Author Topic: Joint Account With SO ?  (Read 13689 times)

mmta1234

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Joint Account With SO ?
« on: November 15, 2014, 07:17:47 PM »
Dear wise Mustachians,

My girlfriend of 2 years and I are about to move in together for the first time. Is it a good idea for us to to open a new joint checking account where we would only put in money for rent, utilities, grocery and other household items (i.e. laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc.). Every bill is 50/50 so we will each put in equal amounts.

My purpose for doing this would be to avoid any potential conflict when it comes time to buying groceries (ex: "I payed $50 on our last trip, why don't you pay for this ?") and so no one ends up feeling like they're getting the short end of the stick. The way it might work is we would just deposit a certain amount for bills and then pay for bills with the card. I should add that she is very responsible financially and a very frugal person (sometimes, I have to convince her to treat herself to things).

Just to clarify - We do keep our own individual accounts and would open a new joint account for paying bills.

Have any of you done this? What has been your experience? Is there a better way to accomplish my goal ?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 07:24:37 PM by mmta1234 »

Dr. A

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2014, 07:48:06 PM »
I think a joint account for joint expenses, while keeping the rest of your finances separate, is a great idea.

You definitely don't want to combine finances unless you're married (or legal equivalent), but having some joint money forces you to start communicating about money, which is super important in a long-term relationship. Though it sounds like you guys are already off to a good start there.

I see no real downside to your plan.

LibraryGirl

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2014, 08:02:14 PM »
That's how my SO and I decided to handle finances when we moved in together.  We set up a joint checking and a small joint savings account (it's got about $1000 for any household emergencies). Rent, utilities, and groceries all get paid for out of joint checking.  We talk about our budget pretty regularly and adjust how much we each contribute each month as necessary.  It's been working great for several years.

Cococola

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 08:15:06 PM »
I read somewhere from Suzi Orman, she said the expenses should NOT be split into 50/50, it should be based on the income and proportion of the expenses, in another words, if your joint expenses are $1000, you make $60k, she makes $40k, then you should pay $600, she pays $400.

Hope it helps.

KMMK

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2014, 08:17:51 PM »
Because I already tracked all my spending any how, and planned to start tracking his once we got married, we didn't bother with a joint account for 50/50 expenses. I just track everything and who paid, and we just even things out once in a while. The joint account is fine as well, but then you have to account somehow for individual purchases done at the same time. So if one of you is buying groceries and also buys something individual, do you pay a different way (seems a hassle) or do you track and account for that later? Either way there will likely be some adjustments required regarding who paid for what.

mmta1234

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2014, 08:22:16 PM »
So if one of you is buying groceries and also buys something individual, do you pay a different way (seems a hassle) or do you track and account for that later? Either way there will likely be some adjustments required regarding who paid for what.

What do you consider to be an "individual" purchase ?

If I go grocery shopping and grab some chips and dip for myself for the upcoming game, I think it's safe to say that goes on the community grocery bill. If it's something individual like an iPod, when you ring it up, just use another card - seems pretty straightforward to me.

How do you foresee this being an issue ?

Dr. A

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2014, 08:36:45 PM »
I read somewhere from Suzi Orman, she said the expenses should NOT be split into 50/50, it should be based on the income and proportion of the expenses, in another words, if your joint expenses are $1000, you make $60k, she makes $40k, then you should pay $600, she pays $400.

Hope it helps.

This is a good point, though I wouldn't assume an income-based split, but instead would encourage you guys to make this a point of discussion. When my wife moved in, I wanted do a full merge (we were getting married shortly thereafter). She was the 40 in the 60-40 (well, really the 25) and was actually worried that I would feel she wasn't doing her part if she was only contributing 40% of the bills, and was fully prepared to go 50-50.

Dr. A

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2014, 08:40:58 PM »
So if one of you is buying groceries and also buys something individual, do you pay a different way (seems a hassle) or do you track and account for that later? Either way there will likely be some adjustments required regarding who paid for what.

What do you consider to be an "individual" purchase ?

If I go grocery shopping and grab some chips and dip for myself for the upcoming game, I think it's safe to say that goes on the community grocery bill. If it's something individual like an iPod, when you ring it up, just use another card - seems pretty straightforward to me.

How do you foresee this being an issue ?

I think you're right that this should be a non-issue. If you try to keep things equal down to the penny, you're gonna have a bad time.

pistachio

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2014, 08:44:59 PM »
I've done the joint account thing for the last 7 years. It works great. I think I got it off of A Suze Orman book. We do 50/50 (but recently switched it up after finding MMM in order to optimize saving). There were moments of resentment because all the beer purchases were being paid through the joint account and I don't drink. He also charges individual eating out purchases to the joint account when I paid for my own eating out separately. The resentment died when I started making more than him.

Definitely set ground rules and any instance, situation, circumstance you can think of, go over and agree on how things should go. Ex. Eating out with friends, gifts for others, etc. and outline exactly what you consider to be a joint purchase or an individual purchase. Be specific. Fights over misunderstandings are no bueno.

Cococola

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2014, 08:46:00 PM »
Ipad, any items are not shared/used should be considered individual expenses.  If you buy chips and beer each weekend for your games, she buys steak every other day while you don't eat it, that could be an issue. 

Since you both are very financially responsible, I don't see it would be any issues in the future.

pistachio

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2014, 09:03:07 PM »
If I go grocery shopping and grab some chips and dip for myself for the upcoming game, I think it's safe to say that goes on the community grocery bill.

Every relationship is different but I used to hate when my boyfriend made assumptions for me. If it was me, I'd appreciate being asked.

mmta1234

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2014, 09:05:30 PM »
Thank you, pistachio.

I agree that is presumptuous of me to assume my SO would be ok with it. I am wrong for that. We will have this discussion prior to moving in together.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 09:07:35 PM by mmta1234 »

MDM

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2014, 09:11:28 PM »
Is there a better way to accomplish my goal ?

Get married. :)

RunHappy

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2014, 09:20:12 PM »
Many unmarried couples have peacefully maintained joint bank accounts for years as long as you're both clear on what the joint account is used for.

A joint account is still risky. Each person has the right to spend all the money. Both partners are responsible for all activity involving the account. You’re equally liable for bounced checks, overdrafts, and all the rest. Record keeping can be a problem, or if one person is more if a spender than the other.

If you both have the same financial goals and spending habits then it is probably fine.

GizmoTX

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2014, 09:24:24 PM »
Use an app like Splitwise to track expenditures. Mobile banking makes settling up easy & fast.

I wouldn't open & fund a joint account with anyone I'm not married or related to. Either one can empty it on the way out the door.

mmta1234

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2014, 09:28:31 PM »
I wouldn't open & fund a joint account with anyone I'm not married or related to. Either one can empty it on the way out the door.

I understand that this is a risk but I only have a maximum of half a month's worth of expenses in the account at any given time.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 09:05:59 AM by mmta1234 »

KMMK

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2014, 09:34:10 PM »
So if one of you is buying groceries and also buys something individual, do you pay a different way (seems a hassle) or do you track and account for that later? Either way there will likely be some adjustments required regarding who paid for what.

What do you consider to be an "individual" purchase ?

If I go grocery shopping and grab some chips and dip for myself for the upcoming game, I think it's safe to say that goes on the community grocery bill. If it's something individual like an iPod, when you ring it up, just use another card - seems pretty straightforward to me.

How do you foresee this being an issue ?

I think this has been explained, but our general procedure - groceries we just do 50/50. He eats meat, I don't. But I have my expensive snacks and gluten-free products - whatever - it all works out in the end. I'm not worried about that stuff. But we tend to shop a lot at Walmart or Superstore, where you can buy clothes, electronics, etc along with food. So if he wants to buy beer or clothes or DVDs or other things that I will never use (or vice versa) I don't want to pay for all that, and using a different card doesn't seem worth it to me. I find it easy enough to split out receipts. But again, it's all about negotiation, and keeping each party comfortable, which can take a little while to work out all the ground rules. Just for us, I see no benefit to having a joint account. 7 years of marriage so far.

mmta1234

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2014, 09:38:31 PM »
So if he wants to buy beer or clothes or DVDs or other things that I will never use (or vice versa) I don't want to pay for all that, and using a different card doesn't seem worth it to me. I find it easy enough to split out receipts.

Do you think that is less work than telling the cashier "This stuff is on a second order" and then taking a second card out of your wallet ? If so, why?

Catbert

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2014, 10:25:49 PM »
I think a joint checking account for shared expenses is a great way to go.

kyanamerinas

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2014, 11:13:42 PM »
Sounds like it won't be an issue for you but opening an account together will legally link your finances, at least in the UK, I.e. if one had bad credit it would then affect the other too.

Cressida

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2014, 12:06:35 AM »
In response to a couple of posts: You can be married and maintain separate bank accounts (and a joint one for joint expenses). DH and I have done this for 15 years and it's been fantastically successful. You decide up front how much money goes to the joint account for joint purposes (whatever those are), and whatever's left is yours. You do with it whatever the fuck you want and you're not accountable to anyone. I strongly believe this is why DH and I have never had a fight about money.

OP, I think your instincts are good. I approve of your plan.

Zikoris

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2014, 12:31:21 AM »
I think a joint credit card can work better. Put all the spending on it, each use your own bank accounts to pay off your own things and half of the joint things.

We can't pay our rent on credit unfortunately, so once a month he electronically transfers me his half of that.

KMMK

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2014, 07:35:54 AM »
So if he wants to buy beer or clothes or DVDs or other things that I will never use (or vice versa) I don't want to pay for all that, and using a different card doesn't seem worth it to me. I find it easy enough to split out receipts.

Do you think that is less work than telling the cashier "This stuff is on a second order" and then taking a second card out of your wallet ? If so, why?

You could certainly do this if you wanted to. I just want to get out of the cashier line as soon as possible and not add confusion to the transaction. What about when you are buying an individual purchase for the other person? If we shop together we just put everything on the same card and if we buy something for the other person (not a surprise gift) we'll just use our own card and sort it out afterwards.
There are many ways to deal with joint and separate expenses - I just don't think there is one method that is always easy.

Stellar

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2014, 08:23:20 AM »
We don't like to keep track of who spends what.  We just came up with a fair figure and he transfers that over to me every paycheck.  I pay the bills and do the grocery shopping.  After that, we do not nit pick at who purchased the snacks for the game or who has to buy this or that.  We've done it this way since we moved in together. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2014, 08:34:27 AM »
We alternate each month for rent, we're each responsible for one of the two utility bills, and we alternate the weekly grocery shop. It's worked very well for us, but there's nothing wrong with your approach.

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2014, 08:50:23 AM »
When my partner and I were dating and he moved in with me, we opened a joint account and deposited a certain amount in it each month for all household expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, etc.). A few months later, with everything going well, we had several conversations and had decided to get engaged in the next few months. When still pre-engaged, we had a big financial summit, sitting down and going over all of our credit histories, bank accounts, student loans, everything. We then merged finances and set up our direct deposits to the joint account (while still maintaining personal accounts for personal "frivolous" expenses -- a coffee or a gift or hobby). By the time we were engaged and definitely by the time we were married, we were very confidant in our financial relationship going forward.

Not sure that would work for everyone -- merging finances was not very risky for us, given we were poor students with very, very few assets.  But the joint account for joint expenses -- I think it's an awesome way to deal with moving in together and potentially testing the waters for your financial future. You get a good idea of your partner's spending habits and whether merged or separate finances will work in the long term, and the risk is low (because you only every have enough in the account to fund 1 month of joint expenses).

But it's all about finding a system that works for the two of you. As people here have attested, there are plenty of options!

Bob W

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2014, 08:57:40 AM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is. 

Zikoris

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2014, 10:05:30 AM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

Are you serious?

thecornercat

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2014, 10:17:55 AM »
A lot of people have already shared similar experiences, but here goes. When SO and I moved in together, we created a joint account (it was my idea). We had the choice of two types of accounts: the kind where we both have to be present to take any money out of the account or the kind where we can do so without consulting the other. We chose the latter. We weren't worried about the other person stealing those funds (because if we can't trust each other, what's the point of moving in together?), but we were aware of the possibility of awkwardness if we were ever to break up (it can happen...). So we only ever have a month's expenses in there.


Our shared expenses are household utilities and groceries. Sometimes if we pay for dinner jointly or buy tickets to something jointly, we'll pull money from there, but we try not to as that messes up our budget. There's some snacks he eats more than I do and vice versa, but it evens out (but honestly, it's not much of a difference; he likes roast chickpeas, I like rice crackers; he likes bananas, I like apples; that kind of thing). He's not a vegetarian like I am but if he did buy meat, he'd buy them individually, same as beer, which I also don't drink.


We've had no issues managing the joint account; it has certainly made it easier to coordinate finances; it has been about five months now.

mmta1234

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2014, 10:22:30 AM »
He's not a vegetarian like I am but if he did buy meat, he'd buy them individually, same as beer, which I also don't drink.

Good point. My SO is a vegetarian but I'm not. This is something I should bring up.

Dr. A

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2014, 12:20:31 PM »
Sounds like it won't be an issue for you but opening an account together will legally link your finances, at least in the UK, I.e. if one had bad credit it would then affect the other too.

I can see two different issues here, one that matters in the US, and one that doesn't.

If the joint account has delinquencies (i.e. a joint credit card that goes delinquent) that would certainly end up on both people's credit report.

On the other hand, even with fully merged finances, my wife's individual credit history has no impact on my own. For instance, my wife an I recently re-located; she has started her own business and has no verifiable income yet. When I was exploring mortgages as we consider buying a home in our new city, the banker actually suggested that I should take the mortgage out on my own. Since she can't prove income, she's provides no benefit to our application, and if I apply on my own, the lender cannot consider take her credit history or debt or anything else, despite the fact that my income is being used to pay her student loan.

daymare

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2014, 04:03:41 PM »
Quote
Is it a good idea for us to to open a new joint checking account where we would only put in money for rent, utilities, grocery and other household items (i.e. laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc.). Every bill is 50/50 so we will each put in equal amounts.

I think your idea is very smart if you want to maintain autonomy over your own money, yet make the joint purchases simpler to deal with.

I probably would have done something similar - but it ended up that my boyfriend and I didn't move in together until just a few months before getting married (he moved to my city and was unemployed while searching for a job), so we basically combined out finances when we got married - everything is completely shared now, and I would not have married someone I did not trust & want to combine finances with.  But I no way would have given someone I wasn't married to, access to my money - I'm protective of my assets.  So I too would have done the joint account refilled every month if I was in your situation.

I'll just throw out some things to consider:
-How much do you want to put in there per month?  It makes sense to tally the fixed expenses (rent, utilities, internet, Netflix, etc), set some reasonable amounts for groceries and other expenses and add it all together.
-How much will you contribute, equally or proportional to income?  How often will you evaluate - whenever someone gets a raise or takes a lower-paying one?  What happens if one of you loses your job, will you pay proportionately out of savings?
-Where is the line drawn at shared vs individual expenses?  Ie, specialty food, meat (if one of you is vegetarian), alcohol?  Is there a threshold you are fine with (ie, a 6-pack of beer every week is OK, several handles of liquor not ok)?  How do you want to handle unusual expenses - discuss them beforehand on a case-by-case basis, or have a budget (say, up to 20 dollars of lee-way per person every month)

seattlecyclone

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2014, 04:14:07 PM »
My wife and I started a joint account for expenses when we moved in together, but before we got married. We each put in the same amount each month and paid for joint expenses out of the joint account. Now that we're married we have completely merged our finances. It worked well for us. Your mileage may vary. The key thing to making it work is for both of you to agree that something should be paid out of the joint account before using it. If there's any disagreement, the person making the purchase should probably use their own money.

MrsSmitty

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2014, 10:42:09 AM »
That's exactly what I did when my boyfriend (now husband) and I moved in together. We at first used it for just groceries and eating out, but then slowly added other household bills, vacations, etc. Over time we put more and more of our paychecks into that account and used it for more things. Once we got married I closed my checking account completely and his is only used for a couple auto-payments he's too lazy to update. We have our own credit cards for personal stuff but they get paid out of the joint account. It was a great way to slowly transition to joined finances for my change-is-scary SO.

ILoveMyBlondeStache

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2014, 10:56:50 AM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

This is hilarious....thanks for the chuckle.

Bob W

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2014, 02:00:19 PM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

Are you serious?

Sadly so and I'm a man!   I go for scientifically documented stuff 90% of the time.   It is not a Christian or religious thing.   (I'm not)  It is an unspoken "need" of the vast majority (95%+) of women to be supported fully by their husband spouse.   

Of course that is only if you want your wife to love and respect you and to consistently meet your most important need.  (you can probably guess what that is and please don't ask me if I really believe that is an average man's most important need in a relationship.  You know it is)

Psychstache

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2014, 02:50:54 PM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

Are you serious?

Sadly so and I'm a man!   I go for scientifically documented stuff 90% of the time.   It is not a Christian or religious thing.   (I'm not)  It is an unspoken "need" of the vast majority (95%+) of women to be supported fully by their husband spouse.   

Of course that is only if you want your wife to love and respect you and to consistently meet your most important need.  (you can probably guess what that is and please don't ask me if I really believe that is an average man's most important need in a relationship.  You know it is)
Did someone necro a thread from the 1940s?

galliver

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2014, 02:51:18 PM »
That's what we did and it works *great* for us (disclaimer 3mos in), I have also heard of non-dating roommates doing this, although less frequently. We use it for rent, utilities, groceries, cleaning products, gas, car insurance, joint purchases (so far, cheap furniture) and meals out when we're together. Individual lunches, clothes, cell phones, medications, books, electronics, whatever end up in individual accounts. Our previous system was "alternate, and don't sweat the small stuff" so if something personal ends up on the joint card or vice versa, we assume it will come out in the wash. If that is something that would bother you, maybe you do need much more rigid rules. Incidentally I have previously asked cashiers to split an order and they never have a problem with it (usually when some of it was for a school/work purpose and I needed to purchase it tax-free and would get reimbursed).

Basically I think it's a practical tool and also, if this is relevant, a great way to start sharing finances if that's your final goal.

If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

Are you serious?

Sadly so and I'm a man!   I go for scientifically documented stuff 90% of the time.   It is not a Christian or religious thing.   (I'm not)  It is an unspoken "need" of the vast majority (95%+) of women to be supported fully by their husband spouse.   

Of course that is only if you want your wife to love and respect you and to consistently meet your most important need.  (you can probably guess what that is and please don't ask me if I really believe that is an average man's most important need in a relationship.  You know it is)


This explains so much. I am sad for you. You have met TERRIBLE women in your life. And I question the validity of that book. Because I'm quite certain that NONE of the women I know have "an unspoken need to be supported fully by their husband".  All of them work(ed) before having children. A few have chosen to be stay at home moms, but that definitely had more to do with being with their babies than being dependent (which, in fact, was certainly on the con side of the list). At least one remains the breadwinner in her family.

The book you reference was published in 1986, and based on the intro relates to the author's experiences in the 60s through the 80s. I would wager that 95% of women at that time were raised (in the 30s through 50s) with the expectation that they would be supported by a man. Hence the "need". But now we're dealing with a different generation of grown women, mainly raised *without* that expectation. 

Primm

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2014, 03:06:44 PM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

Are you serious?

Sadly so and I'm a man!   I go for scientifically documented stuff 90% of the time.  It is not a Christian or religious thing.   (I'm not)  It is an unspoken "need" of the vast majority (95%+) of women to be supported fully by their husband spouse.   

Of course that is only if you want your wife to love and respect you and to consistently meet your most important need.  (you can probably guess what that is and please don't ask me if I really believe that is an average man's most important need in a relationship.  You know it is)

So this is in the 10% of unscientific stuff you believe. Fair enough. It's bullshit though.

I earn more than my husband. I consider him my equal in some things, my superior in others, and I do some things better than him. I have the most massive amount of love and respect for him, and believe me, he and I get our needs met, well and truly.

Next prehistoric stereotype?

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2014, 03:33:20 PM »
If your goal is a great relationship then the man pays all the expenses.  The girl can do whatever she likes with moneyshe cchooses to earn.  See book His Needs Her Needs for why this is.

Are you serious?

Sadly so and I'm a man!   I go for scientifically documented stuff 90% of the time.   It is not a Christian or religious thing.   (I'm not)  It is an unspoken "need" of the vast majority (95%+) of women to be supported fully by their husband spouse.   

Of course that is only if you want your wife to love and respect you and to consistently meet your most important need.  (you can probably guess what that is and please don't ask me if I really believe that is an average man's most important need in a relationship.  You know it is)

okay, the men needing sex thing I'm with ya on. as far as women "needing" to be 100% financially supported by their husband, that's the weirdest thing I've ever heard, or else I'm much more of a special snowflake than I thought...

mmta1234

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Re: Joint Account With SO ?
« Reply #40 on: November 17, 2014, 03:35:39 PM »
I don't know how this typically works since I'm new to this board but this thread is quickly becoming derailed. Mods - feel free to close.