Author Topic: How do married couples handle finances here?  (Read 2987 times)

Slow2FIRE

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2019, 05:56:21 PM »
As the title states I am curious as to how married couple's on this forum handle their finances?
 
My oldest sister and her husband have been married for nearly four years and just purchased their first home together. They split things down the middle regarding monthly household bills, however still run separate bank accounts, credit cards, etc. While I am not married (yet), my girlfriend and I have agreed that when we get married, we will combine all assets and liabilities (debt) as one.

I know some may enter marriage having accumulated more wealth than their spouse, however I am sure views here may differ from mine.

We do as your oldest sister and brother in law do (essentially)...

split bills 50/50
separate accounts for our paychecks
joint account for bills
joint taxable brokerage account
joint emergency fund/savings account

Not really how I particularly want to do it, but my SO has parents with serious control issues with regards to the money and this has colored her ideas on how it should be run.  We are paid close to the same so it works for now.

Cassie

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2019, 06:05:39 PM »
When my friends married later in life they were making the same amount of money so they split expenses. That changed when his company closed and he was making half hence using suze orman to make it fair. Neither want to fully combine finances.  She continues to make double what he does because she has gotten promoted faster than him.  I think you have to find what works for you because money is a major marriage stressor.   Before we married we agreed that I would handle the finances because he was bad at it. If not for the agreement we would have just kept living together.  There is no one way to handle finances.

use2betrix

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #52 on: April 29, 2019, 06:12:48 PM »
My wife and I started dating when she was 18 and I was 23. She had just graduated high school. I just got a contract job and had to move so she moved with me. I made a lot of money and worked a lot of hours, so beings that she would probably make minimum wage, it wasn’t really worth it for her to work (vs her supporting everything around the home and me supporting her).

It just made sense. After about a year and a half, I bought her a $5000 Camry (that we still have today, over 6 years later). After about 6 months I also get her a credit card on my acct in her name to make it easier.

With all this considered, this has been the same since we were together just a few months, and everything has just been perfect and it just clicks. She’s always been a naturally very frugal person. I am definitely the spender and always have been, which has been a challenge.

I don’t know that we have ever really argued about money at all. I make it and we both spend it in agreement. I am definitely aware that much of my success and income is due to her support, and as such it’s definitely “our” money, despite just being one income.

People have all sorts of different arrangements, and whatever WORKS for each person is great.

That being said, we have virtually no issues ever with our arrangement, and it seems a lot of people both here and in general have ones of financial issues with their spouses..

UndergroundDaytimeDad

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #53 on: April 29, 2019, 09:36:49 PM »
Probably a unique case, but I think it adds a bit of "How to get your spouse interested in fire?" to the mix:

Separate accounts, joint ownership of our home.  I physically pay the bills and manage investments, but we discuss these items regularly.

When we met I had considerably more assets than DW and put more of that into our jointly purchased house.  She paid the monthly payments on the mortgage and I would do the yearly lump sums that came without interest penalty (when able).  Now that the mortgage is done, she has considerably more cash flow and I have 95% FIREd.  Dividends and some capital gains pay for my half of expenses, or sometimes I just reinvest and she covers our run costs. 

The interesting part of my contribution to this thread is how interest in FIRE has grown for my wife since we did this sort of "half each" split.  It has encouraged both of us to spend less, while still having an enjoyable life as a family, and it has helped her to see how we can structure ourselves going forward to sort of wean her off of full time work.  She enjoys her job, so that isn't the issue, but she is growing more excited in knowing that she can just stop going if she wants to. 

Michael in ABQ

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2019, 02:41:55 AM »
Single income household here but even when my wife was working early in our marriage everything was combined. We've been married over a decade now. I work, my wife stays at home with the kids. I manage the finances because I've always been good with money and enjoy creating spreadsheets to track spending, etc. Neither of us is really a natural spender so there's no issue with one of us going out and buying a bunch of stuff without talking about it. I pretty much handled everything the first few years but as we were slowly sinking into debt by living slightly beyond our means each month we finally sat down together and started working a plan to get out of debt. It took about 2.5-3 years but we definitely became much stronger by working together towards that goal of becoming debt free.

bluebelle

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2019, 11:20:04 AM »
we pooled our finances when we bought the house 20 years ago,.....mostly because I manage both the day to day finances and the long term finances.   It's worked out very well for him.....other than his half of the down payment, he had no assets and made about 1/2 of what I did.   In fact he had $5K of CC debt when we bought the house (20 years later, I'm still a little pissed about that).  I've come to understand that he has little interest in finances, and likes to keep his head buried deeply in the sand about such things, and he has a much more relaxed attitude towards due dates.   20 years ago I had to encourage/push him to start contributing to an RRSP, and get him to set limits on monthly spending.  We've always had reasonable cash flow, and over the years he has fewer things he wants to buy.  Now that we're a year off retirement, he understands the value of the plan, but 20 years ago he couldn't see ever retiring.   The funny thing is, he's a spreadsheet guy at work, quite capable of complex math.  So I've never understood why he couldn't 'do the math' for retirement.   He was/is spendier than me, but he can see the finish line, so he's really on board.  He just thinks we need a lot more money to retire than we do.   His inflated number gives the worrier in me comfort.

DeniseNJ

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #56 on: April 30, 2019, 03:44:50 PM »
It appears just from first glance those who have been married a while agree that pooling finances is the way to go.
If you stay married then it definitely seems easier to just pool resources, espeically if you have kids.  If you get divorced you may wish you had kept everythign separate.

DH and I pool resources.  I handle the money, bills, investments.  I try to tell him about it but he deosn't really care.  As far as spending, if we have a major purchase, we discuss it.  Otherwise, we spend until it's gone.  That is until about 6 months ago when I found MMM.  It's my new religion and I can't stop preaching the good word of FIRE.  Now we save FIRST, bills next, spend what's left (and there's hardly anything left bc savings rate is high).  And no credit cards ever.  So if we run outta money we just have to suck it up until payday.

Goldielocks

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2019, 01:53:38 PM »
Everyone needs some fun money to spend however they want without accounting to anyone. It doesn’t have to be a lot.

No, everyone does not need "fun money" nor does everyone need some amount of money which is accountable to no one.
THis strategy works for a lot of people, but it's far from absolute.

All our money is fun money. It's fun to have our mortgage paid!

All our money is joint. But we don't ask permission to make purchases for ourselves. We just consider the other person's perspective.  Would it annoy me if my husband went and bought a car without telling me- absolutely. But he also wouldn't do it.  I might buy fabric without "asking permission", but I'm not buying a new sewing machine without letting him know.
We did it this way for many years.... 15+ years? 

The problem comes when there are a LOT of $5-$80 purchases by one spouse and no money left in the account for the other spouse.   (Triggered for us by increasing monthly lifestyle expenses due to growing kid and house expenses, and decreasing incomes due to a new employment). 

Fae

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2019, 02:04:26 PM »
A thing to note: You can always change the way you handle joint finances. It may take a little doing to switch things around, but if  the way finances being run isn't working for your relationship you can always try a different way.

When my DH and I first got married we still had separate-ish finances. We each had our own accounts, but the other had access. This really didn't work for us. He was primary on the credit card (linked to his accounts) and I never remembered to check the balance (because I didn't use it). Unfortunately, the only interest in money/budgeting my husband had was making sure he didn't spend more than we had. He is also a "stress shopper"; rough day at work? buy something, bad news about moms health? buy something. And every month it would be the same, I would have to take the money set aside to go into savings and pay off the credit card. We were always able to pay it off, and didn't pay any interest but we weren't really saving anything. So then we completely joined, one checking, one saving, one joint credit card. Which made it much easier for me to track everything we were spending, and cut back on certain areas. However, my husbands limited interest in money/budgeting plummeted to zero. We started saving more, but we also had way more fights. Because " we have the money, why won't you let me buy this thing that will make me happy?" Eventually, he quit his stressful job and I paid all the bills (including gas for his car) gave him a monthly stipend (in cash) for dining out and any of his wants. This also didn't work. So now he has his own checking acct, that I transfer money into every month, he pays for his own gas and he can only spend money from the joint acct with prior approval from me.

Lady SA

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2019, 02:46:16 PM »
joint everything except individual retirement accts. We even have a joint mint account so I can see everything in one place.
We got married when we were 22 and had no assets, so I think that likely plays into our decision to combine as well.

Both our paychecks get deposited into the same checking account, and becomes "ours", and that checking account then is the place from which all outflows are routed. Auto contributions to savings/investments route through here, as well as ACH bills and paying off our ccs (we churn so I keep track of cc balances in mint).

Every week we sit down and check mint to go over transactions that may have been miscategorized, and its a natural point to discuss any issues/difficulties we are having with our system. After some refinement, it feels really natural and smooth now, the only problem is not being able to keep christmas present transactions "secret" from each other lol
We pay off all cc balances each week so that helps keep the sense of everything in our checking account being "available".

I do all the short and long term finance stuff for the household. Monthly budgeting to investment planning to taxes. All I ask DH to do is participate in a weekly 10 min conversation to help me keep mint accurate and make any updates to his 401k/IRA/HSA when I bring it up.

Honestly, this only works because DH and I have nearly identical approaches and mindsets about finances. We both are frugal, in moments of stress neither of us fall back on retail therapy, and we are totally aligned on our financial priorities and how we want to "deploy" the money we are making now. If there were any tension or differences between us in this area, this system would require a LOT more intensive attention/effort to keep things going in a positive direction. But because we are exactly on the same page and therefore working together, not inadvertently working against each other, this way works really, really easily.

OtherJen

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2019, 04:24:42 PM »
Honestly, this only works because DH and I have nearly identical approaches and mindsets about finances. We both are frugal, in moments of stress neither of us fall back on retail therapy, and we are totally aligned on our financial priorities and how we want to "deploy" the money we are making now. If there were any tension or differences between us in this area, this system would require a LOT more intensive attention/effort to keep things going in a positive direction. But because we are exactly on the same page and therefore working together, not inadvertently working against each other, this way works really, really easily.

Our marital finances are very similar. Neither of us are spenders or motivated by having fancy, flashy things, so there's no friction there. Since I'm the one who directly handles all financial matters, it's easiest for my sanity to have all accounts be joint except for retirement accounts. We both discuss all financial matters and have full access to all accounts.

FireHiker

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2019, 05:39:56 PM »
Just my perspective, but the discussing/observing of all transactions sounds exhausting.

I don't find it to be exhausting; I grew up in a financially irresponsible train wreck of a family (I would say house, but, there was a stint when I was 12 and 13 where we were literally homeless) so I find it empowering to know where our money goes. I track every single penny that goes in and out, because we want to retire ASAP and it's important to know where our levers are. I wouldn't say we "ask for permission" when making a purchase, but we disclose to each other what we spend. We put almost every expense on our (travel reward earning) credit cards, so if my husband buys something and doesn't get a receipt I just look it up online to add to our financial spreadsheet since I maintain it. But, just because it works for us, doesn't mean it would be the optimal approach for someone else. I certainly don't think there needs to be a one size fits all approach to finance in marriage, beyond being on the same page and living below one's means!

Cassie

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2019, 10:05:30 PM »
Fae, so you are supporting a husband that chooses not to work?

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2019, 10:11:53 PM »
A thing to note: You can always change the way you handle joint finances. It may take a little doing to switch things around, but if  the way finances being run isn't working for your relationship you can always try a different way.

When my DH and I first got married we still had separate-ish finances. We each had our own accounts, but the other had access. This really didn't work for us. He was primary on the credit card (linked to his accounts) and I never remembered to check the balance (because I didn't use it). Unfortunately, the only interest in money/budgeting my husband had was making sure he didn't spend more than we had. He is also a "stress shopper"; rough day at work? buy something, bad news about moms health? buy something. And every month it would be the same, I would have to take the money set aside to go into savings and pay off the credit card. We were always able to pay it off, and didn't pay any interest but we weren't really saving anything. So then we completely joined, one checking, one saving, one joint credit card. Which made it much easier for me to track everything we were spending, and cut back on certain areas. However, my husbands limited interest in money/budgeting plummeted to zero. We started saving more, but we also had way more fights. Because " we have the money, why won't you let me buy this thing that will make me happy?" Eventually, he quit his stressful job and I paid all the bills (including gas for his car) gave him a monthly stipend (in cash) for dining out and any of his wants. This also didn't work. So now he has his own checking acct, that I transfer money into every month, he pays for his own gas and he can only spend money from the joint acct with prior approval from me.

This sounds more like dealing with a child than a spouse.  I don’t even vaguely care what DW spends money on as long as the bills get paid, her savings is automated per our plan, and she’s not taking on debts.

Fae

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #64 on: May 02, 2019, 09:53:56 AM »
Fae, so you are supporting a husband that chooses not to work?

Sorry, I left out a few details trying to shorten my post. A few months after he quit his job he started working part time. Then we decided to have a baby and now he is working very hard, caring for our 1yr old.

This sounds more like dealing with a child than a spouse.  I don’t even vaguely care what DW spends money on as long as the bills get paid, her savings is automated per our plan, and she’s not taking on debts.
Lol. Sometimes it feels that way. He is getting better with money but he is very much an emotional spender. That "authorization from me" is mostly to get him to think about his purchase. I almost never say no (sometimes I say wait) but about 75% of the time he chooses not to buy it anyway due to those feelings of need fading. When he quit his job we lost 1/3 of our household income and our savings rate QUADRUPLED. Literally, we saved 4X as much on 2/3 our previous income simply because he wasn't stressed out anymore.

Cassie

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Re: How do married couples handle finances here?
« Reply #65 on: May 02, 2019, 11:35:25 AM »
Caring for the baby is definitely work:))