Author Topic: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?  (Read 61499 times)

daymare

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #200 on: March 18, 2015, 05:53:00 PM »
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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!  :-)

I think it's really awesome if people are so open with their friends about money that they talk about how it's managed.  I was thinking about this a lot when transitioning to being married after dating 5+ years with totally separate finances.  When I blogged about how it was going for us, I got a lot of interest and had some neat conversations.

Here's an article about finances in marriage that really resonated with me, maybe some of you will enjoy it too: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/combining-finances-marriage-wedding/

K-ice

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #201 on: April 14, 2015, 09:44:31 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 have separate and joint bank accounts. Here is how it works…

We don't really "budget" but we have the same goals and work together.

Prior to buying a house I took care of all the bills and he just said "tell me what I owe and I won’t ask questions." I split everything 50-50 coming from separate accounts. I'm frugal, he trusts me! 

We still have separate accounts and now a joint account for house expenses, mtg, insurance, and the Visa bill every month. We have a joint account for a rental property too but it pays for itself.

I have always pushed for separate accounts even though I was making about half as much as him for ~8 years. He was happy to “take care” of his GF before me and was a bit surprised I wanted to go Dutch. Maybe I am just a touch of an independent feminist. I have made slightly more the past 6 years and it is still 50-50. Even on mat leave I planned ahead and dug into my savings to keep up the 50:50.

Every month we put the same into the joint to pay the Visa, daycare, and housing expenses.
All small things are split 50-50 large things for our work are paid separately. (I get most reimbursed and he tax-deducts those expenses)  For long term goals we decided together to make large lump sum mtg payments. We did this aggressively and almost had it paid off this past Christmas.  He had enough to pay his "half" the last time it was up for renewal.  So he paid his share and I put the rest in My LoC at a great promo rate. Yeah no mortgage!! But I teased him that there will be no champagne until my half is gone too.  I am competitive so my half was just paid last week!! 
We are both frugal. No debt ever except mtg debt. He is already a MMM semi-retired before 40.

Next is a discussion of how to save &/or invest in another rental property. Long term we keep track of our net worth about twice a year.  I want to be a MMM too but I think it will take a few more years, and then I may be brave enough. When we are both full MMM I can see more merging together but I am a bit more aggressive in my investments then he is.

Our spending/saving habits are similar, any tips on when your investment strategies are different?

JLR

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #202 on: April 15, 2015, 05:20:08 AM »
We have a joint bank account and I have my own separate bank accounts. My husband doesn't have his own account. This is because we want all of our savings to be under my name as I pay no tax. Makes very Mustachian sense to me. :)

Kris

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #203 on: April 15, 2015, 06:14:49 AM »

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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.

Actually, every time I see someone on this thread say, "I'm having a hard time understanding...", I'm reminded of a conversation I had years ago with my father, who had recently found out that his brother was gay.  My dad was not overtly homophobic, but was of a generation that had virtually no exposure (that they knew of) to gay people.  He sought me out because he knew I had a fair number of gay friends. During the course of the conversation, he said that he was having a hard time understanding same-sex attraction.

"Well," I said, "fortunately for your brother, he doesn't.  And that's all that matters, isn't it?" 

ENL

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #204 on: April 15, 2015, 06:32:01 AM »
I have to admit that I have a hard time fathoming a healthy marriage where finances are managed separately.  But I assume it is likely because my parents had separate finances and growing up I witnessed so many stupid fights between them about money that it really soured me on the idea. 

Some examples: 1) they frequently chose to drive the other's car when doing errands so that the other spouse would have to pay for the gas.  2) They would argue about who's turn it was to go grocery shopping because they wanted the other one to pay that week. 3) They would get upset about going out to eat because one would only want to go someplace fancy when it wasn't their turn to pay.

I resolved to have everything in one pool when I got married and luckily it worked out well for me.  My husband and I got married fairly young, before he started his career, so it made sense to just take the few assets he had and dump them into my checking/savings accounts (which I added his name to).  He doesn't like managing money, so it allows me to take charge of our finances so he doesn't have to think about stuff like bills.  Also, it facilitated our ability to support each other in pursuing our goals and dreams. Like, when we were first married my husband didn't have a job and was actually costing large amounts of money going back to school to get a degree in a field he could be happy with. (His first degree/career choice turned out to be a HUGE mistake for him.)  During this time I was the sole breadwinner and everything went into a joint account, with an agreed-upon amount being withdrawn by each of us each month as our discretionary spending money.  Now that he is working the roles are reversed with him making all the money and me staying home to take care of our son.  I feel like we would have had a much harder time making these choices to stop working and pursue our goals if we started with the expectation that we each had to be financially self-sufficient.  There have also been very lean times where every penny counted to make sure we didn't bounce checks, so having fewer accounts to shuffle money between has made sense for us.  Lastly, we both sometimes get off-track on our budget and seeing each other's purchases helps a lot with keeping each other accountable for our spending.

However, I can recognize that this has been great for us in part because of the fact that we started doing it when we were young and the fact that we recognized from the very beginning that we would not always be a dual-income family.  Other couples have different situations than ours.  Still, I tend to recommend pooling finances to young couples getting married, especially if they eventually plan to have kids.

boarder42

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #205 on: April 15, 2015, 07:15:48 AM »
I have to admit that I have a hard time fathoming a healthy marriage where finances are managed separately.  But I assume it is likely because my parents had separate finances and growing up I witnessed so many stupid fights between them about money that it really soured me on the idea. 

Some examples: 1) they frequently chose to drive the other's car when doing errands so that the other spouse would have to pay for the gas.  2) They would argue about who's turn it was to go grocery shopping because they wanted the other one to pay that week. 3) They would get upset about going out to eat because one would only want to go someplace fancy when it wasn't their turn to pay.



1. We had the same issue - easily solved by a gas credit card we share and split the cost of - most fuel efficient car is driven
2. Groceries - same thing credit card so we split them equally
3. Going out to eat - could do a CC but we dont do this enough that its an understanding that who ever wants to go pays.

hdatontodo

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #206 on: April 15, 2015, 01:08:14 PM »
reply 2

Because my wife gets a headache when I'm doing things that require thought or action on her part. She wants to pay a fixed mortgage amount and max out her 401K and get on with watching TV.

I'm working on paying off her mortgage this year and told her I'll be putting X in her bank account and she needs to change her autopay by that amount. It's like pulling teeth to get her off Facebook for 2 mins.

I also told her that in January, after the house is paid off, that I'm not going to give her a monthly check of my 1/2 of the expenses (plus extra house principal) since she'll make enough to cover what she pays, and I'll need to build my savings back up.


MustachioedPistachio

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #207 on: April 29, 2015, 04:07:29 PM »
There are three financial categories married or thinking-about-marriage couples should consider:

  • Income
  • Expenses
  • Savings

If you and your partner's principles are in close alignment on these three things, you shouldn't have any worries - dump it all into one account, pay it all out of one account, and save in joint accounts.

Sometimes, though, that doesn't quite work out...

My wife and I agree; maximize the hell out of income and optimize tax strategy! I currently make more, but that doesn't matter, we're aligned.
My wife and I agree; cut back to the bone on ridiculous shit and 'splurge' on what adds true value. We have some trivial differences here, but for the most part we are synced.
My wife and I compromise; what to do with what's left over at the end of the month? Me - invest every drop, immediately. My wife - create a safety net, then cash cushion (yes, in addition to, like a pillow top to a mattress), then save for travel/new furniture/baby, then maybe invest, but only in something "safe".

The principles are almost completely aligned - there are just a couple of differences.

Which then leads to the mechanics of couple finances.

For us, all income goes into the same pot (our family checking account). All regular expenses (99%) go on our joint rewards credit cards. Those are then paid out of the family checking.
If I want a new gadget for my bike, I buy it with a separate CC or "my" checking account (she's still on the account, but we deem it "mine").
If she wants a new item for her wardrobe, she buys it on her separate CC or "her" checking account (again, I'm on it too). We don't monitor each other's separate accounts.
At the end of the month, we "split" control over the savings proportional to income. She can do whatever she wants with her piece, and I can do whatever I want with my piece. It works great for us!



As a sidebar, when I first discovered MMM, FIRE instantly clicked. DW, however, was NOT on board...but, after over a year of my subtlety selling FIRE, she is finally seeing the "why" and "how". She's starting to ask "when" :D

Spiffsome

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #208 on: April 29, 2015, 07:30:59 PM »
My husband and I have a pretty healthy marriage (9 years) and separate bank accounts.

The key to our success is joint goals and mutual accountability. We have an accelerated schedule for paying off the mortgage (out of my income) and saving away extra money on a set schedule (out of his income). Household bills also come out of his income. Between the accelerated mortgage and the extra savings, we're putting away about 65% of post-tax income. He can look at the mortgage payments online, and I can see the savings account the same way.

After all of the goals have been met and the household bills paid, whatever's left out of both our incomes is ours to spend however we see fit. I don't want to require his approval before I buy my yarn or books, and I don't really want to know the minutae of his spending either. As long as the goals and the bills are met first, what happens with the leftovers doesn't matter that much. If one of us is a bit short of cash one week, the other will pay whatever bills need paying. For us, the arrangement strikes a balance between working towards a shared goal and being able to pursue individual interests without having to justify it to each other.

It works largely because we can trust each other and because we have similar approaches to spending. I think under those conditions, just about any system can be made to work. If one of us suddenly developed a gambling habit, for example, our system would not work at all.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #209 on: April 29, 2015, 07:54:29 PM »
Assuming you aren't planning on getting divorced (which is sadly true, i have known multiple people go into marriages with hunches / thoughts it won't last, so they plan that way), it's just so much easier.

Both of our paychecks go into one bank account.  All of the bills and credit cards and mortgage comes out of that bank account.  From there its invested.  The only thing separate is retirement accounts, for tax purposes. 

We also have no budget and don't talk about purchases unless huge.  and manage to save 40-50%.  not bad. 

FrugalKube

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #210 on: April 29, 2015, 09:19:15 PM »
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/

Similar to what we have set up. When we were first married. It was one joint account for bills and a set amount to a joint savings. Now its everything into several accounts

Merrie

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #211 on: April 30, 2015, 04:45:05 AM »
We pool everything. We used to have separate accounts for "fun money"/"walking around money" but that's mostly gone out the window. I do miss being able to just throw $300 at him and have it go for everything until the next pay period and not have to enter 8 zillion little transactions into my spreadsheet, but I do have a better handle on what is going on this way. We are somewhat on the same page with our goals--getting better at that--he lets me handle the finances and investments since I care more strongly, and we married young & broke so we didn't bring anything significant to the marriage. And immediately after we got married I went part-time at work to go back to school and he was the breadwinner for 4 years, then we split the role of working parent after I graduated and our daughter was born, and then after he lost his job I became the breadwinner and he is a SAH parent. It's always been "our money", no matter whose name is on the pay check; we're in it together. I never even considered doing it any other way and I don't think he did either. But everyone is different, so if another couple's system works well for them, then what business is it of mine?

garion

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #212 on: April 30, 2015, 06:48:26 AM »
Pooling our money allows us both the freedom to pursue our long-term goals. My husband wants to start his own business, and my paycheck will allow him to do this without worrying about how he will eat while he builds it up. I want to go back to school in a year or two, and we will be able to live mainly on his paycheck for a few years. Then one of us may want to stay home with the kids for a period of time. I can't imagine living extravagantly and watching my husband struggle with money while he builds up a business. I can't imagine him taking fancy vacations while I'm eating Ramen as a student. That's just not how we work.

Exflyboy

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #213 on: April 30, 2015, 09:23:28 AM »
We kept ours separate for a couple of reasons.

1) My Wife didn't make much money (I made about 4X) so she felt the need to balance a checkbook every month where as mine was on autopay.
2) My Wife was not particularly on board with the principles of saving everything, consequently she tended to always blow through her salary check. This was partly due to having some large expenses such as boarding her horse at a training facility rather than bringing the damn thing home to graze on our pasture for free.

I did note that over a few years she gradually came round to my way of thinking.. It took a while, I had to lead.. not nag and cajole. Eventually she saw the light and the landline went, the $40 to $100 cell phone bill disappeared, the horse came home when the fees went to $500 a month.

Just last night she said... Ooh, I have $7000 in my bank account now, I used to have nothing.

I wouldn't say she is committed as I would like, but last years spend was about $29k for two people in a fairly high tax state with about $3k in charitable giving (plus that freaking horse) and we are FI (and partly RE'd).

It could be a lot worse!..:)

thd7t

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #214 on: April 30, 2015, 09:29:23 AM »
We are mostly integrated, but each of us takes responsibility for paying for certain things each month, approximately split 50/50.  It just keeps us both involved/engaged in finances and reduces how much each of us has to remember.

maco

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #215 on: April 30, 2015, 10:15:52 AM »
I earn a little less than double what my husband does. He feels it would be unfair for him to spend "my" money. I'd be fine with us sharing a single budget (hey, it'd be easier organizationally), but he doesn't feel comfortable with that. We each have our direct deposit setup to put a certain amount into a shared checking account to pay the bills. As the higher earner, I fund the savings account that covers home improvement. The rest, we each decide how to save, invest, or spend. Organizationally, this makes restaurants, pizza, groceries, etc. more difficult because we never really do settle up on who picked up the tab more.

Before he was saying he didn't want me judging his spending on video games and whatnot. He's changed his tune there, since he read MMM's post on clearing non-grocery purchases over $10 with the SO and we've been getting him set up with YNAB. He had just enough savings to get him through 6 months of unemployment when they happened, but rebuilding that account has been difficult, so he's willing to take more drastic measures.

Eric

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #216 on: April 30, 2015, 11:21:24 AM »
Pooling our money allows us both the freedom to pursue our long-term goals. My husband wants to start his own business, and my paycheck will allow him to do this without worrying about how he will eat while he builds it up. I want to go back to school in a year or two, and we will be able to live mainly on his paycheck for a few years. Then one of us may want to stay home with the kids for a period of time. I can't imagine living extravagantly and watching my husband struggle with money while he builds up a business. I can't imagine him taking fancy vacations while I'm eating Ramen as a student. That's just not how we work.

Why, hello strawman!  How have you been?

There are numerous posts from people with separate accounts in this thread.  Which one led you to believe that separate accounts would lead to one person living extravagantly while the other struggles?

Shane

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #217 on: April 30, 2015, 06:03:38 PM »
Twenty-one years ago when my, now, wife and I were first dating we took a 4 month trip to SE Asia together to see how we got along on the road under stress :). I can still remember standing in my living room with my future wife before we left on our trip. We were each counting stacks of $100 bills which were to be our spending money for the trip.

After we'd finished silently counting our money, my girlfriend asked me, "How much do you have?" "Five-thousand two hundred," I said. How much do you have?" She said, "Four-thousand eight hundred."

Without any hesitation, I peeled two $100 bills off the top of my stack and handed them to my girlfriend. She just looked at me and was like, "What's this for?" I said, "That's so we both start out even."

Pretty much our lives together have been like that. Whatever we have, we share. What's mine is hers, and what's hers is mine. As soon as we got married we opened a joint checking account, and just dumped whatever money we both made into that account. It never occurred to either of us to do otherwise.

When both of us were working we tended to make similar amounts of money. Some months I made a little more and some months my wife made more, but overall it's averaged out. Since we adopted our daughter in 2009 my wife has been a SAHM, so she has no outside income. But, to me, that makes no difference. I don't think of the money I make at a job or doing side hustles as "my" money. It's all ours.

It's been interesting reading through other members of this community's descriptions of how they manage their money. To me, the value of a forum like this is that we get to learn from others in the community. I can't imagine attacking or criticizing others for their personal, private decisions on how they manage finances within their marriages...

Thank you to everyone for sharing!


grsing

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Re: Why do married couples have separate bank accounts and/or "split" costs?
« Reply #218 on: April 30, 2015, 06:13:08 PM »
We have separate bank accounts, but everything is tracked together, all of the accounts are in Mint and Personal Capital, and we're authorized users on most of each other's credit cards, so we can maximize using the right card for the best rewards. There's no good reason to have separate accounts at this point aside from inertia, but it works for us just fine, so I don't really see a reason to change it. We budget so that we each get an equal amount of "fun"money as well as joint fun money; what we each make has nothing to do with that.

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[This is an odd thread-> please explain why you do x? > people explain why they do x > others refuse to accept their reasoning> rinse and repeat.]

I have separate accounts from my partner and don't see that changing any time soon, in much the same way that I won't change my name if and when we get married. It's not a sign of mistrust that I don't want to merge completely. We are pretty open about finances and money and have shared goals, if slightly different paths to get there. He earns more but has higher expenses, due to a previous marriage and children.  We each pay a utility and once a quarter I spend approximately 2 minutes entering the values into a  spreadsheet with pre-prepared calcs and it lets us know where to rebalance. It's just Not Hard so I don't understand why people think it's complicated.

charis

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I wouldn't say I thought it was hard or complicated to have separate finances, although it certainly would be more so if one spouse was not working or had no income.  For instance, my husband was a student and SAHP for a number of years.  His contribution to the household was incredibly significant to our family and my career.  All the income we have is family income, even now that he is working, and our expenses are our expenses.  Having children from a previous marriage seems like a situation where separate accounts/finances might be necessary for various reasons.

Goldielocks

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?

I am bumping this, as it is my question too.

We had one person with non driving husband on an allowance, but to me, unless the SO acknowledged poor spend habits, it is pretty demoralizing...and they can't pay the bills for the household chores...

Another mentioned a $10k seed acct that was ended back to full joint after 10 years.

For all of you strongly in the 'pro'  separate finances, how would you do it if one spouse had no income for 7+ years, and separate savings are zero after a few months?

My DH and I are 100% joint, because only I was working at first, and we were young and maybe naive.  Then never changed, except to now have tiny cash based personal allowances each month for whatever we want. Having troubles wrapping my head around the idea.

Any takers on the question?

How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]

2Birds1Stone

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How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]

I would NEVER marry someone who wasn't able to stand on their own two feet.

If AFTER the fact, something happened, job loss, health issue, etc......that is a different story.

I would never enter that arrangement where I am expected to support someone financially.

matchewed

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?

I am bumping this, as it is my question too.

We had one person with non driving husband on an allowance, but to me, unless the SO acknowledged poor spend habits, it is pretty demoralizing...and they can't pay the bills for the household chores...

Another mentioned a $10k seed acct that was ended back to full joint after 10 years.

For all of you strongly in the 'pro'  separate finances, how would you do it if one spouse had no income for 7+ years, and separate savings are zero after a few months?

My DH and I are 100% joint, because only I was working at first, and we were young and maybe naive.  Then never changed, except to now have tiny cash based personal allowances each month for whatever we want. Having troubles wrapping my head around the idea.

Any takers on the question?

How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]

Maybe the no income spouse has savings; maybe they change their strategy.

This thread has come up a million times. There are many strategies for managing finances as a couple, there is no one size fits all solution, and no particular strategy may be successful 100% of the time during the course of a single relationship. Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

For anyone looking for advice on how to manage finances in a relationship, find out what works for you and your partner, communicate openly on what isn't working and what's causing tension. Address those tensions with solutions that you both agree on.

Mic drop.

Goldielocks

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How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]

I would NEVER marry someone who wasn't able to stand on their own two feet.

If AFTER the fact, something happened, job loss, health issue, etc......that is a different story.

I would never enter that arrangement where I am expected to support someone financially.

It was his final year of school.  Thought he would graduate, then needed to repeat a few courses, but wedding plans had begun...  Oh, and see my comment. ' naive'..yep...
I made the ' potential' rationalization.   He did work for 5 years after that, then fell ill, then became SAHD, then back to school, and will be full time again this June..after 12 years... So for me for better or worse really rings true, and we think of it as ours-- most of the time..

Please keep the suggestions coming for how to split with only one income. 

Goldielocks

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?

I am bumping this, as it is my question too.

We had one person with non driving husband on an allowance, but to me, unless the SO acknowledged poor spend habits, it is pretty demoralizing...and they can't pay the bills for the household chores...

Another mentioned a $10k seed acct that was ended back to full joint after 10 years.

For all of you strongly in the 'pro'  separate finances, how would you do it if one spouse had no income for 7+ years, and separate savings are zero after a few months?

My DH and I are 100% joint, because only I was working at first, and we were young and maybe naive.  Then never changed, except to now have tiny cash based personal allowances each month for whatever we want. Having troubles wrapping my head around the idea.

Any takers on the question?

How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]

Maybe the no income spouse has savings; maybe they change their strategy.

This thread has come up a million times. There are many strategies for managing finances as a couple, there is no one size fits all solution, and no particular strategy may be successful 100% of the time during the course of a single relationship. Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

For anyone looking for advice on how to manage finances in a relationship, find out what works for you and your partner, communicate openly on what isn't working and what's causing tension. Address those tensions with solutions that you both agree on.

Mic drop.

Wow, pretty holier than thou response..

I actually want suggestions, as I have been thinking there are advantages to this for a couple, but can't figure out how to get those advantages when there is only one income.  But I am indeed a bit trapped in thinking it from my own position, so thought you and other would have a practical suggestion or two.

charis

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Maybe the no income spouse has savings; maybe they change their strategy.

This thread has come up a million times. There are many strategies for managing finances as a couple, there is no one size fits all solution, and no particular strategy may be successful 100% of the time during the course of a single relationship. Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

For anyone looking for advice on how to manage finances in a relationship, find out what works for you and your partner, communicate openly on what isn't working and what's causing tension. Address those tensions with solutions that you both agree on.

Mic drop.

Yeah, no.  This is not a response to the question.  Almost all of the separate finance households have two incomes. 

I would NEVER marry someone who wasn't able to stand on their own two feet.

If AFTER the fact, something happened, job loss, health issue, etc......that is a different story.

I would never enter that arrangement where I am expected to support someone financially.


Are you familiar with the stay at home parent thing? Or someone who is finishing or going back to school? 

matchewed

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?

I am bumping this, as it is my question too.

We had one person with non driving husband on an allowance, but to me, unless the SO acknowledged poor spend habits, it is pretty demoralizing...and they can't pay the bills for the household chores...

Another mentioned a $10k seed acct that was ended back to full joint after 10 years.

For all of you strongly in the 'pro'  separate finances, how would you do it if one spouse had no income for 7+ years, and separate savings are zero after a few months?

My DH and I are 100% joint, because only I was working at first, and we were young and maybe naive.  Then never changed, except to now have tiny cash based personal allowances each month for whatever we want. Having troubles wrapping my head around the idea.

Any takers on the question?

How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]

Maybe the no income spouse has savings; maybe they change their strategy.

This thread has come up a million times. There are many strategies for managing finances as a couple, there is no one size fits all solution, and no particular strategy may be successful 100% of the time during the course of a single relationship. Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

For anyone looking for advice on how to manage finances in a relationship, find out what works for you and your partner, communicate openly on what isn't working and what's causing tension. Address those tensions with solutions that you both agree on.

Mic drop.

Wow, pretty holier than thou response..

I actually want suggestions, as I have been thinking there are advantages to this for a couple, but can't figure out how to get those advantages when there is only one income.  But I am indeed a bit trapped in thinking it from my own position, so thought you and other would have a practical suggestion or two.

What exactly was holier than thou? Was it the part where I said that multiple methods can work? There is no one size fits all? I never said anything about my particular method of dealing with the situation but that there will be many different situations and therefore there will be many different solutions. The question itself is meaningless as it does not have any detail, just an open scenario in which any number of details could change how a couple would handle it.

Or was it that I said people get cemented into their own opinions? Which you agreed with two sentences later.

What I said was practical and is frankly the only advice you can give in such an open scenario. If there were particular couples with particular problems that they could ask specific questions then there would be more specific practical advice rather than generic practical advice.

matchewed

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Maybe the no income spouse has savings; maybe they change their strategy.

This thread has come up a million times. There are many strategies for managing finances as a couple, there is no one size fits all solution, and no particular strategy may be successful 100% of the time during the course of a single relationship. Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

For anyone looking for advice on how to manage finances in a relationship, find out what works for you and your partner, communicate openly on what isn't working and what's causing tension. Address those tensions with solutions that you both agree on.

Mic drop.

Yeah, no.  This is not a response to the question.  Almost all of the separate finance households have two incomes.

Almost all != all. How is it not a response? This is exactly what I'm talking about. You're just casually rejecting what was said without even trying to engage in it. You're not trying to understand you're trying to stay solidified in your way of thinking.

I am in that household right now. I saved money and am going to school, I have no income. However I still contribute to the household financial picture, we have separate finances though. We manage it by talking about shared expenses and being open about what we do together. But if I decide I want to buy a six pack of beer I do not have to consult her, nor do I have to hide it, nor do I have to tell her when I do so. And we've been managing just fine for the last year this way.

NICE!

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To me a good present from DH is not about the money he spent, but rather the time he spent in planning the gift and thinking about what I would like. It doesn't matter to me what "pot of money" it came from.

Also, this is a reason for one of us to get something we want, courtesy of the Gift Fund we put savings into every month. I've wanted a XBox One for awhile now and I finally get it to buy it soon because I've "banked" a few presents towards it.

Back to the OP - I think both methods can work and that it depends on the couple. DW and I share finances but a lot of that is necessity - she has virtually no income.

One of my best friends was a staunch advocate of separate finances for the longest time. He and his wife have been married for almost 10 years now and he's told me that since they had their kid a few years ago, the finances have drifted more and more towards the shared model. He says he's pretty sure that's where they'll end up and he's fine with that.

Sol - I remember GRS and JD, but I never put those two thoughts together. Are you sure that's why he wanted to split them, or is that intuition?

charis

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I am in that household right now. I saved money and am going to school, I have no income. However I still contribute to the household financial picture, we have separate finances though. We manage it by talking about shared expenses and being open about what we do together. But if I decide I want to buy a six pack of beer I do not have to consult her, nor do I have to hide it, nor do I have to tell her when I do so. And we've been managing just fine for the last year this way.

Are you buying beer, and/ or paying for half the bills, with your savings?  This is what people are asking about.  Not the theory, the practice.  Others on this thread have said that if a spouse lost their job, etc, they would be expected to pay for things out of their savings.

matchewed

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I am in that household right now. I saved money and am going to school, I have no income. However I still contribute to the household financial picture, we have separate finances though. We manage it by talking about shared expenses and being open about what we do together. But if I decide I want to buy a six pack of beer I do not have to consult her, nor do I have to hide it, nor do I have to tell her when I do so. And we've been managing just fine for the last year this way.

Are you buying beer, and/ or paying for half the bills, with your savings?  This is what people are asking about.  Not the theory, the practice.  Others on this thread have said that if a spouse lost their job, etc, they would be expected to pay for things out of their savings.

Bolded for emphasis.

There are many ways to do it. How I've done it is one way. The practice depends on the details of each persons particulars. When it is left as a general question like "what if a spouse lost a job, etc.?" then you will get a general answer like. "I don't know, they'll work it out by talking and finding a strategy that works for their particular circumstances." Which is the same thing I've said in the last three posts which has been ignored for some reason in lieu of asking the same question.

charis

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I am in that household right now. I saved money and am going to school, I have no income. However I still contribute to the household financial picture, we have separate finances though. We manage it by talking about shared expenses and being open about what we do together. But if I decide I want to buy a six pack of beer I do not have to consult her, nor do I have to hide it, nor do I have to tell her when I do so. And we've been managing just fine for the last year this way.

Are you buying beer, and/ or paying for half the bills, with your savings?  This is what people are asking about.  Not the theory, the practice.  Others on this thread have said that if a spouse lost their job, etc, they would be expected to pay for things out of their savings.

Bolded for emphasis.

There are many ways to do it. How I've done it is one way. The practice depends on the details of each persons particulars. When it is left as a general question like "what if a spouse lost a job, etc.?" then you will get a general answer like. "I don't know, they'll work it out by talking and finding a strategy that works for their particular circumstances." Which is the same thing I've said in the last three posts which has been ignored for some reason in lieu of asking the same question.

Is that a yes? You are paying for half of the household expenses out of your savings while you are a student? I must have missed where you previously answered that question.

matchewed

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I am in that household right now. I saved money and am going to school, I have no income. However I still contribute to the household financial picture, we have separate finances though. We manage it by talking about shared expenses and being open about what we do together. But if I decide I want to buy a six pack of beer I do not have to consult her, nor do I have to hide it, nor do I have to tell her when I do so. And we've been managing just fine for the last year this way.

Are you buying beer, and/ or paying for half the bills, with your savings?  This is what people are asking about.  Not the theory, the practice.  Others on this thread have said that if a spouse lost their job, etc, they would be expected to pay for things out of their savings.

Bolded for emphasis.

There are many ways to do it. How I've done it is one way. The practice depends on the details of each persons particulars. When it is left as a general question like "what if a spouse lost a job, etc.?" then you will get a general answer like. "I don't know, they'll work it out by talking and finding a strategy that works for their particular circumstances." Which is the same thing I've said in the last three posts which has been ignored for some reason in lieu of asking the same question.

Is that a yes? You are paying for half of the household expenses out of your savings while you are a student? I must have missed where you previously answered that question.

Yes. Saying I saved money to pay for stuff while I'm in school means I use my savings to pay for stuff while I'm in school.

2Birds1Stone

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Are you familiar with the stay at home parent thing? Or someone who is finishing or going back to school?

I am, however not applicable to me. I have no interest in kids.

Goldielocks

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?
I am bumping this, as it is my question too.
.....
Any takers on the question?
How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]
This thread has come up a million times. ..... Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

Wow, pretty holier than thou response..
.....
What exactly was holier than thou?

I have shortened the thread above for clarity...   The bolded part is the portion I found "holier than thou"

I am not trying to uncement anyone's ideas, but learn more.  You claim in strong language that I can not consider anything but my own opinion. 
Then you did not attempt to answer a specific, practical, question.

Why do I say this?
...  because my opinion and experience is that I generally see marriage = joint money. period., but realize by reading this thread that joint "family" money can be spread across multiple accounts with various levels of controls and assignment to individuals....
   
...  I find other's primary arguments against separate accounts -- re: hiding one's finances by using split accounts -- sounds reasonable, but is actually egregious, as even with entirely joint accounts I can quickly think of four ways to hide money or spending from my spouse.

Lastly, the unanswered question is this, maybe others can help if I provide specifics:

I have a spouse that has been SAHD / Out of work for many years, not entirely his fault.  (Illness, moving for my work, desire for SAHP).   Any separated savings he may or may not have had has since been absorbed into one of the home purchases, or used to pay cash for a family car.  Like others, we did not change the financial arrangements we had set up in our early 20's, for us, that is joint everything.

I would like some of the advantages of separate accounts, (for both of us, namely independent planning and control purposes, like FI for the saver while the other spends) but I see three not-great methods:

1) Give him an allowance for personal spend, but he can "look not touch" what is in my account, which is used to pay for everything, by my making the payments directly.   Seems like a bad idea from a human nature "teamwork" standpoint, a bit like treating him like my 15 y.o.. 

2) Split my pay in two, and divide it into two accounts, and pretend it just "magically appears" for both of us. Divide expenses in half.  -- This seems artificial, but what are the other reasons against this?   Does anyone do this with two incomes -- e.g., have the total income split, so identical money is placed into each person's account?  Why wouldn't this work well, do you think...?  or Would it be likely to?

3) Create a big joint account with all the income, feeding two identical, tiny personal accounts -- but wait, this is what we have now, except the personal accounts amount to $250/month "cash" envelopes, for clothes, lunches, gifts, school courses & books, phone plan upgrades, donations, or whatever...  seems to be the same to me as one joint account, with more overhead.  I must admit, I do like the allowances, as we just started them about 18 months ago and there are many many advantages to having money for yourself.


So - any takers?  what other good options have I missed, and can you point out problems with 1) and 2).??



KMMK

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Goldilocks, in that situation I'd pay all joint bills from the breadwinner's account and then put half of the remainder into the other person's account to invest or spend as they wish.

matchewed

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?
I am bumping this, as it is my question too.
.....
Any takers on the question?
How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?[\b]
This thread has come up a million times. ..... Those who "cannot fathom" a thing are openly admitting to not being able to consider anything but their own personal opinion on the matter. You are then not looking to fathom the thing, but to cement your personal opinion.

Anyone who may be interested in trying to uncement that position is wasting their breath.

Wow, pretty holier than thou response..
.....
What exactly was holier than thou?

I have shortened the thread above for clarity...   The bolded part is the portion I found "holier than thou"

Fine, you see that as me saying it doesn't happen to me as well for some reason, whatever, think what you will.

I am not trying to uncement anyone's ideas, but learn more.  You claim in strong language that I can not consider anything but my own opinion. 
Then you did not attempt to answer a specific, practical, question.
Specific in a general way? Practical...? Really? Let's revisit the question again. I believe it was phrased as "How does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?" or "How do you split finances if one spouse does not have income?" those are practical and specific in your opinion...

Cool if you view those questions that way, fine. But then my answer being that those questions are actually very open and general and therefore deserve an open and general answer isn't wrong or incorrect just that you don't see it as being general. You see some sort of specifics in those questions that I don't. If a friend were to ask you that question wouldn't you probe a bit more for detail before answering? Or do you have quick practical and specific answers to open general questions?

Why do I say this?
...  because my opinion and experience is that I generally see marriage = joint money. period., but realize by reading this thread that joint "family" money can be spread across multiple accounts with various levels of controls and assignment to individuals....
   
...  I find other's primary arguments against separate accounts -- re: hiding one's finances by using split accounts -- sounds reasonable, but is actually egregious, as even with entirely joint accounts I can quickly think of four ways to hide money or spending from my spouse.

Lastly, the unanswered question is this, maybe others can help if I provide specifics:

Finally...

I have a spouse that has been SAHD / Out of work for many years, not entirely his fault.  (Illness, moving for my work, desire for SAHP).   Any separated savings he may or may not have had has since been absorbed into one of the home purchases, or used to pay cash for a family car.  Like others, we did not change the financial arrangements we had set up in our early 20's, for us, that is joint everything.

I would like some of the advantages of separate accounts, (for both of us, namely independent planning and control purposes, like FI for the saver while the other spends) but I see three not-great methods:

1) Give him an allowance for personal spend, but he can "look not touch" what is in my account, which is used to pay for everything, by my making the payments directly.   Seems like a bad idea from a human nature "teamwork" standpoint, a bit like treating him like my 15 y.o.. 

2) Split my pay in two, and divide it into two accounts, and pretend it just "magically appears" for both of us. Divide expenses in half.  -- This seems artificial, but what are the other reasons against this?   Does anyone do this with two incomes -- e.g., have the total income split, so identical money is placed into each person's account?  Why wouldn't this work well, do you think...?  or Would it be likely to?

3) Create a big joint account with all the income, feeding two identical, tiny personal accounts -- but wait, this is what we have now, except the personal accounts amount to $250/month "cash" envelopes, for clothes, lunches, gifts, school courses & books, phone plan upgrades, donations, or whatever...  seems to be the same to me as one joint account, with more overhead.  I must admit, I do like the allowances, as we just started them about 18 months ago and there are many many advantages to having money for yourself.

So - any takers?  what other good options have I missed, and can you point out problems with 1) and 2).??

Actually I see problems with all three. You're talking about it from your side of things. My only advice for your situation would be to engage your DH and come up with a solution together. You can by all means propose during that conversation as some sort of start point(s) to work from.

#1 might work where you have a relationship with someone who sucks at their spending skill. It definitely wouldn't with someone who might see it as controlling.

#2 is just a flip of #1. Depends on your partner and their spending skills.

#3 seems to be somewhat of a middle ground. And seems to work fine if both partners have good spending skills and have agreed on it.

Thank you for providing specifics. I hope it all works out well for you and your spouse.

Merrie

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We did #3 for a while and it worked fairly well. We've gone back though to using the joint card for everything and just having an understanding that we'll talk through anything frivolous. I rarely buy anything frivolous and he's getting a lot better.

caliq

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So how does separate accounts work when one parent is stay at home and not bringing in any income?
We had one person with non driving husband on an allowance, but to me, unless the SO acknowledged poor spend habits, it is pretty demoralizing...and they can't pay the bills for the household chores...

Umm I'm pretty sure this is directed at me and honestly it's a bit judgmental and rude.  My husband isn't on an 'allowance,' doesn't have poor spending habits, and he's perfectly capable of paying bills.  And we're perfectly able to pay for our household needs, so I'm not sure where you got that idea.  Both of our names are on all of the accounts I am about to mention, and we both have full, open access to our online banking and Mint.  We don't put our spending on credit cards, for family history reasons (on his side, but I fully respect where he's coming from).  Because of that, we have a fairly complicated system of checking accounts, but it works well for us and trust me, my husband is not demoralized (at least, not any more than the fact that he's under 30 with a life long disability that prevents him from driving and working naturally demoralizes him).  We consider ourselves to have joint finances, and consider all incoming money to be 'ours.'

We have everything on autopay, as I said in my original post.  So, I have elected to have a 'bill paying' account for those withdrawals -- that way I can keep less of a buffer than if we also did our household spending from that account.

He has a "separate" spending account for 'fun' things, and I have a "separate" spending account for my fun things and household spending.  I say separate because there is only one debit card for each of these accounts, and he carries "his" and I carry "mine," but again, they are actually joint accounts.  The household spending comes out of my account because, again, my husband is medically banned from driving and literally never does household shopping without me.   If he had to, for some reason, he has a debit card linked to the bill paying account, which consistently has a buffer of $500-1000, which should be more than enough to cover a short term emergency.  Or, he can access mobile banking on his phone and transfer whatever amount he pleases into whatever account he pleases.  Because, again, he's not on some sort of restricted allowance. 

The only reason we have it set up like this is to avoid overdrafts that might occur, because I prefer to keep a low buffer in our checking accounts.  If we didn't have the separate accounts for various purposes, he would insist on a 2-5k buffer in the general checking account (which is how he did things before we combined finances).  Having that much sitting around doing nothing is semi-annoying to me, so we worked out a compromise. 

I'm the kind of person that likes for everything to have it's place and designated purpose, and being able to portion out our budget into it's individual little buckets on the 1st of every month is very satisfying to me.  It has absolutely nothing to do with my husband's spending habits, or personal responsibility, and is not an 'allowance' or 'demoralizing.' 

So yeah, I agree with your general view on joint finances, but I'm not really thrilled with what you got out of my initial explanation of our situation. 

Goldielocks

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Sorry Caliq!  I completely misread your earlier post.

galliver

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I would like some of the advantages of separate accounts, (for both of us, namely independent planning and control purposes, like FI for the saver while the other spends) but I see three not-great methods:

1) Give him an allowance for personal spend, but he can "look not touch" what is in my account, which is used to pay for everything, by my making the payments directly.   Seems like a bad idea from a human nature "teamwork" standpoint, a bit like treating him like my 15 y.o.. 

2) Split my pay in two, and divide it into two accounts, and pretend it just "magically appears" for both of us. Divide expenses in half.  -- This seems artificial, but what are the other reasons against this?   Does anyone do this with two incomes -- e.g., have the total income split, so identical money is placed into each person's account?  Why wouldn't this work well, do you think...?  or Would it be likely to?

3) Create a big joint account with all the income, feeding two identical, tiny personal accounts -- but wait, this is what we have now, except the personal accounts amount to $250/month "cash" envelopes, for clothes, lunches, gifts, school courses & books, phone plan upgrades, donations, or whatever...  seems to be the same to me as one joint account, with more overhead.  I must admit, I do like the allowances, as we just started them about 18 months ago and there are many many advantages to having money for yourself.

I think it's possible to set up one income to simulate two separate income streams and then set up separate finances. But no one said it would be efficient or logical. Maybe you set it up so you pay each other back. Or one pays some bills while the other pays the other. It would, after all, work. And maybe for some people it would give them a sense of empowerment or control over the situation. But you're saying it doesn't make sense to you (those bills have to get paid anyway, so money is going from the initial stream to those bills eventually anyways, regardless of the path to get there). And if you're saying that, it probably means that system isn't right for you. And that's fine, too! Why set something up that feels complicated, cumbersome, and fake rather than empowering and liberating?

Sounds like the best bet for you is to pay these relatively fixed household expenses out of one account, and split the rest. Then your discretionary incomes, which aren't spoken for by rent/mortgage, car insurance, utilities, and groceries, are separate and you have complete power over them individually. And you aren't adding steps that seem convoluted and illogical *to you* to your process of paying the basic bills. And it's hard to get upset over the amount in this situation unlike an arbitrary amount, because it's literally half of what's available. Which it's my personal opinion is pretty fair for a stay at home parent...not mooching, but their fair share of the family's funds earned by the work they do and enable their spouse/partner to do.

By the  by, I have no idea how this evolves in terms of achieving FIRE. If EarnerSaverSpouse builds up a stash and SAH-SpenderSpouse spends all of theirs, doesn't quite seem fair for EarnerSpouse to be forced to keep earning twice as long, does it? Which is probably why many families in this situation long-term go for joint finances. But if it's a temporary situation, and/or they have the potential to return to work eventually, it might be a good interim setup, for certain couples.

caliq

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Sorry Caliq!  I completely misread your earlier post.

Thanks for apologizing :)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 04:22:05 PM by caliq »

ender

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Sorry Caliq!  I completely misread your earlier post.

Thanks for apologizing :)

You guys are doing it wrong, you're supposed to escalate and get more and more angry with each other until the thread gets locked after lots of insults/trolling/etc.

What's this "being nice" thing all about... ;)

JustTrying

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My husband and I do separate checking and merged savings. We do this because he's self-employed and refuses to get a business checking account, and it would be too anxiety-provoking for me to see our checking account bouncing up and down. I know that a lot of mustachians get really upset about separate accounts, but I think that if both partners are happy, then you're doing fine!

use2betrix

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My gf of 3 years and I have separate accounts. We may merge them after marriage but not too sure.

I have 3 rewards credit cards, all with her name attached to the account and she has a card for them.

I make around 4x what she does, so I cover the bulk expenses, and have more bulk expenses personally. She gives me $200/wk and that covers everything.. Insurance, phones, rent, groceries, gym membership, etc. I find it to be pretty fair, she drives my 2nd vehicle. She had one her parents gave her that was falling apart, so I bought a reliable 99 Camry for her to use.

If we take a week off for vacation or something, I don't have her give me the $200 as I'm salary and she is not, so she doesn't get paid those weeks.

We do split when we go out to eat sometimes, or occasionally bigger ticket items (new bed, new tv) etc.

2Birds1Stone

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My gf of 3 years and I have separate accounts. We may merge them after marriage but not too sure.

I have 3 rewards credit cards, all with her name attached to the account and she has a card for them.

I make around 4x what she does, so I cover the bulk expenses, and have more bulk expenses personally. She gives me $200/wk and that covers everything.. Insurance, phones, rent, groceries, gym membership, etc. I find it to be pretty fair, she drives my 2nd vehicle. She had one her parents gave her that was falling apart, so I bought a reliable 99 Camry for her to use.

If we take a week off for vacation or something, I don't have her give me the $200 as I'm salary and she is not, so she doesn't get paid those weeks.

We do split when we go out to eat sometimes, or occasionally bigger ticket items (new bed, new tv) etc.

Damn I nee to find myself a sugar momma like this.

Damn  ne