikely.

And even if we did make all those assumptions, that still doesn't address the main point.

Which is, suppose the other party is not on board with spending their money on the other's person choices. For instance, you assume that the person going back to school will result in a higher income. That may not be the case, it could simply be that they wish to switch fields (but have a lower or equivalent income).

If finances were separate and each party was paying for their own choices, there would be no cause for the other partner to be upset. If finances are shared and the other party is opposed to the idea, then there is cause for resentment and ill will.

That is the main drawback of shared finances, which you have not addressed. If one party is opposed to the actions that the second party wants to do (because it directly affects the first party), there is no way to resolve it to the satisfaction of all parties.
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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #114 on: February 01, 2015, 03:58:27 PM »
So if you and your partner have a fundamental disagreement on something non-financial, do you throw in the towel?  Or do you compromise and figure out a solution that both parties are amenable to?  Why are financial matters the only thing you can't reach mutually agreeable compromises on?

If DH wants to move, and I do not, we would sit down and talk about the various pros and cons.  About why he wants to move, why I do not, what each of us would get out of the move, etc etc.   Eventually we would reach a solution agreeable to both of us. 

We actually did this recently concerning a future move to Wisconsin.  He wants to move to his hometown; I was less excited about leaving civilization.  Then I realized we could afford a farm where I could keep horses at home, and therefore afford nicer/more horses (board costs around 1k/month here for one horse), ride more frequently, etc.  But then he realized having a farm might prevent us from having cable (he is very concerned about internet speeds....).  And so we agreed that we would move to a small farm on the edge of town, not a giant one way out in the country, where I could have a couple horses and he could have faster internet, and no one would be maintaining 50 acres of land.  In addition to the horses, I get to be close to 2 sets of grandparents who would love to spend time with future grandkids (babysitting!), and will actually have better job prospects while removing myself from the East Coast rat race. 

You're painting a picture of a relationship between two uncompromising, hard-line people who only co-exist as long as each doesn't interfere with the wants/goals of the other.  Sorry, but that's not how my marriage works.  We haven't come across anything that either one of us has been so fundamentally opposed to that we couldn't eventually find common ground on it.  Given what we've already been through, I don't see us ever coming across something like that.

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #115 on: February 01, 2015, 05:32:59 PM »
Quote
So if you and your partner have a fundamental disagreement on something non-financial, do you throw in the towel?  Or do you compromise and figure out a solution that both parties are amenable to?  Why are financial matters the only thing you can't reach mutually agreeable compromises on?

Some disagreements can be solved and some can't. If one person wants kids and the other does not, then no compromise is possible. In many cases there can be a solution though.

Financial matters can often have a solution that both parties find acceptable - though they might not, depending on the issue. I am not saying that financial issues can never result in a mutually agreeable solution.

What I am saying is that having shared finances can cause financial issues that would otherwise not exist. Which is why I believe that having separate finances are superior. Sure, it may be possible to come to a compromise and find an acceptable outcome for the problem.

But it would be much better to simply not have the problem even arise, which it would not have if finances were independent.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 06:16:57 PM by Celda »
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Dimitri

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #116 on: February 01, 2015, 09:16:47 PM »
We have a real simple strategy.  I make my money and my wife makes hers.  I pay our joint expenses (HOA, property taxes, food, utilities, etc.).  Beyond that we each pay our own IRA and whatever else.  My wife likes Fendi.  Their bags aren't cheap.  I couldn't care less.  I use a rubber band for a wallet.  Put your money together (if need be) for what you spend together.  Other than that pay your own way. 

Do we deviate from that?  Sure.  2013 my wife wanted to buy a car.  I put down $5,000 (max dealership would allow on a credit card as I wanted cash back - I made a whopping $50) and she wrote a cheque for the balance.  She had the money, but in the grand scheme of things what is $5,000 between spouses.  What is mine is hers and what is hers is mine (legally as well as philosophically).  Neither of us came into this with any real assets (or a prenup).  So why sweat it?

caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #117 on: February 01, 2015, 09:25:02 PM »
Quote
So if you and your partner have a fundamental disagreement on something non-financial, do you throw in the towel?  Or do you compromise and figure out a solution that both parties are amenable to?  Why are financial matters the only thing you can't reach mutually agreeable compromises on?

Some disagreements can be solved and some can't. If one person wants kids and the other does not, then no compromise is possible. In many cases there can be a solution though.

Financial matters can often have a solution that both parties find acceptable - though they might not, depending on the issue. I am not saying that financial issues can never result in a mutually agreeable solution.

What I am saying is that having shared finances can cause financial issues that would otherwise not exist. Which is why I believe that having separate finances are superior. Sure, it may be possible to come to a compromise and find an acceptable outcome for the problem.

But it would be much better to simply not have the problem even arise, which it would not have if finances were independent.

The basic difference we're having, I think, is opposite views on the role of conflict within a relationship.  I don't argue with my husband about financial things, we discuss them.  We try not to argue about anything, and we mostly succeed in that.  It's taken a good bit of work, and we haven't been married very long, but I think we've done one of the smartest things a serious couple can do by enlisting help from an outside source to deal with the heavy issues we've been handed.  Through that (couple's therapy), we've really learned how to understand each other better, see each other's motivations and where each other is coming from when we don't see eye to eye on something.  And if we do ever have significant differences of opinion on a subject, we learn a lot about each other by working through them; however, I can honestly tell you that I don't expect any 'problems' like the ones you seem to see as inevitable in all relationships.  I did a pretty good job of picking a person that was aligned with my major values/goals/ideals before we got married (actually before we even started dating tbh).  If I wanted to go back to grad school in 20 years, he would want me to do it successfully, even if the only benefit would be my happiness, because he likes to see me happy.  If he wants to be a SAHD and never work again, I would love that, if it would satisfy him and mean that his daily life was fulfilling and happy.  Even if that means I have to work longer before we jointly reach FI.

I think you and I fundamentally differ on our view of the role of conflict in relationships.  You see conflict/disagreement in a relationship as inherently bad and important to avoid.  I see it as a learning/growing opportunity, for each individual and for the couple.  Both views are perfectly valid and surely based in our life experiences, so I don't think that there's a way to categorically claim either separate or joint finances is "superior" for all couples.  As I said before, if separate finances is working for you, then go for it.  But please don't try to tell me that I will inevitably end up resenting my husband because we have joint finances and will someday be unable to reach an agreeable compromise on a big problem. 

Knapptyme

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #118 on: February 01, 2015, 10:09:25 PM »
If you're both in it for the agreed upon terms of marriage or lasting relationship--"till death do us part"--then lump it all together and learn to work together. Lots of other posters have said similarly. My DW and I have shared all expenses since the beginning regardless of individual income. I tend to be more thrifty, but we basically agree to stay on track to RE or have the option to keep working if we'd like to but don't have to.

Prior to marrying said DW, I thought spending money on coffee was going to be a huge waste that I didn't want to subsidize for her when we got married. We had a healthy debate about finances that set the tone for future communication. I wasn't allowed to be a frugal a-hole, and she needed to recognize waste for what is was. She still currently drinks coffee on our dime, but she knows it's a luxury we choose to afford and not a guarantee.

MicroRN

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #119 on: February 02, 2015, 12:11:11 AM »
For the people with joint finances I don't understand how it works if:
- 1 person wants to retire
- 1 person wants to work part time or not work at all
- 1 person wants to start a business
- 1 person wants to go back to school

What do you do then? Do you try to compromise or stop them or have a complex negotiation?
This is mainly why I have separate finances and feel it's super easy. As long as the other person is paying their share, they can do whatever they want. I don't have to worry about laziness or a failed business affecting my life. Of course I chose a man who I trust completely to be responsible, but I like that I feel that I never have to try to control him at all,and vice versa.
And what about different investing strategies? We each have strong preferences on that front. The compromise is to make our own decisions.

We discuss it and come up with a way to make it work.  The key to me is that we each place a huge value on the other person being happy and fulfilled.  I went back to school while DH worked, which improved our financial position once I got out.  I work PT, so I can be around more for the kids while they are tiny, and overall it benefits the whole family more than the extra money would right now.  If I'd wanted to be a SAHM, he'd have supported that.  If he decides he wants to be a SAHD, I'm cool with working FT and being the breadwinner.

Sure, if he came home one day and said "I quit my job and I'm going to hang out playing computer games all day" I'd have a problem with it, but I don't see that happening.  That would be indicative of bigger problems in our relationship.  If he wants to start a business or go to grad school, we'll do our best to make it work.  We support each other's hobbies as long as our expenses are met.  As little as my husband cares about horses, he encourages me to ride and to own them because of how happy it makes me.     

If that kind of balance doesn't work for you, I don't think there's anything wrong with separate finances, but I prefer feeling like we're in this together.  I could also see some odd issues with separate finances arising if kids are involved.   

pom

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #120 on: February 02, 2015, 04:57:29 AM »
Like some here, we do it in proportion to our income (we use net income).

We have some non-pooled expenses: clothes, personal items (cell phones, makeup ...), work lunches and such.

Basically we calculated that rent+utilities+food+vacation+other commun purchases comes up to a third of our net income so each month we wire to a joint account the corresponding amount. We keep around 5k in the joint account at all time and we adjust the percentage if we go below that amount.

It has worked very well for us.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #121 on: February 02, 2015, 05:26:24 AM »
Because one person getting education only benefits that person. Only one person is learning new skills or getting a new certification/degree.

I don't think you "get" marriage.

gecko10x

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #122 on: February 02, 2015, 06:02:53 AM »
Because one person getting education only benefits that person. Only one person is learning new skills or getting a new certification/degree.

I don't think you "get" marriage.

Ha! That's much more succinct than what I was going to say.

+1

Gin1984

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #123 on: February 02, 2015, 06:47:53 AM »
If you're both in it for the agreed upon terms of marriage or lasting relationship--"till death do us part"--then lump it all together and learn to work together. Lots of other posters have said similarly. My DW and I have shared all expenses since the beginning regardless of individual income. I tend to be more thrifty, but we basically agree to stay on track to RE or have the option to keep working if we'd like to but don't have to.

Prior to marrying said DW, I thought spending money on coffee was going to be a huge waste that I didn't want to subsidize for her when we got married. We had a healthy debate about finances that set the tone for future communication. I wasn't allowed to be a frugal a-hole, and she needed to recognize waste for what is was. She still currently drinks coffee on our dime, but she knows it's a luxury we choose to afford and not a guarantee.
Of all the things my husband could try to say we should cut, it would never be my caffeine.  I am such a bitch without caffeine or a ton and half of sleep.  Maybe once I retire I could stop caffeine but before that you would have to pry it out of my cold dead hands. 
Funny what one couple sees as a luxury and another sees as a need.

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #124 on: February 02, 2015, 07:44:00 AM »
I think that it's much easier to switch from separate to joint, situationally, than it is to do the opposite. So if we want to buy something together we do so, but if one person makes a financial decision alone, it's easy for them to spend just their own money.
I think this comes up a lot on this forum when a couple has joint finances and one person wants to be more frugal or retire early, and they have to worry about convincing the other party.

When people ask questions about how us separate people would manage whatever hypothetical situation, the easy answer is that we can pay all of the other person's expenses, or give them money, or whatever we want at any time. The system is so flexible. If we had kids and DH only worked that doesn't mean we'd have to have all joint money. I'd still be entitled to half and be able to invest my portion as I see fit.

cynthia1848

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #125 on: February 02, 2015, 07:44:54 AM »
Because one person getting education only benefits that person. Only one person is learning new skills or getting a new certification/degree.

I don't think you "get" marriage.

+10000000000000.  Best response so far!

Gin1984

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #126 on: February 02, 2015, 08:00:52 AM »
I think that it's much easier to switch from separate to joint, situationally, than it is to do the opposite. So if we want to buy something together we do so, but if one person makes a financial decision alone, it's easy for them to spend just their own money.
I think this comes up a lot on this forum when a couple has joint finances and one person wants to be more frugal or retire early, and they have to worry about convincing the other party.

When people ask questions about how us separate people would manage whatever hypothetical situation, the easy answer is that we can pay all of the other person's expenses, or give them money, or whatever we want at any time. The system is so flexible. If we had kids and DH only worked that doesn't mean we'd have to have all joint money. I'd still be entitled to half and be able to invest my portion as I see fit.
That is where I see the disconnect.  There is no half to the joint finance people.  I just lost my job' my husband's salary pays for our basics and a few other things like $5/week fun money each, his hockey and a decent amount for groceries.  Granted I am finishing up Master's which is taking up the "extra" money that could go to retirement but that was decision we made together.  If I can find a job as soon as I finish my Master's (a month or so), then we have decided to cut my daughter's daycare down (so I can still look and keep her place in daycare), if it continues to another season of hockey that will get cut and it is even possible that $5 money might get cut or even our groceries because I am home.  But none of those happen in a vacuum.  If you work together why do you need half, would not all be better?  Yes joint means taking account my husband's happiness (which is the hockey) but that is what marriage is about, caring about your spouse's happiness.  My husband knows I want to be FI and that makes me happy.  So when we were both working very little increase in spending, everything went to retirement.  Joint to those who have it, just seems more flexible and keeping to the values you need for a long term marriage (aka compromise and the want to make both people happy).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 08:03:38 AM by Gin1984 »

Apples

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #127 on: February 02, 2015, 09:31:19 AM »
My husband just quit his job in December with nothing else lined up.  We're in our mid-twenties with his student loans to pay off and have a major goal of mine to save up for over the next few years, and joint finances.  The job had dangerous work lined up, and didn't have my husband's best interests at heart, nor admin support (moving refund took 6 months!  W-4 change takes 3-6 weeks!).  So he really wanted to quit, we talked about it one night, and he put in his two weeks.  I was actually encouraging him to not go back.  My income covers our basic expenses and 10% for retirement rate; but no extra savings.  We discussed how long we would wait for him to find an ideal job before he went looking for any job just to have work.  I was concerned a bit about income, but really about him not being around the house all the time!  It was starting to drive us both a bit bonkers.

So, he got a beginning position at his new job.  It's in his new chosen career field.  It's part-time and a 50% pay cut, but half the commute.  And he gets along with these coworkers really well, and gets to participate in company decisions.  He's downright joyful nowadays in comparison to how he felt before.  Totally worth it for us.  For me, it's worth every (lost) penny to see him happier and driven.

And with the lower income, and even before:  if we did separate finances, well I would be living large and he would scrape by.  That's just how our separate career fields pan out income-wise.  He also brought student loans and small other debts into our marriage; splitting household costs 50% would have eaten 75% of his income, plus his student loan payments.  So I could save 40% or 50% towards retirement, while he couldn't even manage an EF.  And we can forget vacations that he would go on.  So yes, in some views I "subsidize" his life. Or we, together, have a balanced life based on what we both bring to the table, b/c marriage is a partnership.  So we jointly agree on a budget and amounts of personal "blow" money.

Also, I plan to own a farm one day.  That has major ups and downs of income.  We are going for that ride together, most definitely.

nobody123

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #128 on: February 02, 2015, 11:06:18 AM »
Its almost like you're just living seperate lives. I mean when does it stop? When u have kids someone stops bringing an income...

It is almost like they are just really friendly roommates and not a partnership.

Almost all of the people who replied that they keep things separate cite 'lack of confrontation' or some flavor thereof as a key reason why they have separate piles of money.  IMHO, all that does is delay the inevitable -- either you share the same values and can compromise on common goals or you can't, and you should find that out as soon as possible.  I would rather find that out that we could not compromise on long-term goals before getting married than hope we can compromise once she is pregnant, wants to stay home with the baby, and the mine/yours/ours approach of household cash flow management is blown out of the water.

<rant> It's amazing how many people here view their relationship as some sort of corporate joint venture.  You'll invest what you need to in hopes of short-term harmony and success, as long as it doesn't screw up your own balance sheet in the long run.  I can understand that for the first couple of months of dating, but once you are thinking engagement, it's time to align your lives.  Speaking from experience, there is nothing more frustrating than the "Your side of the boat is sinking!" arguments. </rant>

What I find interesting is how aggressive the "joint finances only" side seems to be in this discussion. You guys are convinced that any other system is wrong, the relationships are doomed, and keeping separate accounts is almost at the moral level of killing kittens.

If you read the pro-separate posts, you'll see that many couples very happily have separate accounts, always have, and do not have massive relationship problems as a result.

In my case, we have the same goals, have similar spending levels, and will be retirement-ready at the same time. But we spend on different things. Is our relationship doomed because my eye would twitch a bit seeing $400 disappear out of a joint account for a video game console, or my boyfriend would cringe when the transaction for my dance lessons for a similar amount posted? I see no reason why that would be the case. Delaying inevitable conflict is one thing, but avoiding pointless, inconsequential conflict makes for a happier relationship.

As I said in an earlier post, do whatever works for you.  I am not saying that separate accounts mean a relationship is doomed.  If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Separate accounts are fine, just don't be fooled into thinking you are making separate financial decisions.  Everything that each of you do affects the other in every aspect of life, and I can't wrap my head around the fact that some people believe that if they keep separate checking accounts, the ramifications of their individual spending decisions are isolated to that bank statement.  If you are married or in a long-term relationship and aren't taking your partner's goals and happiness into account when "you" are spending "your" money, that is selfish, in my book.  I think that is why a lot of the "joint finance" folks here are so vigorously defending that viewpoint.  It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #129 on: February 02, 2015, 11:29:49 AM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.
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ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #130 on: February 02, 2015, 11:35:25 AM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

I think you two are saying the same thing.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #131 on: February 02, 2015, 11:53:29 AM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

I think you two are saying the same thing.

Nope, I don't think that different ways of handling money "fly in the face of what makes a successful marriage".
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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #132 on: February 02, 2015, 12:01:04 PM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

I think you two are saying the same thing.

Nope, I don't think that different ways of handling money "fly in the face of what makes a successful marriage".

There was someone else on this thread who said that separate finances were superior to joint finances because they help avoid conflict. I think that post is what started the most recent round of joint-finances people jumping in, because they felt they had to defend their decision to combine finances.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #133 on: February 02, 2015, 12:12:59 PM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

I think you two are saying the same thing.

Nope, I don't think that different ways of handling money "fly in the face of what makes a successful marriage".

There was someone else on this thread who said that separate finances were superior to joint finances because they help avoid conflict. I think that post is what started the most recent round of joint-finances people jumping in, because they felt they had to defend their decision to combine finances.

My comment about the aggressiveness of the joint finances side was before that, however.
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nobody123

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #134 on: February 02, 2015, 12:22:25 PM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

They are not contradictory.  You cherry-picked two sentences to make them seem that way.  My point is that "separate accounts" does not equal "separate finances".  There is no such thing as separate finances when you're in a long-term relationship / marriage.  It's fine if your accounting system has mine / yours / ours piles, as long as you can agree on how the entirety of it is being allocated.

If I make $100K and my wife makes $50K, and our common expenses were $40K, I would feel like a complete douchebag telling her that she only has $30K to do with what she pleases while I have $80K.  Maybe that sort of arrangement works for some people, and if it does, good for them.  I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who thinks that way, just as you probably wouldn't want to be in a relationship with a "joint" person if you thought you were going to be taken advantage of.  As with everything in life, the real answer is "it depends", and I think we both agree on that.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #135 on: February 02, 2015, 12:28:15 PM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

They are not contradictory.  You cherry-picked two sentences to make them seem that way.  My point is that "separate accounts" does not equal "separate finances".  There is no such thing as separate finances when you're in a long-term relationship / marriage.  It's fine if your accounting system has mine / yours / ours piles, as long as you can agree on how the entirety of it is being allocated.

If I make $100K and my wife makes $50K, and our common expenses were $40K, I would feel like a complete douchebag telling her that she only has $30K to do with what she pleases while I have $80K.  Maybe that sort of arrangement works for some people, and if it does, good for them.  I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who thinks that way, just as you probably wouldn't want to be in a relationship with a "joint" person if you thought you were going to be taken advantage of.  As with everything in life, the real answer is "it depends", and I think we both agree on that.

There absolutely is such thing as separate finances, and I have that.

From a separate finances perspective, the obvious solution to the problem presented there would be to reduce common expenses to whatever level the lower earning person was comfortable with.
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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #136 on: February 02, 2015, 12:30:49 PM »
Quote
If you have similar goals and can communicate and compromise effectively, it doesn't matter how many piles of money you have as a couple. 

Quote
It just flies in the face of what we understand makes a successful partnership / marriage.

These two statements contradict each other.

In any case, doesn't the large number of couples posting about their successful marriages/relationships and separate finances make you question the second statement? It doesn't make you stop and think "Hey, maybe joint finances aren't for everyone?"

Personally, I think it totally depends on the couple's individual situation and preferences, like every other part of a relationship.

They are not contradictory.  You cherry-picked two sentences to make them seem that way.  My point is that "separate accounts" does not equal "separate finances".  There is no such thing as separate finances when you're in a long-term relationship / marriage.  It's fine if your accounting system has mine / yours / ours piles, as long as you can agree on how the entirety of it is being allocated.

If I make $100K and my wife makes $50K, and our common expenses were $40K, I would feel like a complete douchebag telling her that she only has $30K to do with what she pleases while I have $80K.  Maybe that sort of arrangement works for some people, and if it does, good for them.  I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who thinks that way, just as you probably wouldn't want to be in a relationship with a "joint" person if you thought you were going to be taken advantage of.  As with everything in life, the real answer is "it depends", and I think we both agree on that.

There absolutely is such thing as separate finances, and I have that.

From a separate finances perspective, the obvious solution to the problem presented there would be to reduce common expenses to whatever level the lower earning person was comfortable with.

And what if the higher earner isn't comfortable living in a place the lower earner is comfortable affording?  That's a case of separate finances introducing conflict, which is what you are trying to avoid (since Celda is your partner, I'm assuming your philosophies on separate finances are similar). 

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #137 on: February 02, 2015, 12:36:21 PM »
My wife and I pool our money into our checking account. Mint.com tracks our expenses, and it doesn't matter where money came from once it's there. Every now and then I keep a little cash in my pocket from side gigs, but only after mentioning it to her and getting the go-ahead.

We each have a $200/month category in Mint that we get to spend as we feel it is needed (or not spend and zero it out at the end of the month. Just checked, my wife used $10 and then zeroed out this month.) This money is not just "spending play money" but can be used to buy TV service (DirecTV comes out of mine), cell phones (I pay my cell out of this), hobbies (brewing, tennis, others), food (if I want a grocery we can't agree on,) anything. Every other category is mutually agreed upon.

It has worked perfectly.

My wife and I have been married for 8 months and this is very much our system.  We went from separate accounts with shared expenses split proportional to income with the balance being our own to do as we please to each having a "personal allowance" and all of the remaining money is combined.  We agree on our budgets, savings and retirement contributions and a plan for any shortages/overages.  It has been a very good transition for us and we are happily marching towards FI with this plan.  The difference with us is that our monthly "allowance" is not zeroed out at the end of the month and this allows for larger expenditures that are not deemed as a shared expense, such as my annual mini-vacation with my buddies. 

Currently our "allowance" is higher than I would like it to be, but we have agreed to review it periodically and adjust if it is agreed upon. 

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #138 on: February 02, 2015, 12:38:34 PM »
And what if the higher earner isn't comfortable living in a place the lower earner is comfortable affording?  That's a case of separate finances introducing conflict, which is what you are trying to avoid (since Celda is your partner, I'm assuming your philosophies on separate finances are similar).

Then logically the higher earning person should pay a higher percentage of the costs, since they're the one who wants it. Separate finances doesn't have to mean 50/50 on everything. Though it would also be worth considering if your desired lifestyles are even compatible to begin with - a person who likes living in luxury is unlikely to be a good match for someone who likes living simply, regardless of how they divide up money.
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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #139 on: February 02, 2015, 12:50:44 PM »
And what if the higher earner isn't comfortable living in a place the lower earner is comfortable affording?  That's a case of separate finances introducing conflict, which is what you are trying to avoid (since Celda is your partner, I'm assuming your philosophies on separate finances are similar).

Then logically the higher earning person should pay a higher percentage of the costs, since they're the one who wants it. Separate finances doesn't have to mean 50/50 on everything. Though it would also be worth considering if your desired lifestyles are even compatible to begin with - a person who likes living in luxury is unlikely to be a good match for someone who likes living simply, regardless of how they divide up money.

See, that kind of thing about reconsidering compatibility based on one disagreement in desired lifestyle is what I think a lot of joint finances people can't really understand. 

When I got married, I got married with the intention of it being for life.  We are young and our marriage will hopefully last 60+ years.  I'm sure that we will have many differing opinions on lifestyle choices and other things during that long time period.  I would never question if we were even compatible to begin with, because I know that since we chose to commit to each other as people, we will always be able to find a solution that works for both of us. 

Maybe this sounds naive to you, but DH and I started off as very close friends before we ever dated and knew a huge amount about each other before we took that leap.  Since we got together, we have been through some incredibly trying times; hard times where either one of us had an excuse to jump ship.  Neither one of us did, because we believe that marriage is ultimately a choice you make to love someone, put effort into your relationship, and reach compromises on tough stuff, so that you can get through life as a team.

I just can't see how separate finances would fit into that world view or view of a relationship.  If that's not how you see your relationship, then fine; but the OP did ask about married couples and since that's how I define/view marriage, that's the basis on which I answered the question about how married couples should treat their finances.

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #140 on: February 02, 2015, 12:58:47 PM »
Because one person getting education only benefits that person. Only one person is learning new skills or getting a new certification/degree.

I don't think you "get" marriage.

+1  Sorry, but your views on a partnership are pretty far out of alignment with mine, and my DW.  We are a team, and that comes first. 

nobody123

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #141 on: February 02, 2015, 01:07:49 PM »
Though it would also be worth considering if your desired lifestyles are even compatible to begin with - a person who likes living in luxury is unlikely to be a good match for someone who likes living simply, regardless of how they divide up money.

I agree with you 100% on that point.  However, it seems like some folks are saying that keeping finances separate is the solution to that problem, and I disagree with that notion.  If I am super thrifty with "my" money and don't care what my partner is doing with their paycheck, but my spouse is spendy with "our" money and assumes that I will consistently subsidize her spending, there is a disconnect in values there that can't be smoothed over by saying we are going to have separate checking accounts.

neo von retorch

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #142 on: February 02, 2015, 02:22:31 PM »
This whole discussion has been very interesting to me. My girlfriend and I talked about this the other day and I think we both learned something new.

See, we have both had experiences in the past where we were in long-term relationships and we combined finances. Those relationships did not work out, and we both lost a lot of money, which left a bad taste in our mouths. Early in the relationship, we agreed that there was absolutely no rush now or maybe ever to combine our money. But as we've become more serious and committed, we've started to discuss our future and where things will go from here.

We know that we plan on getting married, buying a house and having children. We also know that she will be taking some time off from work and/or possibly working part-time for a while. (Her job / boss seems friendly to accommodating those scenarios.) So when we got to planning out that part of our lives, it only made sense to us that we should share (some) of our finances, that is to say, that income would go into a shared account, expenses would be paid from it, and we would also make sure we each still have money of our own that we control completely.

We haven't ironed out all the details, but I suspect that at least early in the relationship, individual retirement and savings/investment accounts will remain our own, but when we get married, we will be putting all income together, and then splitting it into expenses, individual allowances and savings/investment going forward. When her income slows or stops, it will decrease how much we have for saving and maybe allowance, but otherwise nothing will change.

nobody123

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #143 on: February 02, 2015, 04:20:36 PM »
When people ask questions about how us separate people would manage whatever hypothetical situation, the easy answer is that we can pay all of the other person's expenses, or give them money, or whatever we want at any time. The system is so flexible.

Any system is as flexible as the people involved.  If people are able to negotiate, compromise, and are willing to put their partner's (and family's, if children are involved) happiness ahead of their own more often than not, any accounting system can work.  Obviously, your system works for you today.  It may not work for you when one of the hypothetical situations becomes a reality in your world.  The key is being able to adapt as life happens.

If we had kids and DH only worked that doesn't mean we'd have to have all joint money. I'd still be entitled to half and be able to invest my portion as I see fit.

"Entitled" to your half?  I sure hope the infant gets a job soon or your husband is willing to sacrifice some of his half so the kid can have food, shelter, and clothing.  Thank goodness humans still have their nesting instinct...

BTW, this also sounds like you just made a joint financial decision, telling your working spouse what to do with their money!  Better hope they don't decide that they are actually "entitled" to 100% of what they make and you need to get yourself a job because they aren't paying your half of the common expenses! 

Joking aside, I think in reality, you and your husband would decide how to best proceed as a family.  Your individual financial goals will take a back seat for the common good of the family.  Most likely, the values that you share will have made your individual goals reasonably compatible with the new family goals, and there won't be much conflict as far as how to proceed.  Maybe you will work for two extra years so you can pay for college, maybe one of you will quit working to care for the baby, maybe your husband will turn down a promotion because he doesn't want to uproot the family.  When viewed in a financial vacuum, none of those things are in your individual financial best interest, but sacrifices will be made because your priorities will change.

I think the "joint" point of view acknowledges that at some point, you will be making joint financial decisions, because you are partners.  Might as well do it now, when the stakes are low, than find out you aren't on the same page when some traumatic life event occurs.




Picklemeister

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #144 on: February 02, 2015, 05:00:24 PM »
My husband and I have had a yours-mine-ours setup since we moved in together. This method worked great for us and we never fought about money - when we were both able to contribute somewhat equally to our joint expenses. Now he can't and having separate finances has resulted in a power imbalance that I'm starting to realize has been really damaging to our relationship.

It's resulted in the following feelings:

- I feel like there is undue pressure on me to somehow make our financial situation work. If I suggest something to reduce costs that reduces our quality of life, I feel like the "bad guy" while he just gets to be nonchalant about it all.
- I feel resentment because my personal financial situation is worse than if I hadn't married him and I've had to curb some of my personal financial goals.
- He feels he has no control to make even the smallest of financial decisions (Can I buy this pan out of our joint account? What will she think if I buy the expensive loaf of bread?)
- He feels reduced to what financial contribution he can provide.
- I feel angry when he gets any money (example, a large financial gift from his parents) and I don't get to weigh in on where the money goes or know exactly where it goes.

I know feelings aren't facts, and I objectively would say the majority of the above feelings aren't factual (for example, I won't freak out if he buys the expensive bread or think that all he's good for is giving me money; he actually doesn't expect me to make our financial situation work single handedly).

I'm not saying that there isn't conflict when there are joint finances. I'm not saying that separate finances don't work in some situations. I just wanted to provide some of my story since I think it's really obvious what conflicts can arise from joint finances, but it's not as obvious what conflicts can arise from separate finances. I don't know if we'll even end up moving to joint finances even with all of the negatives I outlined above.

Any system is as flexible as the people involved.  If people are able to negotiate, compromise, and are willing to put their partner's (and family's, if children are involved) happiness ahead of their own more often than not, any accounting system can work.  Obviously, your system works for you today.  It may not work for you when one of the hypothetical situations becomes a reality in your world.  The key is being able to adapt as life happens.

This! I've learned that separate finances don't give you a pass on communication, negotiation, and compromise on financial issues, even if it seems like the simpler way on the surface.

h2ogal

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #145 on: February 23, 2015, 07:55:22 PM »
Can I ask you all a question....this is a serious question and is NOT AT ALL intended to be contentious, but just thought provoking.

In situations where the financial contribution is unequal, do you think that when the female earns a lot more, due to working more aggressively not due to luck, and the male partner is staying at home with kids or working part-time, that there is more conflict about the financial situation than when the roles are more old-fashioned/traditional?

My experiences are that this is true.  Even if the couple themselves is OK with the non-traditional situation I think sometimes parents, older bosses, etc. are judgmental and can influence the way the couple feels about it themselves.

Example - I had a co-worker, an easy-going engineer (Mac), who became engaged to a brilliant female lawyer.  When she got a fantastic job offer out of state, Mac quit his job so he could move down with her.  When our boss asked him about whether he had a new job lined up in the new place yet, Mac said, "no, but its no hurry, she can afford to support us for a while..."  My boss later made a disparaging remark about Mac's "lack of ambition".   This was a little irritating to me because this same boss had a stay at home wife who never held a job in her entire life and followed him as he was transferred from office to office! 


bdoubleu

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #146 on: February 23, 2015, 11:10:48 PM »
Can I ask you all a question....this is a serious question and is NOT AT ALL intended to be contentious, but just thought provoking.

In situations where the financial contribution is unequal, do you think that when the female earns a lot more, due to working more aggressively not due to luck, and the male partner is staying at home with kids or working part-time, that there is more conflict about the financial situation than when the roles are more old-fashioned/traditional?

My experiences are that this is true.  Even if the couple themselves is OK with the non-traditional situation I think sometimes parents, older bosses, etc. are judgmental and can influence the way the couple feels about it themselves.

Example - I had a co-worker, an easy-going engineer (Mac), who became engaged to a brilliant female lawyer.  When she got a fantastic job offer out of state, Mac quit his job so he could move down with her.  When our boss asked him about whether he had a new job lined up in the new place yet, Mac said, "no, but its no hurry, she can afford to support us for a while..."  My boss later made a disparaging remark about Mac's "lack of ambition".   This was a little irritating to me because this same boss had a stay at home wife who never held a job in her entire life and followed him as he was transferred from office to office!

DH and I are in the exact situation you describe.  He actually quit working 2 years before we decided to have kids (first one on the way this July!).  We've actually found it easier to handle our money now - since he's literally not contributing a dime, there's not much room for a yours-mine-ours argument.  We agree on a set "allowance" from each paycheck, which is used for hobbies/bars/ other "wants" expenses.  Everything else is in our joint account, which is then directed to all other expenses/investments/etc.

When we were both working, he made ~$30,000/year, and I made $104,000/year (I now make ~$140,000/year).  We had a lot more arguments about how to divide/share our money then.  Not sure if the current agreement is a result of us both "growing up" some, or due to having just one income now.  I would also argue that the flexibility of having him home to take care of the home and run errands and such, has allowed me more opportunity for growth (therefore income growth) at my company.

We were fine with him quitting once we figured out it would fit "us" better, financially AND emotionally.  Everyone else (parents, siblings, friends, his now-former bosses, etc) were all VERY hesitant about our situation, and quick to offer their opinions that we had no idea what we were doing.  A lot of awkward family moments ensued.  If anything, the negative reactions made it much more exciting once we showed them how well it works for us.  My only regret is that we didn't do it sooner.

pancakes

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #147 on: February 24, 2015, 05:09:50 AM »
DH and I have completely separate finances but we track everything cumulatively on a spreadsheet. At the end of the day the fact that money it is going into/coming out of an account is what matters, the name on the account is insignificant.

We've been together over 10 years now and never argued about money, not even when we were both studying full time and had very low incomes. If I didn't have enough money in my account to pay a bill I'd ask him to, easy! We have similar values which helps a lot and also are completely aware of the other's spending.

Killerbrandt

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #148 on: February 24, 2015, 06:20:43 AM »
Hi there everyone! New to posting, but have been following for awhile now and love the site!! I just could not believe how many people keep their finances separate on here. I thought marriage was a journey through life together and not each having separate end goals.

My DW and I keep everything in a joint account and have different levels of income, but that does not matter one bit, everything is considered to be one. However, we did have issues wanting to spend money on little side toys. Therefore, I created accounts on Google Wallet and send a little spending money each week ($20 bucks) to each account and that allows each person to spend on what they want without questions. We also pull about $40 dollars (cash) each weekend for us to share together for diners, coffee, and other fun activities.

I hope my trick helps and I will be posting a lot more now that I have registered. :)

TinyLightsBelow

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #149 on: February 24, 2015, 07:33:00 AM »
Hi there everyone! New to posting, but have been following for awhile now and love the site!! I just could not believe how many people keep their finances separate on here. I thought marriage was a journey through life together and not each having separate end goals.
I just want to point out that a couple can not completely merge their finances and still be working towards mutual goals. When my husband and I first got married, my desire was that we combine our finances, because that's what couples who love each other do! My husband encouraged me to reconsider and I'm SO glad I did.

I have a tendency to observe where my money is going and adjust behaviors as a result, whereas my husband has a tendency to decide if something is a worthwhile expense and go for it if it is, without returning to revisit it -- these different "money styles" definitely caused us friction when I didn't feel like he was spending money on something justified -- and honestly, trying to control him when he was ON TEAM US was not productive. I think we're both happier just accepting that we have the same ideals but different ways of pursuing them.

So our strategy is this: instead of putting everything into the same pot, we just deliberate on who pays for what. Everything else is put into paying off our student loans, or a little bit of fun money. I think it's an ideal situation for us, because some arbitrary 50/50 split (or joint bank accounts) doesn't really customize for the needs of the moment.