Author Topic: How do you share money with your partner?  (Read 20906 times)

StetsTerhune

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How do you share money with your partner?
« on: November 04, 2012, 06:05:56 AM »
My wife and I still have mostly separate finances. Our paychecks go into our personal checking accounts and anything significant that's an individual expense comes out of our personal account (though personal expenses are pretty rare these days). Rent and other group expenses come out of our joint account/joint credit card, which are linked. We replenish our group account by paying into it based on our proportion of the total (ie I make about 50% more than she does, so I contribute about 50% more than she does).  This way, we each pay/save the same % of our income.

We hope to retire relatively soon (4-5 years), and will share our retirement income. I have a much higher net worth currently, but don't intend to stop working until we can, as a whole, produce enough income for both of us.

On some level I feel like this is ridiculous, but I also can't think of any downside to this (other than the small amount of work in tracking it all). The end result is the same as having all our money lumped together, but if (knock on wood) we ever had to disentangle our finances, this would certainly simplify matters enormously.


I'm really curious to hear how other people deal with their joint finances, and to see how normal our arrangement is.

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 06:23:23 AM »
We do something similar except we don't even have a joint account. We discussed it all pre-marriage and have a pre-nup which basically says that everyone is separate, unless we intentionally make it joint. So any real estate, cars, accounts we open together are 50/50, otherwise we just keep doing what we did pre-marriage with accounts and investments. In our wills everything goes to the other person.
It works for both of us and I track everything anyway - for him and myself - so we both know where the money is at all times. There's no secrecy and we discuss big purchases, but technically don't have to, if it's personal money. So the end result is the same as having it all together, but it allows us some personal freedom of choice.

2 areas where personal preference makes this an idea situation for us:
1. when to retire - he chooses to works LOTS now at stressful, high paying jobs, and will probably retire before me. I prefer to work less hours but for more years. So will delay retirement for more fun now. Since I track our investments separately and jointly it's easy to figure out when we can move to semi-retirement. And I don't have to feel guilty about working less hours while he slaves away.
2. investment personalities - my husband is extremely risk adverse (he doesn't see inflation as a risk) and will not invest in stocks. He'd rather work longer than risk losing his money. Managing his own investments allows him to do this, without me worrying about it. I get to invest my money in index funds, etc, as I see fit, and don't have to worry about his too conservative approach costing me money.

All this works because we're both savers and both live on less than 50% of our take home, have no kids, and have similar incomes or at least earning potential (I choose to earn less). If any of this changed we'd re-work the system as needed.

arebelspy

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 07:00:53 AM »
The wife and I merged finances before we got married (well before we were engaged, even) and have never had an issue, argument about money, or regretted it.

Do what works for you and your partner, cause there won't be a single solution for everyone.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 07:23:57 AM by arebelspy »
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Lagom

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 07:12:13 AM »
We have had shared our finances since before we were even engaged and I personally feel this has been a net positive for our relationship. It makes paying bills easier and I really enjoy the intimacy and level of trust it entails. I know divorce can happen, and I don't claim that ours is the superior way, but I would never switch to separate accounts. Until two years ago, we were also very financially irresponsible, racking up huge debt. I feel that having shared accounts made it easier to share responsibility for our troubles, rather than resorting to a blame game that might well have ended in divorce. Now, our relationship is stronger than ever as we feel that we took on and overcame (or rather, are on the path to overcoming) our situation as a unit. No blame for the fall, shared credit for the recovery.

We do each keep our own checking account into which a monthly "fun money" allowance goes, which allows opportunities for guilt-free spending. Our situation differs from yours or Kestra's, but I think every couple needs to find their own equilibrium. I have always been the bill payer, investor, etc., but I now make much less than my wife both due to my career choice and to intentionally avoiding advancement opportunities (per her request) that would have required lots of travel and weekend work. Even those would pay less than my wife's salary, and she would much rather have me around than another $15-20k/year (luckily for us, her income is high enough that we don't strictly need that money). I may even end up switching to more flexible part time work when we have kids, as the net savings of no commuting costs and no daycare would amount to a fair chunk of my salary anyway.

At the same time, she is rather ambivalent about retirement planning and the whole FI thing. While this leads to some frustration (she doesn't quite get my obsession with saving and frugality and I don't get her insistence on owning 20 pairs of shoes), our shared accounts makes it easy for me to better secure our future without her having to worry about it or feeling like I'm nagging her about her retirement plans. We have reached an income level beyond which all raises are superfluous to our living expenses, so now I can focus on socking away any extra income, once our debts have been paid.

Relative to Kestra's situation of two savers, I might posit that shared accounts are especially good when only one spouse is a saver. As long as the other can agree to some limitations on their spending (e.g. through a "fun money" system), the shared account makes it  far easier for the saver to maximize opportunities to move up that FI date. And when I finally convince the DW to be a miser like me, we'll really be cooking! :)

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 10:22:24 AM »
We share everything. With only one main income that's really the only way to work it. We were keeping separate accounts for a while but it was just more trouble than it was worth--the vast majority of our expenses are joint ones anyway, and now that we're both focusing on controlling our spending and consulting each other before we buy things there's nothing to cause much conflict.

catalana

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 10:55:07 AM »
Hi Stets Terhune.  Me and my fiance do exactly what you do.  We both put about 50% of our net income into the joint account - although the amounts are different (about a 55/45 split).

What is interesting is that you say this:

On some level I feel like this is ridiculous, but I also can't think of any downside to this (other than the small amount of work in tracking it all).

Why do you feel this is ridiculous?  The important thing is that it works for you, so something about it must be niggling at you.

prosaic

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 11:46:19 AM »
It all goes into one big pot here and has since the day we moved in together.

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2012, 12:01:52 PM »
We have separate accounts, but we track our spending together, share passwords, discuss all major purchases, and view all of it as our money. There is no secrecy, and we never argue or worry about money (although, this has more to do with the fact that we are both savers and are in 100% agreement on how we want to spend, as opposed to the mechanics of our accounts). We split up bills proportionally based on our salaries, and we each set up our own monthly budgets. We keep separate accounts because we both have fun managing money and setting up/tweaking our own systems.

I concur with arebelspy: there is no right answer. Just do what works and evolve as needs change. 

arebelspy

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2012, 12:10:58 PM »
I concur with arebelspy: there is no right answer. Just do what works and evolve as needs change.

And the key to that last part is open and honest communication. If you have that, the rest (shared accounts or not) will work out fine.
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TheDude

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2012, 12:48:24 PM »
I dont like the idea of separate finances.  My wife and I lived together for a couple of years before we got married and we did what you are doing. However, once we were married we completely integrated finances. I think separate finances can cause separate goals which can cause problems in a relationship. If you're getting married I think you should go all in and not worry about divorce.

My sister and her husband kept separate finances. They lasted three years. I know he made at least double what she did (if not more.) Since they weren't very open about finances I am pretty sure she got fucked in the settlement.

Also if you live the community property state you better be sure you have a rock solid prenup.

gooki

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 01:09:50 PM »
In our case all income gets merged together, and then we split out a weekly allowance (fun money) into our personal accounts.

Recently my wife wanted to reduce her weekly allowance as she wasn't spending it all and felt a touch guilty as she was now a stay at home mum, and not earning an income.  Instead we agreed to reduce my allowance as well.

N

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 01:52:43 PM »
one big pot, since we moved in together, 15 years ago.

plantingourpennies

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 03:45:30 PM »
Lots of people with combined finances in this thread-interesting.

For me, it was a question of all-in. What was the point of getting married if we were just going to live two separate, but parallel, lives?

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Aloysius_Poutine

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 06:41:04 PM »
It all goes into one big pot in our household too. Never even considered separate finances, and never had an issue.

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2012, 09:30:24 PM »
All in one big pot. We've been married 16 years.  Actually, I still have one savings account from my single days, only because I've been too lazy to call them up and close the account and transfer it.  I will do this.  Before the end of the year.  I think part of the reason I keep it is because it's the only link I have to my single, Navy officer days.

sheepstache

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2012, 09:40:42 PM »
Granted, we've only been together 3? 4? years, but we do the same as stets and catalan.  We only have a couple joint expenses--rent, utilities, home insurance--which we pay out of a joint account.  We each automatically transer an amount that's about $100-$150 (depending on utilities) more than monthly expenses so we build up some savings for household emergencies.
I think this is a personality thing.  "Separate but parallel lives," as plantingourpennies wrote, isn't quite how I'd put it but we certainly give each other plenty of space.  Talk about not having to argue about money; so long as the joint expenses get paid, I don't have to worry about whatever ridiculous things the spouse is doing with money :)  And if I have to "pull a Jacob" and be FI on my own then so be it.  No but seriously I am also trying to lead by example since we make almost exactly the same salary.  Aks me how it's going in a year...

okits

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2012, 09:48:36 PM »
Living together right now, so our finances are separate.  We go 50/50 on rent but don't keep track of bills, grocery, entertainment expenditures, etc. but I would guess that's split pretty much down the middle, too.  Higher earner probably pays a bit more, but I'm just guessing.  My partner prefers to cover all the car expenses (I don't drive but do receive the benefit of car rides on the rare occasions when I can't take transit, when we drive places, or when visiting out-of-town friends/family.)

If we eventually commit to a family and a lifetime together by marrying, I would expect we'd make it one big pot.  Children and career sacrifices for the good of the family are going to come along, and it would only make sense that we'd present a united front should illness, job loss, or downturns in our respective industries come along.  In my mind, that's one of the defining differences between marriage and less-official unions like common-law or cohabitation; the family as one unit. 

Lots of couples have a yours/mine/ours system, which I think is great if that's what works in their situation.  Sometimes it's just easier, avoids arguments, or makes it possible to save and invest according to a plan.  And it doesn't have to mean you're not all-in.  If your spouse gets sick and can't work, will your income cover the rent, groceries, and shoes for the kids, or will you keep a spreadsheet and issue an IOU for his/her half?  You might have a veneer of separate-ness, but if, in the end, the money in the separate accounts is going to go towards things for the family or funding retirement for you as a couple, you are operating as one unit.  You're just organizing things a certain way that works for your situation.

yyc-phil

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2012, 09:50:14 PM »
My wife and I merged all our finances together since we got married, and it has simplified our existence. Being both very frugal has helped making this decision work. We never had a single argument about money and make all decisions about spending after talking all aspects out together. We keep some accounts separate for tax purposes (tax-free savings account, RRSPs) but we manage them together. In the end, whether you merge your finances or keep them separate does not really matter as long as there is trust and honesty in the couple, and as long as you share your short, medium and long-term life goals.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 09:51:58 PM by ykphil »

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2012, 09:53:54 PM »
I wish I could trust my partner financially.  I tried it, and I have the debt to prove it (well, okay, not anymore, but I did).  After the first round of my bills that were on auto-pay didn't get paid due to insufficient funds, I opened up my own separate account again and changed my direct deposit.  Someday, he just might change his ways and become more financially responsible, but until then, I don't share money with my partner (and he makes about twice as much as I do, so it is really rather sad). 

KGZotU

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2012, 10:16:55 PM »
For me, it was a question of all-in. What was the point of getting married if we were just going to live two separate, but parallel, lives?

I blame the demise of my first marriage on how my wife and I shared finances. We experienced a tragedy of the commons; I wanted to buckle down and she wanted to ignore. I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but that's a first approximation.

My current partner sometimes feels guilty about her spending, but that's something she can come to me to advise her on rather than something she would want to hide from me in shame. If I want to spend money on something, I'm accountable only to myself. I have only myself to blame for my financial problems, and I have only myself to motivate to get out of them.

I don't want to stand in judgment over somebody else's spending. And if she should f*** up too badly, I'll be able to give her a place to sleep and food to eat.

Part of why we're together is that we have (some) similar goals. We don't need to deposit our checks into the same account in order to pursue those goals together.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 10:20:29 PM by KGZotU »

jrhampt

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2012, 06:30:11 AM »
We've been together 14 years, married for 5, and have a similar arrangement to the OP.  We make about equal salaries, have a joint credit card for shared expenses such as groceries, split the mortgage in half, and are each responsible for certain utility bills.  We have different investment strategies, so we each manage our own taxable investment accounts.  We both max out our 401ks.  We calculate net worth together and track expenses on a monthly basis and set long-term and short-term financial goals together. 

galaxie

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2012, 07:18:56 AM »
We share finances and have individual "fun money" budgets.  This makes sense for us, since shared expenses are a large proportion of our monthly spending (accelerated payoff of the house).  We've got well-aligned goals and generally the same attitudes about money. 

kdms

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2012, 07:47:09 AM »
Completely separate for us....we don't seem to feel the need to have a 'family account' because it's just accepted that whatever needs to be paid will be paid by whoevers account has the money in it, and ratios are irrelevant - we're a family and it doesn't matter who earns what.  I make more than twice what my husband does, and it works well for us.  However, I do have the sole responsibility for all household finances....after a few accidental double payments of bills it was deemed wise for only one of us to handle it, and DH was more than happy to stay hands off -- we both have our talents and budgeting isn't one of his, which he freely admits!  :D   Any money available for a 'fun money' account gets divided in two and sent equally to each adults savings account -- and the baby bonus check we get from the government each month (anybody in Canada will know about the UCCB if you've had kids recently) goes straight into a kids account for our toddler, as a future savings account for him.

Agree 100% with other posters here....communication is absolutely essential.

twinge

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2012, 08:02:21 AM »
We've shared accounts throughout our long relationship and never have any arguments nor tensions connected to money.  Both our paychecks are deposited to a shared account and we just handle everything from there.  Retirement investments are of course separate as that's how they work.  Other taxable investments have just been haphazardly added to the accounts where we each hold our Roth IRAs but it's viewed as common investment for the long haul.  We don't do anything like fun money or private accounts--we just haven't needed to.  Neither of us really enjoys spending money that much and most expenses would be shared family ones.

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2012, 08:46:47 AM »
It's pretty easy for us, since we aren't married, and don't even live in the same state.  We take turns flying back and forth to see each other (we both got over $1500 in Southwest points thanks to some rather lucrative sign-up bonuses), each paying for our own tickets.  Whoever is the host pays for everything (dinner, etc)

Things will be different when we live together.  I lived with him once for three months, and we went back and forth paying for things we "shared" (pizza, sometimes we would split an entree, there's a place where we both got the same type of sandwich, groceries) but if there was a price difference we went dutch (I didn't want to pay for his expensive lemonade or up-priced sides habit).

If we get married, things will be different again.  Idealistically I like the idea of completely sharing finances.  It's what my parents did, and it worked out for them.  I don't know if they did much active budgetting, I think they just lived generally frugally.  After my mom had me she became a stay-at-home mother, and took over the family finance (she may have been handling that previously; I wasn't there for it).  I care about money more than my partner does, so I can see us doing a similar thing.

AnnaD

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2012, 09:32:55 AM »
For me, it was a question of all-in. What was the point of getting married if we were just going to live two separate, but parallel, lives?

I don't want to stand in judgment over somebody else's spending. And if she should f*** up too badly, I'll be able to give her a place to sleep and food to eat.

Part of why we're together is that we have (some) similar goals. We don't need to deposit our checks into the same account in order to pursue those goals together.

The last sentence is true for us.  We don't have any combined accounts.  Heck, we wouldn't even file our taxes together if it weren't for this common property state business.  We have things we've agreed that each party will pay and I never worry if it will be done. 

I don't find that we are leading separate, but parallel lives; we are living the lives we enjoy and makes us most comfortable with regard to our finances.  There is no trust issue, there is no issue of worry.  There was a time when I considered and discussed with my husband having a joint checking account, but I am actually happy we did not move forward with that.  Our common goals are not necessarily financial goals and I would rather not try to force something that doesn't come about in an organic fashion.  I'm not trying to sound smug, but these are important factors in my marriage. 

DoubleDown

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2012, 09:51:20 AM »
We also do our checking accounts and bill paying the same as StetsTerhune. Second marriage for both of us.

For us it's much more of a convenience thing rather than a trust thing or "living separate but parallel lives" issue. It all ends up in the same place anyhow. We already had separate accounts, I already had all my automatic bill-paying, mortgage payments, etc. coming out of my own account.  To switch it all to some new, joint account would have been a hassle, with no obvious benefit.

I agree with the others' sentiments that having personal accounts allows some freedom -- I don't have to wonder or worry about whether my wife has written some check at the same time as me that's going to overdraw the account. She doesn't have to worry about spending some of "her" money on something she values. I can buy her a present without having it show up on the statement. And so on.

It's also fine to combine everything -- whatever works for each couple, as others have noted. I combined everything in marriage #1, that worked fine even though the marriage did not.

As to pre-owned ASSETS (not just where the monthly paychecks go): I have been far more careful about maintaining sole ownership of premarital assets and would NOT combine those. I would not want to lose a ton of net worth (again) to an ex-wife by combining assets. Nobody with any significant assets, or the promise of accruing significant assets like all the Mustachians here, should ever marry without a thorough prenuptial agreement. To marry without a prenuptial agreement is as smart as dying without a will or estate plan. You leave it all up to the default laws in your state, and the divorce lawyers who are happy to charge you for making your life miserable. The end result will not reflect your intentions for how the assets should be divided.

rationaloptimism

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2012, 10:08:54 AM »
One big worry I have is that my wife's father will almost certainly come to her/us to ask for money at some point.  He's a high-living, high-income, high-debt guy, so his financial problems are and will be his fault, but they are inevitable at this point because of his age, his lack of savings, and his debt. 

When you're just talking about your own household spending and saving, merging everything with your partner seems fine.  But when it comes to bailing out prodigal spenders in each other's families when they get old with no savings, then we start to talk about major expenses where presumably there could be some conflict.

Mustachians want to save their way to freedom.  Most Americans do the opposite--they spend their way to debt-servitude.  The statistics are shocking.  Statistically, Americans are woefully unprepared for retirment.  90% of mustachians will have a parent or in-law who will either require cash assistance or who will face dramatic declines in standard of living. 

So, how should the very real existence of non-mustachian relatives impact the way we structure finances with our spouses?  This is going to be a big issue for a lot of people as the Baby Boom enters retirement with most people lacking pensions and with very meager savings on average.

The cost to keep some of those people above the poverty line would be enough to derail the plans of many a mustachian.  Should we let our financial lives be ruined by the bad decisions of others?  And how do we think about this within couples?

noob515

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2012, 02:18:23 PM »
We share everything.  Well, our credit cards, cars, etc. are in the individual's name, but our paychecks go into a joint account.  My DH insisted on merging incomes, and frankly I felt like room mates playing the "who's going to pay what" game when we first moved in together.

That being said, my DH had accrued some MASSIVE credit card debt prior to us getting together and while I seriously considered calling off the engagement, I stuck with him and we paid the debt off together through a debt consolidation program.  He couldn't have afforded to pay it off without my income.  During the 7 years it took to pay off the debt consolidation program, DH didn't cut up the one credit card he had left.  Because I handle all the finances, I would see his statements and confront him, and he would be like "It's just little stuff", because he was only spending $4 here and $5 there.  He didn't see how $4 here and $5 there was adding up to $400 a month on pure shit (like Taco Bell and energy drinks).  It took a lot of screaming and crying on my part before he finally got that crap under control.   

Thankfully that is all well behind us.  But the point is that if I hadn't seen his credit card statements, I might be in the dark about his true financial situation.  I think keeping things separate is fine if that's what works for you, so long as both parties know what's going on in the other person's individual bank accounts.  Open and honest communication is key, regardless of how you manage the money. 

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2012, 02:25:46 PM »
We're in the "share everything" camp.  Everything is a shared account.

As someone said earlier in the post, I feel like having separate finances leads to having separate goals and less communication about finance.  I'm sure there are people that have separate finances, but have excellent communication about those finances... but it seems to me that separate finances naturally lead to less communication.  You're on the same "team", right?  I have a close friend who separates his finances from his wife's, and even view her student loan debt as "hers" and essentially ignores his wife's finances.  It irks me, but I have no business to say anything.

All that being said, I also agree with the "do whatever works for you".

madgeylou

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2012, 03:34:30 PM »
we just got married and are trying to work this out. when we just lived together, we each put in a flat amount of money into our joint account each month, and that's where we paid mortgage, groceries, gas, etc. from. but going forward, we want to basically live on my husband's income and use mine for debt repayment/savings, which would put us at about a 65% savings rate. right now, we each have multiple accounts and we're just trying to logistically work it out.

i think we're going to end up having a joint account where both of our paychecks get deposited, and an allowance for each of us that gets transferred back into our personal accounts. over time, we may need the allowance less, but for now as we get started sharing our money i think it's a good idea.

maryofdoom

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2012, 09:08:15 PM »
Husband and I do sort of a yours, mine, ours approach. Our paychecks get direct deposited into one account, and from there, we each get a set amount of money per month to spend as we like. I spend mine mostly on things for my hobby, while he spends his on musical instruments and their accoutrements. And sometimes handguns. But it's our money to spend as we like.

One thing we do is to put all monthly expenses, like gas and groceries, on a credit card with rewards, then pay the bill off in full every month. This system works really well for us, because it gives him peace of mind to know that if someone steals the card, we're not on the hook for fraudulent charges (in contrast to a debit card), plus we get rewards for using the card. For example, I just put the entire car insurance premium on the card, even though we had saved the money for it in advance, so we could get the rewards and then pay off the amount immediately.

Whatever you end up doing, make sure you talk with your partner about money as often as you can. I find we don't have a single monthly or even weekly conversation about money; we have short conversations here and there. Since we both have the same goal (pay down the mortgage as fast as humanly possible) we don't fight.

sol

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2012, 11:25:44 PM »
Though we have both a joint and separate accounts, managing our household expenses has made it clear that our money is effectively lumped into one pot even when we try to keep it separate.

Because we have a high savings rate, any money that either of us spends on personal stuff is just that much money that doesn't get added to the stash.  Since the stash is collective, the spending is effectively collective too.

We sold her house and moved everyone into mine, so I'm subsidizing her living expenses.  I'm on her health insurance.  She pays for all of the expenses for her kids from a previous marriage out of her account, but I contribute more from my paycheck to joint savings than she spends on kids, so I'm basically subsidizing those kid costs even though they route through her account.  We made a show of trying to keep the finances separate, but it quickly became apparent that if you're sharing a life and a household, it's just not possible. 

Ozstache

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2012, 12:48:33 AM »
My wife and I have shared our finances since we were married 25 years ago. We keep track of our income, spending and investments using Quicken (2004 version is legally free now!). She holds the petty cash, and she keeps my wallet stocked with $100-200. I've always been pretty frugal, but lately she's coming around to it and spending as pathetically little as I do. Couldn't be happier with our arrangement!

DocCyane

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2012, 05:37:42 AM »
We've been together only two years and the money is kept separately. There are many reasons why.

- I've not faired well in prior relationships, usually paying an unfair portion. I'm gunshy to throw everything in one big pot.

- She has not been gainfully nor steadily employed since we met. She was trying to make a business work, finishing a masters degree, etc. But I'm not sure where she will end up or what her actual earning potential is.

- She declared bankruptcy recently because she and her business (now defunct) were being sued by a con man.

- She has far less in investments than I.

Ergo, everything is separate, but we discuss money and goals and so forth. I hope her situation improves, but count on nothing.

Mickijune

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2012, 08:06:16 AM »
My husband and I were married Feb. 2012 and have used whatever money is available, doesn't matter who earned it, to pay bills and such. Of course, when we married, we merged income and lots of debt. We map out our expenses by paycheck, so whatever paycheck comes in is what pays the next set of bills. Easy peesy and no fighting :) Just a well planned spreadsheet to make sure all the bills are paid when they need to be!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 08:09:22 AM by Mickijune »

mindaugas

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2012, 08:55:31 AM »
Joint account since we got married, I can't remember what we did when we lived together. We both agree on finances, so it was easy to convert from consumer suckas to mustachians. We both brought some student debt into the marriage as well which is split pretty even, and both of us didn't finish school. We both have 02 Outbacks, same model but one is black and the other white, in our own names. I owe less though :P

My husband and I were married Feb. 2012
What day? We were married Feb 3 2006 and my son was born Feb 24th 2012, so there are two significant Feb dates! :P

Matt F

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2012, 09:39:37 AM »
We have the joint finance route with equal monthly allowances/fun money.  For us it works well because you don't have to judge each other's spending with the fun money and for the big things in the joint account, it makes you hash out a happy agreement upfront since you will both be paying for it, hopefully reducing resentment down the road.

Potential challenges I see with this approach are if one spouse makes way more money and gets resentful, or if one spouse is way more personality dominant and drives the budget against the real wishes of the other spouse.

We started this way because I finished school before my wife and since she had no income, asking her to take out loans to pay her part of our housing costs seemed awkward to me.  I can see how if couples got together after both were employed and had been working/saving for a decent stretch of time that the separate accounts thing would sound more tempting.  (though for separate accounts, I would get a bit nervous because individual debt is marital debt in our state at least)

Would be interesting to see if when you got together (pre real income or post real income) impacts the shared/joint decision.

Mickijune

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2012, 10:15:46 AM »

My husband and I were married Feb. 2012
What day? We were married Feb 3 2006 and my son was born Feb 24th 2012, so there are two significant Feb dates! :P

We were married Feb. 4th 2012! That's our first special date of the year!

Done by Forty

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2012, 10:44:40 AM »
My wife and I have had joint checking/savings since we moved in together, which was very early on in our relationship.  But I don't think that's for everyone.  We have been (foolishly?) confident in our relationship since nearly day one.  Traded "I love you's" after a week, moved in together after 2 months, engaged w/in the first year, etc.  It's probably prudent to proceed slowly with joining of your financial lives.

Lavender

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2012, 11:00:58 AM »
Completely separate. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, everything. We split the responsibility of the household bills - he pays the mortgage, I pay for preschool and classes, he pays the taxes, I pay the utilities. We each pay for our own vehicles and 'fun' money and other things, and we each save individually. BUT, we have each other's passwords, add-on credit cards, full transparency, and we know we have each other's backs. We have common FI goals and work towards them, together but separately. Works like a dream. We have never ever fought about money in 11 years.

travelbug

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2012, 06:09:59 PM »
Our accounts are joint. DH would not even know how much he earns ( I pay his salary) as I deal with the finances as I am better at it and love the challenges.
We trust each other implicitly and both have very common goals, DH may even be more frugal than I am by a smudge.
It would drive me crazy to have everything seperate, one SIL in the family does not even know how much her DH has earned for their entire marriage; they work out an annual budget and that's what she gets.
She has no idea about their retirement fund etc, it irked her so much that she now works and has her own stash.
Interesting thread.

thurston howell iv

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2012, 06:39:15 AM »
We put all the money in one big pot. I handle all the finances. Neither of us gets cash. We each have a cc that we use for all our purchases (gas, food, etc.) All purchases that are out of the norm are discussed. There is absolutely no fighting about money. There is no my money and your money.
I made this very clear at the onset of the relation ship-my thinking being that this is a partnership and that we need to have a common goal and that in the event she did not like this arrangement- she would be free to utilize one of the various exits...  I refuse to argue about money.

My parents who have been married for quite some time still use the "my money and your money" plan and it is, frankly, the source of all of their arguments. I remember as a child that all the arguments were about money. To this day it is probably the only reason that they argue... It is also the reason that they have virtually no retirement savings (they have no common goal) and the reason I encourage them to come here to read and learn the Mustachian way...

stealmystapler

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #43 on: November 07, 2012, 08:42:13 AM »
After dating for 7 years and living together for 3 years, my husband and I got married this past June. After we got married, we finally got a joint account to pay communal expenses. That has been very nice after splitting everything for so long! We both pay in part of our paychecks to make sure all of those expenses are covered. We also have a joint emergency fund and savings accounts.

We also maintain indvidual accounts. Perhaps it is fierce individualism, but we are each claiming personal responsibility for our individual student loan debts, and in my case a car loan. I figure I incurred those debts with no illusions, and I want to pay them back on my own. Future joint debt - such as a mortgage - we would certainly handle differently.

DoubleDown

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #44 on: November 07, 2012, 09:24:38 AM »

We also maintain indvidual accounts. Perhaps it is fierce individualism, but we are each claiming personal responsibility for our individual student loan debts, and in my case a car loan. I figure I incurred those debts with no illusions, and I want to pay them back on my own. Future joint debt - such as a mortgage - we would certainly handle differently.

I think that's a great outlook, taking personal/individual responsibility for the debts you brought into the relationship, as well as a prudent outlook on sharing future earnings and obligations. That really is the key to reasonably protecting yourself in the hopefully improbable event that a relationship doesn't work out: Keeping assets owned individually before the marriage as separate property, and an agreement on how assets gained jointly would be divided in the event of a split.

I hope everyone here will recognize the sad reality that about half of all marriages/relationships don't work out, and it is ugly when two people don't agree about the division of assets or child custody (and assets are frequently used as leverage in child custody disputes). So get it in writing before marrying people, (or even now that you're already married)!! I thought I knew Wife #1's character, but people do change sometimes and they do not behave in the honorable way you would have expected them to 5, 10, 20 years ago when you married them. And even otherwise honorable people behave dishonorably when their lives are falling apart and they're being egged on by family, friends, lawyers. Don't trust your current or future 'stash like that.

You hopefully wouldn't go into a million-dollar business deal with someone without so much of a scrap of paper in writing laying out your agreement, so why would you do it in a legal arrangement like marriage where there could be millions at stake? And particularly knowing that, statistically, you stand almost a 50% chance at failure? MMM has a great article on his "big mistake", it goes just as much for the legal contract of marriage and having an agreement for how your assets, pensions, and so on will be divided in the event of divorce or death.

rtrnow

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #45 on: November 07, 2012, 09:50:26 AM »
My partner and I have been together 8 years and lived together 4. We have a joint credit card for shared expenses, but everything else is separate. There was really never a discussion of merging because if didn't make much sense for us. He already owned a home (where we live) as did I. I take care of my property and pay "rent" to him to offset housing costs. Already having well established financial lives as well as being gay in a southern state with no right to marry (or any rights for that matter) contributed to our decision. The joint credit card is great though because it makes splitting shared expenses (usually trips, groceries, dining out) so much easier than the going Dutch approach.

Bakari

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #46 on: November 07, 2012, 11:23:51 AM »
Interesting how so many people read so much into things.

We have always been generous with money.  We take turns with who pays for groceries, nights out, whatever, but we don't actually keep track of amounts or who's "turn" it is any particular time.  It tends to generally balance out.  We pay rent 50/50, she has her Netflix account and sometimes I pick a movie, I pay for internet and (obviously) let her use wifi, its all just whatever.
We trust each other - we both leave cash in the same safe, we both know each others passwords, and we share our numbers in Mint as casual conversation.

But I have never set up a joint account for the simple reason of, why bother to set up a new account?  I had one already.  In fact, I have a whole bunch already (credit union checking and savings, online checking and savings, and various IRA and investment accounts). 
I don't see what point there would be in setting up a joint account, other than some emotional projection of meaning or principal. 
I could see if one person was a stay at home parent and had no money of their own, how it would be convenient for them to have access to the other partner's direct-deposit checks, but if both are employed, is there some advantage to a joint account I haven't thought of?

Done by Forty

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #47 on: November 07, 2012, 11:36:36 AM »
Bakari,
One of the main advantages we've seen is that in joining accounts, we've consolidated and ended up being more efficient in our management of money.  We have one checking account, when we used to have two.  One brokerage account, when we used to have two, one budget instead of two, etc.  We didn't add accounts...we eliminated them.  But the real efficiency is in the division of labor.  When we had separate finances, each of us had to manage a budget/accounts/etc., by default (no one was going to do it for us).  Now, I do it for both of us because, well, my wife doesn't like doing the finances and I do.

Again, different strokes for different folks, but there are some advantages beyond sentimental projections of meaning or other such delusions. :)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 11:41:13 AM by Done by Forty »

Lagom

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2012, 12:18:08 PM »
Bakari,
One of the main advantages we've seen is that in joining accounts, we've consolidated and ended up being more efficient in our management of money.  We have one checking account, when we used to have two.  One brokerage account, when we used to have two, one budget instead of two, etc.  We didn't add accounts...we eliminated them.  But the real efficiency is in the division of labor.  When we had separate finances, each of us had to manage a budget/accounts/etc., by default (no one was going to do it for us).  Now, I do it for both of us because, well, my wife doesn't like doing the finances and I do.

Again, different strokes for different folks, but there are some advantages beyond sentimental projections of meaning or other such delusions. :)

I agree. My wife also hates paying bills and is prone to forget to submit payments. She’s not great with managing budgeting, savings, etc., and prefers that I take care of that stuff, which I am happy to do. Doing this with totally separate finances seems silly and inefficient. We also met in college, and there were no existing accounts that needed to be merged, which made things easier.

While it appears to work well for many of you, I personally get nervous at the idea behind comments like “we don’t keep track of amounts…it just tends to naturally balance out.” I would rather just draw from the same well and render the idea of “balance” irrelevant. Then again, if both sides are transparent, frugal, and interested in managing their own money, it makes perfect sense to keep things apart. Different strokes, as you say.

As I mentioned above, I also think joint accounts are a plus when both partners are in debt, even if one contributed more to the equation.  Separate finances make it easier to deny the facts, hide balances, and point fingers. Shared accounts force a shared plan, which (hopefully) leads to a shared success and a stronger relationship.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 12:19:58 PM by Lagom »

tfordon

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Re: How do you share money with your partner?
« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2012, 01:20:45 PM »
+1 for combined finances with fun money.

My DW and I have similar goals, so this works well for us.  We talk about long term goals and discuss purchases for everything outside of the fun-money.