Author Topic: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?  (Read 61352 times)

daverobev

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #150 on: March 16, 2015, 07:48:34 PM »
After doing some research (thanks, Wikipedia) I see that in the US you are allowed to split incomes if one spouse earns significantly more. This may be where some of the confusion here is coming from! I'm not sure if the people here in the separate income camp tend to be non-Americans, but this could be part of the issue. In Canada we all file taxes separately, and until very recently the government did not allow income splitting at all. We still don't, technically, although Harper has passed some bill recently that allows couples with kids to do some sort of income splitting. I haven't looked into it because it does not apply to us. But now it makes sense why people don't get the purpose of separate accounts! It really makes no difference in Canada. There's no financial reason to have a joint bank account, since even when married, we pay income taxes based on our individual incomes. And in marriage all assets are 50/50.

D'oh, ok this was your next post, my last one is pretty irrelevant! Family Tax Cut is not real income splitting, though.

Chuck

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #151 on: March 16, 2015, 08:30:45 PM »
Basically, my wife is a grown woman and doesn't need or deserve an allowance. She deserves to do as she pleases with the money that she has earned, and the same goes for me. I have a goal to retire early, and yes, requisitioning her earnings and putting them first and foremost towards that goal WOULD make the process quicker. But that would be bullshit, because it wasn't money that I worked for. As long as she is meeting her obligations and not taking on debt, she can buy 100,000 Mentos to throw into her swimming pool full of Diet Coke for all the fucks I give.

Now, it so happens that she does save most of her money. Even if she didn't, this would still be the right way for us to manage our finances. The State of Virginia might view us as a single entity for tax purposes, but that doesn't mean we have ceased to be individuals.

11ducks

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #152 on: March 16, 2015, 09:15:13 PM »
Man, reading arguments is exhausting!

We keep out finances separate- lived together 3 years but unmarried. Our spending styles and notions of frugal are so different. I support my son on my own, we pay joint expenses together 50/50, and do what we want with the rest- I think it works for us. DP came into the relationship with significantly more invested, an army pension, and makes about 20k a year more than I do. I make less but also spend less, and am much more frugal, whereas he spends much more often on clothes, gadgets, car stuff. We even grocery shop separately for the most part- tried shopping together and it was a disaster (he can spend $100 on a little basket of fancy cheeses, craft beer and mens moisturisers, which drives me nuts as I keep my whole grocery bill to about that per fortnight for DS and I). We are at different points in our financial journey right now, he can swing luxuries while still saving a high %, I can't yet, and that's okay.

okonumiyaki

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #153 on: March 16, 2015, 09:21:55 PM »
When we go married, there was a serious imbalance in wealth & income, and hadn't know each other long (dated about 9 months, never lived together).  So we had joint account, but we also set up an account with 10,000 USD for my wife, because I wanted her to feel comfortable that she could do things/ buy stuff/ have an emergency stache without asking my permission - heck, worst case that she would have enough money to leave me if she felt she had to.  Didn't stop us having a joint budget and discussing finances, but I strongly felt that she should have a measure of financial independence from day 1, and should never feel I was using money to control her.

After a couple of years, we were both comfortable enough in the relationship to close it down. 

11ducks

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #154 on: March 16, 2015, 09:31:48 PM »
When we go married, there was a serious imbalance in wealth & income, and hadn't know each other long (dated about 9 months, never lived together).  So we had joint account, but we also set up an account with 10,000 USD for my wife, because I wanted her to feel comfortable that she could do things/ buy stuff/ have an emergency stache without asking my permission - heck, worst case that she would have enough money to leave me if she felt she had to.  Didn't stop us having a joint budget and discussing finances, but I strongly felt that she should have a measure of financial independence from day 1, and should never feel I was using money to control her.

After a couple of years, we were both comfortable enough in the relationship to close it down.

That's awesome.

Zikoris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #155 on: March 16, 2015, 09:42:54 PM »
Do those of you with separate finances budget together? Or how do you make that work? Do you have discussion about larger goals like retirement/housing?

We don't really budget per se, but he's an authorized user on my credit cards and I plug those into Mint for tracking. We like to keep our total spending under $1500/month, plus up to around $8000 per year on travel but otherwise we don't have limits - neither of us really spends much, so it's not a big deal. We each pay off our half of the credit card bill, and he e-transfers me half the rent once a month.

We don't really need to discuss our larger goals anymore since they're kind of automated now - keep the spending low,dump everything into investments, and wait for retirement in 9-ish years. Not much to talk about there. We like where we live now and don't intend to move, so not much to talk about there either, though if one of us wanted to move we would definitely talk about it.

neo von retorch

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #156 on: March 16, 2015, 09:45:56 PM »
... it assumes frivolous spending is something everyone does, and must do, and should do.

Frivolous spending that does not align with your stated family goals is not a necessary but private act, it's a betrayal of your commitment to your partner, and whether that money goes to energy drinks or a gambling addiction makes no difference.  If you're both on board with a specific plan and then one of you feels the need to sneak off and betray that plan, then you need to revisit your plan.

As I already explained, those that support separate accounts still have shared family goals that they do not betray (probably). They also have minor personal goals or values or indulgences that do not betray the shared family goals, but may vary. What some call frivolous spending, others may call tiny treats. Of course you and I disagree on that, but I happen to believe it's OK for the two individuals in a marriage to disagree on those little things as well. Since you aren't going to change those minor values, why fret over each other's minor spending? You don't need to know the exact details of a latte purchase or magazine subscription or in-app purchase as long as it doesn't detriment the big picture.

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #157 on: March 16, 2015, 10:16:22 PM »
BUT! To each their own! For us separate accounts would be a nightmare- all the shuffling money around, blah. It would be a huge annoyance to us. BUT for OTHERS, if money is something that is fought about then I can see how separate accounts are necessary to keep the peace, ha! Or simply because they prefer it that way. Who am I to judge? Do what makes everyone happy! :)

Just for your own piece of mind, that's not even really a thing.  My wife and I both work, so our employers do the shuffling, not us.  :)  It would be much more of a hassle if there was only one earner though.

I think another part of the problem is that the shared-accounts folks can't really fathom the non-shared thing because, well, if you're married, they're really shared anyway, so why bother pretending otherwise?

We have separate accounts and still view it as "our" money.  I'm not sure why the physical place where you keep track of your balance seems to be such a hang up.  It's just way easier to only see your outgoing transactions and not have to worry about keeping a large balance for someone else.  No overdrafts and no worries about whether there's enough money there today.

What do you mean when you say your employers do the shuffling? Does the $$ one partner owes the other for bills just get automatically deposited in to the other's account? Just honestly curious! :)

Personally, we each make just one transfer a month to the joint account. Then bills (rent, utilities, occasionally home insurance or a large vacation cost), are paid out of that. We put in more than is needed so I also set up an automatic purchase of savings bonds. And the remaining buffer acts as emergency household savings. Everything else is a personal expense or evens out (e.g., I buy groceries, he pays for restaurants), and so comes out of our personal accounts.

Astatine

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #158 on: March 17, 2015, 01:24:31 AM »
From the previous page:

So many people are touting "convenience" as a reason to split expenses, when it looks much more complicated to me.  Okay, I can see that for the newly married, it means combining accounts -- but once that's done, you never have to do it again!  Whereas, if you're both contributing to the household account, occasionally needing to "bail one another out", or whatever, it's an ongoing process! 

How can multiple accounts and the need to move money from here to there be EASIER? 

I was one of the ones who said we have separate bank accounts due to laziness (and share finances completely - we have our money, not his money or my money, ditto debts that we brought with us into the marriage).

Closing down two accounts and setting up a joint account in theory sounds easy and only needs to be done once. But, we both get paid fortnightly on the same day, direct deposit into our respective every day bank accountes. We both have a bunch of direct deposits that come out from each of our accounts, some fortnightly, some monthly, and not all on the same day for various reasons. Things like mortgage, utilities, internet, various insurances, union memberships and so on, and the types of direct debit does vary a little depending on what was cheaper for each organisation or what options they offered at the time it was set up.

Some of these organisations are easier to deal with than others, and each would require a phone call (or two) and/or a visit during business hours and/or fill out forms or whatever. ie a pain in the ass. At the same time, you have to get the timing right in transitioning to a new bank account as well as getting the timing right of changing over bank account numbers at work, and not letting any direct debits bounce or bank account balances to go below zero. Because then that costs us money and drama and effort to fix the payments ASAP so we don't incur other charges or whatever. 

Whereas setting up automated transfers of money from his account to mine on payday (so I can put extra on our mortgage redraw account) or us shuffling money between the two accounts or to the credit card (in his name) is really no effort. Half a minute of logging into online banking, clicking a couple of things and you're done.

That's what I mean when I say laziness is the main reason we have 2 separate bank accounts as opposed to one joint one. We both hate paperwork and that sort of thing. Since the status quo works just fine for us, why go through all that painful effort and planning just to have a joint account?

When we go married, there was a serious imbalance in wealth & income, and hadn't know each other long (dated about 9 months, never lived together).  So we had joint account, but we also set up an account with 10,000 USD for my wife, because I wanted her to feel comfortable that she could do things/ buy stuff/ have an emergency stache without asking my permission - heck, worst case that she would have enough money to leave me if she felt she had to.  Didn't stop us having a joint budget and discussing finances, but I strongly felt that she should have a measure of financial independence from day 1, and should never feel I was using money to control her.

After a couple of years, we were both comfortable enough in the relationship to close it down.

That's awesome.

+1 what a thoughtful thing to do.

deborah

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #159 on: March 17, 2015, 01:37:28 AM »
I think it really depends on how close to the wind your budgeting is. If you have plenty to spare, and are investing it, there is not much impetus to have a joint account. If you really need to make every dollar squeak, a joint account enables you to track money down to the last cent.

MrsPete

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #160 on: March 17, 2015, 06:04:55 AM »
As far as I can see, the only attempts to convince are going the other direction - the separate finances people are all saying "This is what we do and it works for us, but other methods are fine too if they work better for you".
I want to understand why y'all are saying that separate finances work, but I just can't see any actual reasons.  I can't grasp at all how managing multiple accounts /occasionally needing to move money around is "easier" or "more convenient" than simply having a single account.  And if the two spouses don't agree on how to spend, I don't see how looking the other way (spending out of a separate account) makes it any more acceptable; I don't see how it wouldn't lead to resentment, if it's happening on a regular basis. 

I'm trying to understand, but the reasoning just isn't solid. 

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for the spouses to agree together how to spend, to set limits ... and then to use their combined money within those limits.  And if the spouses are in agreement, why all the arbitrary "your money vs. my money"? 


Giro

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #161 on: March 17, 2015, 06:59:47 AM »
All of the real money is in the 401K, IRA, ROTH's and Vanguard (or similar) taxable accounts.  Almost every one of those accounts have a primary owner and are NOT joint accounts.

The $$$$ is in these accounts and not in the checkbook. Go ahead and lecture on how checking accounts and bill paying should be joint, I will focus on the real money and financial future.   You guys are missing the forest by focusing on a small little shrub.   By GOD we need a joint account to pay for toilet paper....meanwhile, I'll worry about our total investment portfolio.






morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #162 on: March 17, 2015, 07:09:07 AM »
It seems like this thread is more about marriage than about finances. For some of us, we do not need to know every tiny detail about our partners and where they are spending their money. For others, they DO need to know all the spending details and discuss them. For me in a relationship the bottom line is that I trust my partner and we are on the same page about our life goals. It's not "looking the other way" about whatever he chooses to spend his money on. It is the fact that we are two separate people who have agreed to share our lives with each other, and I honestly don't feel the need to know whether he buys coke on sale or at full price. It's a very minor and insignificant detail to me. He is already saving 75% or so of his income -- do I care if it is 74.9999999% or 75.00000001%? Hell no! I don't need to monitor his every move, nor do I want to. If that's what your marriage is all about, then hey, best of luck to you. But my partner and I choose to allow one another to be adults, and figure out our own spending decisions, and then we respect each others decisions. It's more about respect and trust than an attempt to avoid arguments, as some of you seem to be implying.

There is zero resentment in this way of living. I believe we are both grown ups and quite capable of making our own financial decisions in life. I did quite fine on my own for 15 years before I met him. I don't really need him to monitor my spending, and same goes for him.

For me this forum and MMM in general is about financial responsibility, and about taking personal responsibility for my own actions. That is what I'm here for, anyway. So I don't see how this 'separate accounts' issue is in any conflict with the message of this site.

I'm trying to figure out what the divide is here. Nobody I know in real life has joint accounts. It is just a natural thing to me for a married couple to have separate accounts. It could be that everyone I know found their partners in their 30s after being adults for a while? Or the fact that in Canada married couples are taxed separately? Do we have a great banking system here that allow paying bills from separate accounts to be no big deal? Or... I don't know! I'm at a loss as to why this is so confounding for people :)

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #163 on: March 17, 2015, 07:09:54 AM »
As far as I can see, the only attempts to convince are going the other direction - the separate finances people are all saying "This is what we do and it works for us, but other methods are fine too if they work better for you".
I want to understand why y'all are saying that separate finances work, but I just can't see any actual reasons.  I can't grasp at all how managing multiple accounts /occasionally needing to move money around is "easier" or "more convenient" than simply having a single account.  And if the two spouses don't agree on how to spend, I don't see how looking the other way (spending out of a separate account) makes it any more acceptable; I don't see how it wouldn't lead to resentment, if it's happening on a regular basis. 

I'm trying to understand, but the reasoning just isn't solid. 

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for the spouses to agree together how to spend, to set limits ... and then to use their combined money within those limits.  And if the spouses are in agreement, why all the arbitrary "your money vs. my money"?

+1

TrulyStashin

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #164 on: March 17, 2015, 07:14:22 AM »
As far as I can see, the only attempts to convince are going the other direction - the separate finances people are all saying "This is what we do and it works for us, but other methods are fine too if they work better for you".
I want to understand why y'all are saying that separate finances work, but I just can't see any actual reasons.  I can't grasp at all how managing multiple accounts /occasionally needing to move money around is "easier" or "more convenient" than simply having a single account.  And if the two spouses don't agree on how to spend, I don't see how looking the other way (spending out of a separate account) makes it any more acceptable; I don't see how it wouldn't lead to resentment, if it's happening on a regular basis. 

I'm trying to understand, but the reasoning just isn't solid. 

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for the spouses to agree together how to spend, to set limits ... and then to use their combined money within those limits.  And if the spouses are in agreement, why all the arbitrary "your money vs. my money"?

Everything is automated.  Direct deposit comes into my individual account and the $$ that is allocated to joint expenses is automatically transferred to the joint account.  Bill payment out of that account is also automated.  Everything syncs up in Mint and/ or Quicken -- reconciliation is quick and easy.  We're both completely transparent and our goals are in sync but neither of us is forced to change long-settled habits.   

IME, how couples manage money together is often a byproduct of how old they are when their lives merge together.  A young couple just starting out with no assets and no ingrained habits can easily merge into one, joint system.  An older couple with twenty or thirty years of asset-building and ingrained habits is going to approach it differently.   AND THAT'S OK.

IMHO, having separate accounts in addition to a joint account signals a high degree of trust.   I don't need to have oversight of my SO's accounts.  I trust that he has good judgment and that we're working toward shared goals.  That's enough.

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #165 on: March 17, 2015, 07:20:00 AM »
All of the real money is in the 401K, IRA, ROTH's and Vanguard (or similar) taxable accounts.  Almost every one of those accounts have a primary owner and are NOT joint accounts.

The $$$$ is in these accounts and not in the checkbook. Go ahead and lecture on how checking accounts and bill paying should be joint, I will focus on the real money and financial future.   You guys are missing the forest by focusing on a small little shrub.   By GOD we need a joint account to pay for toilet paper....meanwhile, I'll worry about our total investment portfolio.

EXACTLY! thank you.

caliq

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #166 on: March 17, 2015, 07:28:53 AM »
Reading this discussion was quite enlightening (last time we had it, I was staunchly on the shared finances side).

I think I'm spoiled -- I have all the benefits of both sides. 

Why?  Because DH is disabled and can't drive (plus his disability causes memory issues/some other executive functioning issues).  So everything is joint, but I manage it almost entirely like a single person. 

Basically, everything gets deposited into one joint account (his disability income, my paycheck).  From there, a certain amount gets diverted to his 'fun spending' account (which is actually still joint, so I can see it in my online banking), and a much larger amount gets diverted to "my" (also joint) household spending/fun spending account, and another amount gets transferred into savings.  We have several accounts because all of our monthly bills are on auto-pay and I don't like having to worry about spending withdrawals interfering with that. 

It works this way precisely because he can't drive -- there is no 'honey pick up the milk on your way home' for him; that's all me.  He can check the balance in his one spending account, because it accumulates every month, and know immediately whether or not his planned purchase is within his (previously agreed to) budget.  If it's not, he just waits until it is.  Any purchases bigger than the regularly monthly budgets (for any category) are clearly discussed and planned ahead of time.  Oh, and the monthly transfers between accounts are automatically set up through my bank, so it really is hands off.   The only issue with this system is that we're not optimizing by using rewards credit cards, but I'm okay with that given our past irresponsible history with them. 

As far as monitoring actual transactions, I don't think I've ever checked the transaction level of his spending account; I just glance at the total balance on the main banking page.  Granted, he only gets $50/month and AFAIK uses it exclusively for video games, but still.  He doesn't monitor my spending account either, though he technically has access to do so.   

So yeah, at this point I'm not even sure if we have joint or separate finances according to you guys :/  But it works for us...and we're not at the investment portfolio stage, so despite some viewpoints, how toilet paper gets paid for is still rather significant.  Honestly that last comment was a bit belittling...

Unique User

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #167 on: March 17, 2015, 07:30:25 AM »
IME, how couples manage money together is often a byproduct of how old they are when their lives merge together.  A young couple just starting out with no assets and no ingrained habits can easily merge into one, joint system.  An older couple with twenty or thirty years of asset-building and ingrained habits is going to approach it differently.   AND THAT'S OK.

I was just about to ask this!  It seems like the separate finances group are mostly either married late (or second marriages) or are both earners.  DH and I moved in together when I was 23 and he was 31, but I was the one with the checking account and savings, so I just added him to my checking account and opened an IRA for him.  He doesn't have a clue where most of the money is held, I show him the spreadsheets, but as long as the balances are climbing he doesn't want to be bothered by it.  Since he doesn't want to deal and never has, I take care of all the details of our financial life. But, if he cared and he had accounts before we met, things might be different. 

Right now we are both working for corporations and have direct deposit, so I can see where that situation might lead to separate accounts.  And if he was more spendy than he is, then maybe that too.  But what happens to the separate accounts when only one person is working? 

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #168 on: March 17, 2015, 07:37:36 AM »
All of the real money is in the 401K, IRA, ROTH's and Vanguard (or similar) taxable accounts.  Almost every one of those accounts have a primary owner and are NOT joint accounts.

The $$$$ is in these accounts and not in the checkbook. Go ahead and lecture on how checking accounts and bill paying should be joint, I will focus on the real money and financial future.   You guys are missing the forest by focusing on a small little shrub.   By GOD we need a joint account to pay for toilet paper....meanwhile, I'll worry about our total investment portfolio.

EXACTLY! thank you.

^ This

On top of that, a marriage has a 50/50 chance of lasting tell death do us part.

Bulletproof prenup + separate retirement accounts = less anxiety

caliq

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #169 on: March 17, 2015, 07:41:12 AM »
All of the real money is in the 401K, IRA, ROTH's and Vanguard (or similar) taxable accounts.  Almost every one of those accounts have a primary owner and are NOT joint accounts.

The $$$$ is in these accounts and not in the checkbook. Go ahead and lecture on how checking accounts and bill paying should be joint, I will focus on the real money and financial future.   You guys are missing the forest by focusing on a small little shrub.   By GOD we need a joint account to pay for toilet paper....meanwhile, I'll worry about our total investment portfolio.

EXACTLY! thank you.

^ This

On top of that, a marriage has a 50/50 chance of lasting tell death do us part.

Bulletproof prenup + separate retirement accounts = less anxiety

That statistic is inaccurate these days:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html?_r=0

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #170 on: March 17, 2015, 07:49:44 AM »
All of the real money is in the 401K, IRA, ROTH's and Vanguard (or similar) taxable accounts.  Almost every one of those accounts have a primary owner and are NOT joint accounts.

The $$$$ is in these accounts and not in the checkbook. Go ahead and lecture on how checking accounts and bill paying should be joint, I will focus on the real money and financial future.   You guys are missing the forest by focusing on a small little shrub.   By GOD we need a joint account to pay for toilet paper....meanwhile, I'll worry about our total investment portfolio.

EXACTLY! thank you.

^ This

On top of that, a marriage has a 50/50 chance of lasting tell death do us part.

Bulletproof prenup + separate retirement accounts = less anxiety

That statistic is inaccurate these days:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html?_r=0

Lol I guess those married in 2000's haven't been married long enough to grow weary of each other.

As an aside, this doesn't prove much.

Maybe people in the 2000's also feel less social pressure to marry. I know that is the case with many of my friends and coworkers.

Finishing college, getting hitched and popping out 2-3 kids was almost mandatory a few decades ago.

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #171 on: March 17, 2015, 07:51:05 AM »
There seems to be some emphasis from some of the separate finance folks that not seeing each others spending is indicative of adult-ness or treating each other as adults, and they equate joint accounts or shared account statements as "monitoring" the other person.  I am lost there.   

caliq

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #172 on: March 17, 2015, 07:53:11 AM »
All of the real money is in the 401K, IRA, ROTH's and Vanguard (or similar) taxable accounts.  Almost every one of those accounts have a primary owner and are NOT joint accounts.

The $$$$ is in these accounts and not in the checkbook. Go ahead and lecture on how checking accounts and bill paying should be joint, I will focus on the real money and financial future.   You guys are missing the forest by focusing on a small little shrub.   By GOD we need a joint account to pay for toilet paper....meanwhile, I'll worry about our total investment portfolio.

EXACTLY! thank you.

^ This

On top of that, a marriage has a 50/50 chance of lasting tell death do us part.

Bulletproof prenup + separate retirement accounts = less anxiety

That statistic is inaccurate these days:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html?_r=0

Lol I guess those married in 2000's haven't been married long enough to grow weary of each other.

As an aside, this doesn't prove much.

Maybe people in the 2000's also feel less social pressure to marry. I know that is the case with many of my friends and coworkers.

Finishing college, getting hitched and popping out 2-3 kids was almost mandatory a few decades ago.

If you look at the slope of the lines, you can see that even in marriages that have lasted the same number of years (5 years in 1985 vs 5 yrs in 2005, for example), divorce rates are lower in more recent marriages.  So, the argument that more recent couples haven't been married long enough to grow weary is irrelevant based on the type of data presented.

Also, if you had actually read the article, it cites the differences in social norms surrounding marriage as a likely cause for the reduction in divorce rates. 

I'm not sure why either of your points changes the fact that your initial assertion was wrong and shouldn't be used to scare newlyweds into keeping finances separate as a hedge against divorce.

Edited for typo
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 07:55:55 AM by caliq »

hdatontodo

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #173 on: March 17, 2015, 07:53:48 AM »
I have been writing my wife a monthly check for my share of things and extra house principal. She pays the mortgage from her account since she had the house before I came along.

I just found out that USAA lets you add an external account that isn't yours to which you can make ACH deposits. I just did this and put in her routing and acct numbers and name and checked the box saying this wasn't my account. They said it would take about 4 days to confirm the account. If this all works, I'll do a test transfer and start sending her money that way.

Once the house is paid off, hopefully next year, we'll reevaluate who's paying what. We started 2014 owing $166K and 2015 owing $99K. It's around $80K now. (I know that all goes in the mortgage payoff thread but I was on a roll.)

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #174 on: March 17, 2015, 07:55:50 AM »
I am not trying to scare newlyweds into anything.

I am in the school of thought that it is up to the couple to decide what they are comfortable with.

I know what I would need in my own situation, but that is a result of my own experiences, values, etc.

I am sorry I went off topic.

Zikoris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #175 on: March 17, 2015, 08:12:00 AM »
As far as I can see, the only attempts to convince are going the other direction - the separate finances people are all saying "This is what we do and it works for us, but other methods are fine too if they work better for you".
I want to understand why y'all are saying that separate finances work, but I just can't see any actual reasons.  I can't grasp at all how managing multiple accounts /occasionally needing to move money around is "easier" or "more convenient" than simply having a single account.  And if the two spouses don't agree on how to spend, I don't see how looking the other way (spending out of a separate account) makes it any more acceptable; I don't see how it wouldn't lead to resentment, if it's happening on a regular basis. 

I'm trying to understand, but the reasoning just isn't solid. 

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for the spouses to agree together how to spend, to set limits ... and then to use their combined money within those limits.  And if the spouses are in agreement, why all the arbitrary "your money vs. my money"?

Well, the actual processes (paying bills, etc) are presumably equally logistically "easy", since me writing a check from my account is no more or less difficult than writing a check from a joint account. What people are saying is that no, it doesn't cause resentment, and for people who prefer it it leas to a lot less stress and more happiness. It's "easier" more in a mental way to not spend brainpower on someone else's money, at least for me.

Simply put - your system would cause people like me massive amounts of stress and unhappiness. My system does not. The opposite may well be true for you.

catccc

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #176 on: March 17, 2015, 08:13:59 AM »
I get that people do this different ways, i don't care how you do it v. how we do it, but I don't like people insinuating that combined finances are for couples with trust issues, or that separate finances protects a couple from divorce.  Maybe it means that for you, but it's a blanket statement that doesn't apply to all couples.

There are lots of reasons to have combined finances, here are our personal reasons:
- we get full picture of your family's financial standing and habits
- we share finances to pay for shared expenses, and pretty much all expenses are shared (housing, kids, vacations, food, utilities.  The only thing that is not is the occasional piece of clothing, we are very different sizes...)
- if we kept separate finances he would be so poor and I would be so rich.  (He doesn't really have his "own" money, we are an almost one income family, I am the primary earner and he drops some in the bucket from low-wage, part-time work that he squeezes around his main job, which is stay-at-home-dad.)
- life is more simple for us with less accounts.

We were pretty well established when we got married at 27 & 29, but we just knew that combined is what would work better for us.

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #177 on: March 17, 2015, 08:17:04 AM »
There seems to be some emphasis from some of the separate finance folks that not seeing each others spending is indicative of adult-ness or treating each other as adults, and they equate joint accounts or shared account statements as "monitoring" the other person.  I am lost there.

Jezebel, I was in part referring to your comment:

Quote
You don't see it as problematic that people don't want their partners to see what they are spending money on?

To me, the fact that some people don't want or need to know what their partner spend money on = treating their partner as an adult who can make their own grown-up decisions. I don't really want to rehash that whole thing again, though, so truly, let's just shake hands on this and agree to disagree.

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #178 on: March 17, 2015, 08:25:22 AM »
I get that people do this different ways, i don't care how you do it v. how we do it, but I don't like people insinuating that combined finances are for couples with trust issues, or that separate finances protects a couple from divorce.  Maybe it means that for you, but it's a blanket statement that doesn't apply to all couples.

There are lots of reasons to have combined finances, here are our personal reasons:
- we get full picture of your family's financial standing and habits
- we share finances to pay for shared expenses, and pretty much all expenses are shared (housing, kids, vacations, food, utilities.  The only thing that is not is the occasional piece of clothing, we are very different sizes...)
- if we kept separate finances he would be so poor and I would be so rich.  (He doesn't really have his "own" money, we are an almost one income family, I am the primary earner and he drops some in the bucket from low-wage, part-time work that he squeezes around his main job, which is stay-at-home-dad.)
- life is more simple for us with less accounts.

We were pretty well established when we got married at 27 & 29, but we just knew that combined is what would work better for us.

Sorry Catccc, if you're referring to my comment, I don't mean to imply that all those with joint finances don't trust each other! I don't believe that's what I said. I am responding to the implications in this thread that those with separate finances are 'hiding' something from their partner and that separate finances are somehow a way for the other person to spend frivolously or act deceptively. I am trying to clear up what I see as a misunderstanding here. Personally I believe joint accounts can work very well for people, and I do understand this POV. But I don't get why having separate accounts is such a big deal, and for me it's just a matter of us being individuals in life. I would HATE for my husband to be giving me an allowance, for example, but that is just the way I am. I need to feel like I'm earning my own money, even if in reality all our assets are 50/50. I like having my independence. I'm not here to convert anyone to this way of thinking... I'm just trying to explain why it works well for us.

deborah

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #179 on: March 17, 2015, 08:49:08 AM »
We met each other early and still have separate finances. It just worked that way for us.

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #180 on: March 17, 2015, 08:56:29 AM »
...But I don't get why having separate accounts is such a big deal, and for me it's just a matter of us being individuals in life. I would HATE for my husband to be giving me an allowance, for example, but that is just the way I am. I need to feel like I'm earning my own money, even if in reality all our assets are 50/50. I like having my independence. I'm not here to convert anyone to this way of thinking... I'm just trying to explain why it works well for us.

Agree to disagree, I am with you on that. 

Curious though, why does joint accounts imply anyone getting an allowance?  In my mind, just the opposite - each person taking from the one pot as they see fit (keeping their agreed upon financial strategy in mind of course).

If all the money is going into the same pot (immediately in our case via direct deposit), there is never any concept of his/hers money.  I am the primary wage earner, but I have never, even for a second, considered it my money  - it's the family's money.  That's why seeing each other's spending is a non issue, it's just our spending.

ETA I guess can see how separate accounts is synonymous with being independent for some people, which I think can be hard for the joint account folks to understand, given that legally, a married couple is considered one financial entity, at least in the US.   
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 09:01:47 AM by jezebel »

catccc

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #181 on: March 17, 2015, 09:07:31 AM »
...But I don't get why having separate accounts is such a big deal, and for me it's just a matter of us being individuals in life. I would HATE for my husband to be giving me an allowance, for example, but that is just the way I am. I need to feel like I'm earning my own money, even if in reality all our assets are 50/50. I like having my independence. I'm not here to convert anyone to this way of thinking... I'm just trying to explain why it works well for us.

Agree to disagree, I am with you on that. 

Curious though, why does joint accounts imply anyone getting an allowance?  In my mind, just the opposite - each person taking from the one pot as they see fit (keeping their agreed upon financial strategy in mind of course).

If all the money is going into the same pot (immediately in our case via direct deposit), there is never any concept of his/hers money.  I am the primary wage earner, but I have never, even for a second, considered it my money  - it's the family's money.  That's why seeing each other's spending is a non issue, it's just our spending.

Emphasis is mine.  This is how we do it, too.  Nobody gets an allowance.  (Plus, there's no banking with negabucks,  which is what my husband "earns" for our family as a SAHD).  We just don't keep track of money as his or mine, but that doesn't mean we aren't independent people.  We are very much individuals that happen to operate smoothly together.

Morning Owl, no worries, my post wasn't aimed at you.  TL,DR all the posts...  there were several early posts that caught my attention.


morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #182 on: March 17, 2015, 09:10:04 AM »
...But I don't get why having separate accounts is such a big deal, and for me it's just a matter of us being individuals in life. I would HATE for my husband to be giving me an allowance, for example, but that is just the way I am. I need to feel like I'm earning my own money, even if in reality all our assets are 50/50. I like having my independence. I'm not here to convert anyone to this way of thinking... I'm just trying to explain why it works well for us.

Agree to disagree, I am with you on that. 

Curious though, why does joint accounts imply anyone getting an allowance?  In my mind, just the opposite - each person taking from the one pot as they see fit (keeping their agreed upon financial strategy in mind of course).

If all the money is going into the same pot (immediately in our case via direct deposit), there is never any concept of his/hers money.  I am the primary wage earner, but I have never, even for a second, considered it my money  - it's the family's money.  That's why seeing each other's spending is a non issue, it's just our spending.

OK, now I feel like you are actually asking a question vs. being judgmental. Thanks for that, seriously.

Basically for us, since he's the (much) higher earner, it would be him putting $ into an account with both of our names on it, and me withdrawing from that. So, I would see that as him giving me an allowance.

I wouldn't want to be putting money into this shared pot, because I don't earn enough, and my income is very erratic. In our case, as I previously explained, it's a tax benefit for me to be investing my own money. And yes, this all has to be accounted for in our tax returns. So it is a tax incentive for him to be paying all of our bills directly, vs. putting money into a joint account. If I were to put half of my income (or whatever percentage or dollar amount we agree upon) into a joint account then I would not have anything left over to invest. Thus he would be investing more of his own money, because I would be contributing to the bills instead, and he would be paying higher taxes on the income from his taxable investments.

Make sense?

Anyway, perhaps a takeaway from this is that everyone's situation is different, and there is no reason to get uptight and judgy about it. For some people, having separate accounts actually works better for their own situation. There's no reason to say things like "there's a problem with your marriage! Alert, alert!" just because people do things differently than you do. (And by 'you' I mean you, as well as others in this thread.)

Giro

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #183 on: March 17, 2015, 09:15:28 AM »
I have a better measure of relationship health......is he still going down on you every morning?

This is a way better measure than if you put all of your spending money into a joint pile.

:)


charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #184 on: March 17, 2015, 09:30:24 AM »

I wouldn't want to be putting money into this shared pot, because I don't earn enough, and my income is very erratic. In our case, as I previously explained, it's a tax benefit for me to be investing my own money. And yes, this all has to be accounted for in our tax returns. So it is a tax incentive for him to be paying all of our bills directly, vs. putting money into a joint account. If I were to put half of my income (or whatever percentage or dollar amount we agree upon) into a joint account then I would not have anything left over to invest. Thus he would be investing more of his own money, because I would be contributing to the bills instead, and he would be paying higher taxes on the income from his taxable investments.

Make sense?

It makes sense only in that sounds like your tax system is highly individualized even for married people.  For us, it doesn't matter how much we earn separately, all the money goes into the pot and we fund our IRAs for example, in equal amounts, from there and our tax deductions are applied to our total income as a couple.  It doesn't matter who made what money.

This is pretty fundamentally different starting point for two positions on this thread.  I believe there is more misunderstanding than judging going on than you think.

Eric

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #185 on: March 17, 2015, 10:15:05 AM »
BUT! To each their own! For us separate accounts would be a nightmare- all the shuffling money around, blah. It would be a huge annoyance to us. BUT for OTHERS, if money is something that is fought about then I can see how separate accounts are necessary to keep the peace, ha! Or simply because they prefer it that way. Who am I to judge? Do what makes everyone happy! :)

Just for your own piece of mind, that's not even really a thing.  My wife and I both work, so our employers do the shuffling, not us.  :)  It would be much more of a hassle if there was only one earner though.

What do you mean when you say your employers do the shuffling? Does the $$ one partner owes the other for bills just get automatically deposited in to the other's account? Just honestly curious! :)

I just mean that because we each receive a paycheck, we don't need to pay each other.  Neither of us care if it's "even" so there's no reconciliation at the end of the month.  She pays her designated set of bills, and I pay mine.  Whatever's left over gets funneled into investment accounts.  It doesn't really matter if she paid for all the groceries and I paid for VTSAX or the opposite, as we're combining these balances to fund our retirement.  I think we've had to transfer money between us less than 5 times over 11 years, so there is basically no shuffling at all for us. 

celticmyst08

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #186 on: March 17, 2015, 10:32:41 AM »
DH and I pool our paychecks into one pot, then transfer out a set amount of "fun money" to our separate accounts (this is where we would buy each other gifts, for the people who asked how that would be kept a secret). He makes a lot more than I do, so we felt it was easier to do it this way than try to divvy up bills in an equal way etc.

Plenty of people have separate finances, and it works fine. As long as you're communicating about money, and on a similar page, just use whatever method works best.

Posthumane

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #187 on: March 17, 2015, 02:27:38 PM »
I think some of the misunderstanding comes from people who hold the idea that when you get married you become one single functional unit, or at least you should. While this may be true for many couples, it is certainly not true for all. For many people getting married means "we are two individuals who chose to spend their lives together." I don't think this is a red flag at all, many healthy long lasting relationships are formed this way. Being two individuals, there is no need to automatically share all finances in a single pot. In fact, there is not even a requirement to be on the same page financially - if one person wants to save their pennies to invest while the other wants to have a new car to drive, they are free to organize their relationship to allow for that, as long as they're in agreement. That's the beauty of being an adult, you can do whatever you want and not follow other people's scripts.

This is coming from a Canadian perspective, so as others have mentioned, this may be part of the divide.

FiguringItOut

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #188 on: March 17, 2015, 04:37:14 PM »
When I was getting married 15 years ago, I couldn't wait to combine all finances.  I couldn't imagine that things could be any other way.

Now, that I am in the process of divorce, finances being one of the major contributing factor to it, I will never have joint finances again.  If I ever end up in the a long term relationship or marriage again, somehow it will have to be worked out that things stay separate.  I see a prenap in my future in case of second marriage too.

Mesmoiselle

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #189 on: March 17, 2015, 05:05:54 PM »
Basically, my wife is a grown woman and doesn't need or deserve an allowance. She deserves to do as she pleases with the money that she has earned, and the same goes for me. I have a goal to retire early, and yes, requisitioning her earnings and putting them first and foremost towards that goal WOULD make the process quicker. But that would be bullshit, because it wasn't money that I worked for. As long as she is meeting her obligations and not taking on debt, she can buy 100,000 Mentos to throw into her swimming pool full of Diet Coke for all the fucks I give.

Now, it so happens that she does save most of her money. Even if she didn't, this would still be the right way for us to manage our finances. The State of Virginia might view us as a single entity for tax purposes, but that doesn't mean we have ceased to be individuals.

Love

galliver

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #190 on: March 17, 2015, 06:18:12 PM »
ETA I guess can see how separate accounts is synonymous with being independent for some people, which I think can be hard for the joint account folks to understand, given that legally, a married couple is considered one financial entity, at least in the US.   

The "you are legally one entity" argument has come up several times now. But why should what the state considers legally true bear on how people organize themselves within the marriage? Even if assets are owned jointly, don't couples still allocate items (clothes, computers, etc), furniture (e.g. desk, nightstand, dresser), and cars to each other exclusively? Obviously this allocation is based on individual vs common usage based on preference or practicality (most couples can't share all clothes, cars might be optimized for different usage, etc). But couldn't the same be true of pools of money? Or of bills?

As for independence, with our setup right now (his, mine, joint for household), we can always say "well YOU can do/buy that" if we're discussing a possible joint expenditure one of us doesn't agree with. And I think that's a great type of agency for both parties to have. I wouldn't want to completely give that up upon getting married; I think many would agree with me that having a sum (whether it's $10, $100, or $1000 per month) to make decisions about with complete independence is empowering.

daymare

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #191 on: March 17, 2015, 08:32:20 PM »
I am of the opinion that having completely joint finances is a necessity - for anyone who wants to be married to me.  My husband and I have absolute respect for each other, and shared values (to an extreme degree).  The fact that I will never buy a video game (and he does) or that he will never buy a dress (and I do) is not incompatible with that.  I believe that the best way to achieve our joint goals is to combine our money, view it as entirely 'ours'.  Separate finances confuse me in the sense that it seems like a psychological trick - for instance, one poster mentioned not wanting a joint account because with her husband as the main contributor, it would feel like she was getting an allowance.  How is that in reality different from his paying all of the bills for her?

I can definitely understand why others prefer separate finances.  But for me, it was really important to be VERY aligned financially, which is what makes joint finances completely painless.  I understand that not everyone has that - I think my apprehension just comes from the fact that some other people's marriages have a foundation that differs from how I would want my marriage to be.  But what is really hilarious about all this, is that my husband and I are SUPER independent - we are way more independent than any other couple I know.  We don't have all the same friends, do plenty of things separately, have some different interests, different personalities.  He's not my better or other half - I'm my own person.  He's not my soulmate - we're just two people who are compatible and make each other happy and made a commitment.  And yet - our finances are as one.

Very much enjoying this conversation!

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #192 on: March 17, 2015, 11:06:17 PM »
Separate finances confuse me in the sense that it seems like a psychological trick - for instance, one poster mentioned not wanting a joint account because with her husband as the main contributor, it would feel like she was getting an allowance.  How is that in reality different from his paying all of the bills for her?

He doesn't pay ALL the bills -- he pays the regular household bills, like insurance, utilities, phone, etc. We have no mortgage, but when we did, I paid my fair share of that! I currently pay for our groceries, and whatever else I need. Again, it's not a psychological trick -- it's merely for convenience, and for the sake of tax efficiency and at the same time allowing me to build my own investment portfolio. I have mentioned this several times in this thread, but you folks in the US are allowed to income split, and here in Canada we are not. Having the higher earner pay the higher proportion of bills is a form of income splitting here and is quite common. The other option would be for him to hire me as an employee, but I don't actually do any work for him, as I have my own business, so that's not an option for us.

If you're unfamiliar with the term "income splitting" it essentially means pooling your incomes together and being taxed at a combined rate. It doesn't exist here, so, if one person earns 400k in Canada, and their spouse earns 10k, they are each taxed at their own individual income tax rates. If the person earning 400k has 500k in taxable investments, income from these investments will be taxed at the rate of their own income. If the person earning 10k has 500k in taxable investments, then they'll be taxed at their much lower rate. The higher earner can't just give the lower earner money to invest for themselves. If they do that, then attribution rules kick in and the higher earner still has to pay tax at their own higher rate.

I'm only explaining all this because people seem very quick to judge on this forum, without taking into consideration that people have different backgrounds, cultures and situations.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 11:16:55 PM by morning owl »

daymare

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #193 on: March 18, 2015, 08:46:05 AM »
Quote
The foundation for most marriages is not financial but love, respect, honor, trust,  etc... Having separate finances does not in any way change that foundation. Nor does having separate finances mean you are not VERY aligned financially.  Most can be just as aligned as those with joint finances. It's just a different way of doing things that works for some, and doesn't work for others, not a reflection on the character or strength of one's marriage.

You make a great point.  And I think my response was unclear - I didn't mean to imply that separate finances means you're not aligned financially with your partner.  That was more in reference to many people's statements that they don't want to see their partner spending money on X (some expense they think is stupid/unnecessary/stresses them out), and my perspective of not having this expense X that is contentious or so troubling as to be better out of sight. (Which is the impression I'm getting from some of the separate-accounts folks.)  I was pointing out that for some people, the separate finances work well because it prevents conflicts due to different values.  So my point was that I am aligned (including financially) with my spouse, and I was referencing that difference.


Quote
If you're unfamiliar with the term "income splitting" it essentially means pooling your incomes together and being taxed at a combined rate. It doesn't exist here, so, if one person earns 400k in Canada, and their spouse earns 10k, they are each taxed at their own individual income tax rates. If the person earning 400k has 500k in taxable investments, income from these investments will be taxed at the rate of their own income. If the person earning 10k has 500k in taxable investments, then they'll be taxed at their much lower rate. The higher earner can't just give the lower earner money to invest for themselves. If they do that, then attribution rules kick in and the higher earner still has to pay tax at their own higher rate.

I'm only explaining all this because people seem very quick to judge on this forum, without taking into consideration that people have different backgrounds, cultures and situations.

Ah, very interesting.  That does make sense - I'm approaching things from the perspective of a US citizen (and our tax code), so thanks for the clarification, wasn't aware. 

I think this aspect of finances is definitely one of personal comfort levels.  For instance, my partner and I are very affectionate - no gross PDA like making out in public, but lots of physical affection like holding hands, quick kisses on the cheek, hands around the waist, hugs, etc.  I have plenty of friends that don't like to have any physical affection in public with their partners (or sometimes generally with anyone).  I don't think they should change (assuming both partners are happy), I love them as they are, I understand they are different from me.  But in the back of my mind, I think about how glad I made that my relationship operates differently, and I know I would be unhappy being in a relationship with those parameters.  So I don't care what other people do in their own relationships (it doesn't affect me), I'm not trying to get them to change.  But I also fundamentally don't really relate. 

So that's where I'm coming from - not trying to judge, but also having a hard time understanding why especially people in the same position as me (married young, similar assets, similar financial attitude and values, both income earners) would make the choice to have separate assets.  Since marriage, while giving many financial and other benefits, does obligate you to your spouse in financial ways too, I wonder whether someone people create a false sense of independence when obligation is actually there.  If your spouse has CC debt, doesn't matter to an extent whether you didn't contribute and don't approve, if you're on the hook.

I think this conversation is skirting the lines of what marriage means to different people, which is fascinating.  I for one might be more inclined to live together unmarried, and draw up legal documents on my own with a lawyer (to get some of the same benefits marriage provides) than to get married, if ultimately autonomy is of major importance.  In reality it's not too realistic - there are cultural benefits being married provides, that you couldn't get with self0contracts.  I just find that a lot of the separate finance folks have views that are identical to what mine were in the committed-but-not-married stage, and that fascinates me.

TN_Steve

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #194 on: March 18, 2015, 09:27:27 AM »
I think the next thread should be on a less acrimonious topic.  I suggest:  Is one saved by works, or by Grace alone?  Or, perhaps, if there is a god, who/what is the one true god, and what does s/he~it require of us?  :-)

One comment surprised me:
...

I'm trying to figure out what the divide is here. Nobody I know in real life has joint accounts. ...

Do people actually know how their friends manage their finances?  I have no clue and (probably like most) just assume they do it the right way--i.e., the way DW and I do it!  :-)

(FWIW, we've had joint on all non-retirement accounts for 30+ years, from starving student days to dual high incomes, my SAHD years, and back to Duals.  Works for us.  Other options work for other people.  Whatever works for you and your partner is your right system.)

sheepstache

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #195 on: March 18, 2015, 09:36:10 AM »
ETA I guess can see how separate accounts is synonymous with being independent for some people, which I think can be hard for the joint account folks to understand, given that legally, a married couple is considered one financial entity, at least in the US.   

The "you are legally one entity" argument has come up several times now. But why should what the state considers legally true bear on how people organize themselves within the marriage? Even if assets are owned jointly, don't couples still allocate items (clothes, computers, etc), furniture (e.g. desk, nightstand, dresser), and cars to each other exclusively? Obviously this allocation is based on individual vs common usage based on preference or practicality (most couples can't share all clothes, cars might be optimized for different usage, etc). But couldn't the same be true of pools of money? Or of bills?

I think that's a really good point.  A lot of the arguments against separate accounts seems to come down to this idea of being considered a single economic unit by an outside perspective.  I can understand these folks might also believe that's an integral part of marriage, but it's funny that the legal definition keeps being relied on as though it's proof of that.

And anyway, I think a lot of the separate accounts types are not saying they are financially separate. They are saying they do operate as a single financial unit in the abstract, in the broad sense, they just keep separate accounts.  So the preference is a pretty superficial one.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 11:06:04 AM by sheepstache »

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #196 on: March 18, 2015, 09:51:46 AM »

Quote
I'm only explaining all this because people seem very quick to judge on this forum, without taking into consideration that people have different backgrounds, cultures and situations.

So that's where I'm coming from - not trying to judge, but also having a hard time understanding why especially people in the same position as me . . . would make the choice to have separate assets.  . . .  If your spouse has CC debt, doesn't matter to an extent whether you didn't contribute and don't approve, if you're on the hook.

I think a lot of people, on both sides of this debate, are interpreting "having a hard time understanding" as being judgmental.  As if, if we weren't all so busy judging, we would be able to understand.  Well, that's a pretty unreasonable assumption to put on internet strangers. 

Functioning as one economic unit makes the most logistical sense to us since we are both responsible for our debts and the financial future of our family unit.   Maybe you see it as absorbing an outside perspective, which I guess it is, to an extent, but it also comes from the inside, as inherent to our family unit.

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #197 on: March 18, 2015, 10:23:55 AM »

I think a lot of people, on both sides of this debate, are interpreting "having a hard time understanding" as being judgmental.  As if, if we weren't all so busy judging, we would be able to understand.  Well, that's a pretty unreasonable assumption to put on internet strangers. 


Um, I read at least 5 or 6 posts here that were basically like "in a healthy marriage people should do x, not y" or "people who keep separate accounts are headed for divorce" or "marriage counselling is in order" or "you are betraying your partner" or "separate accounts are a sign that the couple doesn't trust one another." I'd say that these types of statements are making some outrageous (and even ignorant) presumptions. To me these posts come across as judgemental rather than "trying to understand."

Nobody in an online forum can EVER know the details of someone else's situation, so it's best not to judge. I know that's an ideal that doesn't often happen on the internet, but I guess I had unrealistic expectations of mustachians on this forum as being somewhat open minded. I was wrong; no biggie.

LiseE

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #198 on: March 18, 2015, 11:40:36 AM »
We had all of our money and expenditures together in one account over the past 10 years ... not coincidentally the 10 year period that we didn't know where our money was going and it was a total mess.  After reading this article, we opened several other accounts (not all 7) and it has been such a joy. 

   -  Both our paychecks go into our main account and this is the account that our monthly bills are paid.
   -  We both take care of other monthly expenses and have our own budgets and personal checking accounts
   -  Another account for our Emergency Fund where money is transferred automatically every month from our main account
   -  A slush fund for short term saving (for house projects, vacations, camp, etc.)

http://funcheaporfree.com/2012/10/the-7-bank-accounts-every-family-should/

Heather in Ottawa

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #199 on: March 18, 2015, 05:13:33 PM »
We fall into the "too lazy to do the paperwork" camp. It would be a pain to re-do all our direct deposits, pre-authorized payments, monthly bills, and links to investment accounts. Technically, it's more like I have TWO accounts, since I handle all the online finances... I just decide which account to use to pay the various bills. And, husband seems to wind up handling most of the physical finances (like ATM deposits), so he tends to carry around both bank cards. It works well for us.