Author Topic: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board  (Read 3368 times)

Broadway2019

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Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« on: August 04, 2017, 06:43:32 AM »
I found this blog several months ago and since have paid off nearly all my debt besides car and mortgage. I have $4k credit card debt to go and it will be paid off this coming month. My significant other and I keep our finances separate, however, bought a home in January together. I brought up getting a joint account to make paying bills easier and we can better track our expenses. In addition, if we could budget more, I figured we could easily save another $1500 a month. I proposed to have separate checking accounts for fun money, a joint account for bills, and a joint savings. She is hesitant and not wanting to move her direct deposit from her checking account. Also, when I bring up saving another $1500 she seems to think it's ridiculous. I showed her the budget with all our bills I made and we spend about $4500 a month and bring home about $8500. The other crazy thing is I make about 30% more than her so combining finances would actually benefit her. I mainly just want to do it so I can easily track expenses.

Either way, I started saving at least $1000 a month last month. It just seems one sided if I am the only one saving while she is spending her whole paycheck. Also, I max out my 401k, where she is just now setting up one at work and does not want to max it out. I feel I am doing all the saving and planning.

Anyone have any advice?

extremedefense

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 06:51:48 AM »
If she is just your significant other and not your spouse, I wouldn't try joining your finances.

What made you buy a house together?

birdman2003

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 06:53:12 AM »
If I had a car payment and credit card debt, I would not buy a house, but that is just me.  I would also not buy a house with someone unless I was married to them.

That being said, why do you need her paycheck coming into a joint account to "easily track expenses" ?

When I had roommates, I paid the bills and had them pay me their share every month.  That way I could track our expenses.

What she does with her paycheck is really not your business, you can encourage her to max the 401(k) but ultimately that is her choice, not yours.

MightyMauler

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 07:58:50 AM »
I’ve done more reading than positing on this forum but I feel like I need to chime in.

I’ve been in the same boat you’re in and so have many others. You’re definitely not alone in your frustration.  But truly, the best thing you can do is lead by example. Do your best and show her your excitement about the progress you’re making.   Pushing her to do something with her money when she’s not ready is only going to make the situation worse. 

Maybe make a budget for your money and your savings only and as you progress towards you goal show her how great you’re doing.  Stay on track, focus on you, and she just make come around. 


prognastat

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 08:01:17 AM »
If I had a car payment and credit card debt, I would not buy a house, but that is just me.  I would also not buy a house with someone unless I was married to them.

That being said, why do you need her paycheck coming into a joint account to "easily track expenses" ?

When I had roommates, I paid the bills and had them pay me their share every month.  That way I could track our expenses.

What she does with her paycheck is really not your business, you can encourage her to max the 401(k) but ultimately that is her choice, not yours.

I partially agree, but if they are currently not married yet are wanting to get married I would highly suggest making sure you are financially on the same page before moving ahead and part of this would be sharing finances at least to some degree. I also probably would not have bought a house together though if they aren't already married.

Broadway2019

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 08:06:03 AM »
We have been engaged for a year, just neither of us has a desire to have a wedding. We bought a house because we were paying $2k in rent which seemed silly.  Also, I choose to have a car payment - I know very un-mustachian. I guess maybe I am trying to move too fast in combining finances. I just figured we are engaged and have a house, so why wouldn't we? Also, it just makes things easier.

As far as savings, we both benefit it from it, however, only I am saving money. I guess I feel like we are in a limbo phase between being individuals and being married.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:09:53 AM by kwarden13 »

Broadway2019

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 08:08:04 AM »
I’ve done more reading than positing on this forum but I feel like I need to chime in.

I’ve been in the same boat you’re in and so have many others. You’re definitely not alone in your frustration.  But truly, the best thing you can do is lead by example. Do your best and show her your excitement about the progress you’re making.   Pushing her to do something with her money when she’s not ready is only going to make the situation worse. 

Maybe make a budget for your money and your savings only and as you progress towards you goal show her how great you’re doing.  Stay on track, focus on you, and she just make come around.

Thank you the encouragement! I have just been so frustrated lately. Took me 2 months just to get her to sign up for her 401k. She has been at her job for 10 years and didn't know she had one.

charis

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 08:49:48 AM »
We have been engaged for a year, just neither of us has a desire to have a wedding. We bought a house because we were paying $2k in rent which seemed silly.  Also, I choose to have a car payment - I know very un-mustachian. I guess maybe I am trying to move too fast in combining finances. I just figured we are engaged and have a house, so why wouldn't we? Also, it just makes things easier.

As far as savings, we both benefit it from it, however, only I am saving money. I guess I feel like we are in a limbo phase between being individuals and being married.

You don't need to have a wedding to get married.  If you both are not willing to make it official, I would examine that more closely.  I can understand her hesitation in combining finances with someone to whom she is not actually married.  I wouldn't want to do that either.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 10:42:27 AM by jezebel »

GizmoTX

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 09:08:00 AM »
We have been engaged for a year, just neither of us has a desire to have a wedding. We bought a house because we were paying $2k in rent which seemed silly.  Also, I choose to have a car payment - I know very un-mustachian. I guess maybe I am trying to move too fast in combining finances. I just figured we are engaged and have a house, so why wouldn't we? Also, it just makes things easier.

As far as savings, we both benefit it from it, however, only I am saving money. I guess I feel like we are in a limbo phase between being individuals and being married.

You don't need to have a wedding to get married.  If you both are not willing to make it official, I would examine that more closely.  I can understand her hesitation in combing finances with someone to whom she is not actually married.  I wouldn't want to do that either.

OP, you are in limbo -- that's the problem. Commit or not. The house together makes it messy unless you are in fact legally married.

Suggest you both do something like Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University together before you tie the knot. Most relationship problems are about money.

Laura33

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 09:16:09 AM »
We have been engaged for a year, just neither of us has a desire to have a wedding. We bought a house because we were paying $2k in rent which seemed silly.  Also, I choose to have a car payment - I know very un-mustachian. I guess maybe I am trying to move too fast in combining finances. I just figured we are engaged and have a house, so why wouldn't we? Also, it just makes things easier.

As far as savings, we both benefit it from it, however, only I am saving money. I guess I feel like we are in a limbo phase between being individuals and being married.

Well, you feel that way because you are!  It's totally natural!  I went through some of the same stuff with DH -- I still remember the "you have CC debt?  You have a Ph.D in E.E. and you still can't do basic math??" conversation.  Our first "fight" was over my way of doing Quicken vs. his way of doing Quicken (yeah, we're geeks, what can I say?). :-) 

One really important thing to keep in mind:  you will both come into this relationship with unstated assumptions about How Life Is and How Things Should Be.  In our case, almost all of our conflicts came from situations when we both were operating based on these assumptions, but we weren't even aware of them, and it turned out those assumptions were different -- but of course we both thought that our way was The One True Path.  It took me several years to realize that just because I grew up a certain way doesn't mean that I am "right" and he is "wrong."

So for you, for ex.:  why assume you need to combine finances?  It seems logical to you, right?  Obviously not for your SO, though.  Doesn't mean she's wrong -- heck, my mom and dad combined all their finances and didn't last 5 years; my mom and stepdad kept all their money separate and were happily married for 39 years.  This is something to talk over with your SO -- not from the perspective of which way is right or wrong, but more from what is going to work for the two of you, given who you both are and your specific situations.  (I strongly recommend a nice bottle of wine on the patio for this conversation; it should be fun, not fraught).

And, of course, whatever you decide, be prepared for everyone else to tell you you're wrong.  :-)  My DH and I decided to put everything in a joint account, except for $200/mo for both of us to do with whatever we chose (so I could save and he could spend without me nagging him -- I also married a spendypants).  My mother thought I was stupid and risking my independence/power for combining finances; his sister thought that our failure to combine everything meant that I wasn't really committed to the marriage.  And yet somehow we've made it 21 years and counting.  I know, go figure, right. :-)

PS:  I know the statistics say money is the biggest cause of divorce.  I disagree:  I think it is how you approach discussions about money.  If you can communicate openly, try to work through your own blind spots and see it from your partner's perspective, and work towards solutions that get both of you as much of what you want as possible (instead of doubling down and insisting that you are right), you can work through almost anything.  But you have to talk, and you have to be honest and vulnerable and open about what you want, and you have to be respectful of your partner's desires (even when you think they're stupid).  And above all else, your baseline must be that you need a solution that works for both of you -- because one partner being happy at the other's expense is never an acceptable solution, no matter what.

Broadway2019

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 09:32:33 AM »
We have been engaged for a year, just neither of us has a desire to have a wedding. We bought a house because we were paying $2k in rent which seemed silly.  Also, I choose to have a car payment - I know very un-mustachian. I guess maybe I am trying to move too fast in combining finances. I just figured we are engaged and have a house, so why wouldn't we? Also, it just makes things easier.

As far as savings, we both benefit it from it, however, only I am saving money. I guess I feel like we are in a limbo phase between being individuals and being married.

Well, you feel that way because you are!  It's totally natural!  I went through some of the same stuff with DH -- I still remember the "you have CC debt?  You have a Ph.D in E.E. and you still can't do basic math??" conversation.  Our first "fight" was over my way of doing Quicken vs. his way of doing Quicken (yeah, we're geeks, what can I say?). :-) 

One really important thing to keep in mind:  you will both come into this relationship with unstated assumptions about How Life Is and How Things Should Be.  In our case, almost all of our conflicts came from situations when we both were operating based on these assumptions, but we weren't even aware of them, and it turned out those assumptions were different -- but of course we both thought that our way was The One True Path.  It took me several years to realize that just because I grew up a certain way doesn't mean that I am "right" and he is "wrong."

So for you, for ex.:  why assume you need to combine finances?  It seems logical to you, right?  Obviously not for your SO, though.  Doesn't mean she's wrong -- heck, my mom and dad combined all their finances and didn't last 5 years; my mom and stepdad kept all their money separate and were happily married for 39 years.  This is something to talk over with your SO -- not from the perspective of which way is right or wrong, but more from what is going to work for the two of you, given who you both are and your specific situations.  (I strongly recommend a nice bottle of wine on the patio for this conversation; it should be fun, not fraught).

And, of course, whatever you decide, be prepared for everyone else to tell you you're wrong.  :-)  My DH and I decided to put everything in a joint account, except for $200/mo for both of us to do with whatever we chose (so I could save and he could spend without me nagging him -- I also married a spendypants).  My mother thought I was stupid and risking my independence/power for combining finances; his sister thought that our failure to combine everything meant that I wasn't really committed to the marriage.  And yet somehow we've made it 21 years and counting.  I know, go figure, right. :-)

PS:  I know the statistics say money is the biggest cause of divorce.  I disagree:  I think it is how you approach discussions about money.  If you can communicate openly, try to work through your own blind spots and see it from your partner's perspective, and work towards solutions that get both of you as much of what you want as possible (instead of doubling down and insisting that you are right), you can work through almost anything.  But you have to talk, and you have to be honest and vulnerable and open about what you want, and you have to be respectful of your partner's desires (even when you think they're stupid).  And above all else, your baseline must be that you need a solution that works for both of you -- because one partner being happy at the other's expense is never an acceptable solution, no matter what.

Thank you so much for writing this!! Yes, people seem to have a lot of opinions about what to do with money. I ask 2 people and get 8 different answers. LOL

kaetana

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 11:49:57 PM »
Have you actually tried discussing money with her? From what you said, it may just be that it never occurred to her. Maybe try suggesting that she try to save money as well so that your joint nest egg can grow.

I don't generally believe that marriage status says anything about the depth of your commitment, or that joining finances is always the right thing to do. You can make anything work if you communicate things clearly and both agree on the arrangement. You just have to find out what's right for you. Try asking her if she'd be willing to save as well, going at it from an "I would love it if we grew our savings so that we can FIRE/go on holiday/whatever" angle rather than from an "I wish you would do what I'm doing" angle. Maybe she's willing to try to save, but she doesn't know how.

cdttmm

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2017, 11:26:21 AM »
I'll chime in because I own not one, but two houses with someone I'm not married to. Heck, we're not even engaged! We just are very comfortable with being committed to each other (going on 23 years) and owning property jointly is one part of that commitment. We do have a joint checking account that is used to pay our joint expenses. We don't have our paychecks direct deposited into that account. Instead, we each transfer a set amount monthly from our personal checking accounts into the joint account. As for funding our retirement accounts, we each do our own thing based on our work situations and our incomes, which often fluctuate throughout the year. In the long run, we're committed to financially supporting each other regardless of what happens and how much money the other person has managed to save.

Beach_Stache

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2017, 07:46:37 AM »
I think "showing" vs "lecturing" is the right path to go down.  If someone doesn't want to move over to the MMM or even just a "more frugal" lifestyle then pressing them to do so is just going to cause more problems.  I have more or less been maxing out my 401k and Roth IRA since I was 23.  In this community that may be normal, but in the real world it's very rare.  I could get behind doing it myself b/c I had a conversation with my father who suggested it while I was living at home for 2 years after collect.  My parents are frugal (when they had young kids) and are more relaxed with money now in their retirement, but they didn't practice what them preached in terms of investing, so it's funny that my father made the suggestion to me.  So while I was living at home I maxed out my accounts and saw how doable it was, and when I had my own place that just became a part of the norm so that's what I went with.  My wife and I got married about 4 years later and I was already on that train.  She didn't have high paying jobs though so really couldn't do it, but I convinced her with her first job to at least put away what she would get matching for because otherwise it was just throwing away money (literally).  She saw how not saving to get a match was silly, so she started from there and each raise put in half of that raise towards her 401k.  When she got higher paying jobs she put more and more in, and for the last few years she's been maxing out her 401k as well!  She wasn't always a super saver, in fact she was very bad with finances, but I led by example and was not shy about telling/showing her how I was saving and how important it is. 

I do the same thing with my sisters and they have slowly come around.  If you show someone a simple compound interest calculator and show how much ditching that starbucks every day and brewing at home will save  you over a lifetime, it's pretty amazing.  A $5 starbucks each day is $150/month, invested each month at 8% in the market and over 30 years that's $0.25M.  I'm not taking about $1k or something, but a quarter of a million dollars.  If brewing folgers coffee at home becomes the new normal and you can save and invest the rest and you can really SHOW how the savings and frugality leads to real results then they can slowly move over.

For the joint accounts, and what you suggest, that's exactly what the Mrs. and I do, but we didn't start until after we were married.  We bought our first condo together right when we got married and that's when we got a joint account, but each kept separate individual accounts as well for personal expenses.  That includes normal grocery visits, gas, food, whatever, but our joint account was for mortgage, utilities, 529 plan investments, whatever is joint.  We also didn't both split 50/50.  You may be making more and saving more but your significant other may need more take home money b/c clothes cost more or they have a gas guzzler or they buy groceries more, whatever.  Try not to use this against  her, show her how much more you're saving and where it is going and what it'll be worth in 10/20/30/40 years if they continue on that path.  SHOW HER what it'll take for her to be a millionaire on her own terms.  I tell my wife that she'll be a millionaire all by  herself some day and I think she gets excited about that!  It's taken time but if you can show her and not just tell her about saving money, get excited about how you cut the cable or reduced your cell phone, or how you bike to work or save in normal everyday things then that will slowly start to sink it.  It's a process though, it won't happen overnight and you can't put that pressure on to do it overnight or it will sour the relationship.  Have her read a few articles, get her excited about saving, have  her think of purchases (that are unnecessary) as extended work and it'll start to sink in.  My sister bought a $65k car and I told her that that just means she'll be working an extra few years so they can "enjoy" the commute to work.  It'll start sinking in though, some faster than others.  I'm lucky that my wife had it sink it a lot faster, some it will not sink in at all, so you'll have to lead by example for a while but I'm sure those roots will start taking at some point, hopefully sooner than later!  Good luck!

Goldielocks

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2017, 09:39:19 AM »
The only challenge (primary?) with keeping money separate is if the saving account that you contribute to on your own is considered to be joint savings...

I used to get frustrated that I skimped and saved, and my DH spent, so that I had no savings and no things for me!  lol.  We figured it out.  We had 100% joint accounts, too, at that time.

I see nothing wrong in keeping it separate, but please talk to her about how you both see the savings account you put money into.  If you plan to keep finances separated after marriage, then you need a prenup agreement about your respective savings and retirement accounts. (assuming no kids, health issues or trailing spouse issues arise, all of which are reasons people marry, but that is another topic).

Ask her if she is ok if you save up money to FIRE, and start taking some vacations on your own after 5 or 10 years, while she still works?  What do you want to happen if you have kids or someone loses a job, or get too ill to work full time?

Lastly, please ensure that you are contributing to the household expenses pro-rated to your respective incomes.  That is unfair to make someone with 25% of income pay for 50% of the expenses, and have nothing left to save for themselves... you aren't roomates, after all.

Hargrove

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2017, 01:08:19 PM »
You have already combined a large swath of your finances with someone by buying property together, but it sounds like your SO is not doing anywhere near the calculating you are. It isn't surprizing that she doesn't want to feel watched when she spends money, which is all you will accomplish by pressuring her to combine everything, because she doesn't share your financial view.

You're excited about saving more and she isn't.

The biggest problem there is one of seeing the value in delayed gratification - as others mentioned, be excited about your own progress, share that excitement with her, and if you get curiosity, respond to it well. If you don't, you may have to accept it if you're sticking with her.

You are making a classic mistake to say that, because you make more, combining finances will benefit her. If she values being able to spend money without being as accountable as may interest you, then combining finances will not benefit her at all according to what she values, despite the fact that it will benefit her more according to your values (and your values are financially optimal). Your best asset in this difficult financial conversation will be deeply desiring to understand her values so that you can match them with yours and figure out how they can be compatible, not so that you can defeat them.

galliver

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2017, 06:43:57 PM »
In your whole post, you didn't really say what her objections were to your proposed plan. And I think that says a lot about how the conversation went...

My bf and I have lived together 3 years as of last weekend. I will not buy a house with him, or have joint savings, until we're married (except maybe a wedding fund I guess). In fact, we were hesitant to buy a car together 3 years ago, even though we anticipated staying together indefinitely (as the higher earner currently, he ended up buying it with my input on what was a good choice). We do have a joint checking account (not intended to build up a significant balance) and I have him as an authorized user on a credit card used for gas/groceries/cleaning supplies/other joint expenses. Joint account pays the card plus rent, electric, internet, and car insurance. We talk about money all the time...obviously about things in those categories (are we spending a ridiculous amount on anything? etc) but also "is this a ridiculous purchase?" even if we're making it ourselves; or how much we have in savings, those kinds of things. I don't say all this to indicate you should be exactly like us; but I want to show that you can be open about finances without having fully joint finances.

Keeping your money and sizable assets separate until you're married is, frankly, prudent and wise. A joint account gives *either* account owner the right to drain it or run up a balance; it's not fraud because they're fully authorized to use the account. That makes having joint finances a risk of the amount in the shared account (which is why I'm ok with it for one-month-at-a-time expenses but not everything). In fact, my consumer ec teacher in high school drilled into us that even when we *are* married, we should have an account in our name(s) only; both men and women. His ex-wife had tried to drain his savings when things started going downhill (he just barely got to the bank and froze or closed the account in time). Of course we all think *our* partner won't do that, we want to trust them. But I wouldn't be comfortable being with someone who didn't respect my right to make the smarter, cautious decision. I shouldn't have to give someone access to all my money to prove I love them.

That may not be your fiancee's objection. Maybe she doesn't want to feel like her spending is monitored. Maybe she disagrees with some of your spending priorities/habits. Maybe she's afraid she'll lose control of her finances to you if you go forward with this. Either way, to address her concerns about your plan, you have to find out what, specifically, they are. And (I think this should go without saying, but...) accept that it *is* valid for her to have control over her finances, and concern about ceding that control to anyone.

Dmy0013

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Re: Trouble Getting Significant Other On Board
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2017, 10:13:48 AM »
First off I understand where you are coming from buying a house together prior to being married... I dont know if its the right thing to do but I totally get it.
I bought a condo when I was younger strictly under my name, but my wife (girlfriend) at the time moved in the same day I did so whats the difference, name on the title or not it was half hers... Anyways thats not so much the point.

How good is your fiancé with numbers?  could you explain how compound interest works? in relation to her putting money away while she is young into her 401?  Personally my wife would lose interest half way through the conversation and it would do more harm then good so that might not be a good idea.  My wife is extremely intelligent, but has no interest in this kinda thing :S

Maybe joining bank accounts is a bad idea?  Who pays the mortgage? does it come out of both of your accounts?
So she has no interest in saving money like you do... What about if you approach from a different angle?  instead of "saving" money could you convince her to up / make extra mortgage payments? resulting in owning your own home sooner?  Thus saving you interest payments down the road and owning your own home sooner? 

Some people will argue that your money will have a better return if invested, maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong... But this would still be a step in the right direction no?

As far as the 401K is concerned perhaps explain to her that you want to retire as early as you can so you can travel or join a bowling league or whatever your goals are in life.  And you want to do these things together so the sooner you can put money away the sooner you can pursue your goals...

I can some what relate to your dilemma as my wife who is naturally a saver just liked to sit on cash collecting no interest... It took me a while to get her on board with things but I kept approaching things from a different angle and I had to give a little as well but I'm now happy with where we are going with things...  At the end of the day she should have a say in where her money goes... Now obviously its her money so she should have 100% say where it goes, but you have made purchases together so your finances are already somewhat tied together so thats why I say she should have a say what happens...

Keep working on her and just explain how important this is to you and she will come around, just remember its a 50/50 thing so you might have to come around to things she wants as well...

I think a really good way to approach this is ask her to do a 6 month trail run...  Try changing some finances around to how you think would serve you both better, with the full intention of sitting down in 6 months and reviewing your savings, has it negatively effected your lives? no money for date nights / eating out etc?  If she is not happy in 6 months then things can return to the way they were... Just remember its a 50 / 50 when it comes to these decisions...

If she is really involved and strongly opinionated about her finances then I dont think combining bank accounts is a good idea right now...  Money has destroyed many relationships / families...
best of luck

Best of luck
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 10:20:25 AM by Dmy0013 »