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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: MikeJones2001 on September 16, 2021, 07:12:19 PM

Title: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: MikeJones2001 on September 16, 2021, 07:12:19 PM
We both are employed and as of now we have our paycheck direct deposited into separate checking accounts. I was trying to get yalls opinion on a joint checking account versus having separate accounts.

Also what do yall think about me and my wife to be having a joint checking and then separate checking accounts for personal use.

Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Michael in ABQ on September 16, 2021, 07:32:13 PM
Joint checking. Not yours or mine, but ours. No need for separate accounts. Just establish amongst yourselves how you're going to handle your finances. Is a $20 charge something you don't even think about, or is the threshold $5, or $100? At what point do you discuss a purchase, and at what point is it not significant. That's for you two to decide.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 16, 2021, 07:32:36 PM
Whatever y'all can agree to will be just fine. It may even change over time.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Wolfpack Mustachian on September 16, 2021, 07:39:55 PM
This is one of the topics typically brought up.

Some people will say joint always.

Some will say separate always.

Some will say whatever feels best for you.

Ultimately, in different situations, different options have their advantages. My family has everything together. My wife and I are about as completely on the same page committed to each other in life and in finances as we could possibly be, and I couldn't imagine it any other way (not disparaging others or saying if you have separate checking accounts you're not committed, of course). I'm glad, too, because keeping things separate sounds like a real pain in the butt.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Abe on September 16, 2021, 07:46:08 PM
My wife and I had pre-existing checking accounts before we were married. Over time I just stopped using mine because it's such a hassle to keep track of two bank accounts. Less chance for financial fraud with fewer accounts, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: dividendman on September 16, 2021, 07:51:06 PM
If you haven't talked about how you're going to handle your finances as a married couple, perhaps question the marriage more than the types of accounts you're going to have.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: mspym on September 16, 2021, 08:24:37 PM
Another vote for 'whatever works best for you as long as you are aligned in your expectations and share a vision for the future'.

We maintain entirely separate finances ten years in and it works for us - because we have existing agreements about who pays for what, how bills get split, and regularly talk openly about finances and how it ties in with our shared future.  Even when accounts are merged, I think there is still a need for each person to have some money that they can spend without any form of oversight or judgement. Heck, that's part of the freedom of adulthood that we were promised!
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 16, 2021, 08:26:54 PM
I think you should have figured this out well before deciding to get married, but here we are so here's my advice.

Start having DAILY conversations about money, what it means to you, what your hopes are, your plans, and most importantly your fears.

Compare what your parents taught you, what parts make sense and what parts seem stupid.

Talk about what you would do as a couple if one of you lost your job, became disabled, or died. Talk thoroughly about insurance options for all of the above.

Talk EXTENSIVELY about how you perceive each other's incomes and your expenses. Are they separate with shared expenses? If so, how will you split them? If shared, how will you share? Will you have any separate money?

Also, find out what the laws are regarding finances that you will be agreeing to when you get married. If you don't know these, you are signing a contract totally blind. Many couples keep their finances separate only to find out upon divorce that everything is considered shared and the private debt accrued by one partner is now 50% the responsibility of the other. A marriage contract is a contract, there are terms you should know, otherwise how can you legitimately consent to signing it?

Having a joint account or not is totally irrelevant. Some people have a joint account as a way of facilitating totally split finances and the joint account is where they each deposit their carefully calculated share of costs so that bills come out of one account.

Meanwhile, some fully shared finances don't have any shared accounts, each partner has access to each account and they move money as needed as makes sense. Like on person's salary pays all of the bills and the other person's salary goes to savings, but it's all one big pot.

So whether you get a joint account or not makes absolutely no difference to anything.

I say none of this to be harsh. In fact, having these conversations openly and regularly are what make my marriage so strong and happy.

We've handled me getting very ill and losing my career due to disability, and actually become even happier along the way because in the years leading up to it, we prioritized talking about everything financial, so when the huge hit of losing my income happened, we were already so aligned, that it was obvious how we wanted to pivot together and embrace a new path.

Master this stuff now before you need it, and your marriage will be much smoother and easier for the rest of your life.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 16, 2021, 08:30:44 PM
Another vote for 'whatever works best for you as long as you are aligned in your expectations and share a vision for the future'.

We maintain entirely separate finances ten years in and it works for us - because we have existing agreements about who pays for what, how bills get split, and regularly talk openly about finances and how it ties in with our shared future.  Even when accounts are merged, I think there is still a need for each person to have some money that they can spend without any form of oversight or judgement. Heck, that's part of the freedom of adulthood that we were promised!

We don't have this, never have, and it's never been an issue. I understand why a lot of couples do, but it's definitely not needed by everyone.

We don't police each other's spending, but we're fully aware of every cent the other person spends because we have full access to each other's accounts, and review all of our accounts together regularly.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Omy on September 16, 2021, 08:59:14 PM
We have one joint account and individual retirement and non-retirement investment accounts. We also each have fun money that we can spend without consulting the other. We seeded these slush funds a couple of years ago when we FIREd and give ourselves monthly infusions of cash to spend as we wish.

I am the beneficiary on all of his accounts and he is the beneficiary on all of mine. We know each other's passwords. We decided early on to let the other person know any time we were considering a purchase greater than $100.

We check all accounts at least quarterly. I can't remember ever having a significant disagreement about money - we are fortunate that our spending and financial goals are pretty much aligned.

My first marriage was challenging because exH was a big spender, and I wanted to save so we could retire early. We fussed about money on a regular basis. I cannot stress enough how important it is to go into marriage understanding your spouse's approach to spending and saving. If your financial goals are not compatible, you're setting yourself up for a lot of aggravation.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Abe on September 16, 2021, 09:01:19 PM
It’s worth discussing your spending and retirement goals, and maybe come up with some broad plan. I wouldn’t get too worried about it unless you all are cash-strapped. My wife and I never did. We knew each other well enough to know that neither of us spend on frivolous things, agreed on what counted as frivolous, and that we both wanted to retire before 60. We do have the privilege of high-income jobs, but even if you don’t a basic plan is sufficient for now. If you can decide how much is “too much” for various categories, you’ll be fine. I’d assume you have an idea of how your soon to be spouse spends, but if that’s a mystery - figure it out! congratulations  on your wedding!

Oh and also get term life insurance. It’s so cheap and with each other as dependents, there’s a point to getting it now.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 16, 2021, 09:07:48 PM
Another vote for 'whatever works best for you as long as you are aligned in your expectations and share a vision for the future'.

We maintain entirely separate finances ten years in and it works for us - because we have existing agreements about who pays for what, how bills get split, and regularly talk openly about finances and how it ties in with our shared future.  Even when accounts are merged, I think there is still a need for each person to have some money that they can spend without any form of oversight or judgement. Heck, that's part of the freedom of adulthood that we were promised!

We don't have this, never have, and it's never been an issue. I understand why a lot of couples do, but it's definitely not needed by everyone.

We don't police each other's spending, but we're fully aware of every cent the other person spends because we have full access to each other's accounts, and review all of our accounts together regularly.

It would drive DH crazy right now to have to keep track of his own expenses and bills. I took over when he had to cut back his time at the computer due to his health issues and we haven't looked back. He just pays his medical bills out of the HSA.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 16, 2021, 09:12:33 PM
Another vote for 'whatever works best for you as long as you are aligned in your expectations and share a vision for the future'.

We maintain entirely separate finances ten years in and it works for us - because we have existing agreements about who pays for what, how bills get split, and regularly talk openly about finances and how it ties in with our shared future.  Even when accounts are merged, I think there is still a need for each person to have some money that they can spend without any form of oversight or judgement. Heck, that's part of the freedom of adulthood that we were promised!

We don't have this, never have, and it's never been an issue. I understand why a lot of couples do, but it's definitely not needed by everyone.

We don't police each other's spending, but we're fully aware of every cent the other person spends because we have full access to each other's accounts, and review all of our accounts together regularly.

It would drive DH crazy right now to have to keep track of his own expenses and bills. I took over when he had to cut back his time at the computer due to his health issues and we haven't looked back. He just pays his medical bills out of the HSA.

Yeah, sometimes when DH is overworked, I take over reviewing accounts myself. But my point was that tons of people claim that all couples need at least some private spending money that the other partner has no say over, and I don't agree that it's necessary for *all* couples. Needing private spending money would never even occur to us until I constantly saw it mentioned as a "must have" for marriages.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Radagast on September 16, 2021, 09:51:12 PM
We had/have joint. Then DW decided she needed her own separate account, probably because of something a friend said. Within a month I had memorized the PW to both, and she had forgotten both. So here we are three or so years later, with one joint and one separate, and I access both and she accesses neither unless she asks me to remind her what her PW is.

Not sure it really matters that much.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Erma on September 17, 2021, 04:55:00 AM
I would say it depends on the laws. Here banks can block a joint account as soon as one partner dies until it is clear who inherits the money. So worst case is your partner is dead and you can't pay the bills because you don't have access to the money.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: cupcakery on September 17, 2021, 06:16:21 AM
I guess whatever works for you.  We have everything combined.  I can't imagine having separate finances and don't feel that it would work well for us.  Many people seem to disagree.  DH works with this guy who was talking about how if they didn't have separate finances they'd be divorced and how everyone should do that.  DH quipped, "We'd be divorced if we did."
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 17, 2021, 07:19:30 AM
I'm not married to my SO of 20+ years, so add grain of salt, to taste. 

Do what works for you guys and don't waste time trying to fix anything that's not broken just because other relationships look different or do things differently.

We keep everything very separate and that has worked great for us.  He FIRED five years ago, I'll FIRE end of 2025.  People say this would be different if we were married, but I can't imagine that it would.

I've always been very comfortable with the idea that the only two people in our relationship is us, so it only needs to work for us. 

Congratulations and best of luck!!!!!!

Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: brandon1827 on September 17, 2021, 08:43:57 AM
+1 to the above post. Wife and I have been together 23 years. We started out with separate accounts, ended up getting a joint account, she added a separate account later on, then added me to that one later still. You guys will find the balance that works for you. There is no one size fits all way to do this. As others have mentioned, just communicate with each other about it and don't try to hide anything from each other. You'll find the best way to manage it that works for you soon enough. Congrats!
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: iris lily on September 17, 2021, 08:57:25 AM
Another vote for 'whatever works best for you as long as you are aligned in your expectations and share a vision for the future'.

We maintain entirely separate finances ten years in and it works for us - because we have existing agreements about who pays for what, how bills get split, and regularly talk openly about finances and how it ties in with our shared future.  Even when accounts are merged, I think there is still a need for each person to have some money that they can spend without any form of oversight or judgement. Heck, that's part of the freedom of adulthood that we were promised!

We don't have this, never have, and it's never been an issue. I understand why a lot of couples do, but it's definitely not needed by everyone.

We don't police each other's spending, but we're fully aware of every cent the other person spends because we have full access to each other's accounts, and review all of our accounts together regularly.

It would drive DH crazy right now to have to keep track of his own expenses and bills. I took over when he had to cut back his time at the computer due to his health issues and we haven't looked back. He just pays his medical bills out of the HSA.

Yeah, sometimes when DH is overworked, I take over reviewing accounts myself. But my point was that tons of people claim that all couples need at least some private spending money that the other partner has no say over, and I don't agree that it's necessary for *all* couples. Needing private spending money would never even occur to us until I constantly saw it mentioned as a "must have" for marriages.

I guess I agree with this. Not sure. I don’t see how any of the money either DH or I spends is “private” so yeah.

I spend what I want to spend.He spends what he wants to spend.For me, it all goes on a charge card that he reviews if he wishes because he pays that bill out of a joint checking account. For him, he gets cash out of the ATM now and then, so I dont have the ability to see what he is spending it on, only have the ability to see how much is coming out of the ATM.

We used to have a spoken agreement of $100 as the amount at which we flag the other person. But that was decades ago now we just spend what we want to spend. OK there are exceptions where I wrestle with something that I consider “luxurious” and I talk to him about that.

Unless one of us wants to support a sugar baby, there’s no need to have a mechanism to hide personal spending.

Let me also say that when I got married, merging the money wasProbably the biggest measure of intimacy for me. Money is a really big deal for me.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: tygertygertyger on September 17, 2021, 09:03:01 AM
I'm not married to my SO of 20+ years, so add grain of salt, to taste. 

Do what works for you guys and don't waste time trying to fix anything that's not broken just because other relationships look different or do things differently.

We keep everything very separate and that has worked great for us.  He FIRED five years ago, I'll FIRE end of 2025.  People say this would be different if we were married, but I can't imagine that it would.

I've always been very comfortable with the idea that the only two people in our relationship is us, so it only needs to work for us. 

Congratulations and best of luck!!!!!!

Yep, similarly I'm not married to my partner of 10+ years. We keep things separate, which has always worked for us. Maybe we'll change this at some point in the future, but it's not nearly as important as knowing we're on the same page. Happily neither of us are big spenders, but we do come from families that handled finances very differently, so talking through how we handle finances has been incredibly helpful.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: K_in_the_kitchen on September 17, 2021, 09:18:01 AM
We combined accounts after we got engaged.  We'd never heard of anyone doing it any other way, and dropping my account saved us the service charge (we were far too broke to avoid fees).  33 years later having a joint account still works for us.  But we're the committed types -- we never planned for the end of things because it was unfathomable to us.  We were too young for one of us to bringing huge debt to the marriage (although DH had a car loan and a computer loan).  We both came from poor families so we just didn't think along those lines.  There has never been yours and mine when it comes to money.

We don't have separate spending money, etc.  We tried it for a short time and it wasn't for us -- all it showed us what that one person liked to spend small amounts of money on little things like coffee out and the other liked to save for larger purchases.  It was a hassle to have two small individual accounts, using cash didn't work, and we always knew what the other person was buying because we share our lives.  We realized individual "personal money" wasn't necessary for us.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Britan on September 17, 2021, 09:19:08 AM
I doubt this is the question you are asking (“should we combine finances or keep separate?’). However, while my husband and I joined finances, we also have to keep our separate bank accounts that we had prior to getting married. Primarily, this has been important because some institutions (eg our 529) cannot possibly fathom that two names might be on an account (I mean how many kids have two parents amirite? /s), and will not allow us to auto deduct via online transaction from a joint account with two names on it. It’s wildly bizarro, but I literally called customer service for the 529 and they said they can only accept online transactions from a bank account with one name. So to avoid having to remember to mail a check monthly, we transfer from joint to one of our bank accounts and then from there to the 529. In terms of transparency, we budget with YNAB and connect our separate accounts there too, so we both have visibility into all accounts. The separate accounts aren’t used for anything other than these loony tunes transfers.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: K_in_the_kitchen on September 17, 2021, 09:52:28 AM
I doubt this is the question you are asking (“should we combine finances or keep separate?’). However, while my husband and I joined finances, we also have to keep our separate bank accounts that we had prior to getting married. Primarily, this has been important because some institutions (eg our 529) cannot possibly fathom that two names might be on an account (I mean how many kids have two parents amirite? /s), and will not allow us to auto deduct via online transaction from a joint account with two names on it. It’s wildly bizarro, but I literally called customer service for the 529 and they said they can only accept online transactions from a bank account with one name. So to avoid having to remember to mail a check monthly, we transfer from joint to one of our bank accounts and then from there to the 529. In terms of transparency, we budget with YNAB and connect our separate accounts there too, so we both have visibility into all accounts. The separate accounts aren’t used for anything other than these loony tunes transfers.

Our sons had 529 accounts started by a grandparents when they were very young (with just a small deposit from the death of a great-grandparent) which we took over soon after.  Even though we married long before the accounts were opened there could only be one custodian of each 529 account (not true everywhere, not sure if it's by state of financial institution).  I think it's a little different because the child is the owner and beneficiary of the account and these kinds of accounts usually only have one custodian.  Back in the day I was a bank manager and when we opened UTMA accounts for customers they could only have one custodian on those as well.

But any of us could go into a branch and make a deposit to the 529 -- as you are pointing out your issue was with auto transfer from a joint account.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: yachi on September 17, 2021, 11:45:31 AM
We had two checking accounts when we got married, but everything automated (credit card payments, direct deposit, tie ins to investment accounts) ran through my account.  When we had some fraud on my spouse's account we decided to close it, and we've operated using one account ever since.  It's worked out great.  I think we made the switch the first year we were married.

We keep 4K to 6K in it, which is enough to pay the mortgage and credit card statement, and then we don't bother tracking what payments we've scheduled or what checks we've written out of it.  If it ever goes too low we pull money from a brokerage account and try and reduce spending for a while.  If it gets too high, we pull money into the brokerage account.

We are both frugal and discussed that part of our lives before marriage, but never gave the day-to-day much thought.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Kris on September 17, 2021, 11:59:26 AM
How you do it is wayyyyyy less important than whether you are both fully on the same page about it.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Heywood57 on September 17, 2021, 12:04:36 PM

My wife has never had a dollar she couldn't spend twice.

Separate accounts, share the bills, dodge the arguments about where the money went.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 17, 2021, 01:10:07 PM
We kept separate accounts for the first seven or eight years we were together . . . but eventually jointly decided it wasn't worth the hassle so consolidated.  For the past decade or so we've just had one joint bank account and a couple of joint credit cards.  Makes life a lot easier, and it's not like we ever needed to hide financial information from each other.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: yachi on September 17, 2021, 01:18:09 PM

My wife has never had a dollar she couldn't spend twice.

Separate accounts, share the bills, dodge the arguments about where the money went.

If that were the case for either one of us, it would necessitate a different approach than we have, like separate accounts and bill sharing like you do.  But it's complicated by the fact that one of us is a stay at home parent...
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Raenia on September 17, 2021, 01:26:43 PM
We kept our separate accounts and opened a joint account when we got married.  It was just easier - didn't have to change my direct deposit, auto-transfers to Vanguard, etc.  We pay for pretty much everything out of the joint account, though.  Only exceptions are gifts that we want to keep "secret."  Gift giving wouldn't be as much fun (for us) if he could look at the joint statement and see "$XXX charge for [thing he's been wanting]."

The important thing for us isn't what accounts we have or where the money is sitting at any given time, that's all window dressing.  The important part is that our financial planning is entirely done together - budgeting, savings goals, investment strategies, all take into account both our salaries as one pot.  The fact that some of it sits in my account, some in the joint account, and some in his has very little impact.  Being on the same page about how to handle money has all the impact.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: joe189man on September 17, 2021, 01:38:32 PM
FWIW we have dual accounts that were separate accounts at the same bank that are now linked, as in we are both listed on each account - so we can see each others activity and have debit cards for each others account.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: seattlecyclone on September 17, 2021, 02:20:50 PM
I think it's extremely convenient to have a joint account for the joint expenses at a minimum. You presumably live together and therefore have shared rent/mortgage/utilities, maybe other stuff like groceries as well. Much easier to pay for that out of a joint account than to have one partner pay and the other reimburses half or whatever. Whether you fully marry your finances or keep separate accounts is for the two of you to decide amongst yourselves. My wife and I have fully merged accounts (IRAs excepted) but every couple is free to decide for themselves on this.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Villanelle on September 17, 2021, 02:34:16 PM
This is like asking the internet what color you should paint your walls.  No one can give you the answer that is right for you.

For DH and me, we've had combined accounts from day 1.  Technically, we both kept the primary credit cards we had before marriage so those are separate, but we have access to one another's log-ins as needed and they are paid out of our joint account.  We did that for ease and credit history, not any perceived privacy or separateness.  We don't have the "blow money" or "allowance" accounts, or whatever people call their separate money.  It has never been needed.  We discuss large purchases.  We have similar enough spending styles and enough trust and respect that nothing else has been needed for us.

This worked for us when DH brought debt and a negative net worth into the marriage and I had modest savings, and when we were both working at professional, salaried jobs, and when I gave up my job to follow him overseas.  It worked when he was deployed and we couldn't easily communicate about purchases, and it worked we ended each month with nearly nothing less and eating a Taco Bell dinner once a month was a treat, and when we essentially have enough money to afford whatever we want.

I firmly believe this approach is what is best for us.  But that doesn't mean it is the right or best way for everyone.

Talk with your partner.  Is it important to one or both of you to have truly private money, and if so, what do you each think is reasonable.  If there is anything other than "everything is combined", then figure out what sort of things will fall outside the joint money.  Is someone spending $200 every 2 months to get hair color (as an example, and I could be way off on price as I don't color my hair) a joint expense, or private expense? What is one person wants to buy groceries for a really fancy meal?  Gifts for each person's family?  If there is (now, or in the future) a large income disparity, how will you handle that, especially if you split any bills? 

For me, the difficulty of splitting things up is a primary reason that anything short of "fully joint" probably wouldn't work for me.  The way my brain works, if we are splitting stuff, then suddenly I would need to get it exactly right.  What if DH wants a fancier car than I have?  Should the difference come out of his "fun" money?  What if I want a larger home and he's good with a smaller one?  Or one person wants to buy lobster and fancy cheeses at the grocery store?  Or one wants to go on a fancy cruise and the other would rather stay at home and go to free local museums?  If we are splitting the grocery bill, is it fair to do it 50/50?  I would be an absolute insufferable mess once we tried to divide things up because my brain works overtime on categorizing things and I can't do that in half measures.  So once we have to determine whether an expense is mine or his, or ours (and then to what degree is it each persons), I would suddenly be evaluating each expense.   So I'm thankful that the person I choose is good with everything combined, and that his level of frugality is pretty much in line with mine so no one feels the need to police the other, and there are no worries. 

In 20+ years, we have not had a single fight about money, and things were pretty tight in the early years. 

But of course, many people do this splitting approach without any of those problems, though I think the "splitters" that are most successful usually talk through these details in advance.  Otherwise, one person might be thinking "we split the bills" means 50/50 on everything and then each person keeps the rest of their paycheck, and the other might think that it's more fair to split based on $ of household income (the person who makes 65% of the income pays 65% of rent, utilities, groceries).  Or if there is a private  fun money amount each month, one person might feel that grooming and new clothes (whether truly needed or just wanted) fall into that category and another might think those are household expenses and should be split.  I think the more specific you can be, the better. 
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 17, 2021, 02:44:22 PM
I think it's extremely convenient to have a joint account for the joint expenses at a minimum. You presumably live together and therefore have shared rent/mortgage/utilities, maybe other stuff like groceries as well. Much easier to pay for that out of a joint account than to have one partner pay and the other reimburses half or whatever. Whether you fully marry your finances or keep separate accounts is for the two of you to decide amongst yourselves. My wife and I have fully merged accounts (IRAs excepted) but every couple is free to decide for themselves on this.

This entirely depends on if the finances are pooled or not.

If all finances are pooled, then there's no reimbursement. When DH and I got together, we pooled everything but didn't combine anything, meaning all money coming in belonged to both of us regardless of whose account it was in. The bills he had always paid came out of his accounts, the bills I had always paid came out of mine. No need for contributions to be even and nothing to reimburse. I moved into his house, so almost all of the bills came out of his accounts. Remainders went to debt and investments.

That's why I mentioned in my previous post that joint accounts can sometimes be most useful for couples who keep their money separate. 
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: turketron on September 17, 2021, 03:11:45 PM
Do what works for you, and what you are both comfortable with.

We have our own individual accounts that our paychecks go into. We then have a joint account that all bills and shares expenses come out of, that is funded equally from our personal accounts. We have some joint credit cards as well, that are also paid for out of the joint checking.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 17, 2021, 03:20:12 PM
I think it's extremely convenient to have a joint account for the joint expenses at a minimum. You presumably live together and therefore have shared rent/mortgage/utilities, maybe other stuff like groceries as well. Much easier to pay for that out of a joint account than to have one partner pay and the other reimburses half or whatever. Whether you fully marry your finances or keep separate accounts is for the two of you to decide amongst yourselves. My wife and I have fully merged accounts (IRAs excepted) but every couple is free to decide for themselves on this.

When we had separate accounts, we just had a "you pay this, I pay that" arrangement.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Darian on September 17, 2021, 07:25:30 PM
DH and I have everything separate, and he transfers a set amount of money into my account every month that covers his share of mortgage, kids 529s, utilities, etc. He HATES paperwork-like tasks and is more than happy to let me take on the chore of paying everything. Large one-off expenses like a car repair are discussed and his share is added to the following month's transfer. That could work for you guys if one of you has a similar mindset. I agree with what others have said the most important thing is to have a discussion now and make sure you're both on the same page. You can always revisit your choice later.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Rosy on September 18, 2021, 10:17:50 AM
CONGRATS!:)

Of course, you need to discuss your combined finances:).
Start with a list of both income and debt, discuss your hopes and dreams and make a plan on how to get there together.

No internet stranger can advise you on what will work best for you.
For instance, if your income represents 60% and hers only 40% - it would not be fair for her to pay 50% of all expenses.
Has that occurred to you?
Remember you can always change your setup - as things change so might each of your contributions, even just temporarily.

This is a good time to also think about if one of you lost their job could you both live on one income and pay all your bills? If not that is something to work on and include in your planning. $hit happens all the time - so an emergency fund covering six months to a year of income or investments you could liquidate if needed are important for your future financial stability.

Who is the saver and who is the spender, are you on the same page financially? Will you discuss finances once a month over Sunday coffee and one of you will handle all financial matters, like reviewing the home or car insurance once a year for the best deal or starting a new investment account the next time you get a raise?
Who will keep an eye on the food budget and set a limit for eating out and entertainment?
What discretionary income will each of you allow the other - without question?

What about debt? If one of you has a ridiculously high car payment or way too many small debts or a horrific student loan that leaves no money on the table - will you work on this together, maybe re-finance and discuss the best way to tackle whatever debts there are?

We were an older couple and I was terrified of giving up my financial independence. For over ten years we had separate accounts. After a couple of discussions, we agreed on who would pay for what from their own accounts. We always discuss major expenditures. 
Since then we have added each other on all of our accounts and combined finances although we each still use primarily our own accounts.
 
There are a thousand reasons why people set up their accounts a certain way and give open access or limited access to no access at all including ignorance, laziness, trust issues, need to protect assets, family reasons/obligations, control freaks ... who knows. 

We felt it was extremely important to have immediate full access in case one of us died unexpectedly. We added an endorsement to all of our accounts that says the other will instantly become the sole account holder. A good move if you do not yet have a will. It is a routine amendment, free of charge, offered by all banks and CU's.

Good Luck!
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Dicey on September 18, 2021, 12:32:53 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Kris on September 18, 2021, 12:51:16 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

I don’t think it’s necessarily about not trusting each other with money.

DH and I know a lot of couples who have separate finances, and interestingly, two of the most “solid” couples we know (as in, we respect and admire their relationships as true committed partnerships) fit into this category.

Marriage isn’t (just) about money. And neither is trust.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 18, 2021, 01:05:58 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

I don't think it is even usually about trust. It can be lazy (see above re: maintaining direct deposit without any fuss). It can be different account styles. It can be that after after years of maintaining your own accounts it is just what you are used to. It can be that each partner prefers a different institution.

When we finally created a joint checking, it was just because I no longer had any free options, so it made sense to add me to his account to save us money. And now, he really likes never worrying about the bills.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Dicey on September 18, 2021, 01:18:56 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

I don’t think it’s necessarily about not trusting each other with money.

DH and I know a lot of couples who have separate finances, and interestingly, two of the most “solid” couples we know (as in, we respect and admire their relationships as true committed partnerships) fit into this category.

Marriage isn’t (just) about money. And neither is trust.
Agreed.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 18, 2021, 01:20:31 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

I don't think it is even usually about trust. It can be lazy (see above re: maintaining direct deposit without any fuss). It can be different account styles. It can be that after after years of maintaining your own accounts it is just what you are used to. It can be that each partner prefers a different institution.

When we finally created a joint checking, it was just because I no longer had any free options, so it made sense to add me to his account to save us money. And now, he really likes never worrying about the bills.

Again, let's distinguish between shared accounts and pooled resources

Shared accounts are often used to facilitating keeping finances separate. Meanwhile resources can be pooled with any orientation of accounts, shared or individual.

These are entirely separate issues.

But I also agree that not pooling resources isn't necessarily a matter of lack of trust. I have a lot of friends and colleagues who keep their finances totally separate, often because of owning businesses, having children from previous marriages, etc, etc.

However, these people also have the appropriate prenups in place, because keeping separate finances is beyond useless in the event of a divorce.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: maisymouser on September 18, 2021, 03:33:19 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

It's not always about *trust*. DH and I totally trust each other about what we spend on, but we are in very different places financially (him being 11 years my senior). So, it is much simpler for us to keep things divided- including separate checking accounts*, investments, and FI numbers. I don't want resentment either way when one of us decides to pull the trigger based on our numbers.

Of course we split big purchases and don't sweat the small stuff. Of course it's nice to know that DH has my back financially and vice versa. But we very much prefer knowing where we are at individually, even as we are married. We touch base regularly to see where we are at jointly in terms of NW. Takes us a total of maybe an hour a year. :)

*We do have a joint account but use it primarily as a vehicle to send money to one another's individual accounts when the need arises (property taxes, annual insurance bills, etc).
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 18, 2021, 06:08:39 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

It's not always about *trust*. DH and I totally trust each other about what we spend on, but we are in very different places financially (him being 11 years my senior). So, it is much simpler for us to keep things divided- including separate checking accounts*, investments, and FI numbers. I don't want resentment either way when one of us decides to pull the trigger based on our numbers.

This is actually the part I don't get.  Since we were married, my wife and I share everything.  Two people become one united front.  My money is her money, and her money is my money.  How could two people in a marriage be in different places financially?

The only way that it makes sense to me is if for some reason you don't trust your spouse with your money and there is no 'our' money, only mine and hers.  But then that brings up Dicey's question.

Honest question, this is something I've never understood about people who are married with different finances.  I get that it works for some couples . . . but just don't understand the mindset.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 18, 2021, 06:35:15 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

It's not always about *trust*. DH and I totally trust each other about what we spend on, but we are in very different places financially (him being 11 years my senior). So, it is much simpler for us to keep things divided- including separate checking accounts*, investments, and FI numbers. I don't want resentment either way when one of us decides to pull the trigger based on our numbers.

This is actually the part I don't get.  Since we were married, my wife and I share everything.  Two people become one united front.  My money is her money, and her money is my money.  How could two people in a marriage be in different places financially?

The only way that it makes sense to me is if for some reason you don't trust your spouse with your money and there is no 'our' money, only mine and hers.  But then that brings up Dicey's question.

Honest question, this is something I've never understood about people who are married with different finances.  I get that it works for some couples . . . but just don't understand the mindset.

Okay, here's an example.

Many business partnerships require a prenup that protects the stake in the business. Otherwise the business is one nasty divorce from having a share of the business be awarded to one member's angry ex spouse, which could be devastating.

So if I'm said partner, and my spouse is not entitled to the value of my equity share, then we might be inclined to equalize our wealth in the event of a divorce, whereby we put investments equivalent to the value of the business in my partner's name, which would also be protected with the prenup.

In this example, the reasons for having finances not pooled is actually because I'm trying to look out for my partner's interests.

Now imagine another scenario. I'm a business owner in my late 50s with 5 children who have worked their entire lives to help the family business. I get remarried to a woman with a solid career and a federal government pension. She plays no role in the business at all. After we get married, thanks to the brilliant work of my daughter, the business explodes in value and earnings. My wife wants no claim over the value or profits of a business she has had no impact on. She insists we keep our finances separate, and also insists on a prenup that keeps her pension hers and my business mine, to be passed down to my children, not her in the event of my death.

Another scenario is that I'm in my early 40s and I'm an early retiree with just enough 'stache to cover my expenses. I marry a man who has a great career that he loves, but little savings thanks to his very expensive divorce. His ex wife racked up a ton of debt and they were never on the same page financially. He's happy to work until traditional retirement age and I'm perfectly happy to do my own thing until then. However, I would like to keep my 'stache as my stache, and his investment style is very different from mine, so he wants to manage his own growing 'stache as he sees fit. We keep up a friendly competition as to whose investment strategy yields the best returns over time. So far, mine is winning ;) And yep, you guessed it, we have a prenup because otherwise the bulk of my 'stache would belong to me, but so would half of his, and I don't think that's fair.

Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: maisymouser on September 18, 2021, 07:02:27 PM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

It's not always about *trust*. DH and I totally trust each other about what we spend on, but we are in very different places financially (him being 11 years my senior). So, it is much simpler for us to keep things divided- including separate checking accounts*, investments, and FI numbers. I don't want resentment either way when one of us decides to pull the trigger based on our numbers.

This is actually the part I don't get.  Since we were married, my wife and I share everything.  Two people become one united front.  My money is her money, and her money is my money.  How could two people in a marriage be in different places financially?

The only way that it makes sense to me is if for some reason you don't trust your spouse with your money and there is no 'our' money, only mine and hers.  But then that brings up Dicey's question.

Honest question, this is something I've never understood about people who are married with different finances.  I get that it works for some couples . . . but just don't understand the mindset.

Okay, here's an example.

Many business partnerships require a prenup that protects the stake in the business. Otherwise the business is one nasty divorce from having a share of the business be awarded to one member's angry ex spouse, which could be devastating.

So if I'm said partner, and my spouse is not entitled to the value of my equity share, then we might be inclined to equalize our wealth in the event of a divorce, whereby we put investments equivalent to the value of the business in my partner's name, which would also be protected with the prenup.

In this example, the reasons for having finances not pooled is actually because I'm trying to look out for my partner's interests.

Now imagine another scenario. I'm a business owner in my late 50s with 5 children who have worked their entire lives to help the family business. I get remarried to a woman with a solid career and a federal government pension. She plays no role in the business at all. After we get married, thanks to the brilliant work of my daughter, the business explodes in value and earnings. My wife wants no claim over the value or profits of a business she has had no impact on. She insists we keep our finances separate, and also insists on a prenup that keeps her pension hers and my business mine, to be passed down to my children, not her in the event of my death.

Another scenario is that I'm in my early 40s and I'm an early retiree with just enough 'stache to cover my expenses. I marry a man who has a great career that he loves, but little savings thanks to his very expensive divorce. His ex wife racked up a ton of debt and they were never on the same page financially. He's happy to work until traditional retirement age and I'm perfectly happy to do my own thing until then. However, I would like to keep my 'stache as my stache, and his investment style is very different from mine, so he wants to manage his own growing 'stache as he sees fit. We keep up a friendly competition as to whose investment strategy yields the best returns over time. So far, mine is winning ;) And yep, you guessed it, we have a prenup because otherwise the bulk of my 'stache would belong to me, but so would half of his, and I don't think that's fair.

Exactly this. It's not about 'trust' necessarily as much as logistics, or sometimes just being respectful to the spouse and/or yourself. Our reasoning behind keeping our accounts separate is a relationship equally built on trust- I trust that I don't need DH to put his money into a shared account solely for the reason that "we're married and that's what married people are supposed to do".

Sure, if we split up, divvying up what each is owed is much, much easier. Obviously that's not what people plan for, but it happens. Basic stats. No one PLANS on getting divorced when they get married and create joint accounts. We are the kind of people who do have a prenup. I don't really want to ever be in the situation where things are crazy messy because we didn't plan for an unlikely situation.

On the other hand- if we never split up, there's no reason to merge anything anyway, because one of us will bite the dust before the other and it will all end up in the other person's name.

@GuitarStv My husband worked damned hard to get to the financial place he is at, and I respect that he has invested a lot more of his time/effort than I have to make it there. He was Mustachian far before I had heard of the term, back before MMM was even a thing. Knowing the sacrifices that it takes to be the level of frugal badass that DH is, I don't really feel the need to lay claim to any of it and treat it as 'ours'. For a while he was the breadwinner, and I would have felt kind of weird or in a potential power dynamic situation spending money he earned. That situation is beginning to flip, interestingly enough- I now earn more than him- so it will eventually be nice to keep what I'm earning in my own account. I have the same situation as Malcat, it's a very very friendly competition where we both win no matter what.

Bottom line, it's all personal. We all have our own relationships with partners and money that are highly individualistic, and as long as both parties feel healthy about it all, who cares?
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Kris on September 18, 2021, 07:12:56 PM
Yep.

I don’t want to divulge how we deal with our accounts, exactly. But I will say this: DH was married previously, with children from that marriage. I was also married previously, but with no children.

There were a lot of complications arising from this.

I trust my husband implicitly. But a lot of the choices we made regarding our finances might look on the surface as if I didn’t.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 18, 2021, 09:02:56 PM
[quote author=maisymouser li fair.

Exactly this. It's not about 'trust' necessarily as much as logistics, or sometimes just being respectful to the spouse and/or yourself. Our reasoning behind keeping our accounts separate is a relationship equally built on trust- I trust that I don't need DH to put his money into a shared account solely for the reason that "we're married and that's what married people are supposed to do".

Sure, if we split up, divvying up what each is owed is much, much easier. Obviously that's not what people plan for, but it happens. Basic stats. No one PLANS on getting divorced when they get married and create joint accounts. We are the kind of people who do have a prenup. I don't really want to ever be in the situation where things are crazy messy because we didn't plan for an unlikely situation.

On the other hand- if we never split up, there's no reason to merge anything anyway, because one of us will bite the dust before the other and it will all end up in the other person's name.

@GuitarStv My husband worked damned hard to get to the financial place he is at, and I respect that he has invested a lot more of his time/effort than I have to make it there. He was Mustachian far before I had heard of the term, back before MMM was even a thing. Knowing the sacrifices that it takes to be the level of frugal badass that DH is, I don't really feel the need to lay claim to any of it and treat it as 'ours'. For a while he was the breadwinner, and I would have felt kind of weird or in a potential power dynamic situation spending money he earned. That situation is beginning to flip, interestingly enough- I now earn more than him- so it will eventually be nice to keep what I'm earning in my own account. I have the same situation as Malcat, it's a very very friendly competition where we both win no matter what.

Bottom line, it's all personal. We all have our own relationships with partners and money that are highly individualistic, and as long as both parties feel healthy about it all, who cares?
[/quote]

Just FYI none of my examples are anything like my situation.

DH works for the government, and plans to until full retirement, at which point he will have a generous pension. I was a medical professional who made about double what he did.

We have always maintained separate accounts, but all of our resources are pooled. What mine is his, what's his is mine, so it doesn't matter what account it's in, all accounts belong to both of us.

However, I have a 'stache, and he has his pension, and they are valued at a nearly identical amounts, so in the event of a divorce, I take my 'stache, he keeps his pension, and we split the equity in the house.

So our accounts are entirely separate except for one joint account that only I use, because I basically just added his name to my existing chequing account so that he could get free VIP banking under my umbrella, but he never touches the shared account.

But our resources are entirely pooled. There is no his money or my money, it's all shared resources, regardless of the source.

That is, unless I enter into another business partnership that requires a prenup. But I doubt I'll ever do that again, I don't have the stomach for business partners.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Dicey on September 19, 2021, 02:37:57 AM
Your points make sense, but I have to say that the main reason I answered as I did was that OP is a week (now less) from getting married and they haven't figured this out yet. Instead of discussing it with their soon-to-be spouse, they have turned to this forum for advice. To be blunt, that's fucked up, which makes it very much a trust issue and a red flag of the highest order in my opinion.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Imma on September 19, 2021, 02:54:07 AM
I really don't understand separate accounts in all but a few specialized cases. If you don't trust each other with your money, why get married?

DH and I married late in life. We were both pretty much FI. Getting hitched just sent us into the stratosphere. It is fucking bliss not to disagree on or even worry about money. Had we not been of similar mindset, we wouldn't have gotten married. Our ninth anniversary is just around the corner, and life is so good.

It's not always about *trust*. DH and I totally trust each other about what we spend on, but we are in very different places financially (him being 11 years my senior). So, it is much simpler for us to keep things divided- including separate checking accounts*, investments, and FI numbers. I don't want resentment either way when one of us decides to pull the trigger based on our numbers.

This is actually the part I don't get.  Since we were married, my wife and I share everything.  Two people become one united front.  My money is her money, and her money is my money.  How could two people in a marriage be in different places financially?

The only way that it makes sense to me is if for some reason you don't trust your spouse with your money and there is no 'our' money, only mine and hers.  But then that brings up Dicey's question.

Honest question, this is something I've never understood about people who are married with different finances.  I get that it works for some couples . . . but just don't understand the mindset.

Well, the thing is. Not everyone feels like "two people become one united front". I know two become one is what the church teaches us. But it's not what everyone feels like. Some people enter marriage and similar arrangements (at least in Europe many countries recognize legal /civil partnerships as being equal to marriage) for different reasons. Our reason to formalize our relationship was mainly so we would become each other's next of kin, since our legal next of kin was dropping the ball and we needed to have an alternative. We still feel like we are adults and we are both responsible for our own lives. We enjoy being together and we are very happy but that doesn't mean that we are one now. We're still seperate people.

My civil partner and I have a pre-nup and we don't consider ourselves "two become one". We have a very solid relationship and we've been together for almost a decade. Some friends have gotten married and divorced in that timeframe and we're still extremely happy together. We have both joint and seperate accounts. The most important thing is, we are keeping our finances in line with our pre-nup.

I think that advice holds true for any kind of relationship: keep your real life situation in line with your legal situation. If you don't have a pre-nup, I don't think it would be wise to have completely seperate accounts that the other doesn't have access to, because the other person may get overdrafts, loans or creditcards that you don't know about and could still be liable for (everyone says that won't happen to them but I've known a few people who had that happen). If you have legally seperate property, it makes sense to keep things actually seperate because otherwise it may invalidate the pre-nup that you probably had a good reason for to draw up in the first place.

When we wrote our pre-nup we both owned businesses. I work as an employee again now but it's very important for us to keep our businesses seperate. We have not worked for eachother's businesses ever (very specialized businesses the other can't help with) so we felt it would be very unfair if the other person got a part of that if we divorced. We don't plan on divorcing, but both our parents were divorced. We are realistic about divorce. It can happen even though you never thought it would be happening to you.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 19, 2021, 04:21:35 AM
I feel that it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not we have joint accounts precisely because we do trust each other. Why bother with the complication of new accounts when we can just communicate regarding the accounts we already have? We created a joint account when it made sense for us, not when we signed off on the marriage certificate.

To me, insisting on joint accounts could just as easily be a way of keeping tabs on each other as a proof of trust. In reality, the important issue is that the partnership agree, not whether or not they perform a symbolic gesture that is only seen by their bank manager and people who receive a check with both names on it.

One of the earliest financial arrangements we came to involved him gifting me money for an IRA because when we split expenses my mortgage and utilities outweighed what he took on. Swoon, his first thought was to give me money to lock away for the future; he must really intend to stick around for it.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 19, 2021, 07:04:30 AM
Your points make sense, but I have to say that the main reason I answered as I did was that OP is a week (now less) from getting married and they haven't figured this out yet. Instead of discussing it with their soon-to-be spouse, they have turned to this forum for advice. To be blunt, that's fucked up, which makes it very much a trust issue and a red flag of the highest order in my opinion.

I totally agree, and my main motivation in sharing so much detail was not primarily to argue with you or steve, but to demonstrate to OP how dynamic and complex an issue this is, and why communication is so important. All of the scenarios I described above could lead to divorce if the couples didn't have excellent alignment on money values.

Money is the main source of conflict in most marriages because literally every single life decision involves money, even if it's the absence of spending money.

So even though OP seems to have been scared off their own thread, hopefully they're still reading and getting a sense of the things that they should start talking about.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 19, 2021, 09:02:21 AM
Your points make sense, but I have to say that the main reason I answered as I did was that OP is a week (now less) from getting married and they haven't figured this out yet. Instead of discussing it with their soon-to-be spouse, they have turned to this forum for advice. To be blunt, that's fucked up, which makes it very much a trust issue and a red flag of the highest order in my opinion.

I totally agree, and my main motivation in sharing so much detail was not primarily to argue with you or steve, but to demonstrate to OP how dynamic and complex an issue this is, and why communication is so important. All of the scenarios I described above could lead to divorce if the couples didn't have excellent alignment on money values.

Money is the main source of conflict in most marriages because literally every single life decision involves money, even if it's the absence of spending money.

So even though OP seems to have been scared off their own thread, hopefully they're still reading and getting a sense of the things that they should start talking about.

It is one of those things that folks got caught up in planning a wedding and forgot to plan at all for the marriage.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 19, 2021, 09:50:52 AM
Your points make sense, but I have to say that the main reason I answered as I did was that OP is a week (now less) from getting married and they haven't figured this out yet. Instead of discussing it with their soon-to-be spouse, they have turned to this forum for advice. To be blunt, that's fucked up, which makes it very much a trust issue and a red flag of the highest order in my opinion.

I totally agree, and my main motivation in sharing so much detail was not primarily to argue with you or steve, but to demonstrate to OP how dynamic and complex an issue this is, and why communication is so important. All of the scenarios I described above could lead to divorce if the couples didn't have excellent alignment on money values.

Money is the main source of conflict in most marriages because literally every single life decision involves money, even if it's the absence of spending money.

So even though OP seems to have been scared off their own thread, hopefully they're still reading and getting a sense of the things that they should start talking about.

It is one of those things that folks got caught up in planning a wedding and forgot to plan at all for the marriage.

I think it's more that people don't know what they don't know. And it's hard to know what kind of financial issues can come up if you've never had reason to deal with it.

Most people don't talk about money openly because it's really easy to get away with not talking about it until you have to, but by the time you have to, you're in a crunch and have no basis of understanding upon which to discuss complex, often urgent matters.

I can't tell you how many people I've seen struggle to decide what to spend on buying a house, and they've never once talked about their long term financial goals in any kind of tangible way, so they just go on what they want and what the bank is willing to lend them.

This is how so many people end up in bad financial situations.

A radio poll in my city before covid revealed that couples admit to fighting about 3 times a week, almost entirely about money.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: obstinate on September 19, 2021, 11:01:10 AM
Depends on your preferences. Even if you have separate checking accounts, in many states the contents of both are legally joint property. We found it simpler to be joint.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: maisymouser on September 19, 2021, 11:38:04 AM
Your points make sense, but I have to say that the main reason I answered as I did was that OP is a week (now less) from getting married and they haven't figured this out yet. Instead of discussing it with their soon-to-be spouse, they have turned to this forum for advice. To be blunt, that's fucked up, which makes it very much a trust issue and a red flag of the highest order in my opinion.

Agreed, though I don't think OP explicitly said that they *hadn't* discussed it, maybe OP is just looking for additional perspective.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 19, 2021, 11:51:47 AM
I think it's more that people don't know what they don't know. And it's hard to know what kind of financial issues can come up if you've never had reason to deal with it.

Most people don't talk about money openly because it's really easy to get away with not talking about it until you have to, but by the time you have to, you're in a crunch and have no basis of understanding upon which to discuss complex, often urgent matters.

I can't tell you how many people I've seen struggle to decide what to spend on buying a house, and they've never once talked about their long term financial goals in any kind of tangible way, so they just go on what they want and what the bank is willing to lend them.

This is how so many people end up in bad financial situations.

A radio poll in my city before covid revealed that couples admit to fighting about 3 times a week, almost entirely about money.

I'm not a huge fan of the Catholic church for a variety of reasons but was married in one largely to make things easier with my wife's super Catholic filipino family.  Credit where credit is due though - to get married we needed to complete a marriage course that directly forced us to discuss and answer a lot of questions (some uncomfortable) about money, family, expected roles after marriage, and children . . . and I think that going through that process would be a significant benefit to most married couples.  It was a great idea to get all that stuff out on the table and to make sure we were on the same page for it.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: youngwildandfree on September 20, 2021, 06:46:06 AM
We got married extremely young, and had neither money nor debt, so we brushed off the idea of prenups and dumped everything together in joint accounts. We have walked down the Yours, Mine, and Ours approach several times since then, but things inevitably keep getting mashed back together because our income and expenses have been wildly inconsistent over the years.

Sometimes checks arrive with both our names specified, and depositing them in anything besides a joint account requires both of us to show up at the bank in person with ID in hand. I understand it is a measure to protect the person that is on the check but not on the account. Still a pain in the ass.

Sometimes one of us will want to buy a surprise gift for the other and a joint account will spoil the surprise.

There are no wrong answers as long as you are on the same page. I will second that pre-marital counseling was great for us and in hindsight I wish we had done a longer course. Don't be afraid to hold off on signing official marriage documents until you have a chance to get on the same page about how to approach finances. Many people do the social ceremony/religious ceremony first and then spend a few weeks getting the paperwork in order.

Now that we have significantly more complex lives and finances neither of us would dream of getting remarried without a prenup. 
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: PoutineLover on September 20, 2021, 07:03:21 AM
I'm not officially married yet, but have been living with and sharing expenses with my common law spouse for several years. We each have our own accounts and we each pay different bills and use an app to work out each share of shared expenses, based on our incomes.

This works for us because we like having our own paychecks and personal expenses and investments, but household expenses are split according to our relative earning powers. We do have a shared credit card and we are on the same page about which type of expenses get paid jointly.

Maybe eventually we will combine finances further, but for now the system works so we haven't bothered to change it. We never argue about money because we are both aligned in our goals and talk about income /expenses /investments regularly.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: soulpatchmike on September 20, 2021, 08:04:58 AM
I think the overarching theme on whether or not to combine accounts is...it depends.

For me and my DW of 20+yrs, I took over her finances about 6 months before we got married.  Paid off her credit cards before we walked down the aisle.  She quit work to be a SAHM in 2002 and has been a single-room schoolhouse homeschool teacher for the past 16 yrs.  She probably would have a hard time knowing how to find our account number for the bank at this point and I know she doesn't know where the brokerage accounts are(even her own tIRA).  I have a FLOP(Financial Life on One Page) in our fire-safe in case something happens to me that I update annually.  She trusts me with finances and I don't give her a reason not to.  I wouldn't recommend this plan to anyone else unless it is what you and your spouse come up with together.  We decided early that what works best for us is to divide our specialties.  She specializes in the education of our children, is a master chef, and is the general household manager.  I specialize in financial management, home maintenance, and upgrades/changes to physical things.  Together we have fun and actively raise the kids.  It is not always sugar and spice and everything nice, but at the end of the day, we would never wish to trade our lives for anyone else's.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: dcheesi on September 20, 2021, 08:34:23 AM
I would say it depends on the laws. Here banks can block a joint account as soon as one partner dies until it is clear who inherits the money. So worst case is your partner is dead and you can't pay the bills because you don't have access to the money.
Definitely look up the local laws and bank rules. My dad tried to set up separate accounts for him and my mom, based on a fear of this happening. As it turns out, there was no problem for the survivor to access the joint accounts, but that individual account was a pain (one of a very few assets in only his name, which collectively led to an estate needing to be established where otherwise everything went to mom automatically).
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Scio5 on September 20, 2021, 09:39:12 AM
DH and I are team everything separate. No one goes into marriage *wanting* to get divorced, but we both know it's a statistical possibility. My parents are divorced. He had a first marriage that was able to be ended financially amicably (he kept his retirement accounts in exchange for paying alimony for a set period, etc.). I had a solo side business and a house with an ex-boyfriend that hadn't sold yet by the time DH and I got married, so we had a prenup to outline that these sources of money were mine and not shared, and that our different retirement accounts are separate as well. My ex-BF was financially controlling, so having "my" money without someone else reviewing and judging my spending is important to me.

On the outside it probably looks like, financially, we're just room mates splitting rent, but we do absolutely have frequent talks about money and savings and the future and are on the same page. This system might not work for couples with big differences in debt or income, etc. We have password access to each other's accounts if we really need them, and we are the beneficiaries on each other's bank and retirement accounts. We may merge things down the line more if/when we buy a house or other life circumstances change (like one person losing income before FIRE).

But like others have said, your mileage may vary and you should be having these discussions with your soon-to-be-spouse! Just wanted to chime in with an example of why some couples might keep things separate.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 20, 2021, 09:44:12 AM
DH and I are team everything separate. No one goes into marriage *wanting* to get divorced, but we both know it's a statistical possibility. My parents are divorced. He had a first marriage that was able to be ended financially amicably (he kept his retirement accounts in exchange for paying alimony for a set period, etc.). I had a solo side business and a house with an ex-boyfriend that hadn't sold yet by the time DH and I got married, so we had a prenup to outline that these sources of money were mine and not shared, and that our different retirement accounts are separate as well. My ex-BF was financially controlling, so having "my" money without someone else reviewing and judging my spending is important to me.

On the outside it probably looks like, financially, we're just room mates splitting rent, but we do absolutely have frequent talks about money and savings and the future and are on the same page. This system might not work for couples with big differences in debt or income, etc. We have password access to each other's accounts if we really need them, and we are the beneficiaries on each other's bank and retirement accounts. We may merge things down the line more if/when we buy a house or other life circumstances change (like one person losing income before FIRE).

But like others have said, your mileage may vary and you should be having these discussions with your soon-to-be-spouse! Just wanted to chime in with an example of why some couples might keep things separate.

This really drives home the point that I try to make, that separate finances are basically meaningless and can be downright dangerous without a matching prenup.

So many people have separate finances as a way of just avoiding dealing with difficult money conversations. They just keep things separate, work out a ratio of expenses to contribute, and leave it at that thinking that that's fair, equitable, and safe.

But the truth is, unless you have a prenup, then that just keeps you blind to half of what's happening in your financial world. Because the law doesn't give a rat's ass what the couple thought was fair back when they got along well.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: davisgang90 on September 20, 2021, 10:50:56 AM
My wife and I have always had a joint account. We each get an allowance to our own account we can spend however we want, otherwise, any big purchases get discussed.

It's worked for us for 30 years so far.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: CNM on September 20, 2021, 12:28:47 PM
My spouse and I have 2 joint checking accounts.  We have 2 because each person is in the one primarily in charge of a certain account and certain joint expenses come out of one account versus another, based on who is primarily in charge of paying what. It is a wacky system and one that we will probably change soon for simplicity's sake to one big account. 

It is the way it is because it evolved over a long period of time as we were together and cohabitating for many years before we got married. And, the time we opened the accounts they were interest bearing, but only up to a certain amount, and we had too much cash for one account to maximize the interest at that time, so we opened up two.


Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: PDXTabs on September 20, 2021, 06:24:51 PM
There is some evidence that joint finances correlate with happier couples: Joint Bank Accounts Make for Happier Couples, UCLA Anderson Review (https://anderson-review.ucla.edu/joint-bank-account/)

With that said I did it once and I would never do it again. I prefer a hybrid model with some separate and some joint finances. But my preferences don't dictate what you do in your marriage. I also prefer an iron-clad premarital agreement, but most Americans don't have one of those.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: PDXTabs on September 20, 2021, 06:29:09 PM
But the truth is, unless you have a prenup, then that just keeps you blind to half of what's happening in your financial world. Because the law doesn't give a rat's ass what the couple thought was fair back when they got along well.

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice: but in non-community property states it can make some difference when it comes time to divorce. That is, a judge very well may look at commingling all your finances as having meant something and commingling almost nothing as something else.

Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 20, 2021, 06:40:04 PM
There is some evidence that joint finances correlate with happier couples: Joint Bank Accounts Make for Happier Couples, UCLA Anderson Review (https://anderson-review.ucla.edu/joint-bank-account/)

With that said I did it once and I would never do it again. I prefer a hybrid model with some separate and some joint finances. But my preferences don't dictate what you do in your marriage. I also prefer an iron-clad premarital agreement, but most Americans don't have one of those.

That article specifies that it's the general pooling of resources that matters, not the structure of the specific accounts.

So your preference may actually fit with that if you see all of your resources as pooled, but each person gets a private amount that they can control and spend as they see fit.

Truly separate finances is where nothing is pooled. The money earned by each partner remains the property of that partner, and each partner contributes to the bills according to a preset arrangement, and the remainder of their money is theirs to do with as they see fit. This requires a prenup for it to be safe, because otherwise one partner is totally blind to what the other is doing, and if one partner saves all of their money and the other accrues debt, then the courts will just even it all out in the end.

Other couples see resources as pooled, but each like to retain a private allowance. For some this amount is equal, for others it's proportional to what they earn. The rest constitute pooled assets and gets managed collectively. In this arrangement, what's happening in terms of allotment of money is transparent, it's just the spending details of the allowance that are separate and private.

Then some people like DH and I pool everything, all money belongs to both parties, all spending is agreed to. Everything is transparent.

Any of the above can be done with any combination of separate or joint accounts. The arrangement of names on the accounts isn't what matters, it's the perception of who the money belongs to that really matters.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 21, 2021, 12:21:37 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 21, 2021, 12:45:25 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?

Pooling, to a certain degree, by default matches the laws as they apply to marriage.

If you want to keep things separate, your arrangement is in opposition to most jurisdiction's marriage laws, so you need to customize those laws with a prenup to make a separate finances situation safe and reasonable.

Otherwise, as I have said repeatedly in this thread, separate finances are INCREDIBLY dangerous, as it leaves each person totally blind to what's happening in half of the financial affairs of their own legal financial entity.

This would be like two business partners running different departments and acting like each is a separate company when in fact, they're one legal financial entity. One side can take both sides down.

If you want to operate as separate financial entities within a contract that is designed *not* to work that way, then you have to customize that contract.

That tends to be a lot more work and hassle. Hence why it's not the default.

Also, the VAST majority of people who keep separate finances do so to avoid talking about money. So the behaviour tends to correlate with poor financial relations while also dramatically raising risk.

It's GREAT that separate finances works for your marriage, but I don't think the generally judgement against it has anything to do with couples like you and your spouse.

It has to do with the overwhelming number of people out there who avoid talking about money at all costs, and who actively hide their personal finances from their partner, which is far, FAR more common than your situation.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Villanelle on September 21, 2021, 01:09:54 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?

I justified pooling and I don't think separate needs to justify anything.  But when people are considering separate--in whatever form--I do generally ask what their reasoning is, only because depending on that answer, separate may or may not do anything.  If they are keeping things separate in the hopes of not having to deal with a messy divorce or 'losing' their money to a spouse, then it's probably pointless.  If they aren't doing a prenup, it probably doesn't matter if partner A's pay check goes into an account with only A's name on it.  If they divorce, it most likely won't matter. 

And if they are doing it so they don't have to talk about money, or as a way of dealing with entirely different spending styles and without any additional agreements  because they think that it won't matter if one person spends more since they have "their money", then I'd also point out that it is unlikely to work.  Because in the end, there is going to be a vacation to agree on when one wants 14 days five star in Monaco, and the other wants a 4 day camping trip. 
 
In other words, I think many times the *reasons* people do separate are actually not going to be accomplished by keeping money separate.

If they are doing it for the purposes of ease of bills or for privacy, then cool beans. 
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 21, 2021, 01:10:43 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?

Pooling, to a certain degree, by default matches the laws as they apply to marriage.

If you want to keep things separate, your arrangement is in opposition to most jurisdiction's marriage laws, so you need to customize those laws with a prenup to make a separate finances situation safe and reasonable.

Otherwise, as I have said repeatedly in this thread, separate finances are INCREDIBLY dangerous, as it leaves each person totally blind to what's happening in half of the financial affairs of their own legal financial entity.

This would be like two business partners running different departments and acting like each is a separate company when in fact, they're one legal financial entity. One side can take both sides down.

If you want to operate as separate financial entities within a contract that is designed *not* to work that way, then you have to customize that contract.

That tends to be a lot more work and hassle. Hence why it's not the default.

Also, the VAST majority of people who keep separate finances do so to avoid talking about money. So the behaviour tends to correlate with poor financial relations while also dramatically raising risk.

It's GREAT that separate finances works for your marriage, but I don't think the generally judgement against it has anything to do with couples like you and your spouse.

It has to do with the overwhelming number of people out there who avoid talking about money at all costs, and who actively hide their personal finances from their partner, which is far, FAR more common than your situation.

We aren't legally married, but we've been together 20+ years.  Weird works for us I guess.

Okay, I see were everyone is coming from, pooled is shorthand for on the same page.  And separate implies that the couple is not in communication about finances.

This is why it's so important to ask questions, and not go all snit fit.  Talking to myself here.  Thank you so much for the reply.

In my mind the shorthand works the other way.  I have known so many women, of my age and older, who's partners did all the money stuff.  Everything was pooled and when the shit hit the fan, they had no idea what hit them.  This was not always relationship ending or at the end, but it was always difficult and scary for them.

I totally agree with any and all points about knowing the legal ramifications of your actions, so you can protect your wishes, outside of the legal "norms".
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: charis on September 21, 2021, 01:21:26 PM
It probably wouldn't benefit you to pool, given what you said. But many young couples get married with very little of their own assets in community property. So having separate finances in that situation isn't really separate so why pretend that it is?  In my experience many couples have one person who is financial-minded and one who is less invested or interested in tracking finances.
So it can help to have one person oversee the financial big picture, which is easier with joint accounts and central access. Neither person is less an adult or contributor to the financial situation because everything is pooled. I think it's fairly pragmatic, and makes sense if you're working toward FIRE as a couple, have kids, and/or your incomes are not similar.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 21, 2021, 01:33:21 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?

Pooling, to a certain degree, by default matches the laws as they apply to marriage.

If you want to keep things separate, your arrangement is in opposition to most jurisdiction's marriage laws, so you need to customize those laws with a prenup to make a separate finances situation safe and reasonable.

Otherwise, as I have said repeatedly in this thread, separate finances are INCREDIBLY dangerous, as it leaves each person totally blind to what's happening in half of the financial affairs of their own legal financial entity.

This would be like two business partners running different departments and acting like each is a separate company when in fact, they're one legal financial entity. One side can take both sides down.

If you want to operate as separate financial entities within a contract that is designed *not* to work that way, then you have to customize that contract.

That tends to be a lot more work and hassle. Hence why it's not the default.

Also, the VAST majority of people who keep separate finances do so to avoid talking about money. So the behaviour tends to correlate with poor financial relations while also dramatically raising risk.

It's GREAT that separate finances works for your marriage, but I don't think the generally judgement against it has anything to do with couples like you and your spouse.

It has to do with the overwhelming number of people out there who avoid talking about money at all costs, and who actively hide their personal finances from their partner, which is far, FAR more common than your situation.

We aren't legally married, but we've been together 20+ years.  Weird works for us I guess.

Okay, I see were everyone is coming from, pooled is shorthand for on the same page.  And separate implies that the couple is not in communication about finances.

This is why it's so important to ask questions, and not go all snit fit.  Talking to myself here.  Thank you so much for the reply.

In my mind the shorthand works the other way.  I have known so many women, of my age and older, who's partners did all the money stuff.  Everything was pooled and when the shit hit the fan, they had no idea what hit them.  This was not always relationship ending or at the end, but it was always difficult and scary for them.

I totally agree with any and all points about knowing the legal ramifications of your actions, so you can protect your wishes, outside of the legal "norms".

No, pooled means resources are shared, separate means resources are separate.

But you are absolutely right, pooling resources can be very dangerous if one partner is basically just taking the other person's money and controlling it. It's still in line with the law though, because all of the money is still a shared pool of assets, and would be split evenly in a divorce. But yes, any approach where one or both partners are blind to all or half of the finances is extremely high risk.

If you aren't married, then different laws apply to you.
Also, it's not weird that it works for you, it just happens to be what works for you after discussing your finances in detail.

You asked why pooled is the default though, and I explained it.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 21, 2021, 01:38:24 PM
Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

I view marriage as a sharing/merging of my life with that of my wife.  Marriage is when you stop being an individual and become a couple.  We share a home, a bed, responsibilities around the house, duties raising our child, our thoughts/feelings, etc.  Pooling money seems like the "of course" thing to do because we share everything.

With pooled accounts, if my wife wants to buy something she buys it.  If I want to buy something I buy it.  We plan our spending based upon our shared plans for the future though . . . so spending by either of us takes that into account.  We both have full access to all accounts.  If a bill comes, it's paid from our shared accounts.  If we have extra money kicking around, then one of us will invest it according to the investment policy we've been following for the last two decades.  We rarely talk or think about money issues these days though, and I don't think we've ever argued about finances.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 21, 2021, 01:47:16 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?

Pooling, to a certain degree, by default matches the laws as they apply to marriage.

If you want to keep things separate, your arrangement is in opposition to most jurisdiction's marriage laws, so you need to customize those laws with a prenup to make a separate finances situation safe and reasonable.

Otherwise, as I have said repeatedly in this thread, separate finances are INCREDIBLY dangerous, as it leaves each person totally blind to what's happening in half of the financial affairs of their own legal financial entity.

This would be like two business partners running different departments and acting like each is a separate company when in fact, they're one legal financial entity. One side can take both sides down.

If you want to operate as separate financial entities within a contract that is designed *not* to work that way, then you have to customize that contract.

That tends to be a lot more work and hassle. Hence why it's not the default.

Also, the VAST majority of people who keep separate finances do so to avoid talking about money. So the behaviour tends to correlate with poor financial relations while also dramatically raising risk.

It's GREAT that separate finances works for your marriage, but I don't think the generally judgement against it has anything to do with couples like you and your spouse.

It has to do with the overwhelming number of people out there who avoid talking about money at all costs, and who actively hide their personal finances from their partner, which is far, FAR more common than your situation.

We aren't legally married, but we've been together 20+ years.  Weird works for us I guess.

Okay, I see were everyone is coming from, pooled is shorthand for on the same page.  And separate implies that the couple is not in communication about finances.

This is why it's so important to ask questions, and not go all snit fit.  Talking to myself here.  Thank you so much for the reply.

In my mind the shorthand works the other way.  I have known so many women, of my age and older, who's partners did all the money stuff.  Everything was pooled and when the shit hit the fan, they had no idea what hit them.  This was not always relationship ending or at the end, but it was always difficult and scary for them.

I totally agree with any and all points about knowing the legal ramifications of your actions, so you can protect your wishes, outside of the legal "norms".

No, pooled means resources are shared, separate means resources are separate.

But you are absolutely right, pooling resources can be very dangerous if one partner is basically just taking the other person's money and controlling it. It's still in line with the law though, because all of the money is still a shared pool of assets, and would be split evenly in a divorce.

If you aren't married, then different laws apply to you.
Also, it's not weird that it works for you, it just happens to be what works for you after discussing your finances in detail.

You asked why pooled is the default though, and I explained it.

I totally understand the pooling means sharing.  I was more interested in the assumptions that come with saying pooling vs separate and why I had my reaction vs, what is really being said by the assumptions of others using those same terms.

Also, the VAST majority of people who keep separate finances do so to avoid talking about money. So the behaviour tends to correlate with poor financial relations while also dramatically raising risk.

As for the law, we live in CA, long term couples with regard to assets are treated a little funky here.  But we are fine that the legal understanding and our practical handling of finances may be a miss match, but this will not negatively effect either of us.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 21, 2021, 01:52:08 PM

As for the law, we live in CA, long term couples with regard to assets are treated a little funky here.  But we are fine that the legal understanding and our practical handling of finances may be a miss match, but this will not negatively effect either of us.

As long as you are informed and comfortable with the risk of a mismatch with the law, and understand that in the event of a divorce, that your assets may be split totally differently than they were during the relationship, then that's fine, that just means that you have risk assessed your particular situation and accepted it.

Most people have no fucking clue as to what contract they're signing when they get married. None.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Christof on September 21, 2021, 01:54:23 PM
In Germany our tax code does not know anything like ‘our money’. Each partner has their own taxable income. Money hitting a joint account that is not used for basic cost of living is technically a gift to the other partner. As such it is subject to reporting regulations and gift tax once you exceed the deductible.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 21, 2021, 02:05:54 PM
Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

I view marriage as a sharing/merging of my life with that of my wife.  Marriage is when you stop being an individual and become a couple.  We share a home, a bed, responsibilities around the house, duties raising our child, our thoughts/feelings, etc.  Pooling money seems like the "of course" thing to do because we share everything.

With pooled accounts, if my wife wants to buy something she buys it.  If I want to buy something I buy it.  We plan our spending based upon our shared plans for the future though . . . so spending by either of us takes that into account.  We both have full access to all accounts.  If a bill comes, it's paid from our shared accounts.  If we have extra money kicking around, then one of us will invest it according to the investment policy we've been following for the last two decades.  We rarely talk or think about money issues these days though, and I don't think we've ever argued about finances.

GuitarStv, I really like this description of a relationship.  Shared responsibility equals a shared life, but the merge part is were I guess I'm not as all in.  We're similar on the sharing responsibility, but it's just worked for us to keep the money stuff totally separate.  We even paid for our house very differently.  SO paid his half in cash and I have a mortgage.  He does have to sign papers saying he knows I have taken a mortgage on the house.  But the mortgage is only in my name. 

We've also never had an argument about money in our 20+ years together.  Even when I try to, with my latest refi, I asked him to try to talk me out of it, to see if his debt aversion strategics would be more helpful to me than my own assumptions.  In the end he sided with me and said he thought the refi was a good idea, given my risk tolerance and investment strategy. 

Thank you for responding, I really appreciate everyones engagement.  It really helps me see the pooled point of view as the "assumptive choice" from your angle.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 21, 2021, 02:07:14 PM
In Germany our tax code does not know anything like ‘our money’. Each partner has their own taxable income. Money hitting a joint account that is not used for basic cost of living is technically a gift to the other partner. As such it is subject to reporting regulations and gift tax once you exceed the deductible.

So in the event of divorce, there's no equalization of assets? How is housing treated?
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 21, 2021, 02:12:01 PM
In Germany our tax code does not know anything like ‘our money’. Each partner has their own taxable income. Money hitting a joint account that is not used for basic cost of living is technically a gift to the other partner. As such it is subject to reporting regulations and gift tax once you exceed the deductible.

Wow, that is so interesting.  So the entire system is based on the concept of separate money.  I feel a fall down the German monetary system rabbit whole in my future.

Thank you for posting this.  I really appreciate this perspective.  Both legally and societally.  I'm so used to the legal definition, that has been a part of this thread, being normative.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: youngwildandfree on September 21, 2021, 02:16:04 PM
Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

I view marriage as a sharing/merging of my life with that of my wife.  Marriage is when you stop being an individual and become a couple.  We share a home, a bed, responsibilities around the house, duties raising our child, our thoughts/feelings, etc.  Pooling money seems like the "of course" thing to do because we share everything.

With pooled accounts, if my wife wants to buy something she buys it.  If I want to buy something I buy it.  We plan our spending based upon our shared plans for the future though . . . so spending by either of us takes that into account.  We both have full access to all accounts.  If a bill comes, it's paid from our shared accounts.  If we have extra money kicking around, then one of us will invest it according to the investment policy we've been following for the last two decades.  We rarely talk or think about money issues these days though, and I don't think we've ever argued about finances.

GuitarStv, I really like this description of a relationship.  Shared responsibility equals a shared life, but the merge part is were I guess I'm not as all in.  We're similar on the sharing responsibility, but it's just worked for us to keep the money stuff totally separate.  We even paid for our house very differently.  SO paid his half in cash and I have a mortgage.  He does have to sign papers saying he knows I have taken a mortgage on the house.  But the mortgage is only in my name. 

We've also never had an argument about money in our 20+ years together.  Even when I try to, with my latest refi, I asked him to try to talk me out of it, to see if his debt aversion strategics would be more helpful to me than my own assumptions.  In the end he sided with me and said he thought the refi was a good idea, given my risk tolerance and investment strategy. 

Thank you for responding, I really appreciate everyones engagement.  It really helps me see the pooled point of view as the "assumptive choice" from your angle.

But see, it really has less to do with what we feel and more to do with how the government views it. I also have a mortgage only in my name, but if we got divorced half of the net worth on that house belongs to my spouse. It doesn't matter at all how we have the financing set up. I also have one bank account that is only in my name because I set it up wrong. My spouse has the password, but cannot withdraw money from it at present. In the event of death or divorce that money still legally belongs to my spouse.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Christof on September 21, 2021, 02:37:00 PM
So in the event of divorce, there's no equalization of assets? How is housing treated?

In Germany every person has their own income and their own assets. You only ever are liable for your partners debt, if you co-signed a contract, thereby turning it into joint debt, so usually only new debt like a joint mortgage.

In case of a divorce the default is to look at each partners net worth when they married and when they filed for divorce including pensions rights or other future payments. The difference in gains during marriage is then split in half. The person who gained more has to compensate the other to make up for the difference. You can contractually define something else, but that arrangement has to be fair for both.

With houses you usually own an unspecified half of the house. That is, you have the same rights of living there as your partner and you will get 50% if the house is ever sold. During a divorce, the partners either agree on who is living in the house which means technically they buy the half from their former partner or the house is either sold or auctioned off and the proceedings are shared equally.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Christof on September 21, 2021, 02:57:38 PM
Wow, that is so interesting.  So the entire system is based on the concept of separate money.  I feel a fall down the German monetary system rabbit whole in my future.

In people's day to day life it probably doesn't make a lot of differences. We have couples with joint accounts and couples with separate accounts. Separate accounts are probably more common than in the US, but joint accounts are still pretty common.

Most people spend a lot of their income on everyday purchases and therefore never get close to paying gift taxes. For married couples the deduction is 500,000 Euros every 10 years. It's more likely to be an issue for unmarried couples at 20,000 every ten years. It's only the legal default that to me appears to be different from the US.

Things like this become an issue if you either already own more than the average, or if you are hit by an "unexpected" event like divorce, death (gift tax and inheritance tax share the deductible) or a tax audit. I put unexpected in quotes, because they aren't rare, people just don't consider them until they happen or just don't know about these issues.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 21, 2021, 03:26:32 PM
Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

I view marriage as a sharing/merging of my life with that of my wife.  Marriage is when you stop being an individual and become a couple.  We share a home, a bed, responsibilities around the house, duties raising our child, our thoughts/feelings, etc.  Pooling money seems like the "of course" thing to do because we share everything.

With pooled accounts, if my wife wants to buy something she buys it.  If I want to buy something I buy it.  We plan our spending based upon our shared plans for the future though . . . so spending by either of us takes that into account.  We both have full access to all accounts.  If a bill comes, it's paid from our shared accounts.  If we have extra money kicking around, then one of us will invest it according to the investment policy we've been following for the last two decades.  We rarely talk or think about money issues these days though, and I don't think we've ever argued about finances.

GuitarStv, I really like this description of a relationship.  Shared responsibility equals a shared life, but the merge part is were I guess I'm not as all in.  We're similar on the sharing responsibility, but it's just worked for us to keep the money stuff totally separate.  We even paid for our house very differently.  SO paid his half in cash and I have a mortgage.  He does have to sign papers saying he knows I have taken a mortgage on the house.  But the mortgage is only in my name. 

We've also never had an argument about money in our 20+ years together.  Even when I try to, with my latest refi, I asked him to try to talk me out of it, to see if his debt aversion strategics would be more helpful to me than my own assumptions.  In the end he sided with me and said he thought the refi was a good idea, given my risk tolerance and investment strategy. 

Thank you for responding, I really appreciate everyones engagement.  It really helps me see the pooled point of view as the "assumptive choice" from your angle.

But see, it really has less to do with what we feel and more to do with how the government views it. I also have a mortgage only in my name, but if we got divorced half of the net worth on that house belongs to my spouse. It doesn't matter at all how we have the financing set up. I also have one bank account that is only in my name because I set it up wrong. My spouse has the password, but cannot withdraw money from it at present. In the event of death or divorce that money still legally belongs to my spouse.

I think it has everthing to do with how we feel during the actual "living" of our relationship.  So you plan for how the government views it, but we live in a way that works for us.

For our house, I have enough other assets to cover my mortgage, when I didn't, I had life insurance to cover the difference.  If I die, my partner will get our house without debt.  If we end our relationship, he and I understand that the house has a mortgage, attached to its value, and this will effect division of assets.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: mspym on September 21, 2021, 04:14:27 PM
Side benefits of separate finances
- both of us being responsible for some of the bills keeps both of us engaged in the household finances. I think if it was merged, then it would be very likely that one of us would take over doing all of the work and it would be easy for the other to let them. This way, not only do both of us stay active in our finances, the chore of Paying Bills remains evenly split.
- risk management. No one wants to think a partner could be financially abusive but it happens and 'having open conversations pre-marriage' is not a surefire way to avoid this. Each of you having sole access to a pool of money can provide the ability to escape an intolerable situation and live while a fair and equitable split of the marital resources is in train.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Dreamer40 on September 22, 2021, 03:50:07 PM
We have only joint accounts. We have individual monthly budgets for our own hobby money, but it doesn’t actually go to separate accounts. We just keep track of who has how much left with our budget software.

I don’t really get the “two becomes one” language. We don’t share finances because we think we’re the same person. It’s because we’re on the same economic team. People have all kinds of complicated lives so different financial arrangements can make sense. But I’d definitely get on the same page about this before agreeing to get married to someone.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Geppetto on September 23, 2021, 03:35:09 AM
Lots of different flavors of marriage being discussed here.

For anyone just starting out, especially if you expect to have kids, a few words of hard-earned advice:

Get married broke if possible. Meaning, early enough in life to build a life together from the ground up.

Combine your broke-ass finances. Fully and immediately the day you get married.

By doing so, you’ll force yourselves to confront (sometime in the first couple of years of marriage) whatever financial pathologies you are each bringing along with you. Which you are. Work hard to address these and to establish total transparency.

If part of the permanent arrangement ends up involving no-questions-asked “blowoff” spending, fine, if it’s in the budget.

Somebody said the German government doesn’t recognize combined marital finances. With all due regard for Teutonic achievements, it’ll be another few centuries before I’ll be ready to consider the government of Germany a suitable resource for humane values.

The combined wisdom of humanity, on the other hand, over millennia, is that marriage should be a covenantal and permanent union in which the contracting parties and the broader community all have vested interests. How you handle money as a family should represent what you think you’re doing overall. If your view of marriage is a private lifestyle accoutrement, then keep your money separate and have a good time, but you ought to avoid having children because you are operating as an individual consumer which is not a fit mindset for a parent. If you understand marriage covenantally, then your finances should be stewarded in service of the long range purposes of that union. Meaning not only combined, but the whole concept of “my money” goes out the window.

My extremely judgmental (and empirical) view of the matter.

Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: MikeJones2001 on September 23, 2021, 03:04:23 PM
Lots of different flavors of marriage being discussed here.

For anyone just starting out, especially if you expect to have kids, a few words of hard-earned advice:

Get married broke if possible. Meaning, early enough in life to build a life together from the ground up.

Combine your broke-ass finances. Fully and immediately the day you get married.

By doing so, you’ll force yourselves to confront (sometime in the first couple of years of marriage) whatever financial pathologies you are each bringing along with you. Which you are. Work hard to address these and to establish total transparency.

If part of the permanent arrangement ends up involving no-questions-asked “blowoff” spending, fine, if it’s in the budget.

Somebody said the German government doesn’t recognize combined marital finances. With all due regard for Teutonic achievements, it’ll be another few centuries before I’ll be ready to consider the government of Germany a suitable resource for humane values.

The combined wisdom of humanity, on the other hand, over millennia, is that marriage should be a covenantal and permanent union in which the contracting parties and the broader community all have vested interests. How you handle money as a family should represent what you think you’re doing overall. If your view of marriage is a private lifestyle accoutrement, then keep your money separate and have a good time, but you ought to avoid having children because you are operating as an individual consumer which is not a fit mindset for a parent. If you understand marriage covenantally, then your finances should be stewarded in service of the long range purposes of that union. Meaning not only combined, but the whole concept of “my money” goes out the window.

My extremely judgmental (and empirical) view of the matter.


well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 23, 2021, 03:23:44 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 23, 2021, 03:44:37 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

I just think a lot of young, stupid people get married well before really knowing themselves, and then have a lot of shit to deal with that either brings them close together or rips them apart.

I don't think the level of conviction going into a marriage has all that much to do with its success. I've seen some total pricks swear up and down that divorce is not an option, and then totally fail to be vulnerable and generous enough to make that a reality.

Most marriages either end, hence the divorce rate, or really should end, hence all of the utterly miserable marriages out there.

A marriage staying healthy, strong, loving, and trusting for decades is the exception, not the rule.

It's about figuring out what tools you need to consistently grow together instead of apart through difficult times, not throwing down who has the biggest cock of commitment.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Morning Glory on September 23, 2021, 03:59:44 PM
This thread got me curious so I checked Mint: at the moment I have two checking accounts and my husband has four, plus we have a joint one. There's also a mess of  separate savings accounts, brokerages, paypal, credit cards, etc., enough to make me feel sorry for whoever has to handle our estate if we both die.  We don't use the joint account often but it came in handy recently when they had to deposit our house proceeds into a joint account. Our approach to finances has evolved over time: first we were just splitting bills proportionally, then we tried having the joint account for shared goals but that didn't go well, so back to proportional, then he became a sahp so I transferred him a certain amount out of each paycheck for groceries and stuff, then we started churning so it got really murky and we just transfer back and forth as needed. Now we're back to using the joint account because we kept some cash in there from our house sale so that I could divert paychecks into my 457b.

If what you're doing is working I don't see any reason to change it until there's a need.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: mspym on September 23, 2021, 04:55:52 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

I just think a lot of young, stupid people get married well before really knowing themselves, and then have a lot of shit to deal with that either brings them close together or rips them apart.

I don't think the level of conviction going into a marriage has all that much to do with its success. I've seen some total pricks swear up and down that divorce is not an option, and then totally fail to be vulnerable and generous enough to make that a reality.

Most marriages either end, hence the divorce rate, or really should end, hence all of the utterly miserable marriages out there.

A marriage staying healthy, strong, loving, and trusting for decades is the exception, not the rule.

It's about figuring out what tools you need to consistently grow together instead of apart through difficult times, not throwing down who has the biggest cock of commitment.
I think a lot of the danger of the 'divorce is not an option' school of thought is the unspoken coda "...therefore I don't have to do anything to make you want to stay." Divorce *is* an option, marriage is not a deathmarch.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Villanelle on September 23, 2021, 05:20:29 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

I just think a lot of young, stupid people get married well before really knowing themselves, and then have a lot of shit to deal with that either brings them close together or rips them apart.

I don't think the level of conviction going into a marriage has all that much to do with its success. I've seen some total pricks swear up and down that divorce is not an option, and then totally fail to be vulnerable and generous enough to make that a reality.

Most marriages either end, hence the divorce rate, or really should end, hence all of the utterly miserable marriages out there.

A marriage staying healthy, strong, loving, and trusting for decades is the exception, not the rule.

It's about figuring out what tools you need to consistently grow together instead of apart through difficult times, not throwing down who has the biggest cock of commitment.

In addition, I think that the "divorce is not an option" people can actually end up more likely to divorce.  Since it is supposedly not an option, it *can* (but of course is not always) be an excuse not to do all of the hard work.  It's like people who swear up and down they could never have an affair.  That means they sometimes don't see warning signs or make alterations to be relationships that start to get a bit flirty.  Because they could *NEVER* have an affair so they don't need to maybe put a little distance between themselves and the office crush, and so on.  But that's maybe a tangent for another thread. 

The fact that divorce very much is an option is even more incentive to make it as strong as possible so that it can withstand the trials and tribulations that will inevitably come. 
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Geppetto on September 23, 2021, 05:56:15 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

Not lowly my friend. And yes: There’s nothing peculiar to Christianity about covenantal marriage.

With nothing but love and peace to the divorced brothers and sisters, it’s a fact that no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Villanelle on September 23, 2021, 06:25:03 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

Not lowly my friend. And yes: There’s nothing peculiar to Christianity about covenantal marriage.

With nothing but love and peace to the divorced brothers and sisters, it’s a fact that no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity.

You know that when you preamble with "with nothing but love" or "with all due respect," it doesn't make a statement any less gross or offensive, right?   
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 23, 2021, 06:43:43 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

Not lowly my friend. And yes: There’s nothing peculiar to Christianity about covenantal marriage.

With nothing but love and peace to the divorced brothers and sisters, it’s a fact that no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity.

You have a weird definition of the word "fact".
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 23, 2021, 06:56:30 PM
Well, this conversation took an odd turn.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: ixtap on September 23, 2021, 07:49:07 PM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

Not lowly my friend. And yes: There’s nothing peculiar to Christianity about covenantal marriage.

With nothing but love and peace to the divorced brothers and sisters, it’s a fact that no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity.

You have a weird definition of the word "fact".

Mmmhhhmmm
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Geppetto on September 24, 2021, 11:08:35 AM
I meant the legal regime of no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity. Not anybody's individual life circumstances. I could've been clearer I suppose. And it's off topic. Apologies, and best wishes to the betrothed!
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 24, 2021, 12:05:06 PM
I meant the legal regime of no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity. Not anybody's individual life circumstances. I could've been clearer I suppose. And it's off topic. Apologies, and best wishes to the betrothed!

So you either want people stuck in miserable marriages unless one partner has committed adultery, abuse or fraud? Or, you want to burden the legal system with a tribunal that has to determine on a case by case basis if the marriage is actually bad enough to warrant a divorce??

You think it's a crime against humanity for a couple who make each other absolutely miserable to break up???

I mean, okay, you're entitled to that opinion, but again, I think that means you have a wonky definition of the word "fact", as that is an opinion, and one that is not in any way universally factual.

I, for one, am absolutely thrilled that my husband didn't stay married to his first wife who after they got married quit her job and patently refused to ever work again despite lying to him for two years that her dream was to become a police officer and that she wanted to quit her job to go back to school, but instead upon getting married and quitting, picked up a heavy pot smoking, booze drinking, and ice cream eating habit and got really obsessed with the Kardashians, and then racked up boat loads of debt in store credit cards.

Yep, sounds like a total crime against humanity that he ended that horrible, horrible marriage less than a year after making that naive mistake. It's too bad there wasn't a law forcing him to pay for that error in judgement for the rest of his life, just hoping she would cheat on him or hit him so that he would have the right to get divorced.

Oh well, I guess instead he had to commit the crime against humanity of getting  no-fault divorced, growing up A LOT, and then getting into an excellent and healthy marriage where he's grown as a person, and a professional, and is happier and healthier than he's ever been.
Such a crime.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Christof on September 24, 2021, 04:00:16 PM
I could've been clearer I suppose.

Don’t worry. You have been very clear..
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Abe on September 24, 2021, 09:54:31 PM
Wow, this thread got weird.

To clarify, Is it a crime against humanity like Auschwitz, like Hiroshima, or like the Rwandan genocide? Yeah I guess in some people’s minds the wholesale slaughter of millions is like getting a divorce, but honestly once the dust settles most people do relatively ok from the latter…

Also, if it’s a “think of the children” thing, children don’t normally die from parents divorcing, and especially not in boxcar loads.

Sorry, I just get irritated when people use other people’s terrible suffering as a debate technique.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: MrThatsDifferent on September 25, 2021, 12:50:46 AM
I’ll bite. We had a joint account to pay joint bills and separate accounts to manage as we saw fit. I wouldn’t ever change that and whatever committed relationship I have next will have the same set up. No one was irresponsible. It was nice to use our own money to surprise each other. It was nice to use our own money to buy presents for friends and family as we saw fit. It was nice to not ask for permission to be adults. All big decisions made together. We’re a couple and we’re individuals and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: iris lily on September 25, 2021, 09:52:53 AM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

I just think a lot of young, stupid people get married well before really knowing themselves, and then have a lot of shit to deal with that either brings them close together or rips them apart.

I don't think the level of conviction going into a marriage has all that much to do with its success. I've seen some total pricks swear up and down that divorce is not an option, and then totally fail to be vulnerable and generous enough to make that a reality.

Most marriages either end, hence the divorce rate, or really should end, hence all of the utterly miserable marriages out there.

A marriage staying healthy, strong, loving, and trusting for decades is the exception, not the rule.

It's about figuring out what tools you need to consistently grow together instead of apart through difficult times, not throwing down who has the biggest cock of commitment.
I think a lot of the danger of the 'divorce is not an option' school of thought is the unspoken coda "...therefore I don't have to do anything to make you want to stay." Divorce *is* an option, marriage is not a deathmarch.

I agree. There’s one unmarried couple I read about who convinced me they really have their shit together in their careful consideration of their deliberately unmarried commitment.

Their philosophy was that they did not want a legal tie because they thought it was more important to focus on their relationship every day, not taking it for granted, always breathing life and health into it.
In other words, they placed their commitment to one another higher  than the societal institution of marriage.

I think that idea is interesting and cool, and perhaps it’s held by many unmarried couples I don’t know. I just know that it seems to me so many people drift from dating into living together and there’s no real thought process about remaining un-legally yoked.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on September 25, 2021, 10:33:10 AM
well said sir. Ill take heed to your advice as I am a Christian and marriage to me a convenant promise.

A covenant is just a formal promise, nothing to do with religion.  I'm a lowly heretic agnostic, and I view marriage as a covenant promise too.

:P

I just think a lot of young, stupid people get married well before really knowing themselves, and then have a lot of shit to deal with that either brings them close together or rips them apart.

I don't think the level of conviction going into a marriage has all that much to do with its success. I've seen some total pricks swear up and down that divorce is not an option, and then totally fail to be vulnerable and generous enough to make that a reality.

Most marriages either end, hence the divorce rate, or really should end, hence all of the utterly miserable marriages out there.

A marriage staying healthy, strong, loving, and trusting for decades is the exception, not the rule.

It's about figuring out what tools you need to consistently grow together instead of apart through difficult times, not throwing down who has the biggest cock of commitment.
I think a lot of the danger of the 'divorce is not an option' school of thought is the unspoken coda "...therefore I don't have to do anything to make you want to stay." Divorce *is* an option, marriage is not a deathmarch.

I agree. There’s one unmarried couple I read about who convinced me they really have their shit together in their careful consideration of their deliberately unmarried commitment.

Their philosophy was that they did not want a legal tie because they thought it was more important to focus on their relationship every day, not taking it for granted, always breathing life and health into it.
In other words, they placed their commitment to one another higher  than the societal institution of marriage.

I think that idea is interesting and cool, and perhaps it’s held by many unmarried couples I don’t know. I just know that it seems to me so many people drift from dating into living together and there’s no real thought process about remaining un-legally yoked.

True, but it's also pretty easy just to move out in those situations as well.

I've casually moved in with a number of partners and just as easily moved back out when it wasn't working.

I had one that I lived with very seriously for years, but we didn't want to get legally married. As things got more serious though, so did our conversations about money and long term planning.

It's not like those who get married are all that much better about talking about money either, so I don't really get your point.

Most couples don't talk responsibly about money, whether married or not.

Also, many of those couples who are married were previously people who just "drifted" into living together beforehand, so it's not like it's a separate population.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Villanelle on September 26, 2021, 01:43:32 PM
I meant the legal regime of no-fault divorce is a crime against humanity. Not anybody's individual life circumstances. I could've been clearer I suppose. And it's off topic. Apologies, and best wishes to the betrothed!

Between that and your swipe at the Germans, I think we all have a pretty accurate picture of where you stand.  You've been exceptionally clear on your worldview.  And even after this "clarification", I agree with Malcat about your intrepretation of "fact".
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Imma on October 04, 2021, 02:13:57 PM
OP hasn't been back, so I'm not going to feel bad for highjacking this thread.  I had a little snit fit/ knee jerk reaction to this thread and thankfully deleted it, once I got over myself.

But now I honesty want to ask.

Why is pooling the "of course" and separate the "but why" choice?  I've never seen separate as something to justify, or fix, or like we're doing something sub-optimal.  I also don't see it as a choice that's about how we would divid things at the possible ending, but as the choice we made during the doing.  But will pooling our money really make us a happier couple?  My main goal for FIRE is to increase my happiness, so maybe I've been looking at this wrong?

We keep our finances totally separate.  I like knowing that I'm doing this thing together, but also as individuals. I'm a big fan of the two trees in a forest thing, together but as individuals. (yes I've read the research on tree symbiosis, but the metaphor still works, lol)

My partner and I talk about money a lot, a lot a lot.  I love to talk about my FIRE plans and go on and on.  I convinced him that he had more than enough to FIRE 4ish years ago.  He was grateful to have my support and to give him the push he needed to not OMY.  I'll fire end of 2025.

What am I missing that we would get from pooling?

Pooling, to a certain degree, by default matches the laws as they apply to marriage.

If you want to keep things separate, your arrangement is in opposition to most jurisdiction's marriage laws, so you need to customize those laws with a prenup to make a separate finances situation safe and reasonable.

Otherwise, as I have said repeatedly in this thread, separate finances are INCREDIBLY dangerous, as it leaves each person totally blind to what's happening in half of the financial affairs of their own legal financial entity.

This would be like two business partners running different departments and acting like each is a separate company when in fact, they're one legal financial entity. One side can take both sides down.

If you want to operate as separate financial entities within a contract that is designed *not* to work that way, then you have to customize that contract.

That tends to be a lot more work and hassle. Hence why it's not the default.

Also, the VAST majority of people who keep separate finances do so to avoid talking about money. So the behaviour tends to correlate with poor financial relations while also dramatically raising risk.

It's GREAT that separate finances works for your marriage, but I don't think the generally judgement against it has anything to do with couples like you and your spouse.

It has to do with the overwhelming number of people out there who avoid talking about money at all costs, and who actively hide their personal finances from their partner, which is far, FAR more common than your situation.

I'm not sure about that. At least not where I live. I'm a tax professional and I've worked with many couples, married, unmarried, rich, poor, working class, middle class.

The vast majority of people that keep seperate finances in practice (as in - have seperate accounts that are used for more than just "pocket money" because pocket money bank accounts where each spouse gets €100 or €200 for spending seem to be pretty common here) also have seperate finances legally, as in, a pre-nup. Probably around 80%. And most have very good reasons other than "not wanting to talk about money" because drafting up the legal paperwork requires lots of conversations and is much harder than just getting married and accepting the terms and conditions set by the state. In most cases it has to do with inherited wealth or business ownerships, people who keep seperate finances out of principle like we do are much harder to find. Being a tax professional with a law degree, of course we have the necessary documents put in place.

The two most risky situations that I encounter far more often than "people having seperate finances in practice but not legally" are those two:
- people who are married and have legally combined finances, but one person pays all the bills and earns all or most of the income, where the other person (usually the wife) has no idea at all because "I'm not good with numbers". For many people this works out fine in the end. I have also encountered people whose spouse has spent all of the money and got them in massive debt without the other person knowing. I also know of a case where a husband was able to hide having fathered a child with his mistress that he was paying child support for out of their joint account, because his wife never checked the bank statements.
- people who are unmarried, have children and live as if they are married. Particularly if one party, usually the woman, gives up their job to look after the children. Legally you're nothing more than roommates and the only thing you're entitled to is child support. I have seen so many women in this situation including a fellow female tax professional. People don't think it will happen to them. I know of a lady who had children with their partner, but in his will he still left the house that they lived in together in to his ex because he never changed it and I think the life insurance as well. People think it won't happen to them or their family will sort it out between themselves, but of course his ex wasn't going to let go of free money.

The first situation is typically a Boomer couple, but of course it can happen in other generations too. The second couple are usually Milennials who don't love the institute of marriage because their parents are divorced. I don't love the idea of marriage either, so I understand, my parents were divorced too. None of my friends have parents that are still in their first marriage. But at least in my country there are other legal options that are the similar or the same as marriage, like civil partnership. It's important to put some documents in place and talk about money and the financial future.
Title: Re: Getting married next week, should we have 1 checking account or seperate ?
Post by: Malcat on October 04, 2021, 05:43:13 PM

I'm not sure about that. At least not where I live. I'm a tax professional and I've worked with many couples, married, unmarried, rich, poor, working class, middle class.

The vast majority of people that keep seperate finances in practice (as in - have seperate accounts that are used for more than just "pocket money" because pocket money bank accounts where each spouse gets €100 or €200 for spending seem to be pretty common here) also have seperate finances legally, as in, a pre-nup. Probably around 80%. And most have very good reasons other than "not wanting to talk about money" because drafting up the legal paperwork requires lots of conversations and is much harder than just getting married and accepting the terms and conditions set by the state. In most cases it has to do with inherited wealth or business ownerships, people who keep seperate finances out of principle like we do are much harder to find. Being a tax professional with a law degree, of course we have the necessary documents put in place.

The two most risky situations that I encounter far more often than "people having seperate finances in practice but not legally" are those two:
- people who are married and have legally combined finances, but one person pays all the bills and earns all or most of the income, where the other person (usually the wife) has no idea at all because "I'm not good with numbers". For many people this works out fine in the end. I have also encountered people whose spouse has spent all of the money and got them in massive debt without the other person knowing. I also know of a case where a husband was able to hide having fathered a child with his mistress that he was paying child support for out of their joint account, because his wife never checked the bank statements.
- people who are unmarried, have children and live as if they are married. Particularly if one party, usually the woman, gives up their job to look after the children. Legally you're nothing more than roommates and the only thing you're entitled to is child support. I have seen so many women in this situation including a fellow female tax professional. People don't think it will happen to them. I know of a lady who had children with their partner, but in his will he still left the house that they lived in together in to his ex because he never changed it and I think the life insurance as well. People think it won't happen to them or their family will sort it out between themselves, but of course his ex wasn't going to let go of free money.

The first situation is typically a Boomer couple, but of course it can happen in other generations too. The second couple are usually Milennials who don't love the institute of marriage because their parents are divorced. I don't love the idea of marriage either, so I understand, my parents were divorced too. None of my friends have parents that are still in their first marriage. But at least in my country there are other legal options that are the similar or the same as marriage, like civil partnership. It's important to put some documents in place and talk about money and the financial future.

That's amazing that so many people where you live have pre-nups. It must be a cultural thing, because here, even talking about pre-nups can get people very reactive. Like they've watched too many movies and believe that all pre-nups exist to screw someone over.

It's getting better, but I used to be cautious even mentioning pre-nups in certain company.