Author Topic: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?  (Read 26343 times)

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2015, 08:49:35 AM »
Separate finances for everything but the necessities of life.  Create a budget for the necessities.  I think a split based on income is fair in most cases, but perhaps if the higher earner has very cheap tastes when it comes to food or the lower earner wants to spend more for a nicer apartment (etc), there'll be some tweaking involved. 

skunkfunk

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2015, 09:37:15 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 10:36:01 AM by skunkfunk »

CommonCents

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #52 on: January 27, 2015, 10:28:03 AM »
I say combine it all, then fight about goals, not money. If she wants to buy clothes/things and you don't, figure out how much you're both comfortable spending and budget for it. If you want to FIRE and she doesn't, figure out how to budget for you to FIRE while she keeps working. If your idea of being FIRE'd requires that she also be FIRE'd talk about that until you come to an agreement.

If you can't come to a mutually satisfactory agreement on all these things (and all the other things you'll come up with) then you're not compatible and you shouldn't be married. This isn't to say that you won't both have to compromise and give up a few outfits or a few extra years of work as compared to your own ideal situation, but if staying together is worth the compromise to you, then make the compromise. If you/she feel it's not worth the compromise then something else is wrong because either your goals are too far apart or you don't want to stay together enough to shift your goals.

 

This.

I was going to write this, but Terran beat me to it.  It sounds to me like the issue isn't really dividing up or pooling the money, but it's really that you disagree on the goals for each other and as a couple.  THAT's going to take a lot more discussion to work out, but in the long run, you'll be better off if you talk it out and come to some level of agreement on how you spend your money and what are priorities to save/spend on.  If this means you have no, small or large "no questions asked" amounts of personal money, or you come up with a different plan, all that matters is that it works for you.  But I think it's really hard to build a life with someone when you don't agree on finances, because it's so entwined.  (Particularly if one sacrifices for another by moving location, staying home or just taking care of the house due to the hours another has.)  It affects your vacation plans, your plans for children, your plans for FIRE, your choice of house, etc.  This is important to work out some compromises.

overlord34

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #53 on: January 27, 2015, 11:28:17 AM »
Terran and CommonCents hit the nail on the head.  The problem is not so much working out your finances, as it is reaching a compromise on your goals.  I know because my wife and I have the same problem.  Over the last few years we've both tried to implement savings toward FIRE with me very much in favor of it while my wife realized she prefers to work.  We had been pooling our money but I'd get upset each time she bought things that I felt were cutting into my FIRE plan and she correspondingly felt powerless over her financial decisions.  Neither of us felt satisfied with what we were doing.

Here's what we decided to do to compromise on our goals and work together.  It's important for her to have a little bit of a more comfortable and therefore more expensive lifestyle.  She's still very frugal and we'll plan to keep our overall costs lower than most of America but probably higher than the ideal FIRE scenario - as an example, she prefers to live in a more expensive location which is important for her quality of life whereas I wouldn't mind staying put.  The compromise that we agreed to is that I'm willing to share the burden on these higher costs if it makes her happier, in exchange for her agreeing to split those costs with me 50/50 even if she's making less money than I am.  That way I can still FIRE relatively still on schedule, and she can work and live a lifestyle more in line with what she wants. 

We'll see how it goes out but after a lot of disagreements/fights about our life goals over the past year, I'm glad we finally have a plan in place that seems like it'll be a win-win and make us both happy. 









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rmendpara

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #54 on: January 27, 2015, 11:48:38 AM »
Wow, lot's of good responses here, and it seems like a wide variety of workable plans. Thanks for all the suggestions.

I can see how kids throws a wrench into the mix as well if one parent stops working to care for them. Guess it's just going to be a big discussion that potentially evolves over time. The bottomline for me is I am trying to achieve a certain savings rate to FIRE, so at the end of the day it shouldn't matter to me whether the accounts are separate as long as I can achieve my desired savings rate, and she can achieve hers, which is going to be a much lower rate since she is happy working and will want to continue for quite a while.

I will just add that she does not have to also want FIRE for herself, but should be willing to consider a future where she works (for income) and you may or may not work for income (or a lower income in a different position that you enjoy). If your one true goal is to FIRE with your spouse, and if she truly does not want that, then you must go your separate ways.

Hopefully she can at least be willing to support you slowing down your work/career at some point, then you can probably find something that works. The "name" on each account is less important than how you view the owner of those funds (i.e. do you make joint decisions on everything, separate decisions on everything, or some of both).

This is surely a tricky subject. Just be sure to be respectful and avoid "my way or no deal" attitudes, and things should work out. Good luck
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Spondulix

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #55 on: January 27, 2015, 12:53:06 PM »
If your one true goal is to FIRE with your spouse, and if she truly does not want that, then you must go your separate ways.
I disagree with this. It's one thing to say "we're going separate ways because we disagree on whether to have kids" because a child becomes part of life 24 hours a day. FIRE is something that one spouse can achieve without the other - it's a choice, not a lifestyle necessity. There are plenty of couples on here who live different (and separate) financial lives. Can it be a strain? Sure. Is it a requirement to be in complete alignment on financial goals to make a marriage work? Not at all.

boarder42

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #56 on: January 27, 2015, 01:15:34 PM »
If your one true goal is to FIRE with your spouse, and if she truly does not want that, then you must go your separate ways.
I disagree with this. It's one thing to say "we're going separate ways because we disagree on whether to have kids" because a child becomes part of life 24 hours a day. FIRE is something that one spouse can achieve without the other - it's a choice, not a lifestyle necessity. There are plenty of couples on here who live different (and separate) financial lives. Can it be a strain? Sure. Is it a requirement to be in complete alignment on financial goals to make a marriage work? Not at all.

kids are a choice not a necessity. 

What he was saying is if the OP's goal is to FIRE WITH his spouse, not FIRE on his own while his spouse continues to work, then this could infact be viewed the same as parting ways based on the CHOICE to have or not have kids. 

If say i wanted to FIRE and start traveling the world with my spouse and she didnt want that... she wanted to keep working... THEN thats just as big an issue as have or not have kids.
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gluskap

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2015, 01:30:20 PM »
We do a combination of joint account and separate accounts.  All joint expenses come from the joint account.  We each put in an equal amount into the joint account to cover all joint expenses.  This works for us because we have roughly similar incomes (it's flip flopped a few times who's made more).  If we had very different levels of income then we would probably do a percentage into the joint account.

I think this is the best of both worlds because you are still working as a team with your joint account/spending but you don't have to answer for every little purchase which you make from your individual account.  I plan on FIRE earlier than the hubby and tend to save more so I would get irritated seeing all his expenses but this way we don't have to fight.  I think once he sees me FIRE that he will want to stop working too. 

Philociraptor

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #58 on: January 27, 2015, 01:47:45 PM »
Another drop in the joint everything bucket. We share a single checking account and set of savings accounts. I manage all the money moves, from vacation and Christmas funds to Roth IRA's and 401(k)'s. We talk about our overarching goals and discuss our monthly spending. Leftovers get allocated do additional savings or debt, depending on what makes sense at the time. We discuss big purchases and don't sweat the small stuff.

Spondulix

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #59 on: January 27, 2015, 10:05:19 PM »
If your one true goal is to FIRE with your spouse, and if she truly does not want that, then you must go your separate ways.
I disagree with this. It's one thing to say "we're going separate ways because we disagree on whether to have kids" because a child becomes part of life 24 hours a day. FIRE is something that one spouse can achieve without the other - it's a choice, not a lifestyle necessity. There are plenty of couples on here who live different (and separate) financial lives. Can it be a strain? Sure. Is it a requirement to be in complete alignment on financial goals to make a marriage work? Not at all.

kids are a choice not a necessity. 

What he was saying is if the OP's goal is to FIRE WITH his spouse, not FIRE on his own while his spouse continues to work, then this could infact be viewed the same as parting ways based on the CHOICE to have or not have kids. 

If say i wanted to FIRE and start traveling the world with my spouse and she didnt want that... she wanted to keep working... THEN thats just as big an issue as have or not have kids.
I'm saying that FIRE itself isn't a lifestyle choice. Theoretically, it's like getting married - it's a legal designation. Life doesn't change just because you got married or went FIRE - it's your own choice how to integrate it into your life and relationships. You can differ on FIRE and still co-exist; OP is a perfect example of this. He wasn't here asking how to get his SO on board. He's asking for ways to keep his finances separate.

The example of kids was merely pointing out that there are some actual lifestyle choices that directly affect both parties, whether they want it to or not. One parent can't say "I'm changing my lifestyle to accomodate my child" while the other says, "I'm not changing my lifestyle or our relationship one bit - I still expect you to have the same priorities, values and lifestyle choices with me after a child as before." It's unrealistic. If you want to move or travel the world (FIRE or not) and your spouse isn't interested, it's merely a difference in interests. If you want to go FIRE and your spouse wants to keep working, it's also just a difference in interests. You can either compromise or you don't. The real issue here isnt even about differences over travel, FIRE, or kids, though - it's whether you need to do these things with someone.

I think it's crappy to say, "my spouse needs to do this with me, or we need to go separate ways." A similar example would be, "I'm Catholic and my wife is Jewish. I want her to convert to Catholicism because that's what I want, but she's not interested. Therefore we shouldn't be together." It's forcing someone to put their values aside for your values, instead of respecting their values. When you break it down, which is more important, faith or your marriage? Travel or marriage? It's possible to have different life values and lifestyles (including FIRE) and still have a rewarding and fulfilling marriage. So when I hear, "I might get out of this marriage because my main goal in life is FIRE and my wife doesn't want that," it sounds like retirement is more important than marriage... in which case, there are probably bigger relationship issues than just vacations or kids.

Grog

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #60 on: January 28, 2015, 03:58:44 AM »
without children, we had completely separate finance + a joint account in which we put the same amount every month, also it wasn't proportional to income.


Now that we are expecting a child, and some of us will be home with the baby, we have changed strategy and we are keeping "Purchasing Power Parity". That means that for reeeeally personal stuff like clothing, gift to not-shared friend, vacation/activity without the family, hobbies etc both of us has 1k/mo at disposition. What is not used goes to private saving of me/my gf and not shared savings, so, even the ability to put something aside personally must be equal.

The rest is dumped without looking in a giant joint account and used to pay for everything else, inkl taxes, retirement account and stuff

Every now and then (6 months?) we will evaluate the joint account and if we feel that is growing too large (we can dump in it 3k+ in excess of rent/childcare/grocery) we will take out something, split in 2 and add it to our personal saving.

This made everything so simple and we really have a feeling of mutual equality, since our personal purchasing power is the same.

PEIslander

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2015, 04:56:16 AM »
One advantage I see of combined finances relates to balancing retirement accounts so when you eventually draw on them you can minimize taxes. My ideas may be influenced by being Canadian and our rules -- perhaps they don't apply in the USA or other countries.

First, let's say there's a couple here that has strictly separate finances - each spouse's money is their own. The each contribute to a household account to pay the bills. For such a couple it is quite possible to eventually retire with very unequal retirement accounts as each only contributed to their own. (Does one have a comfy, relatively spendy, retirement while the other is poor?) If they are to survive their retirement one spouse may have to make larger withdrawals. The taxes paid on that higher income may be higher than if the same total income could have been split equally between the two spouses. The second scenario is a couple with shared finances. Over their saving years they try to balance out the values of their individual retirement accounts. If one spouse earns $75k and the other $25k they may save $25k in each spouse's retirement accounts so their account values are the same. When retirement time comes they draw upon both spouse's accounts at the same rate. In Canada at least, this second couple will likely pay lower taxes than the first couple based on the same total income. Due to those taxes the FI date would be at least a little earlier for the couple who shares.

Another observation I have based on couples I know that have separate finances is they tend to have power imbalances and from an outsider's perspective are not equal partnerships. Of course people are free to structure their relationships however they like.


skunkfunk

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2015, 04:10:39 PM »
We do a combination of joint account and separate accounts.  All joint expenses come from the joint account.  We each put in an equal amount into the joint account to cover all joint expenses.  This works for us because we have roughly similar incomes (it's flip flopped a few times who's made more).  If we had very different levels of income then we would probably do a percentage into the joint account.

I think this is the best of both worlds because you are still working as a team with your joint account/spending but you don't have to answer for every little purchase which you make from your individual account.  I plan on FIRE earlier than the hubby and tend to save more so I would get irritated seeing all his expenses but this way we don't have to fight.  I think once he sees me FIRE that he will want to stop working too.

What exactly are these non-joint expenses? Aside from cell phones, I don't even buy anything that isn't a "household necessity" or at the very least mutually beneficial. $1k/mo each in personal expenses??? Good god, how is that on this forum? That's $24k/yr just on whatever the hell you two want.

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #63 on: January 28, 2015, 05:13:35 PM »
In our Western culture, the concept of marriage confounds two important things:

1. A social statement between the participants and to their community, about commitment, love, support, sometimes implied sexual monogamy, etc.
2. A business contract, the exact contents of which are not in your hands.

In particular, in USA community property states, the debt of one partner can be collected from the other. Therefore, you *are* pooling your money.

If you have different goals with financial implications, it may be prudent to make a statement about your commitment and love and stuff, but without mixing up the government in your bank accounts.

Me and my partner? We shacked up for love, and ten years later married for money.

Edit: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/debt-marriage-owe-spouse-debts-29572.html
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CommonCents

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #64 on: January 29, 2015, 10:20:16 AM »
We do a combination of joint account and separate accounts.  All joint expenses come from the joint account.  We each put in an equal amount into the joint account to cover all joint expenses.  This works for us because we have roughly similar incomes (it's flip flopped a few times who's made more).  If we had very different levels of income then we would probably do a percentage into the joint account.

I think this is the best of both worlds because you are still working as a team with your joint account/spending but you don't have to answer for every little purchase which you make from your individual account.  I plan on FIRE earlier than the hubby and tend to save more so I would get irritated seeing all his expenses but this way we don't have to fight.  I think once he sees me FIRE that he will want to stop working too.

What exactly are these non-joint expenses? Aside from cell phones, I don't even buy anything that isn't a "household necessity" or at the very least mutually beneficial. $1k/mo each in personal expenses??? Good god, how is that on this forum? That's $24k/yr just on whatever the hell you two want.

I feel like we have a super luxurious lifestyle compared to many here.  And we do have items that would fit into your non-joint category.  We buy non-thrift clothes (on sale), and have the occasional meal or drinks out with a friend w/o the other.  My husband eats lunch out a heck of a lot more than me (I can't get him to bring lunch in).  I sometimes buy things like makeup (rare) and still get my hair cut by a hairdresser (though infrequently and I stopped highlighting...).  But even with that...I agree, how the hell is $24/yr just sitting around for spending and not defined in your budget?  That's just mindboggling.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #65 on: January 29, 2015, 10:30:19 AM »
We do joint everything, but of course before we married we talked through how we would approach money.

theonethatgotaway

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #66 on: January 29, 2015, 10:33:19 AM »
Everyone that we know that does the 50/50 split is miserable.

Its almost like you're just living seperate lives. I mean when does it stop? When u have kids someone stops bringing an income...


nobody123

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2015, 12:33:42 PM »
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>

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #68 on: January 30, 2015, 12:47:23 PM »
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.
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boarder42

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #69 on: January 30, 2015, 12:48:04 PM »
Everyone that we know that does the 50/50 split is miserable.

Its almost like you're just living seperate lives. I mean when does it stop? When u have kids someone stops bringing an income...

why does someone stop bringing in an income when you have kids.  my wife and i are both engineers.  we are both going to work full time once we have kids.
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jms493

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #70 on: January 30, 2015, 01:01:30 PM »
Another advantage I see is simplicity.  Easier to have everything dumped into one bucket and have it dispersed from there.

I also find that communication is much better between wife and I.  Our finances are an open book and everything is discussed every month.  There is no question about any purchases.

Also I wonder how a couple does it if 1 person is making 150K and the other is making 40K.  How do you NOT combine those.  One might be scraping by and the other is not.

caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #71 on: January 30, 2015, 01:12:05 PM »
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.

Does an 'eye twitch' at a transaction you don't necessarily agree with always lead to 'conflict'?  To me (in my specific relationship), that would signal deeper issues.

DH and I spend on things the other doesn't give a crap about fairly frequently (he is a big gamer, and I ride horses (well, taking a break atm to focus on school), both of which can get very expensive.  I don't see why that has to be a conflict -- it makes me happy to see my partner happy, and likewise for him.  The only time it became a 'conflict' was when I wanted to spend 20k on a horse (worth 50k), which didn't happen because when we sat down and looked at numbers, I was forced to face the reality of the situation, which I had known deep down all along.  It wasn't a fight so much as a mutual commiserating that we weren't able to afford the horse I'd spent months building an awesome bond with and that we both enjoyed greatly.  And we trust each other not to spend significant chunks of money without agreement/warning -- my riding lessons and horse lease payments were a mutual decision, as is any console purchase.  Well, tbh, DH doesn't have a clue about our financial situation so I literally get asked if he has enough money in his personal spending account for $5 Steam games...

Couple's therapy has taught us that (our) marriage shouldn't be about avoiding conflict, it should be about reaching compromise. 

Edited to make this less aggressive and more focused on my individual relationship.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 01:26:42 PM by caliq »

Timmmy

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #72 on: January 30, 2015, 01:31:21 PM »
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.

Survival bias?  Anyone care to comment on past relationships where money sharing strategy was different than current and how it did or didn't work.

We've never considered having separate finances since DW and I got married.  I have no idea if it would work or not.  Combining everything works great for us and that makes it hard for me to understand how not combining works great for other people. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #73 on: January 30, 2015, 01:38:25 PM »
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.

At least for me it's more that the idea of separating something like money sets off alarm bells for me because that's just not a relationship I could be in. So my responses might be more strident than they ought to be. (I'm not going to bother re-reading all my posts to find out.) I never want to imply that it's wrong for people to live a different lifestyle than me.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #74 on: January 30, 2015, 02:15:06 PM »
Does an 'eye twitch' at a transaction you don't necessarily agree with always lead to 'conflict'?  To me (in my specific relationship), that would signal deeper issues.

DH and I spend on things the other doesn't give a crap about fairly frequently (he is a big gamer, and I ride horses (well, taking a break atm to focus on school), both of which can get very expensive.  I don't see why that has to be a conflict -- it makes me happy to see my partner happy, and likewise for him.  The only time it became a 'conflict' was when I wanted to spend 20k on a horse (worth 50k), which didn't happen because when we sat down and looked at numbers, I was forced to face the reality of the situation, which I had known deep down all along.  It wasn't a fight so much as a mutual commiserating that we weren't able to afford the horse I'd spent months building an awesome bond with and that we both enjoyed greatly.  And we trust each other not to spend significant chunks of money without agreement/warning -- my riding lessons and horse lease payments were a mutual decision, as is any console purchase.  Well, tbh, DH doesn't have a clue about our financial situation so I literally get asked if he has enough money in his personal spending account for $5 Steam games...

Couple's therapy has taught us that (our) marriage shouldn't be about avoiding conflict, it should be about reaching compromise. 

Edited to make this less aggressive and more focused on my individual relationship.

I don't particularly like having my eye twitch. It means I'm irritated. If I can easily avoid being irritated, I do. Sort of how I choose to spend my personal time with people I like, rather than people I dislike. It makes for a happier life.

Some things need to be compromised and agreed on as a couple (house, number of kids, life goals). Some things don't (personal spending as long as goals are met). I don't see the point in compromising on things that don't need to be compromised on. Conflict is fine if it's for something important, but eliminating unnecessary conflict from your life can be very freeing.

Another example: He likes to keep a large buffer is his chequing accounts, I like to keep the bare minimum. We both currently do the one that we prefer. How would it possibly benefit our relationship to compromise on that? How would it possibly harm our relationship to continue the current setup, which we're both thrilled with?
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caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #75 on: January 30, 2015, 02:22:32 PM »
Does an 'eye twitch' at a transaction you don't necessarily agree with always lead to 'conflict'?  To me (in my specific relationship), that would signal deeper issues.

DH and I spend on things the other doesn't give a crap about fairly frequently (he is a big gamer, and I ride horses (well, taking a break atm to focus on school), both of which can get very expensive.  I don't see why that has to be a conflict -- it makes me happy to see my partner happy, and likewise for him.  The only time it became a 'conflict' was when I wanted to spend 20k on a horse (worth 50k), which didn't happen because when we sat down and looked at numbers, I was forced to face the reality of the situation, which I had known deep down all along.  It wasn't a fight so much as a mutual commiserating that we weren't able to afford the horse I'd spent months building an awesome bond with and that we both enjoyed greatly.  And we trust each other not to spend significant chunks of money without agreement/warning -- my riding lessons and horse lease payments were a mutual decision, as is any console purchase.  Well, tbh, DH doesn't have a clue about our financial situation so I literally get asked if he has enough money in his personal spending account for $5 Steam games...

Couple's therapy has taught us that (our) marriage shouldn't be about avoiding conflict, it should be about reaching compromise. 

Edited to make this less aggressive and more focused on my individual relationship.

I don't particularly like having my eye twitch. It means I'm irritated. If I can easily avoid being irritated, I do. Sort of how I choose to spend my personal time with people I like, rather than people I dislike. It makes for a happier life.

Some things need to be compromised and agreed on as a couple (house, number of kids, life goals). Some things don't (personal spending as long as goals are met). I don't see the point in compromising on things that don't need to be compromised on. Conflict is fine if it's for something important, but eliminating unnecessary conflict from your life can be very freeing.

Another example: He likes to keep a large buffer is his chequing accounts, I like to keep the bare minimum. We both currently do the one that we prefer. How would it possibly benefit our relationship to compromise on that? How would it possibly harm our relationship to continue the current setup, which we're both thrilled with?

Why does your partner having a hobby he enjoys irritate you?  Why does you having a hobby you enjoy irritate him? 

Maybe the difference is that DH and I can both see the value in each other's hobbies and sometimes enjoy them together.  I enjoy gaming/nerdy stuff (though not as much as he does), and he grew up riding horses and often comes to the barn to hang out with me and watch me ride.  There really isn't any conflict over these specific issues, though of course there is over other things! 


gaja

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #76 on: January 30, 2015, 02:43:52 PM »
Everyone that we know that does the 50/50 split is miserable.

Its almost like you're just living seperate lives. I mean when does it stop? When u have kids someone stops bringing an income...

why does someone stop bringing in an income when you have kids.  my wife and i are both engineers.  we are both going to work full time once we have kids.
It is hard to predict stuff, especially regarding the future. There is something called hyperemesis gravidarum, another thing called chronic pelvic pain, the birth is a risk, the children might need some extra care for some reason, you might find it hard to work without sleep, etc. Dh and me were planning to do the fulltime thing after children, but it didn't turn out like that in real life. Luckily we had backup plans.

Married couples doing separate economies should also consider the following, when calculating who pays what:
-Do both agree on the spending amount of common goods? Would the "poorer" one prefer a smaller house, cheaper food, less electricity consumption? Splitting the mortgage down the middle is not fair if one of them are driving the cost up. Then it is better to split the cost of the cheaper solution, and let the fancy one pay for the extra cost.
-If one of the couple is doing more work at home, the economical value of this should be calculated. Either compared to the cost of buying those services, or compared to the added income the other one is able to make. If I can get OT because DH takes care of the house and the kids, the extra income earned should be split between us. If he fixes the washing machine, I should pay him the avoided cost of the repairman.

This is all too much work, so we just share everything.
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Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #77 on: January 30, 2015, 02:44:22 PM »
Does an 'eye twitch' at a transaction you don't necessarily agree with always lead to 'conflict'?  To me (in my specific relationship), that would signal deeper issues.

DH and I spend on things the other doesn't give a crap about fairly frequently (he is a big gamer, and I ride horses (well, taking a break atm to focus on school), both of which can get very expensive.  I don't see why that has to be a conflict -- it makes me happy to see my partner happy, and likewise for him.  The only time it became a 'conflict' was when I wanted to spend 20k on a horse (worth 50k), which didn't happen because when we sat down and looked at numbers, I was forced to face the reality of the situation, which I had known deep down all along.  It wasn't a fight so much as a mutual commiserating that we weren't able to afford the horse I'd spent months building an awesome bond with and that we both enjoyed greatly.  And we trust each other not to spend significant chunks of money without agreement/warning -- my riding lessons and horse lease payments were a mutual decision, as is any console purchase.  Well, tbh, DH doesn't have a clue about our financial situation so I literally get asked if he has enough money in his personal spending account for $5 Steam games...

Couple's therapy has taught us that (our) marriage shouldn't be about avoiding conflict, it should be about reaching compromise. 

Edited to make this less aggressive and more focused on my individual relationship.

I don't particularly like having my eye twitch. It means I'm irritated. If I can easily avoid being irritated, I do. Sort of how I choose to spend my personal time with people I like, rather than people I dislike. It makes for a happier life.

Some things need to be compromised and agreed on as a couple (house, number of kids, life goals). Some things don't (personal spending as long as goals are met). I don't see the point in compromising on things that don't need to be compromised on. Conflict is fine if it's for something important, but eliminating unnecessary conflict from your life can be very freeing.

Another example: He likes to keep a large buffer is his chequing accounts, I like to keep the bare minimum. We both currently do the one that we prefer. How would it possibly benefit our relationship to compromise on that? How would it possibly harm our relationship to continue the current setup, which we're both thrilled with?

Why does your partner having a hobby he enjoys irritate you?  Why does you having a hobby you enjoy irritate him? 

Maybe the difference is that DH and I can both see the value in each other's hobbies and sometimes enjoy them together.  I enjoy gaming/nerdy stuff (though not as much as he does), and he grew up riding horses and often comes to the barn to hang out with me and watch me ride.  There really isn't any conflict over these specific issues, though of course there is over other things!

Hobbies are great, and we both enjoy our own and support each other's. At the same time, it would really bug me if the large $ amounts were coming out of an account with my name on it. As it is now, with separate accounts, I couldn't care less! Neither could he! This fabulous system allows us both to do whatever we want, while not harming our long term goals or causing conflict.
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bogart

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #78 on: January 30, 2015, 02:47:26 PM »

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.


I haven't joined in the discussion, but am a joiner, not a separator.  It might be interesting to grab the stats of those posting here and see whether those who separate tend to be younger and/or in relationships that haven't yet run as long as the joiners; I don't have time to do so at the moment.

I dug around briefly and didn't find lots of scholarship on the subject, but this piece (not scholarly!) is reasonably interesting (and does cite a couple of studies in the paragraph I paste below the link):
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/home_economics/2011/02/yours_mine.1.html
Paragraph with studies cited:
Research suggests that when low-income couples have kids, their relationships tend to suffer when they keep all their money separate. A recent study of couples with children in the journal Family Relations shows that couples who earn less than $50,000 and have independent money management systems "reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction and less agreeable methods of resolving conflicts than when couples share a joint account." This goes for both married and cohabitating parents. Another study of mothers with young children (PDF) and their partners showed that married couples who kept money separate were more likely to split. This makes sense: If you can pay to feed your kids only by pooling resources, it will lead to strife when you don't.


Peacefulwarrior

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #79 on: January 30, 2015, 02:53:37 PM »
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.

The OP asked "how we think finances should be shared between a married couple". As you wrote - you and your boyfriend. You are not married. That is the difference. When you get married two become one. By definition. By law. Your money is his money and vice versa. I'm all for relationships with separate accounts, and I think they are great. But if that's how you want to live your life then don't marry, because that will change things and by law your money is no longer separated, so trying to make them be that way is against the nature of marriage.

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #80 on: January 30, 2015, 02:54:40 PM »

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.


I haven't joined in the discussion, but am a joiner, not a separator.  It might be interesting to grab the stats of those posting here and see whether those who separate tend to be younger and/or in relationships that haven't yet run as long as the joiners; I don't have time to do so at the moment.

I dug around briefly and didn't find lots of scholarship on the subject, but this piece (not scholarly!) is reasonably interesting (and does cite a couple of studies in the paragraph I paste below the link):
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/home_economics/2011/02/yours_mine.1.html
Paragraph with studies cited:
Research suggests that when low-income couples have kids, their relationships tend to suffer when they keep all their money separate. A recent study of couples with children in the journal Family Relations shows that couples who earn less than $50,000 and have independent money management systems "reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction and less agreeable methods of resolving conflicts than when couples share a joint account." This goes for both married and cohabitating parents. Another study of mothers with young children (PDF) and their partners showed that married couples who kept money separate were more likely to split. This makes sense: If you can pay to feed your kids only by pooling resources, it will lead to strife when you don't.

It would likely be easier for very low income families to pool resources as much for logistics as anything. But given the demographics of Mustachians - mid to high earners, educated, financially aware and organized, expenses WAY below income,  and having appropriate numbers of kids for their life situations - I'm not sure it's comparable.
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Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #81 on: January 30, 2015, 02:57:09 PM »
The OP asked "how we think finances should be shared between a married couple". As you wrote - you and your boyfriend. You are not married. That is the difference. When you get married two become one. By definition. By law. Your money is his money and vice versa. I'm all for relationships with separate accounts, and I think they are great. But if that's how you want to live your life then don't marry, because that will change things and by law your money is no longer separated, so trying to make them be that way is against the nature of marriage.

Technically, under BC law we're considered married for all practical purposes (see the recent Family Law Act). We've been "living in sin" longer than many couples stay married for.

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Peacefulwarrior

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #82 on: January 30, 2015, 03:06:00 PM »
The OP asked "how we think finances should be shared between a married couple". As you wrote - you and your boyfriend. You are not married. That is the difference. When you get married two become one. By definition. By law. Your money is his money and vice versa. I'm all for relationships with separate accounts, and I think they are great. But if that's how you want to live your life then don't marry, because that will change things and by law your money is no longer separated, so trying to make them be that way is against the nature of marriage.

Technically, under BC law we're considered married for all practical purposes (see the recent Family Law Act). We've been "living in sin" longer than many couples stay married for.

I'm from Europe so I have no detailed idea of how things work where you live. But I'm glad that you are happy and I hope things keep working for you. I have no intention of telling people who are happy that it's not working. My primary point is to keep people from getting married if it sounds like they are not really ready to commit. Best of luck.

caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #83 on: January 30, 2015, 03:54:47 PM »
Does an 'eye twitch' at a transaction you don't necessarily agree with always lead to 'conflict'?  To me (in my specific relationship), that would signal deeper issues.

DH and I spend on things the other doesn't give a crap about fairly frequently (he is a big gamer, and I ride horses (well, taking a break atm to focus on school), both of which can get very expensive.  I don't see why that has to be a conflict -- it makes me happy to see my partner happy, and likewise for him.  The only time it became a 'conflict' was when I wanted to spend 20k on a horse (worth 50k), which didn't happen because when we sat down and looked at numbers, I was forced to face the reality of the situation, which I had known deep down all along.  It wasn't a fight so much as a mutual commiserating that we weren't able to afford the horse I'd spent months building an awesome bond with and that we both enjoyed greatly.  And we trust each other not to spend significant chunks of money without agreement/warning -- my riding lessons and horse lease payments were a mutual decision, as is any console purchase.  Well, tbh, DH doesn't have a clue about our financial situation so I literally get asked if he has enough money in his personal spending account for $5 Steam games...

Couple's therapy has taught us that (our) marriage shouldn't be about avoiding conflict, it should be about reaching compromise. 

Edited to make this less aggressive and more focused on my individual relationship.

I don't particularly like having my eye twitch. It means I'm irritated. If I can easily avoid being irritated, I do. Sort of how I choose to spend my personal time with people I like, rather than people I dislike. It makes for a happier life.

Some things need to be compromised and agreed on as a couple (house, number of kids, life goals). Some things don't (personal spending as long as goals are met). I don't see the point in compromising on things that don't need to be compromised on. Conflict is fine if it's for something important, but eliminating unnecessary conflict from your life can be very freeing.

Another example: He likes to keep a large buffer is his chequing accounts, I like to keep the bare minimum. We both currently do the one that we prefer. How would it possibly benefit our relationship to compromise on that? How would it possibly harm our relationship to continue the current setup, which we're both thrilled with?

Why does your partner having a hobby he enjoys irritate you?  Why does you having a hobby you enjoy irritate him? 

Maybe the difference is that DH and I can both see the value in each other's hobbies and sometimes enjoy them together.  I enjoy gaming/nerdy stuff (though not as much as he does), and he grew up riding horses and often comes to the barn to hang out with me and watch me ride.  There really isn't any conflict over these specific issues, though of course there is over other things!

Hobbies are great, and we both enjoy our own and support each other's. At the same time, it would really bug me if the large $ amounts were coming out of an account with my name on it. As it is now, with separate accounts, I couldn't care less! Neither could he! This fabulous system allows us both to do whatever we want, while not harming our long term goals or causing conflict.

Since you're essentially common law married and therefore all assets are pooled regardless, is it just the peace of mind you get from not seeing the transaction when you look at your bank statement? If so, then more power to you, if that's what works. 

Zikoris

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #84 on: January 30, 2015, 03:59:49 PM »
Since you're essentially common law married and therefore all assets are pooled regardless, is it just the peace of mind you get from not seeing the transaction when you look at your bank statement? If so, then more power to you, if that's what works.

I still see it since we have joint Mint records, but essentially, yes - I see it post and feel a sense of relief that I'm not paying for it.
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seattlecyclone

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #85 on: January 30, 2015, 04:32:46 PM »
My wife and I combine. I earn significantly more than she does. I think it would be rather selfish of me to say "I'm financially independent so I'm going to quit working now...maybe once you're FI in 10 years we can take some nice trips together." No. I'll work a little bit longer so we can both be FI at the same time, much earlier than if we had to each earn it ourselves.

Combining actually helps us accelerate our savings. She has an after-tax 401(k) available; she has total pre-tax/after-tax contributions of over 70% of her salary going in there to come close to maxing out the account. She also maxes out her HSA and ESPP. After those deductions and taxes, there's literally nothing left in her paycheck. We also max out a backdoor Roth in her name each year above and beyond that. We would not be able to achieve this level of tax-advantaged saving if I demanded she have a large enough net paycheck to pay half of our current expenses.
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Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #86 on: January 30, 2015, 09:40:46 PM »
Quote
Why does your partner having a hobby he enjoys irritate you?  Why does you having a hobby you enjoy irritate him?

I think you misunderstand.

My girlfriend doing dance lessons does not irritate me. My girlfriend spending hundreds of dollars on dance lessons with my money would irritate me.

Myself buying video games does not upset my girlfriend. Buying video games with her money would upset her.

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jms493

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #87 on: January 30, 2015, 09:58:01 PM »
Quote
Why does your partner having a hobby he enjoys irritate you?  Why does you having a hobby you enjoy irritate him?

I think you misunderstand.

My girlfriend doing dance lessons does not irritate me. My girlfriend spending hundreds of dollars on dance lessons with my money would irritate me.

Myself buying video games does not upset my girlfriend. Buying video games with her money would upset her.


this is where I see things differently...it is not MY money...its OUR money.  There is no more I...it is now WE!

KMMK

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #88 on: January 30, 2015, 10:44:26 PM »
"When you get married two become one. By definition. By law."

This is not how I define marriage. Show me the law that shows I gave up my personhood by getting married. I am not half of anything. I am a whole person who wants to be the partner of another person.

Spondulix

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #89 on: January 31, 2015, 01:20:48 AM »
Another advantage I see is simplicity.  Easier to have everything dumped into one bucket and have it dispersed from there.

I also find that communication is much better between wife and I.  Our finances are an open book and everything is discussed every month.  There is no question about any purchases.

Also I wonder how a couple does it if 1 person is making 150K and the other is making 40K.  How do you NOT combine those.  One might be scraping by and the other is not.
In your scenario, it completely depends on how the two people want to live. It's only scraping by if you're living beyond your means (like if the high earner wants to go out for expensive meals, buy nice cars, buy a house you can only afford on both salaries, etc). Being semi-separate works out great for DH and I (I earn $140k and he earns $40k). We live like we make $80-90k combined, not $180k. He's not really interested in FIRE, and I'm on a fast track.  It actually encourages me to save more and live like I have less.

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #90 on: January 31, 2015, 01:45:25 AM »
Quote
this is where I see things differently...it is not MY money...its OUR money.  There is no more I...it is now WE!

Maybe I can quit my job and expect my SO to pay all the bills. If she is upset by the idea, I can say "what's the problem? It's not your money that is being spent, it's our money".

Our relationship makes us more effective and efficient financially (and in other areas, but I just want to talk about finance specifically). We are stronger together than we are alone.

But, that doesn't mean that we are not individuals that have independent accomplishments and finances.



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aj_yooper

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #91 on: January 31, 2015, 02:22:26 AM »
We've been married a long time and do the one pot thing.  Sometimes I made more, sometimes she did.  One pot.  Worked for us.  Our friends  did not do the one pot thing and they have been married about as long as us.  Common goals, respect, and love carry the day.  Money and budget differences did occur, but we solved them.
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morning owl

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #92 on: January 31, 2015, 07:45:10 AM »
Another advantage I see is simplicity.  Easier to have everything dumped into one bucket and have it dispersed from there.

I also find that communication is much better between wife and I.  Our finances are an open book and everything is discussed every month.  There is no question about any purchases.

Also I wonder how a couple does it if 1 person is making 150K and the other is making 40K.  How do you NOT combine those.  One might be scraping by and the other is not.

My husband and I are in this situation. I make far less than he does. Our incomes are even more exaggerated than this -- I make about 30k and he makes significantly into six figures. The important thing is that we agree on our spending levels. Neither of us spends frivolously. We are semi-mustachian, and I am learning to be more so... So of course, it's very easy for me to live on far less than 30k, and save the rest.

We also do not have income splitting in Canada, therefore my DH can't give me money to invest, without being taxed at his income tax rate. He pays the big expenses (housing, travel) and I pay for the smaller ones (groceries, my own stuff.)  We agree on this split, and it feels balanced to us. And it leaves me with money to invest. I'd rather invest my own money for many reasons, but since we are on the early retirement path, I find that keeping separate finances helps more than hinders, as long as we both have the same goals and philosophies towards spending and consumption habits.

caliq

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #93 on: January 31, 2015, 07:57:17 AM »
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Why does your partner having a hobby he enjoys irritate you?  Why does you having a hobby you enjoy irritate him?

I think you misunderstand.

My girlfriend doing dance lessons does not irritate me. My girlfriend spending hundreds of dollars on dance lessons with my money would irritate me.

Myself buying video games does not upset my girlfriend. Buying video games with her money would upset her.


this is where I see things differently...it is not MY money...its OUR money.  There is no more I...it is now WE!

DH and I are two separate individuals with our own goals/personalities/whatever, but we still view it as OUR money.  We literally had a conversation about this earlier this morning (because my MIL is annoying me with comments about how husbands have to be the breadwinners).   

Also, spending money required to participate in the hobby is kind of indistinguishable from the hobby itself in my book.  If you're annoyed at the spending, it means you're not fully supportive of the hobby.  If you were, the cost wouldn't bother you because it'd be a previously agreed upon mutual decision.

What happens in this split money scenario when someone gets laid off?  Or an emergency happens?  Do you each maintain a separate emergency fund of x*(your half of monthly expenses) and then once that runs out, what happens?

PEIslander

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #94 on: January 31, 2015, 08:19:08 AM »
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. 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.

In their marriage his having money while she has none results in an unequal balance of power that he lords over her. She does shift work as a nurse with some months earning more than others. In a poor month if she can't pay 50% of the household costs, he pays more but then she owes him the amount she was short. Trapped is a good word for her situation.

morning owl

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #95 on: January 31, 2015, 09:07:25 AM »
A common thread I'm seeing here is that it doesn't really matter whether the money goes into one pot or not. What matters is whether the couple is on the same page regarding spending, and whether or not they have respect for one another. With respect, trust, and common financial goals, the account details should be relatively moot. Unless there are bigger issues in the relationship, separate accounts in and of themselves don't cause these sorts of problems.

For DH and I, we still feel like we share everything 50/50 even though we have separate finances. At the end of the day, it's whatever method works for you, as long as you're both open and honest and in sync with one another.

madgeylou

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #96 on: January 31, 2015, 09:19:14 AM »
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. 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.

In their marriage his having money while she has none results in an unequal balance of power that he lords over her. She does shift work as a nurse with some months earning more than others. In a poor month if she can't pay 50% of the household costs, he pays more but then she owes him the amount she was short. Trapped is a good word for her situation.

Dang, sounds like she's in debt to the company store in a major way.

In my marriage we have a hybrid approach.

He transfers almost all of his paycheck into the household account and I transfer mine as needed -- to savings and also to pay for extras like travel and gifts. (Previously it went for debt payments but that's done now!)

The goal for 2015 is to be more disciplined about not purchasing extras out of my check, and instead budget for those out of the household kitty (by being more intentional in everyday categories) so that almost all of my pay can be diverted straight into savings.

We each have a side hustle, too, which pay into our personal accounts, but it's not so much that we need to do anything particular with it for now. It mostly just covers our costs.

Basically, almost all of our money is shared and we talk a lot about our shared goals. This, and a couple hundred a month of personal leeway money each of us, both seem to key in making it work.

Celda

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #97 on: January 31, 2015, 11:05:53 AM »
Quote
DH and I are two separate individuals with our own goals/personalities/whatever, but we still view it as OUR money.  We literally had a conversation about this earlier this morning (because my MIL is annoying me with comments about how husbands have to be the breadwinners).   

But your accomplishments are not independent. Say my girlfriend volunteers to do a bunch of overtime to earn a lot more money. She would be less willing to do that if half of that money went to me, for doing nothing.

Suppose I have the chance to take on extra responsibilities at my job, with extra pay. I would be less willing to make that sacrifice, if I only get half of that extra money.

Pooling money would only make us weaker (financially).

Quote
Also, spending money required to participate in the hobby is kind of indistinguishable from the hobby itself in my book.  If you're annoyed at the spending, it means you're not fully supportive of the hobby.  If you were, the cost wouldn't bother you because it'd be a previously agreed upon mutual decision.

Your argument makes no sense. Whatever hobbies my girlfriend wants to do is fine. It's paying for something that has nothing to do with you that bothers us.

Suppose we had the same hobby, we both take dance lessons. Neither of us would be "annoyed", obviously. But I want to take $100 of lessons a month, she wants $250.

My paying for her (or vice versa) is what we don't like.

Quote
What happens in this split money scenario when someone gets laid off?  Or an emergency happens?  Do you each maintain a separate emergency fund of x*(your half of monthly expenses) and then once that runs out, what happens?

Not a problem, we're both on the ER track and mustachian so we save over 50% of take-home and could live with zero income (even at current spending levels) for several years.

If one of us somehow ran out of money, which would be almost impossible, then the other would temporarily pay for required expenses only (rent, groceries, etc.). But it would be expected for the other person to get a job ASAP.

It's just a question of outlook. Neither of us feel that being in a relationship is equivalent to paying for each other's expenses, which is what many people seem to think. And that attitude makes us a stronger economic unit.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 11:32:17 AM by Celda »
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Timmmy

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #98 on: January 31, 2015, 12:33:36 PM »
Quote
DH and I are two separate individuals with our own goals/personalities/whatever, but we still view it as OUR money.  We literally had a conversation about this earlier this morning (because my MIL is annoying me with comments about how husbands have to be the breadwinners).   

But your accomplishments are not independent. Say my girlfriend volunteers to do a bunch of overtime to earn a lot more money. She would be less willing to do that if half of that money went to me, for doing nothing.

Suppose I have the chance to take on extra responsibilities at my job, with extra pay. I would be less willing to make that sacrifice, if I only get half of that extra money.

Pooling money would only make us weaker (financially).

Quote
Also, spending money required to participate in the hobby is kind of indistinguishable from the hobby itself in my book.  If you're annoyed at the spending, it means you're not fully supportive of the hobby.  If you were, the cost wouldn't bother you because it'd be a previously agreed upon mutual decision.

Your argument makes no sense. Whatever hobbies my girlfriend wants to do is fine. It's paying for something that has nothing to do with you that bothers us.

Suppose we had the same hobby, we both take dance lessons. Neither of us would be "annoyed", obviously. But I want to take $100 of lessons a month, she wants $250.

My paying for her (or vice versa) is what we don't like.

Quote
What happens in this split money scenario when someone gets laid off?  Or an emergency happens?  Do you each maintain a separate emergency fund of x*(your half of monthly expenses) and then once that runs out, what happens?

Not a problem, we're both on the ER track and mustachian so we save over 50% of take-home and could live with zero income (even at current spending levels) for several years.

If one of us somehow ran out of money, which would be almost impossible, then the other would temporarily pay for required expenses only (rent, groceries, etc.). But it would be expected for the other person to get a job ASAP.

It's just a question of outlook. Neither of us feel that being in a relationship is equivalent to paying for each other's expenses, which is what many people seem to think. And that attitude makes us a stronger economic unit.

Only because you keep separate finances do you feel like you would be less motivated.  I don't only get half of the extra money.  That's flawed logic for joint finances.  We get all of the extra money for our financial goals. It doesn't matter the source of the money.  The money that we earn goes towards our financial goals

Same thing with the hobbies.  I don't pay for my wife's hobbies.  We pay for our hobbies.  That includes things only she does and things only I do but they are still our hobbies.

I'm not knocking your way of doing it.  I'd never consider blending finances with a non-spouse.  And if you decide to get married and keep separate finances and that works for you that's fine by me.  I'm just saying your looking at the joint finances thing through the lens of separate finances.  It's all in if you have joint finances.  Your pronouns have to change for everything.

CommonCents

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Re: Couple Money Sharing Strategy?
« Reply #99 on: January 31, 2015, 04:12:31 PM »
Quote
DH and I are two separate individuals with our own goals/personalities/whatever, but we still view it as OUR money.  We literally had a conversation about this earlier this morning (because my MIL is annoying me with comments about how husbands have to be the breadwinners).   

But your accomplishments are not independent. Say my girlfriend volunteers to do a bunch of overtime to earn a lot more money. She would be less willing to do that if half of that money went to me, for doing nothing.

Suppose I have the chance to take on extra responsibilities at my job, with extra pay. I would be less willing to make that sacrifice, if I only get half of that extra money.

Pooling money would only make us weaker (financially).

Quote
Also, spending money required to participate in the hobby is kind of indistinguishable from the hobby itself in my book.  If you're annoyed at the spending, it means you're not fully supportive of the hobby.  If you were, the cost wouldn't bother you because it'd be a previously agreed upon mutual decision.

Your argument makes no sense. Whatever hobbies my girlfriend wants to do is fine. It's paying for something that has nothing to do with you that bothers us.

Suppose we had the same hobby, we both take dance lessons. Neither of us would be "annoyed", obviously. But I want to take $100 of lessons a month, she wants $250.

My paying for her (or vice versa) is what we don't like.

Quote
What happens in this split money scenario when someone gets laid off?  Or an emergency happens?  Do you each maintain a separate emergency fund of x*(your half of monthly expenses) and then once that runs out, what happens?

Not a problem, we're both on the ER track and mustachian so we save over 50% of take-home and could live with zero income (even at current spending levels) for several years.

If one of us somehow ran out of money, which would be almost impossible, then the other would temporarily pay for required expenses only (rent, groceries, etc.). But it would be expected for the other person to get a job ASAP.

It's just a question of outlook. Neither of us feel that being in a relationship is equivalent to paying for each other's expenses, which is what many people seem to think. And that attitude makes us a stronger economic unit.

Only because you keep separate finances do you feel like you would be less motivated.  I don't only get half of the extra money.  That's flawed logic for joint finances.  We get all of the extra money for our financial goals. It doesn't matter the source of the money.  The money that we earn goes towards our financial goals

Same thing with the hobbies.  I don't pay for my wife's hobbies.  We pay for our hobbies.  That includes things only she does and things only I do but they are still our hobbies.

I'm not knocking your way of doing it.  I'd never consider blending finances with a non-spouse.  And if you decide to get married and keep separate finances and that works for you that's fine by me.  I'm just saying your looking at the joint finances thing through the lens of separate finances.  It's all in if you have joint finances.  Your pronouns have to change for everything.

Yes, plus lets think through this overtime.

My husband has to work late at work one night.  We drive one car to the train station, so I have to leave home and pick him up when he works late (we try to stay on the same schedule) - that's some of my time gone.  I'm also going to cook dinner, because he's working late, rather than doing it together, and maybe, depending on time and what else I have going on, do some chores (laundry, cleanup kitchen, maybe some household admin) while he's out working late.  If we had kids, I'd be picking them up from daycare, feeding them, etc.

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.