The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: MrsCoolCat on December 17, 2016, 07:44:57 PM

Title: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: MrsCoolCat on December 17, 2016, 07:44:57 PM
Hi. If there's already a recent thread on this please direct me to the link. As always thank you in advance for your responses!

This is old but brings up good points: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/your-world-cavuto/2013/12/31/should-married-couples-have-separate-or-joint-bank-accounts
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: spooky105 on December 17, 2016, 08:05:32 PM
Went with joint accounts right away. Our accounts are divided by purpose (house savings, vacation, etc.), not owner.

Key to making this work IMO is open discussion about everyone's priorities and meeting in the middle. I don't see the point of separate accounts so that each person has "fun money" they can spend guilt free -- to me there's no difference between budgeting $X to each person's fun money account and just seeing that money spent directly from the joint account. If anything it just adds more work.

If the root cause for keeping separate accounts is that one person is financially irresponsible then that should be tackled head on vs. mitigated through financial firewalls -- the issue won't just fix itself that way.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: pbkmaine on December 17, 2016, 08:10:33 PM
Most things are joint, but we each have a "slush fund" account. We can spend the money in that account any way we want, no argument or questions asked.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 17, 2016, 08:12:26 PM
Joint accounts with right of survivorship for checking, savings, and taxable.

It's easy. Easy is good.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Spork on December 17, 2016, 08:24:46 PM
This requires a parable:

In my first marriage, we had very different ideas about money.  We had different goals.  We had differing ideas on how to get to different destinations.  We had differing incomes.  I made a lot more.  We had differing expenses.  The rational way to solve this seemed to be separate accounts.

Bad idea.  We lived in a community property state and the state thinks the income is joint.  It thinks liabilities are joint.  If I spend money stupidly (and pay cash) and she spends money stupidly (and uses a credit card) ... the resulting liability is jointly owned.  The end result is frustration and bad feelings that go both ways.  She blamed me for things (and I am sure was right on some of them).  I blamed her for things (and I am sure was wrong on some of them).  And all of this was because we didn't agree on goals and/or have a plan on how to get there.

I remarried.  I did things differently.  Decades passed and we're still happy.

Use joint accounts.  Everyone should know about every penny.  You should know/agree on what happens to the accounts if you die.  If you want to each have some separate account (and an "allowance" that goes into them) for fun money...  go ahead.  But you could easily do that accounting on paper and just keep track of who's fun money is what.

But more importantly: Talk about money.  Agree on stuff.  If you disagree... have a plan on how to deal with it.  If you disagree a little... you can find a compromise.  But if one of you is a spender and one is a saver... the way you track or account or store your money probably doesn't matter.  You're on different tracks and probably are not going to arrive in the same place.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Zikoris on December 17, 2016, 09:16:39 PM
We don't believe in marriage, so it won't be happening, but we're in an extremely marriage-like long term live-together relationship. Separate accounts. We have joint credit cards for simplicity, but each pay for our own items, and split all joint expenses down the middle. We're true believers in equality, and wouldn't have it any other way.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: skeptic on December 17, 2016, 10:39:57 PM
Joint accounts, and very happy with it 7 years in. Helps to have shared values, open communication, and trust/respect for each other's choices.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Sailor Sam on December 17, 2016, 10:59:17 PM
Separate checking accounts, because we live in separate states and our daily life isn't very enmeshed. We each have our own investment accounts, but they're joint ownership with rights of survivorship. 

Once we live in the same place, we'll probably set up three checking accounts - You, Me, Ours.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: HappierAtHome on December 17, 2016, 11:15:21 PM
We thought we would have joint and separate accounts (separate for fun money), but nope, turns out we're comfortable just using our joint account.

Works for us because: we are 100% on the same page with spending and financial goals; we will need to share our financial resources when we have kids anyway; and it's really  EASY.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: seattlecyclone on December 17, 2016, 11:52:17 PM
Joint accounts. For one thing, my wife really doesn't manage money as closely as I do, so she's perfectly happy to let me take care of it all. For another thing, we live in a community property state so every dollar either of us earns legally belongs half to the other, so why complicate things by trying to maintain separate accounts?
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: pancakes on December 18, 2016, 12:08:30 AM
Not married but in one of those might as well be married kind of relationships.

We've kept seperate accounts for the past 12 years and will probably keep it that way until we buy a house and then the offset will become our main account. With most of our savings in cash at the moment due to the impending "maybe we will buy a house" situation, we get a better interest rate by keeping separate accounts too.

There are no secrets what either of us has in our accounts and we never worry about who pays for what because at the end of the day we have similar financial goals and no matter whose name the money is in, its purpose is the same.

I'm going to be taking a chunk of time off work when our baby arrives next year so we may reevaluate then.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: obstinate on December 18, 2016, 12:18:48 AM
In many states, it doesn't matter which you pick -- your finances are considered joined regardless. For example, in CA, without a pre- or post-nup, everything earned after the marriage is community property (it gets split 50-50).
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: The Money Monk on December 18, 2016, 12:49:31 AM
I've been with my concubine 11 years. I will never be getting legally married, so I don't have to worry about whatever nonsense the government comes up with for their idea of how these things should be done.

I keep everything financial completely separate, for various reasons. She makes twice as much as me but pays half. I don't believe in the "from each according to his ability" BS. She uses half, she pays half. I don't want her to pay more. I own the house, she pays half the mortgage,insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. and I pay the other half. We buy our own food and clothes and whatever.

It seems to weird a lot of people out, but this is definitely the way I prefer it. While we are both very good with our money, in day to day life I am much more frugal, so I don't have to worry if she wants to buy a certain kind of olive oil just because it has a prettier bottle or something. I don't have to worry about what she wants to spend money on. At the same time I don't ask her if I want to get a motorcycle, or if I come up with an interesting business idea and want to risk some of my money on it. Of course we tell each other our plans, but its not to ask for permission.

I had a business that didn't make it several years ago, and it was bad enough losing a lot of my own money. I would be especially miserable if I had wasted hers as well.

Still, she would prefer our finances to be more shared, but its not a deal breaker for her, and its non-negotiable for me. I am just not interested in doing it.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: pancakes on December 18, 2016, 01:01:10 AM
I've been with my concubine 11 years. I will never be getting legally married, so I don't have to worry about whatever nonsense the government comes up with for their idea of how these things should be done.
Where I live marriage is irrelevant. My partner and I have been living together for long enough that under the law, our assets accumulated after the relationship started (just about everything we have) are considered shared regardless of who has what in their name.

Still we keep our accounts separate only because we haven't had reason to combine them as yet.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: havregryn on December 18, 2016, 01:02:58 AM
We have joint accounts. In Sweden that makes us almost dissidents. But I don't get the purpose of separate accounts in a (good) marriage. Both husband and I spend only tiny amounts of money on things that are not meant for the household or previously discussed (in his case it's mostly gaming stuff and in my case charitable donations back home).
Because we have two high salaries coming into the same account it gets as a sort of a VIP status at the bank which makes a lot of things easier as well. Taxwise and property wise being married determines everything is joint anyway.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: The Money Monk on December 18, 2016, 02:36:44 AM
I've been with my concubine 11 years. I will never be getting legally married, so I don't have to worry about whatever nonsense the government comes up with for their idea of how these things should be done.
Where I live marriage is irrelevant. My partner and I have been living together for long enough that under the law, our assets accumulated after the relationship started (just about everything we have) are considered shared regardless of who has what in their name.

Still we keep our accounts separate only because we haven't had reason to combine them as yet.

where do you live?

Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: pancakes on December 18, 2016, 02:40:04 AM
I've been with my concubine 11 years. I will never be getting legally married, so I don't have to worry about whatever nonsense the government comes up with for their idea of how these things should be done.
Where I live marriage is irrelevant. My partner and I have been living together for long enough that under the law, our assets accumulated after the relationship started (just about everything we have) are considered shared regardless of who has what in their name.

Still we keep our accounts separate only because we haven't had reason to combine them as yet.

where do you live?

Australia.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Villanelle on December 18, 2016, 02:51:35 AM
We are all joint, other than our credit cards.  We both kept the cards we had coming in to the marriage, for the sake of simplicity and keeping our credit history.  But we each have access to the statements and online accounts and could easily check things if we wanted to.  (I pay the bills, so I do sort of check his, but I'm not really paying much attention to the individual charges.)

We've never once had an argument about money, in our 15 years of marriage.  It works for us because we have very similar money and spending philosophies.  I know he's not going to overspend, and I trust that if he buys something, he's done a careful evaluation and decided it's worthwhile, even if I don't fully understand it.  And vice versa. 
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: BlueMR2 on December 18, 2016, 04:27:18 AM
All separate.  We already had all our own accounts when we got married.  The easy path is to just leave it as-is.  We've got a reasonably well defined set of things that we each pay for which fit within our own income leaving the needed amounts for continuing to save, etc.

Nothing against joint accounts, we'd both be fine with going that way too, but we'd have to go around everywhere and make all those changes.  Why do all that extra work when it's not necessary?
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Rural on December 18, 2016, 04:36:51 AM
Our checking accounts are separate because of (years and years of) inertia. But all the money passes through mine for all of our spending unless we have to write a check (because he still has some checks for his account), and we both have full access including powers of attorney and "pay on death" designations for both accounts. All daily spending goes on a joint credit card, and the brokerage account is joint (and is where the real money is). Well, actually, the real real money is in retirement accounts, and those are separate by law, so there's that.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: 11ducks on December 18, 2016, 05:29:51 AM


It seems to weird a lot of people out, but this is definitely the way I prefer it. While we are both very good with our money, in day to day life I am much more frugal, so I don't have to worry if she wants to buy a certain kind of olive oil just because it has a prettier bottle or something. I don't have to worry about what she wants to spend money on. At the same time I don't ask her if I want to get a motorcycle, or if I come up with an interesting business idea and want to risk some of my money on it. Of course we tell each other our plans, but its not to ask for permission.

This. If we were on the same page with spending styles, I would absolutely combine accounts. But he spends money on stuff that I never would (like $15 olive oil). He makes way more, and is very generous, but I know it would drive me mental if he was spending my money the way he spends his. We each put in $60 for groceries each week, and I shop for healthy meals and basics (including snacks for him) but he often spends another $70-$100 on food treats or luxuries he wants. I'm much more frugal and have a higher % savings rate. We pay for bills 50-50 and are saving together for a house deposit, but will likely keep our accounts separate.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Cranky on December 18, 2016, 06:34:51 AM
Joint accounts from the beginning, when we didn't really have any money anyway. And dh barely pays any attention to any of it. He is not a spendy guy.

We do have separate credit cards. We didn't have any credit cards until our mid-30's, when we started to think about buying a house, and it seemed better to establish credit in my own name as well.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: oneyearfromnow on December 18, 2016, 06:44:52 AM
We live in Canada.

Every account is joint, with right of survivorship.  This is for estate planning reasons, as all account balances will transfer immediately upon the death of one of us, and not have to go through probate. 

We do have multiple joint "savings" accounts, as the husband received a small gift from his grandmothers estate, the revenue from this funds his visits with his family, and /or things for himself.

We talk about money alot, and we are both on the same page.  I am very thankful for that!
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Prairie Stash on December 18, 2016, 01:55:13 PM
There is a tax reason for separate accounts in Canada.

We need to have taxable investment accounts (RRSP, TFSA are full - that's Roth IRA and 401K in US language). So I need a way to track who buys/sells each stock for determining capital gains. With joint accounts it could be viewed that the higher income earner is likely the one funding the purchases, taxed in their hands. With separate accounts the high income earner can pay all the bills and the low income earner can buy stocks and pay the taxes at a lower rate, since they purchased the stocks with money they earned.

Its referred to as attribution rules, its amounts to an accounting setup to show who earns what off of investments.  This is a big opportunity if one retires before the other (you can't just change the accounts then because that's deemed a tax dodge). The rule is you have to show where the money came from, once its joint its communal and can't be separated out again.

Just curious about people with joint savings; who declares the interest earned? Most of those with EF have it in high interest savings, how do you minimize the tax on it?
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: With This Herring on December 18, 2016, 02:26:10 PM
There is a tax reason for separate accounts in Canada.

We need to have taxable investment accounts (RRSP, TFSA are full - that's Roth IRA and 401K in US language). So I need a way to track who buys/sells each stock for determining capital gains. With joint accounts it could be viewed that the higher income earner is likely the one funding the purchases, taxed in their hands. With separate accounts the high income earner can pay all the bills and the low income earner can buy stocks and pay the taxes at a lower rate, since they purchased the stocks with money they earned.

Its referred to as attribution rules, its amounts to an accounting setup to show who earns what off of investments.  This is a big opportunity if one retires before the other (you can't just change the accounts then because that's deemed a tax dodge). The rule is you have to show where the money came from, once its joint its communal and can't be separated out again.

Just curious about people with joint savings; who declares the interest earned? Most of those with EF have it in high interest savings, how do you minimize the tax on it?

Whoa.  This is very different from the US.  In the US, unless you specifically file Married Filing Separately (which has a bunch of negative tax consequences, a few positive ones, and is generally deemed a good idea if you know your spouse is going to try to cheat the IRS big time), all income, no matter to which spouse it belongs, goes on the same tax return and is taxed together.  It wouldn't matter that Mary makes $100K/year and Bob makes $20K per year and has some stock, all $120K of income plus all the stock dividends and gains on sale go on the same return and are taxed together.  Mary and Bob would only get different rates based on the type of income (job vs. investment), not whose name it falls under.  (The only exception would be payroll taxes for Social Security, which are capped by employee, but neither spouse is hitting that cap at the salary levels I give here.)
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Dave1442397 on December 18, 2016, 04:56:47 PM
We are all joint, other than our credit cards.  We both kept the cards we had coming in to the marriage, for the sake of simplicity and keeping our credit history.  But we each have access to the statements and online accounts and could easily check things if we wanted to.  (I pay the bills, so I do sort of check his, but I'm not really paying much attention to the individual charges.)

We've never once had an argument about money, in our 15 years of marriage.  It works for us because we have very similar money and spending philosophies.  I know he's not going to overspend, and I trust that if he buys something, he's done a careful evaluation and decided it's worthwhile, even if I don't fully understand it.  And vice versa.

Same here, except that we have joint credit cards too. I'm the money manager and researcher for major purchases, and my wife tends to take care of things like clothes shopping for our daughter, etc. About the only time I mentioned something I would do differently was when she bought a phone case from the Verizon store. I just let her know that next time she should just ask me to look for things like that on ebay, where I can usually find the same made-in-China item for a couple of dollars.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: notactiveanymore on December 18, 2016, 05:24:16 PM
Joint from day 1 (or, like, day 25 after I got my name changed I guess) with a joint savings, joint checking, and joint credit card. We each get $80 in cash each month for all non-need purchases including: workday lunches out, coffee/drinks with friends, makeup, golf accessories/rounds, hobbies, extra gym classes, want-not-need clothes purchases, non-date night entertainment or music, etc. We did $60/month while we were still paying off debt. It's really only cash so that we don't have to worry about tracking all those mostly tiny purchases in the tracker app.

We met at work in a job where we were each making 25k/year and each living alone with the same 60 mi/day commute - back when gas was pushing $4. He had 55k in student loan debt but neither of us had consumer debt. That is to say, we knew how to live cheaply and not rack up debt because of it, so we kept up that attitude even when our combined income increased by 60%. Once we made it our goal to pay off the loans asap, it was very easy to work together to create a monthly budget, and in our admittedly short 2+ years of marriage, we haven't had a single instance of someone disregarding the budget or a single fight about how money should be spent.

I applaud any couples who have mastered open and fruitful communication about money while keeping things separate, but whenever I think about keeping a running tally of who owes whom or constantly venmo'ing my spouse to keep things fair, it stresses me out.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: JustTrying on December 18, 2016, 09:39:33 PM
We have separate checking and joint savings. Why? He's self-employed and I can't convince him to get a separate business account. So his checking bounces all around like a rollercoaster, and it freaks me out. I'm more comfortable not seeing the chaos of a checking account with business spending and business revenue.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Lews Therin on December 18, 2016, 09:59:54 PM
There is a tax reason for separate accounts in Canada.

We need to have taxable investment accounts (RRSP, TFSA are full - that's Roth IRA and 401K in US language). So I need a way to track who buys/sells each stock for determining capital gains. With joint accounts it could be viewed that the higher income earner is likely the one funding the purchases, taxed in their hands. With separate accounts the high income earner can pay all the bills and the low income earner can buy stocks and pay the taxes at a lower rate, since they purchased the stocks with money they earned.

Its referred to as attribution rules, its amounts to an accounting setup to show who earns what off of investments.  This is a big opportunity if one retires before the other (you can't just change the accounts then because that's deemed a tax dodge). The rule is you have to show where the money came from, once its joint its communal and can't be separated out again.

Just curious about people with joint savings; who declares the interest earned? Most of those with EF have it in high interest savings, how do you minimize the tax on it?
For Low-Higher income couples, there is no difference for TFSA, as each person will technically have their own account, but it can be funded by anyone, as there is no tax on it.
For RRSP, there is Spousal RRSP, which allows the higher earned to fund and claim the RRSP of the lower earner, thus saving a higher % of taxes. There is a rule about how long it has to remain in the RRSP before being taken out (I believe 3 years, but can't remember right now), but when it is taken out, it is claimed on the taxes of the spouse. Interesting and useful movement of income, especially when one has a pension, the other earner can have as much or more income while remaining at a lower tax bracket.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on December 19, 2016, 06:11:07 AM
Marriage means being partners in all things, including money.

(That's what it means to me.)
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Giro on December 19, 2016, 06:46:29 AM
This decision is personal and has a lot of variables.  I usually get very turned off by the obvious judgmental statements about a couple's marriage if they have don't have joint finances or the risk if they do. 

Every situation is different.  First marriages seem to lean more towards the joint accounts because they generally start their careers together and have very little money when they get together.  Second (third, fourth) marriages generally have at least a few separate accounts because they are established and have some  wealth already.

Talk to your spouse, figure out what would work best for you. 

Your marriage doesn't suck just because you have separate accounts.  Your marriage isn't amazing just because you have joint accounts. 

We have a few separate accounts and a few joint accounts.  My business accounts are all separate.  I have documented all account numbers, owner's name, passwords, balances, etc and try to keep that updated a couple of times a year just in case. 

Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Playing with Fire UK on December 19, 2016, 06:49:13 AM
In many states, it doesn't matter which you pick -- your finances are considered joined regardless. For example, in CA, without a pre- or post-nup, everything earned after the marriage is community property (it gets split 50-50).

We have your/my/our accounts, but that only impacts how we hold and move our money. We consider that we jointly own the assets. It is just more straightforward for us to have the household stuff coming out of a single account.

We have different goals for our joint accounts and our personal accounts, if all the money was entwined it would be a pain to manage.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Playing with Fire UK on December 19, 2016, 06:50:10 AM
This decision is personal and has a lot of variables.  I usually get very turned off by the obvious judgmental statements about a couple's marriage if they have don't have joint finances or the risk if they do. 

Every situation is different.  First marriages seem to lean more towards the joint accounts because they generally start their careers together and have very little money when they get together.  Second (third, fourth) marriages generally have at least a few separate accounts because they are established and have some  wealth already.

Talk to your spouse, figure out what would work best for you. 

Your marriage doesn't suck just because you have separate accounts.  Your marriage isn't amazing just because you have joint accounts. 

We have a few separate accounts and a few joint accounts.  My business accounts are all separate.  I have documented all account numbers, owner's name, passwords, balances, etc and try to keep that updated a couple of times a year just in case.

This is the most sensible thing I've read on the subject. Thanks Giro!
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: little_brown_dog on December 19, 2016, 07:37:32 AM
When we first got married, we kept our separate checking accounts but combined our savings accounts. This made sense because I was still working full time and there didn’t seem to be any major benefit to consolidating the checking accounts as well. Then when I quit to stay home with the baby, we closed my soon to be empty checking account and added me to his. I really like the joint account system, as it gives me equal access and knowledge regarding our finances, which is particularly important for lower/non earning partners. When I started part time work, I just directed all my earnings to the joint account. Joint accounts work well for us because we have a high level of trust/confidence in our partner's money management/spending, a strong/stable marriage, and equal levels of investment and interest in finance.

Ultimately how you combine finances comes down to what works best for you and your unique circumstances and relationship. Whatever method keeps you financially stable and mostly stress free in your relationship is the best system. Joint accounts are great in some circumstances, but they absolutely can cause way more trouble than they are worth if partners have different spending/management habits/philosophies, if there are ongoing trust issues in the relationship, or if there are high levels of expenses from previous relationships (ex: kids) that might cause resentment/problems if managed through a joint account. Separate accounts work well too, but couples using this system might have to be more communicative and open/transparent to ensure that both parties feel like they have a handle on the family’s finances as a whole. Separate accounts can also cause severe problems in couples where earning power is grossly disparate, as the lower earning/non earning partner can end up in a situation where they are treated like a child and have to “ask” for money, or where they are just completely clueless about the finances in general. As a result, if i had to have separate accounts while being a low/non earner, I would want something like an automatic transfer to my account every month or something to even the playing field.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Poundwise on December 19, 2016, 07:58:05 AM
Joint checking & savings. Separate retirement accounts. My husband is a "money monk" or "money avoider" whereas I am a "money amasser" so he likes me to manage everything.

BTW, here's a great book for people to understand their couples dynamic with respect to money:
https://www.amazon.com/Money-Harmony-Road-Individuals-Couples/dp/0982289510
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Dave1442397 on December 19, 2016, 08:27:26 AM
We have separate checking and joint savings. Why? He's self-employed and I can't convince him to get a separate business account. So his checking bounces all around like a rollercoaster, and it freaks me out. I'm more comfortable not seeing the chaos of a checking account with business spending and business revenue.

He better hope he never gets audited! There are a ton of articles out there on when and why you should have totally separate business accounts. Maybe the possibility of the IRS descending on him will change his mind.

http://blogs.hrblock.com/2015/03/13/its-not-personal-its-business-why-you-need-separate-finances/
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Spork on December 19, 2016, 09:43:45 AM
Joint checking & savings. Separate retirement accounts. My husband is a "money monk" or "money avoider" whereas I am a "money amasser" so he likes me to manage everything.

BTW, here's a great book for people to understand their couples dynamic with respect to money:
https://www.amazon.com/Money-Harmony-Road-Individuals-Couples/dp/0982289510

FWIW: I believe you are required to have separate retirement accounts (at least in the USA).  However, if you live in a community property state, "your" account is still "half his".
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 19, 2016, 09:57:28 AM
All of our money is "joint" but we have a few separate accounts. However, we both have all the passwords to the accounts, and we have transferring privileges into and out of each others accounts- so there isn't separate money; it's just advantageous to separate it as far as the financial institution knows.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: icemodeled on December 19, 2016, 09:59:01 AM
We combined accounts as soon as we married, definitely works for us and I wouldn't want separate accounts. He is the spender and I'm the saver but he does well and we each get allowance monthly to help control his spending habit, which for the most part he has done so well with. We compromised a lot but it's working great for us. I can understand why some choose separate but I think joint is much easier overall for us.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Novik on December 19, 2016, 02:10:38 PM
Not married yet, but this will definitely be a problem in the future... but not for the obvious reasons! My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, and talked about getting a joint household account for joint bills/spending.

However! I'm a dual US/Canadian citizen living in Canada, so all my bank accounts have to be reported to the US Department of Treasury through a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts form (aka FBAR, aka the current bane of my existence as I try and file several years of delinquent ones).

He, as a solely Canadian citizen, is understandably more than a little reluctant to give his information to the IRS. So that idea is nixed for now. We may look into a low-limit joint credit card instead, but I like to strategically use credit card offers so that's not ideal.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: gettingtoyes on December 19, 2016, 02:17:57 PM
We have joint accounts with the exception of separate "fun" money accounts that we deposit $100 every month- more so that we don't gripe over little things we buy for ourselves.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: NathanP on December 19, 2016, 02:33:01 PM
Financially, my wife and I operate 100% independently.

This started early in our relationship which my wife entered into with debt (and a much lower income) which she has long since repaid. Now, we both max our tax advantaged retirement accounts each year, and my wife transfers an agreed upon amount to my account each payday. I then ensure that all bills are paid.

I actually have no idea how much money my wife holds in her accounts at any given time, and she doesn't really know my account balances either. And no, we don't live in a community property state where debts would be shared 50/50.

This works for us especially since we would likely fight over the funds in a joint account. I am the saver, while she is the spender. Knowing that she maxes her retirement accounts is a major win for me and she is entitled to spend her remaining earnings as she wishes. We communicate our retirement goals and she is happy to keep working in order to maintain her higher level of spending. Over time though, she is becoming more of a saver, and I predict that will merge to a single joint account once we both retire.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: SnackDog on December 19, 2016, 02:36:59 PM
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The optimum solution may depend on the couple, jurisdiction, tax situation, and a million other things. It may even change over time. Do whatever works for you. Strive for simplicity and transparency. Try to be smart, generous, frugal, trustworthy and grave, clean & reverent.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: v8rx7guy on December 19, 2016, 02:40:06 PM
We have had joint accounts since day 1.  For the longest time, we had separate credit cards, but recently we decided on a joint card as well.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: bryan995 on December 19, 2016, 02:50:02 PM
Joint back accounts.
Separate credit cards.

(obviously) separate 401k, IRA + joint taxable accounts
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 19, 2016, 03:29:40 PM
We have had joint accounts since day 1.  For the longest time, we had separate credit cards, but recently we decided on a joint card as well.

A
joint card? Like you guys just have 1 credit card?
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: v8rx7guy on December 19, 2016, 03:30:47 PM
We have had joint accounts since day 1.  For the longest time, we had separate credit cards, but recently we decided on a joint card as well.

A
joint card? Like you guys just have 1 credit card?

Joint credit account more specifically... Two individual cards.  We do all cash budgeting anyway, so it really only gets used for online purchases.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 19, 2016, 03:42:18 PM
We have had joint accounts since day 1.  For the longest time, we had separate credit cards, but recently we decided on a joint card as well.

A
joint card? Like you guys just have 1 credit card?

Joint credit account more specifically... Two individual cards.  We do all cash budgeting anyway, so it really only gets used for online purchases.

Wow, this idea is so foreign to me.  I have like 20 credit cards, DH probably about that many, and we are joint on most of the accounts, though not all depending on the conditions of sign up bonuses and such.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: v8rx7guy on December 19, 2016, 04:00:06 PM
We have had joint accounts since day 1.  For the longest time, we had separate credit cards, but recently we decided on a joint card as well.

A
joint card? Like you guys just have 1 credit card?

Joint credit account more specifically... Two individual cards.  We do all cash budgeting anyway, so it really only gets used for online purchases.

Wow, this idea is so foreign to me.  I have like 20 credit cards, DH probably about that many, and we are joint on most of the accounts, though not all depending on the conditions of sign up bonuses and such.

We are simple that way.  We also teach the Dave Ramsey class at our church so we like to set a good example and "practice what we preach".
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: protostache on December 19, 2016, 05:14:36 PM
We have had joint accounts since day 1.  For the longest time, we had separate credit cards, but recently we decided on a joint card as well.

A
joint card? Like you guys just have 1 credit card?

My wife and I have one primary card (CSP). In addition we each have a handful of cards from before we got married that have one tiny autopay to keep them open for credit score purposes.

Joint credit account more specifically... Two individual cards.  We do all cash budgeting anyway, so it really only gets used for online purchases.

Wow, this idea is so foreign to me.  I have like 20 credit cards, DH probably about that many, and we are joint on most of the accounts, though not all depending on the conditions of sign up bonuses and such.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: spicykissa on December 19, 2016, 10:17:40 PM
We're pretty much completely separate on paper, though my husband's checking account is technically a joint account with me (mostly for easy $$ transfers). I'm the beneficiary on his sizable taxable account. I do all our budgeting/accounting jointly though, and we check in with each other regularly. We tried joint checking when we were younger and poorer, and we fought over every Starbucks visit and video game purchase, which was terrible. I'm slightly more spendy than he is, but I also care more about optimizing and budgeting. So far separate has worked for us, I guess. 
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 20, 2016, 03:40:18 PM

We are simple that way.  We also teach the Dave Ramsey class at our church so we like to set a good example and "practice what we preach".

Makes sense.  I've never paid interest on a credit card.  I'm a big fan and have a lot that I use as advantageously as possible. It can be hard to track which to use for gas, which to use for groceries, which one to never use at Walmart, etc.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Cativa on December 20, 2016, 05:46:13 PM
Separate checking and credit cards.  We had established these before the relationship, and we went with "if it aint broke, don't fix it" mentality.  I don't know how this will work once we are living on our investments though, as we won't have two paychecks feeding in.  We'll jump off that bridge when we come to it I guess.

Savings and brokerage accounts established since the marriage have all been opened as joint accounts.  Just seemed to make sense at the time.

****

I don't think whether accounts are separate or joint are important.  What is important is that we both have all the user names and passwords to all accounts - that way if something happens either one of us can do any necessary moving of money around.  I also like that we are set up on Mint so that we can watch each other's backs.  He recently noticed that I had a fraudulent charge on one of my charge cards, and a few months ago I noticed that he got double charged for something.  Its nice to be a team :)
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Step37 on December 20, 2016, 08:56:00 PM
We went all joint when we bought a house a few years into our marriage (have now been married 20+ years). I manage all of the finances - he has full access, of course, but I don't think he ever even looks at it. All spending is done on the credit card, so no cash issues. We are totally on the same page, so this has worked very well for us. He did have to call me a couple days ago to "make sure I could resist looking at the credit card account for a few days" - hahaha... so far, so good! But I do love managing the money and keeping tabs on everything.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: handsnhearts on December 21, 2016, 12:11:08 AM
Separate checking and credit cards.  We had established these before the relationship, and we went with "if it aint broke, don't fix it" mentality.  I don't know how this will work once we are living on our investments though, as we won't have two paychecks feeding in.  We'll jump off that bridge when we come to it I guess.

Savings and brokerage accounts established since the marriage have all been opened as joint accounts.  Just seemed to make sense at the time.

****

I don't think whether accounts are separate or joint are important.  What is important is that we both have all the user names and passwords to all accounts - that way if something happens either one of us can do any necessary moving of money around.  I also like that we are set up on Mint so that we can watch each other's backs.  He recently noticed that I had a fraudulent charge on one of my charge cards, and a few months ago I noticed that he got double charged for something.  Its nice to be a team :)


How are you set up on Mint to "watch each other's backs"?  I am set up on Mint but would like to know how you set this up. Do you each just have a separate Mint account and login to check each other's?  Or do you have the joint ones in both accounts? 



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: handsnhearts on December 21, 2016, 12:14:58 AM
He did have to call me a couple days ago to "make sure I could resist looking at the credit card account for a few days" - hahaha... so far, so good!


Hahaha!  2 years ago, I was looking at our accounts while at the in/laws for the holidays. I asked him in front of everyone, "do you know why we have xx$$ for at AT&T?"  He got a real sheepish look on his face and said "you aren't supposed to ask those sorts of questions at this time of year". My in-laws and extended family got a big kick out of it, they thought it was hilarious! 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: GilbertB on December 21, 2016, 01:53:55 AM
1 bank account, 4 cards...
We each have a debit card for normal purchases, and a VISA for internet or when nothing else is accepted.
There is not really a choice on this for us as I am away for 6 weeks and home for the same period.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Cativa on December 21, 2016, 10:37:40 AM
Separate checking and credit cards.  We had established these before the relationship, and we went with "if it aint broke, don't fix it" mentality.  I don't know how this will work once we are living on our investments though, as we won't have two paychecks feeding in.  We'll jump off that bridge when we come to it I guess.

Savings and brokerage accounts established since the marriage have all been opened as joint accounts.  Just seemed to make sense at the time.

****

I don't think whether accounts are separate or joint are important.  What is important is that we both have all the user names and passwords to all accounts - that way if something happens either one of us can do any necessary moving of money around.  I also like that we are set up on Mint so that we can watch each other's backs.  He recently noticed that I had a fraudulent charge on one of my charge cards, and a few months ago I noticed that he got double charged for something.  Its nice to be a team :)


How are you set up on Mint to "watch each other's backs"?  I am set up on Mint but would like to know how you set this up. Do you each just have a separate Mint account and login to check each other's?  Or do you have the joint ones in both accounts? 



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

We only have one Mint account, and all our financial stuff, whether joint or individual, feed into it.  So with one website we see pretty much everything regardless of who is the owner.
Title: Re: Married - Joint or Separate Bank Accts & Why
Post by: Playing with Fire UK on December 22, 2016, 03:49:02 PM
We combined accounts as soon as we married, definitely works for us and I wouldn't want separate accounts. He is the spender and I'm the saver but he does well and we each get allowance monthly to help control his spending habit, which for the most part he has done so well with. We compromised a lot but it's working great for us. I can understand why some choose separate but I think joint is much easier overall for us.

My OH is also more of a spender. When he sees a high balance in an account his mind starts thinking "what can I spend that on?" I can see the cartoon $ $ in his eyes.

He randomly came home one day and started on about how we should buy a sports car. The idea seemed to come out of nowhere and was nixed. Then he starts talking about going on a cruise. Turned out he'd opened the statement to our savings account (that I look after) thinking it was the joint current account (that we both use). He knew all about the savings account while these conversations were happening (it wasn't like it was secret hidden money), but when he saw it, he could think of three ways to spend it all.