Author Topic: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?  (Read 61374 times)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #100 on: March 16, 2015, 12:18:47 PM »
What really irks me about this thread and the conversation we're having here is that people who are so against a married couple having separate finances aren't really curious at all to understand why and how this can work for some people. They're not really here to learn or to understand. It seems like these people are here to make themselves feel superior, and to prove that their way is the right way.

Look, if you really want to understand how people can have trusting, communicative relationships, then that's one thing -- and people here are trying to explain it to you. But please don't come in here and pretend to be curious while immediately slamming other people for their decisions. I'm not really fond of answering pretend, judgy questions that are thinly disguised as curiosity. You're ruining it for those who might actually have been interested in how people arrange their lives with separate finances, such as (I assume) the OP. Don't drag the thread through your own need to 'prove' yourself superior. It's a waste of everybody's time and energy.

Standing and clapping after reading this post.   You nailed it.   

Cromacster

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #101 on: March 16, 2015, 12:30:12 PM »
Now I'm trolling?  Several posters have commented that they, or people they know, don't have joint accounts because they don't want their spending to be judged by their (financial) partners.  I specifically said that I would have a problem with this in my relationship.  And no, I still don't understand why it isn't a problem. 

The problem with your arguments is that you have been speaking in absolutes.  In your main argument you even underlined an absolutist statement for emphasis.  Your other main argument is against keeping financial details secrets or hiding spending...which I do not believe anyone has advocated for nor claimed they do this (please correct me if I am wrong).

Clarification:  The reason this seems like trolling is because you seem to believe that your way is the only correct way and have almost entirely refused to acknowledge that there are different ways to handle things other than a few relatively dismissive statements.  In my opinion.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 12:37:22 PM by Cromacster »

Giro

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #102 on: March 16, 2015, 12:34:27 PM »
What really irks me about this thread and the conversation we're having here is that people who are so against a married couple having separate finances aren't really curious at all to understand why and how this can work for some people. They're not really here to learn or to understand. It seems like these people are here to make themselves feel superior, and to prove that their way is the right way.

Look, if you really want to understand how people can have trusting, communicative relationships, then that's one thing -- and people here are trying to explain it to you. But please don't come in here and pretend to be curious while immediately slamming other people for their decisions. I'm not really fond of answering pretend, judgy questions that are thinly disguised as curiosity. You're ruining it for those who might actually have been interested in how people arrange their lives with separate finances, such as (I assume) the OP. Don't drag the thread through your own need to 'prove' yourself superior. It's a waste of everybody's time and energy.

Standing and clapping after reading this post.   You nailed it.

+1

Chuck

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #103 on: March 16, 2015, 12:35:41 PM »

In the event that she loses her job, she will continue to pay her bills from her savings.  If those are exhausted, absorbing her expenses temporarily would be trivial to me.

And this is baffling to me.  Your wife loses her job and even though her expenses are trivial to you, she has to continue to pay them out of her (separate) savings?  It appears that I am too dense to continue this conversation and should just bow out of this thread.
Cash savings exist for several reasons. One of them is to serve as a substitute for lost income. There is no reason for me to pay my wife's expenses if she can afford to do so herself.

Your wanton judgement of others in this thread is unnecessary and unwelcome. Perhaps it's best that you DO leave.

RunHappy

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #104 on: March 16, 2015, 12:39:19 PM »
What really irks me about this thread and the conversation we're having here is that people who are so against a married couple having separate finances aren't really curious at all to understand why and how this can work for some people. They're not really here to learn or to understand. It seems like these people are here to make themselves feel superior, and to prove that their way is the right way.

Look, if you really want to understand how people can have trusting, communicative relationships, then that's one thing -- and people here are trying to explain it to you. But please don't come in here and pretend to be curious while immediately slamming other people for their decisions. I'm not really fond of answering pretend, judgy questions that are thinly disguised as curiosity. You're ruining it for those who might actually have been interested in how people arrange their lives with separate finances, such as (I assume) the OP. Don't drag the thread through your own need to 'prove' yourself superior. It's a waste of everybody's time and energy.

Standing and clapping after reading this post.   You nailed it.

+1
+2

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #105 on: March 16, 2015, 12:41:11 PM »
Here is what works for us.  Background, we met in college and married right after so we started our professional lives together.  We had joint everything for years.  Then we realized what worked better for us is to have almost joint everything but to each also have a small checking account where we deposit a monthly allowance from our joint account to spend however we wish.  We also put cash gifts received into those fun accounts.  Now there is no judging of each other's fun spending.  We exclude those accounts from Mint too.  So, we see the money go off of our main account as a "transfer to spending" but we don't see where it goes from there.  These are generally small sums though and I don't think either of our accounts has ever made it over $1000.

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #106 on: March 16, 2015, 01:00:59 PM »

In the event that she loses her job, she will continue to pay her bills from her savings.  If those are exhausted, absorbing her expenses temporarily would be trivial to me.

And this is baffling to me.  Your wife loses her job and even though her expenses are trivial to you, she has to continue to pay them out of her (separate) savings?  It appears that I am too dense to continue this conversation and should just bow out of this thread.
Cash savings exist for several reasons. One of them is to serve as a substitute for lost income. There is no reason for me to pay my wife's expenses if she can afford to do so herself.

Your wanton judgement of others in this thread is unnecessary and unwelcome. Perhaps it's best that you DO leave.

No reason? How about that she is your wife?  Why would she need dip into her savings if you can easily absorb the expenses?

Many of the post regarding separate accounts involves shielding spending from one's partner to some extent - these are all examples:

"I can't imagine all the money being in one pot and the arguments that would come from each judging the other's expenditures."

"If my wife needs to buy some new clothes she can do so without guilt, and same for me."

"Having things separate has prevented resentment"

"Separate finance means zero "can we afford this" conversations. It doesn't mean you don't value your SO or wouldn't do things for them, or wouldn't even split all the bills, it's just that it creates a buffer for avoiding arguments."

"In hindsight, the separate money should have been a major red flag for me to have left the relationship 15 years before I did. At a deep level we never fully trusted each other nor was a team who had each other's backs."

"Because we are in different places, financially. I have a job making 4x what she does, and a mortgage that preceded our marriage. She has a desire to be independent and unaccountable to me for what she spends."

"The "separate" part means that we can't see what the other person is spending mad money on and can't pass judgment."

"We have different risk tolerance, different spending values, and she is not as gung ho about FIRE as I am. I want her to feel no pressure to have to do what I think is best. I don't want to have to justify myself either."

"We have different comfort levels for things like minimum chequing account balances, and would judge the hell out of each other's spending."

"I have several friends who have joint accounts. One or the other is constantly making comments about how the other spends.  She thinks its wasteful for him to spend money on unnecessary car modifications, he thinks its unnecessary for her to spend money on yoga classes.  Both equal the same amount of money, but since it comes out of the joint account there is a lot of judging."

"not having eyes on one another's money prevents us from scrutinizing small purchases."

"I wanted the separate accounts because I think she spends money like crazy."

"Now there is no judging of each other's fun spending."
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 01:20:37 PM by jezebel »

Chuck

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #107 on: March 16, 2015, 01:12:44 PM »
I don't even understand the point you're trying to make.

galliver

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #108 on: March 16, 2015, 01:14:03 PM »
Now I'm trolling?  Several posters have commented that they, or people they know, don't have joint accounts because they don't want their spending to be judged by their (financial) partners.  I specifically said that I would have a problem with this in my relationship.  And no, I still don't understand why it isn't a problem. 

We all know our partners poop. Most of us don't go into the bathroom to watch them. Crude? Yes. But I think it makes the point that just because you know something is happening ($$ being spent on a hobby,  etc) doesn't mean you want to see it regularly in your financial picture. And your partner may not want to see yours. Not because it's a secret, but because it's unsightly to you. Your relationship might be different. Some couples hang out in the bathroom together, I hear, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a matter of comfort level. It's about what does or doesn't *emotionally* bother you even if you've accepted it *mentally*. There is a difference.

Personally, I would find it a huge hassle to split expenses 50/50 without a joint account. To me, that is the more straightforward method; my bf and I opened a joint checking acct when we moved in that we contribute equally to and then use to pay expenses. It took us 5 mins to set up. We both come from families that merged finances and expect to do so once we get married, barring perhaps some amount of personal/discretionary spending.

However, I acknowledge that others may feel differently. They might be more comfortable splitting up bills to find an equitable distribution; they may not feel that changing an existing system is worth the effort; pooling their money might make them feel powerless/trapped due to things in their past(s) or just their personality, so they opt for separate accounts to preserve their sense of independence at a comfortable level. Jezebel, you and I might not choose to do it this way...which is why these people are with each other and we are with our partners that share our outlooks on finances.

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #109 on: March 16, 2015, 01:29:19 PM »
Jezebel, are you not hearing all the people you are quoting above ALSO saying that they are happy with their setup? Some of us like to live in blissful ignorance that our partner has just purchased yoga classes or expensive peanut butter or what have you. These things are trivial and not really important to a relationship.

However, if my partner was HIDING seriously important things from me (which none of the above posters have even remotely described their situation as) then there may be something to talk about in the marriage. Like if my partner secretly owed the mob a million dollars, I might be a little upset. If they spent 100$ on a hockey ticket even though I hate hockey, then why would I want to bother myself with this triviality? Who cares.

In other words... Nowhere in the posts above are people talking about actual deception. For some strange reason you are intent on twisting this around. I suggest you go back to your idea of leaving the thread, since you do not seem to be able to listen very clearly to what people are saying here.

I admit... I too thought of bathroom behaviour as an analogy :) I don't need to see a written report of my husbands bowel movements. It doesn't mean he is hiding something from me.

Kris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #110 on: March 16, 2015, 01:31:54 PM »
The question was, why do they decide to do that?

And think that was answered too.  Mostly for convenience.  Sometimes for laziness.  And the remainder because of complicated financial situations that can occur in a 2nd marriage. 

Trying to make this subject seem like it's some reflection of the strength of the partnership is silly.  Lots of people do things lots of different ways.  There's no one right answer.  Joint accounts seem like a lot of extra work to me/us, so we just never got around to it.  And yet we have a wonderful marriage.  It's a miracle!

+1

waltworks

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #111 on: March 16, 2015, 01:36:50 PM »
I think there are really just 2 kinds of relationships being described here. Both are romantic partnerships but some people just keep money separate from that, for a variety of reasons (it sounds like comfort is the main driver here, with many folks just uncomfortable with the idea of sharing money with anyone.)

Others feel that now they're on the same "team", there is no point pretending that the money is separate - since presumably if your spouse needed money for some good reason, you would pay for whatever it was that was needed anyway, and I believe legally your spouse's debts are often yours anyway. There is probably an efficiency argument to be made but IMO it probably isn't going to save much time or money either way.

Separate finances, as others have pointed out, will always be something of a pretense, at least in the US, since legally lots of assets/debts are considered to be owned jointly regardless of whose name is on the bank account.

I am *guessing* that couples with children generally just combine finances and younger couples and older couples in second+ marriages don't as much. But maybe I'm wrong about that.

Both ways work, though if the OP's description of a couple arguing over paying for dinner is accurate, I'd bet against that marriage!

-W

jeromedawg

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #112 on: March 16, 2015, 01:44:47 PM »
We have separate accounts but I also have a ton of different accounts all over the place too. So two more from my wife (when we got married) isn't really a big deal. Sure it makes tracking things kinda painful but whatever. We each have access into all our accounts and most of them are joint anyway. It would be nice to eventually combine everything into a single account but we're a bit lazy, and it's not really a priority to us anyway.

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #113 on: March 16, 2015, 02:03:29 PM »
Jezebel, are you not hearing all the people you are quoting above ALSO saying that they are happy with their setup? Some of us like to live in blissful ignorance that our partner has just purchased yoga classes or expensive peanut butter or what have you. These things are trivial and not really important to a relationship.

However, if my partner was HIDING seriously important things from me (which none of the above posters have even remotely described their situation as) then there may be something to talk about in the marriage. Like if my partner secretly owed the mob a million dollars, I might be a little upset. If they spent 100$ on a hockey ticket even though I hate hockey, then why would I want to bother myself with this triviality? Who cares.

In other words... Nowhere in the posts above are people talking about actual deception. For some strange reason you are intent on twisting this around. I suggest you go back to your idea of leaving the thread, since you do not seem to be able to listen very clearly to what people are saying here.

I admit... I too thought of bathroom behaviour as an analogy :) I don't need to see a written report of my husbands bowel movements. It doesn't mean he is hiding something from me.

Obviously people are happy with that set up or they wouldn't do it.  And I don't recall saying anything about deception.  If willful ignorance is a good descriptor, so be it.  From the perspective of a someone who is married and trying to achieve FI, which is why I, and many others, are on this site to begin with, it seems counter productive at best. 

It's funny how many people are saying they don't want/need see their partner's spending, especially for this forum.  One could see where the confusion lies.

madamwitty

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #114 on: March 16, 2015, 02:13:00 PM »
Try not to conflate separate bank accounts (topic title) and separate finances (no visibility into each other's finances)
Yes, there are definitely a couple concepts getting mixed up in here. I personally am mostly interested in the discussion of separate finances. (DH and I have a couple low dollar value individual accounts left over from before the marriage so I "get" the laziness factor [ETA: i.e. One of the oft quoted reasons for having separate accounts]).

What I am hearing is that separate finances does not necessarily mean no visibility. Instead it sounds like separate finances is more defined by a sense of "his money/her money". Would others agree? In some cases, even though the "ownership" of money is separate, it doesn't sound like most would leave their SO out to dry if the SO runs out of money.

For those who consider themselves to have "separate finances", do you consider you and your SO to have separate net worth? If so, how do you feel that results in a different marriage dynamic (or not) compared to having joint finances?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 02:18:01 PM by madamwitty »

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #115 on: March 16, 2015, 02:14:30 PM »
Jezebel, are you not hearing all the people you are quoting above ALSO saying that they are happy with their setup? Some of us like to live in blissful ignorance that our partner has just purchased yoga classes or expensive peanut butter or what have you. These things are trivial and not really important to a relationship.

However, if my partner was HIDING seriously important things from me (which none of the above posters have even remotely described their situation as) then there may be something to talk about in the marriage. Like if my partner secretly owed the mob a million dollars, I might be a little upset. If they spent 100$ on a hockey ticket even though I hate hockey, then why would I want to bother myself with this triviality? Who cares.

In other words... Nowhere in the posts above are people talking about actual deception. For some strange reason you are intent on twisting this around. I suggest you go back to your idea of leaving the thread, since you do not seem to be able to listen very clearly to what people are saying here.

I admit... I too thought of bathroom behaviour as an analogy :) I don't need to see a written report of my husbands bowel movements. It doesn't mean he is hiding something from me.

Obviously people are happy with that set up or they wouldn't do it.  And I don't recall saying anything about deception.  If willful ignorance is a good descriptor, so be it.  From the perspective of a someone who is married and trying to achieve FI, which is why I, and many others, are on this site to begin with, it seems counter productive at best. 

It's funny how many people are saying they don't want/need see their partner's spending, especially for this forum.  One could see where the confusion lies.

Ok, then I have absolutely no idea what point you are trying to make in your post above, where you have quoted other people's comments.

As someone else said, as long as we are meeting our savings goals, I don't care whether DH is buying three ply or two ply toilet paper. It's the big picture that matters.

Again, we don't all have to think exactly the same way. I'm not sure why you are obsessing over whether or not people choose to share the minutiae with each other in THEIR OWN RELATIONSHIPS.

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #116 on: March 16, 2015, 02:18:02 PM »
If feeling strongly enough about a position to post about it on an internet forum qualifies as an obsession, well, we're all in trouble.

Zikoris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #117 on: March 16, 2015, 02:21:53 PM »
Try not to conflate separate bank accounts (topic title) and separate finances (no visibility into each other's finances)
Yes, there are definitely a couple concepts getting mixed up in here. I personally am mostly interested in the discussion of separate finances. (DH and I have a couple low dollar value individual accounts left over from before the marriage so I "get" the laziness factor [ETA: i.e. One of the oft quoted reasons for having separate accounts]).

What I am hearing is that separate finances does not necessarily mean no visibility. Instead it sounds like separate finances is more defined by a sense of "his money/her money". Would others agree? In some cases, even though the "ownership" of money is separate, it doesn't sound like most would leave their SO out to dry if the SO runs out of money.

For those who consider themselves to have "separate finances", do you consider you and your SO to have separate net worth? If so, how do you feel that results in a different marriage dynamic (or not) compared to having joint finances?

We look at net worth both individually and combined. Because we like to celebrate milestones with cookies, and doing it that way results in more cookies.

madamwitty

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #118 on: March 16, 2015, 02:24:09 PM »
We look at net worth both individually and combined. Because we like to celebrate milestones with cookies, and doing it that way results in more cookies.

Haha, nice!

Cromacster

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #119 on: March 16, 2015, 02:26:58 PM »
Obviously people are happy with that set up or they wouldn't do it.  And I don't recall saying anything about deception.  If willful ignorance is a good descriptor, so be it.  From the perspective of a someone who is married and trying to achieve FI, which is why I, and many others, are on this site to begin with, it seems counter productive at best.

I am married and trying to achieve FI.  My SO and I discuss our goals.  We agree on what we need to save and how we can reach those goals.  I could not tell you how much she spent or what she bought this month.  I could tell you how much she invested and saved.  Any scrutiny beyond this is just splitting hairs in my opinion.  The details don't matter if we are achieving our goal.  Just because you can't visualize how this would work how is it counter productive...at best?

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #120 on: March 16, 2015, 02:27:56 PM »
If feeling strongly enough about a position to post about it on an internet forum qualifies as an obsession, well, we're all in trouble.

By "obsessing" I meant taking the time to go through all the posts of a thread and copying and pasting 20 or so lines from other people's comments with no discernable point to make.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #121 on: March 16, 2015, 02:28:57 PM »
Try not to conflate separate bank accounts (topic title) and separate finances (no visibility into each other's finances)
Yes, there are definitely a couple concepts getting mixed up in here. I personally am mostly interested in the discussion of separate finances. (DH and I have a couple low dollar value individual accounts left over from before the marriage so I "get" the laziness factor [ETA: i.e. One of the oft quoted reasons for having separate accounts]).

What I am hearing is that separate finances does not necessarily mean no visibility. Instead it sounds like separate finances is more defined by a sense of "his money/her money". Would others agree? In some cases, even though the "ownership" of money is separate, it doesn't sound like most would leave their SO out to dry if the SO runs out of money.

For those who consider themselves to have "separate finances", do you consider you and your SO to have separate net worth? If so, how do you feel that results in a different marriage dynamic (or not) compared to having joint finances?

Not married but same boat as Zikoris. SO and I have been together for over 4 years. We have very different incomes, FIRE goals, and risk tolerance. We keep separate finances for these fundamental reasons. If she doesn't want to pay off her student loans or rush to FIRE, while I do everything from trimming any and all fat from my budget and doing side work on the weekends to increase savings rate as much as possible. Why would I want to combine finances? I think my SO would cringe at the idea of my AA, and I cringe at hers. I know if we just pooled our money together I would be wondering why I am putting in so much effort to hit FIRE asap while she takes a slower and more relaxed view. I just don't see the benefit of it.

That being said, if something happened and she needed help. I would help her without even thinking about it. I pay for many of our entertainment expenses, travel etc by choice.

morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #122 on: March 16, 2015, 02:40:26 PM »
Try not to conflate separate bank accounts (topic title) and separate finances (no visibility into each other's finances)
Yes, there are definitely a couple concepts getting mixed up in here. I personally am mostly interested in the discussion of separate finances. (DH and I have a couple low dollar value individual accounts left over from before the marriage so I "get" the laziness factor [ETA: i.e. One of the oft quoted reasons for having separate accounts]).

What I am hearing is that separate finances does not necessarily mean no visibility. Instead it sounds like separate finances is more defined by a sense of "his money/her money". Would others agree? In some cases, even though the "ownership" of money is separate, it doesn't sound like most would leave their SO out to dry if the SO runs out of money.

For those who consider themselves to have "separate finances", do you consider you and your SO to have separate net worth? If so, how do you feel that results in a different marriage dynamic (or not) compared to having joint finances?

First of all, thank you for asking these questions and for trying to understand without being judgmental! I had no idea this issue was so unusual for some people, or that it could be so contentious.

In our case, I'm not sure if you'd say we have separate finances or not. We have separate bank accounts, but we consider our money to be "ours." We track our net worth jointly. At the beginning of each month DH hands me his account balance totals and I tally up our NW in Excel. I also track our combined dividend income, which is what we plan on living on in retirement.

DH pays for most of the bills, since he is the higher earner. Our house is jointly owned and we both contribute to the household in our own ways, and ways that we see as equitable. We talk a lot about our finances and our future plans, and we both dream of retiring early. We're both on track to do this, which is exciting and motivating for us.

If one of us were to lose our jobs, the other would cover the expenses. Were on the same page about savings goals, life goals, and spending habits, and we both hate debt, and avoid it like the plague. So overall there are no conflicts around money. We married later in life after having established our own lives, so joint finances never really seemed necessary.

I'm liking the idea of celebrating net worth goals with a cookie :) I might adopt this idea, too!

MrsPete

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #123 on: March 16, 2015, 02:51:16 PM »
I don't understand this.  If you are married, you both have financial responsibility for everything and all financial decisions should be joint decisions. 
Yes.  If my husband decides to go buy a new 100K vehicle on a whim, then he doesn't pay for it, I am going to be hurt financially as well.  Doesn't matter how we've allotted our accounts. 

The real issue is making sure you and your spouse are on the same page financially ... so that neither of you will do anything ridiculous as my above example.  Side note:  I'm amazed occasionally when my co-workers say something about NEVER having really discussed money with their spouses.  How can that be? 
It's not really splitting the cost either, it's just picking which account to pull from. We use YNAB so it's all one big fund anyways. If we're making a big purchase, we just take from whichever account has more money in it. We don't care about where it's coming from for any other reason than convenience.
Sounds like more work than is necessary.  We've always had one checking account between us, and we pay everything from that.  We do have multiple savings and investment accounts, but only one "outgoing account", and we both pay into it.

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? 
While I agree with your statement that couples need to be on the same page financially, this statement bugs me quite a bit.  Do you suggest I comb over everything my wife spends to see what she is spending money on...and her mine?
No, it just means that early in the marriage you should agree upon rough guidelines -- and stick to them.  For example, my husband doesn't want to know that I just bought my girls some spring clothes, but he does care that I buy only what's necessary and look for value in my purchases.  We've long ago established "our comfort level".

When we were younger, we talked more frequently about money.  Now it's just sort of melded into a sixth sense, which we share. 
  • Funny anecdote, an employee of mine complained to no end when the company decided to stop cutting paychecks.  You had to choose between direct deposit or a pay card.  Seems he liked to keep a few bucks for himself after cashing the check as his wife had pretty tight purse-strings.
Yep, I can tell a similar story:  Years ago we used to have our paychecks directly deposited ... but we got a twice-yearly bonus, which was delivered to us in the form of a check.  When that changed and EVERYTHING went to direct deposit, a BUNCH of employees were ENRAGED for just the reason you stated.  They weren't 'fessing up to their spouses that those twice-yearly bonuses existed.  It seems to me that dividing things up into little "yours and mine" stacks can lead to this type of deception. 
Cash savings exist for several reasons. One of them is to serve as a substitute for lost income. There is no reason for me to pay my wife's expenses if she can afford to do so herself.
What I don't get is, Why are they your wife's expenses?  Why isn't everything a family expense?  When we were first married, I went back to school for a year, then I stayed home with the kids for a while -- I still needed to eat, still needed the occasional item of clothing, still needed a haircut now and then.  We pay our older child's college tuition out of our shared short-term savings account, which is technically from my paycheck -- but educating her is OUR shared responsibility.  Our needs are OUR needs, not something that we keep separate. 
However, if my partner was HIDING seriously important things from me (which none of the above posters have even remotely described their situation as) then there may be something to talk about in the marriage. Like if my partner secretly owed the mob a million dollars, I might be a little upset. If they spent 100$ on a hockey ticket even though I hate hockey, then why would I want to bother myself with this triviality? Who cares.
I agree that I wouldn't care if my husband bought a $100 hockey ticket occasionally; however, if he bought a 2K season pass, I'd be put out.  I didn't 'specially think he needed to buy another shot gun recently, but it wasn't tremendously expensive, and he did mention it ahead of time.  He might not be thrilled with what I spent on a new bathing suit recently, but it does fit into the overall clothing budget, and I won't buy much else in the way of clothing this summer.  However, these things aren't really about separate finances vs. shared finances -- they're more about having SHARED GOALS.  As I said earlier, when we were younger and first married, we established our personal boundaries for spending /saving /investing /retirement, and we've both kept to them -- the vast majority of the time. 

I think overall keeping money separated INCREASES THE CHANCES that "hiding" could take place. 
And I think keeping money separated DECREASES THE CHANCES of having shared goals. 

Sharing one's money with a spouse is kind of like having an accountability partner. 
Others feel that now they're on the same "team", there is no point pretending that the money is separate - since presumably if your spouse needed money for some good reason, you would pay for whatever it was that was needed anyway, and I believe legally your spouse's debts are often yours anyway.
Yes, I can relate to that description.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 02:54:12 PM by MrsPete »

CheapskateWife

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #124 on: March 16, 2015, 02:53:06 PM »
We all know our partners poop. Most of us don't go into the bathroom to watch them. Crude? Yes. But I think it makes the point that just because you know something is happening ($$ being spent on a hobby,  etc) doesn't mean you want to see it regularly in your financial picture. And your partner may not want to see yours. Not because it's a secret, but because it's unsightly to you. Your relationship might be different. Some couples hang out in the bathroom together, I hear, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a matter of comfort level. It's about what does or doesn't *emotionally* bother you even if you've accepted it *mentally*. There is a difference.

+1000   We did this finally for DH's vehicle restoration projects....it was driving me mad and since it came out of our joint account, there was never really a good reason to limit him that didn't make me seem/feel like a controlling shrew.  In the end, I was resentful as hell about having to be the responsible one telling him, no, we can't afford a bigger engine to replace your perfectly good engine.  Strife abounded.  Now he has a personal account to which a certain portion of our takehome pay goes into.  That is his to play with, and I don't have to see the bleeding.   Seriously, it really helped me just chill the heck out about the whole thing.

DH and I had a joint account in the beginning and separate personal accounts so we could both ease into the financial trust issues.  Yes, we both had previously controlling spouses (mine wouldn't let me spend anything, his would spend it all before he could get off work)  That worked for us for a little while and then it just got easier to have one joint account.  The deal is we transitioned when we both felt comfortable with it.  For us it took a year, but maybe other folks take longer.  Maybe some don't need that at all.

Some people end up in arranged marriages and do just great.  Others marry their high school sweetheart.  There is no one right way to get this life right.  We all have our own ways, and the best couples give eachother that room to figure it out.

MrsPete

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #125 on: March 16, 2015, 02:56:23 PM »
+1000   We did this finally for DH's vehicle restoration projects....it was driving me mad and since it came out of our joint account, there was never really a good reason to limit him that didn't make me seem/feel like a controlling shrew.  In the end, I was resentful as hell about having to be the responsible one telling him, no, we can't afford a bigger engine to replace your perfectly good engine.  Strife abounded.  Now he has a personal account to which a certain portion of our takehome pay goes into.  That is his to play with, and I don't have to see the bleeding.   Seriously, it really helped me just chill the heck out about the whole thing.
In the end, how is this different from setting a budget for his expensive hobby /paying it out of a family account? 

neo von retorch

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #126 on: March 16, 2015, 02:56:45 PM »
"Now there is no judging of each other's fun spending."

In my opinion, in a good marriage, whether accounts are joint or separate, major purchases are agreed upon, because the major values overlap. Fun money is where differences in minor values could cause unnecessary strife if it was coming from the shared pot without agreement. To word it differently, you agree that you have "differences in minor spending values" and you agree to have reasonably equivalent fun money accounts so that you don't have to agree on every small purchase.

If the money is coming directly out of a shared account, it might be "judged" because of differences in minor values (i.e. clothes shopping, small gadgets, coffee, beer, books, etc.) These minor values do not need to be shared for a marriage to be solid.

charis

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #127 on: March 16, 2015, 02:57:36 PM »
If feeling strongly enough about a position to post about it on an internet forum qualifies as an obsession, well, we're all in trouble.

By "obsessing" I meant taking the time to go through all the posts of a thread and copying and pasting 20 or so lines from other people's comments with no discernable point to make.

Whether you understand the point or not, my post was in direct response to someone asking where people have advocating hiding spending.  It is still hiding, whether you agree to it or not.  My point now, just to be clear, is that it is laughable that people are criticizing me out for disagreeing with what they have likened to protecting their partner from their spending habits, at risk of judgment, on MMM.  But you have made your point.  Some people do it, and they will continue to.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 03:00:06 PM by jezebel »

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #128 on: March 16, 2015, 03:05:29 PM »
+1000   We did this finally for DH's vehicle restoration projects....it was driving me mad and since it came out of our joint account, there was never really a good reason to limit him that didn't make me seem/feel like a controlling shrew.  In the end, I was resentful as hell about having to be the responsible one telling him, no, we can't afford a bigger engine to replace your perfectly good engine.  Strife abounded.  Now he has a personal account to which a certain portion of our takehome pay goes into.  That is his to play with, and I don't have to see the bleeding.   Seriously, it really helped me just chill the heck out about the whole thing.
In the end, how is this different from setting a budget for his expensive hobby /paying it out of a family account?

It's not different at all...but to continue the metaphor I was quoting, he gets to poop all he wants, I just don't have to watch.

Posthumane

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #129 on: March 16, 2015, 04:24:55 PM »
I got a laugh out of the posters who were saying that people *should* do it one way and not the other, and that separate finances are a road to divorce/betrayal after all the examples of people who have separate finances and are happily married (some for 30+ years).

Separate accounts and separate finances do not mean that there is no trust in a relationship. In fact, as already mentioned, they require more trust in some ways. I don't look to see exactly what the SO spends on what, I just trust that she is doing it in a way that won't cause any harm. We keep separate finances because we have different income and spending levels, different risk tolerance, different hobbies, etc. When I go through my accounts, I don't want to see a bunch of transactions for shoes and makeup and art supplies and other things she likes, and she doesn't care to see how much airplane insurance or a new transceiver cost. Those are things the we each choose to spend on individually and don't need to be accountable for to the other partner. The joint expenses are shared such as food and mortgage, but we do that quite easily without having a joint account. We also know that if one person lost their income the other would be fine because the housing and food costs would be covered by the other partner.

Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

sol

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #130 on: March 16, 2015, 04:59:21 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that 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.

My marriage has certain expectations for how we will each behave, and we both value accountability for our actions whether they are or are not in line with expectations.  If I wanted to sleep around or buy a sailboat, my wife needs to either approve of it or we need to revisit our plan.  One partner can't just go around breaching your mutual expectations without there eventually being some kind of fallout.

To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Kris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #131 on: March 16, 2015, 05:42:01 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that 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.

My marriage has certain expectations for how we will each behave, and we both value accountability for our actions whether they are or are not in line with expectations.  If I wanted to sleep around or buy a sailboat, my wife needs to either approve of it or we need to revisit our plan.  One partner can't just go around breaching your mutual expectations without there eventually being some kind of fallout.

To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Let's change the analogy to farting, then.

My DH, God bless him, farts like a champ.  I can hear him, sometimes I can smell him.  I know he's doing it, he doesn't hide it.  We even laugh about it when he lets one rip.

And you know what? Me, too. I think it's fair to say that we are fart tolerant in our house.

But my husband doesn't feel the need to shove my face into his butt when he farts.  I'm aware he's doing it, but I don't need to inhale all the molecules to get the general idea.

We have figured out a relationship to farts, and spending, that we are both 100% comfortable with.  And there are people on this thread who are trying to shove my schnozz into my husband's (metaphorical) butt.  When we have already negotiated that for ourselves.

What is that about, exactly?

sol

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #132 on: March 16, 2015, 05:51:34 PM »
If your marital dynamic is that neither of you care about wasteful spending, that's totally fine.  It's just a weird situation to defend on the MMM forums.

Zikoris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #133 on: March 16, 2015, 05:52:57 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that 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.

My marriage has certain expectations for how we will each behave, and we both value accountability for our actions whether they are or are not in line with expectations.  If I wanted to sleep around or buy a sailboat, my wife needs to either approve of it or we need to revisit our plan.  One partner can't just go around breaching your mutual expectations without there eventually being some kind of fallout.

To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Me buying a soda once in awhile is not a betrayal of commitment to my relationship. My boyfriend does not sneak around buying video games behind my back. Neither of those things harms our long term goals or relationship. We just don't want to pay for each other's personal choices, and would resent it if we were through joint accounts.

Nothing sneaky, no betrayal, no harm. It works for us. Clearly it would not work for you, and there's nothing wrong with that, but please recognize that it works very well for many of us, where your system would not.

galliver

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #134 on: March 16, 2015, 05:55:36 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that 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.

My marriage has certain expectations for how we will each behave, and we both value accountability for our actions whether they are or are not in line with expectations.  If I wanted to sleep around or buy a sailboat, my wife needs to either approve of it or we need to revisit our plan.  One partner can't just go around breaching your mutual expectations without there eventually being some kind of fallout.

To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

So you've found the point where the analogy breaks down; most analogies do. Although, I think there's a perspective from which it's still pretty valid. Maybe the $X discretionary personal spending isn't a necessity for life, but it may be necessary for each person in the couple to achieve comfort level Y; but the actual expenses for each person may vary and may annoy the other, even if they have agreed to it. Agreement doesn't always equate to being 100%  emotionally committed to the plan. It can be a compromise and a statement that the health of the relationship and happiness of the partner is more important than the amount of money in question. Thus, the expense can still be irritating to see on a regular basis.

If you don't like the comparison to pooping, how about this: a couple decides they'll only spend 3 hrs/week watching TV, for their health. But they each have a 1 hr show that the other detests (or even is simply bored to tears by). So they each have an hour of TV time that they take alone, and then have a joint movie night together. They aren't *hiding* anything. They aren't *betraying* anything. Their partner knows what they're doing, and that it's important *to them*. But they don't have to participate, they don't need intimate awareness of the details.

Eric

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #135 on: March 16, 2015, 05:58:03 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that 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.

My marriage has certain expectations for how we will each behave, and we both value accountability for our actions whether they are or are not in line with expectations.  If I wanted to sleep around or buy a sailboat, my wife needs to either approve of it or we need to revisit our plan.  One partner can't just go around breaching your mutual expectations without there eventually being some kind of fallout.

To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Give it up Sol.  Spending from separate accounts instead of a joint account doesn't make that spending frivolous, anymore than spending from a joint account automatically makes every purchase an absolute necessity.

For the record, I poop with the door open.

waltworks

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #136 on: March 16, 2015, 06:09:09 PM »
I don't think that there is much middle ground here, folks. If you think money is *intensely* private, so much so that you make an analogy to bodily functions... you are not going to convince someone who feels money is just a fungible shared resource. The reverse is also true.

-W

kib

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #137 on: March 16, 2015, 06:15:31 PM »
I didn't read everything but I have a slightly different answer from what I've seen.  I'm big on FI.  I'm big on wall charts and projected crossovers and monitoring progress - and now that I've been FI for years, making sure I maintain that status.  My spouse is none of these things.  Which is fine with me and fine with him, but being "an accountant" is very much a part of what I am and what I do and, frankly, a part of my self esteem and my identity is rooted in walking the talk of MMM-style values and seeing the progress of my choices.  This is an area in which my DH's behavior would seriously impinge on my own goals, so why would I intentionally set up a situation that would make us miserable?

Zikoris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #138 on: March 16, 2015, 06:18:42 PM »
I don't think that there is much middle ground here, folks. If you think money is *intensely* private, so much so that you make an analogy to bodily functions... you are not going to convince someone who feels money is just a fungible shared resource. The reverse is also true.

-W

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".

Kris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #139 on: March 16, 2015, 06:23:32 PM »
I don't think that there is much middle ground here, folks. If you think money is *intensely* private, so much so that you make an analogy to bodily functions... you are not going to convince someone who feels money is just a fungible shared resource. The reverse is also true.

-W

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".

This.

waltworks

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #140 on: March 16, 2015, 06:27:28 PM »
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?

Like I said, totally different conceptions of money and/or marriage here.

-W

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".

Frugalite

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #141 on: March 16, 2015, 06:32:18 PM »
My husband an I have always had joint accounts. Who makes what doesn't matter, it is all in the same pot, all going toward the same goal. We never feel "guilty" about buying things because we are both on the same page with frugality so the tiny splurge here and there is never an issue.

For example, my husband would never second guess even if I came home with a whole bag of new clothes because A) he knows I must have needed them since I never buy new things without a good reason and B.) because he knows I got a hellava deal on those clothes because full price is not something I pay. :)

We briefly discuss any out-of-the norm purchases just to let the other know. It is extremely rare for us to disagree on a purchase.

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! :)


sheepstache

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #142 on: March 16, 2015, 06:39:22 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that it assumes frivolous spending is something everyone does, and must do, and should do.
<snip>
To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Oh my goodness. The perils of debate on the internet. Disproving the analogy does not disprove the argument. The analogy is not the argument, it's a way to convey it. It's never perfect; in this case, nobody intended to convey anything about necessity or shamefulness of the acts. Indeed, the point is that you might desire privacy even in the absence of these things. But fair enough, that is why it doesn't help make you comfortable with the idea.


As a practical matter, am I the only one who "reconciles" their books by just glancing at the bank's website once a week or so? It's a hell of a lot easier to see if there are any fraudulent or erroneous charges if I only need to check for my own transactions. Once another person's expenses are on there, I'd need to check in with him about every one of them. For couples with different schedules, this is hardly how you want to spend your limited time together.

Plus, some people have different comfort levels with buffer. I would rather max out money in my interest-earning accounts and keep a low buffer in the non-interest one. My SO, however, has a ton more transactions and is terrible about mentally keeping track of his balance when he's out and about so he wants a really big buffer. Even once you agree on the ideal buffer, having another person have real-time affect on the account balance just introduces more possibility for error.

Plus, we each have an account with the same credit union because the maximum balance for high interest is $5k, so with two accounts we get $10k. Since you have to meet a minimum of ATM transactions to qualify for high interest, it would be better if we could do it as one account, but it doesn't work that way.

edit: It didn't give me the normal red warning of death when other people have replied in the meantime; other people already covered the analogy thing.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 06:43:50 PM by sheepstache »

Eric

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #143 on: March 16, 2015, 06:50:13 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.

ender

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #144 on: March 16, 2015, 06:53:21 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?


morning owl

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #145 on: March 16, 2015, 06:55:38 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that 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.

My marriage has certain expectations for how we will each behave, and we both value accountability for our actions whether they are or are not in line with expectations.  If I wanted to sleep around or buy a sailboat, my wife needs to either approve of it or we need to revisit our plan.  One partner can't just go around breaching your mutual expectations without there eventually being some kind of fallout.

To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Oh man, this is getting ridiculous.

It's hilarious that you have interpreted "as long as we trust each other and meet our shared savings goals, I don't care what he / she spends money on" as "married people with separate accounts only spend frivolously, are betraying their life goals as a married couple, and should not be on this forum, and furthermore, need to get a divorce ASAP." Bravo. Thanks for the entertainment tonight :)

galliver

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #146 on: March 16, 2015, 06:58:29 PM »
Another +1 to the pooping metaphor, I was going to mention the exact same thing.

The problem with the pooping metaphor is that it assumes frivolous spending is something everyone does, and must do, and should do.
<snip>
To me saying that private spending is like pooping sounds too much like you're hiding your shame.  If you're both okay with being two-faced about it, that different from saying it's not an issue.

Oh my goodness. The perils of debate on the internet. Disproving the analogy does not disprove the argument. The analogy is not the argument, it's a way to convey it. It's never perfect; in this case, nobody intended to convey anything about necessity or shamefulness of the acts. Indeed, the point is that you might desire privacy even in the absence of these things. But fair enough, that is why it doesn't help make you comfortable with the idea.

[...]

edit: It didn't give me the normal red warning of death when other people have replied in the meantime; other people already covered the analogy thing.

I liked how you said it. Especially the bolded bit. :)

studentdoc2

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #147 on: March 16, 2015, 07:03:33 PM »
I just wanted to chime in to say I have mad respect for all you people with separate accounts/finances who have found a partner they can trust to organize her/his finances in a parallel and complementing fashion to your own. It's a cool idea to me to retain some of that autonomy while in a relationship and yet still working in a mutual fashion towards the same end point. When I met my partner at 31, he had no retirement savings and a checking account balance that hovered around $0 (to be fair, also no debt other than a reasonable student loan debt). For some, I could see that causing warning bells and making separate finances a must. But actually, that told us that he sucks at money and that joint account (with a tiny stipend shuffled off to our personal accounts monthly) was a way for me to make sure we save and spend appropriately and for him to no longer have to deal with something that bored him to tears (and it's worked out great so far! Spending way down and savings way up). If we had the same talent/desire to budget and plan, though, I can see how separate accounts/finances would let us feel like we could apply our talents to the situation.

daverobev

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #148 on: March 16, 2015, 07:47:13 PM »
I find it surprising that so many keep separate accounts. When you get married, unless there is a prenuptial agreement, legally all assets are shared 50-50. It doesn't matter who makes more, or who has more debt, if a divorce happened, it's going 50-50. Most expenses are shared, why complicate things by having separate accounts? I could see each person having a main account where everything is deposited, and then having a small amount withdrawn into two separate accounts for free spending if that is a concern, but other than that it seems to make everything more complicated.

And to the presents comment, if each person is working, each are contributing money, so I don't see how it becomes less special if it's from a shared account, the spouse is still using hard earned money to give something thoughtful.

Exactly! Thank you for saying this. This is my feeling for having separate accounts -- no matter who pays the bills, everything would be split 50/50 in a divorce, anyways.

We each have our own investment accounts, because they are registered. DH pays into my TFSA and he pays most of the bills so that I can invest my income in a taxable account. It's a form of income splitting, as a workaround. If he were to give me money to invest in my name, in a taxable account, then he would be taxed himself at his higher tax rate, as per attribution rules in Canada. If he pays all the bills and allows me to invest my own income, then I pay taxes at my lower rater. For us, it works. As you say, the money is shared, anyway. But since we are not legally allowed to do income splitting as a married couple with no kids and very different incomes, this is what works best for us financially.

Whatever works, people! Different strokes.

Canada isn't the US, though; your money is yours, there are rules regarding paying into other people's TFSAs, you file individually, etc.

Frugalite

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #149 on: March 16, 2015, 07:47:22 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! :)

As far as worrying about the transactions going over the limit- I pretty much head our finances, and am also the one doing most of the spending so I know when things are about to come out of the account. (I do most of the spending because I do all the grocery/toiletries shopping because I am a crazy coupon lady and am a rock star at shopping, lol.) Husband is not put out about either of these because he feels he gets the better end of the deal not having to do either of these things, ha! He has full access to our accounts, of course.

Splitting our finances would be difficult because technically I make more money....but only because I get a bonus from MY employer for taking HIS insurance. Weird, eh? Having all the moo-la in one place is easier. For US. For others it is easier to keep the $$ separate, I am sure. Sounds like it works for a lot of people. I honestly never knew so many did it this way. Learn something new everyday!