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mndsm
mndsm PowerDork
8/9/13 6:58 p.m.

I have to disagree with the joint finances thing. My wife is TERRIBLE with money. I can't begin to count how many times she's ruined her checkbook and I have to clean it up. We both knew this going into the relationship. The solution? I manage everything. Hell now I even tell her how much she has to work to cover bills and when to take a day off. I know it sounds like I'm basically running a slave operation here, but this is how it works with us. When I was still employed, I basically ran all the finances. Up until I quit my job altogether, I was the primary breadwinner in the house. I made sure that she paid as much of her half of the bills as possible. Sometimes she had extra, sometimes she didn't. I always had extra. I knew I wasn't going to count on her for long term finances, so I started hiding cash. It's not that I don't trust her, it's just that she is quite literally TERRIBLE with money- so I'm better off with her not knowing how much I have hiding. My long term goal was/is to try and teach her the ways of managing her accounts, this was a miserable failure. We've both agreed that I handle the finances, she brings them home. Hell, I threatened to get a part time gig the other day so I could buy more go fast parts (and to hide more cash) and she wanted nothing to do with it. I realize my arrangement is EXCEEDINGLY rare, but I'm not going to argue with it. She wants me to drink, to not work, to get into shenanigans, and in return I have to clean some, manage bills, make dinner, and watch our kid. I call that a win.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
8/9/13 7:12 p.m.
OHSCrifle wrote: It's not a competition, it's a joint effort. Go all in together, or don't even bother. Separate accounts just mean you want to hide something.. If you and a spouse cannot have an honest conversation about purchases, don't marry.

It's not about hiding stuff. It's about an easy way to budget individual discretionary spending. I like having multiple accounts for myself. Makes it easier to break up money and keep track of how much is being spent on what (savings, emergency fund, general expenses). I definitely see us each having some sort of individual account even if it is a way to budget for things just for one of us like me racing or her buying pajamas.

Good discussion topic pre-marriage, definitely.

That's why we're talking about it now!

mndsm
mndsm PowerDork
8/9/13 7:16 p.m.
Beer Baron wrote:
OHSCrifle wrote: It's not a competition, it's a joint effort. Go all in together, or don't even bother. Separate accounts just mean you want to hide something.. If you and a spouse cannot have an honest conversation about purchases, don't marry.

It's not about hiding stuff. It's about an easy way to budget individual discretionary spending. I like having multiple accounts for myself. Makes it easier to break up money and keep track of how much is being spent on what (savings, emergency fund, general expenses). I definitely see us each having some sort of individual account even if it is a way to budget for things just for one of us like me racing or her buying pajamas.

Good discussion topic pre-marriage, definitely.

That's why we're talking about it now!

Why buy something that's just going to end up balled up on the floor?

Mr_Estrotica
Mr_Estrotica Reader
8/9/13 7:22 p.m.

I'm in much the same scenario as you, but with the tables turned. We're a DINK household, engaged, with a decent amount of income for a couple of slackers in their mid-to-late-20's. She has debt, I have a savings account.

We opened a joint account the day we moved in together. At first it was just a mutual place to put money for bills, but now it's where the paychecks go. I make just shy of twice as much as she. We dole out a weekly stipend (which is a much more adult term than allowance). My stipend is bigger than her's by a number than we came up out after seeking help from a Gypsy Widow, reading tea leaves, and the difference in income. Money brought in from working overtime goes into our personal accounts, or at least it's supposed to...

It's far from a perfect system. I have far less disposable income than I did this time last year, but we are saving towards a future, or a big blowout with hookers and blow, or a future with hookers and blow.

The biggest thing, to me, is to clearly define what expenses get included into joint spending, and what comes from your personal account. The biggest issue I have with the way things are set up for us right now is that when her much more expensive to maintain vehicle needs parts or labor it comes from the joint, but since I'm an "enthusiast" and I "like" working on cars, it's comes from my personal account.

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose Reader
8/9/13 8:13 p.m.


Crisis averted.

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi Dork
8/9/13 8:25 p.m.

You guys all know how to use a computer; get a free version of money and break out every bill you have and when it is due then divide it by however often you get paid. When a check comes in you deposit it and allocate the money in the program to different things based on your budget. Boom, whatever is left you transfer to savings or to a discretionary spending or you find out that there is nothing left which sucks a little bit.

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 Dork
8/9/13 8:37 p.m.
Cone_Junky wrote: But for the first 8-10 years of our relationship/marriage we had a joint account and both had personal checking/savings accounts. We divided the joint account based on earned wages, so it was like a 60/40 split. All other income went in to our personal accounts, but would be used occasionally to fill gaps in our joint expenses. I loved it. I felt like I paid my share of expenses and I could buy toys with my money in any way I like. If she wanted a nice piece of furniture (just like your SWMBO), it came from her account. I only get reminded monthly that the $2K dining room table is "hers".

We do this. I have my acct. she has hers, and we have a joint. We added up our incomes and worked out who made what % then split the bills by that %, then added a few bucks more for a cushion/savings. That keeps us both with some personal money. She buys all the home decor stuff she wants, and I get race car parts. If we need to buy something large we either dip into the extra in joint of split is 50/50 out of our personal.

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 Dork
8/9/13 8:40 p.m.

In reply to mndsm:

I found you this t-shirt. I think you'll like it.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
8/9/13 8:42 p.m.

I have to say threads like these surprise me. With such an "open" community there sure is only ONE WAY to go about things, or "why even bother."

Not exactly the response I was expecting.

Oh well. No skin off my back.

Secretariata
Secretariata HalfDork
8/9/13 8:49 p.m.

Different strokes for different folks...

Before we were married, we had completely separate accounts. We split housing (rent/mortgage) 50/50 (actually wrote 2 checks to leave a paper trail. Had both names on lease and treated that like any roommate situation. We both felt it was really important once we bought a house and were potentially establishing equity so we kept it up). We split utilities based on actual earnings. We contributed equal percentages of our salary to individual 401ks. Everything else like cars, student loans, or other expenses were individual responsibilities.

When we got married, we opened a joint account to deposit the $ we got as wedding gifts. Started making adjustments by direct depositing agreed upon amounts (similar to above split) and paying mortgage, insurance, utilities, groceries etc. from joint account. Basically, we felt that after being together for a number of years with separate accounts it would be difficult to go "all in" with joint everything. So we have "obligations" for retirement savings, regular bills, and savings that we meet and the extra is our individual spending (or saving) money. We each have things that we spend money on that we don't want to turn into points to argue about. If I want 10000 pairs of shoes and a separate storage facility I can spend my "extra" on that and she can't complain. If she wants six parts cars, I can't complain about what she spends her "extra" money on. Works for us...YMMV.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle Reader
8/9/13 8:58 p.m.

"Hiding" was a bit over the top.. But many marriages fail due to money issues. It's really easy to be on the same page if both have access to the account(s).

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 Dork
8/9/13 9:12 p.m.

We don't hide anything from anyone. It's not even a matter of mine vs hers. Its more like using separate accounts to budget bill money vs discretionary funds. I pay the larger percentage of the bills so that we each have similar amounts left after paying bills, but if either of us picks up overtime, we get to keep the extra we make. My wife has used this to her advantage when she has wanted to make a larger purchase for herself. Later down the road there is the possibility that she will make more than me. At that point we will reevaluate the situation.

Also, I don't see any "you must do it my way because it is the only right and just way" talk in here so far.

nicksta43
nicksta43 SuperDork
8/9/13 9:18 p.m.

I'm surprised at the number of wife's making more than the husbands in this thread. Not sure why but I am.

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
8/9/13 9:20 p.m.
nicksta43 wrote: I'm surprised at the number of wife's making more than the husbands in this thread. Not sure why but I am.

welcome to the new marriage......I'm not sayin' it is good or bad, just that it is becoming really common.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
8/9/13 9:23 p.m.
moparman76_69 wrote: We don't hide anything from anyone. It's not even a matter of mine vs hers. Its more like using separate accounts to budget bill money vs discretionary funds. I pay the larger percentage of the bills so that we each have similar amounts left after paying bills, but if either of us picks up overtime, we get to keep the extra we make. My wife has used this to her advantage when she has wanted to make a larger purchase for herself. Later down the road there is the possibility that she will make more than me. At that point we will reevaluate the situation. Also, I don't see any "you must do it my way because it is the only right and just way" talk in here so far.

^ This, its not about hiding, its about 2 responsible adults being able to decide how they spend their money. We don't even bother with a joint account, we divided the bills and she gives me a check each month for her portion of the mortgage. If she's short on cash she can have mine, if I'm short she gives me hers.

I know where she spends her money, she knows where I spend mine. But there's no feeling of "You must tell me what you are spending on and I must be ok with it" She buys what she wants, I buy what I want. When we discuss the purchases its rarely about the money itself but more about any other impact it will have on us (ie. I'm going to buy another project car, what will that do to my available time for other projects and our space available in the garages)

Every couple has their own way of dealing with it, there's no magic bullet, you need to find the method that you can both agree works for you and makes you comfortable.

mndsm
mndsm PowerDork
8/9/13 9:27 p.m.
moparman76_69 wrote: In reply to mndsm: I found you this t-shirt. I think you'll like it.

HAH! I should probably not mention she was a massage therapist in a previous life.......

Secretariata
Secretariata HalfDork
8/9/13 9:42 p.m.
JThw8 wrote: Every couple has their own way of dealing with it, there's no magic bullet, you need to find the method that you can both agree works for you and makes you comfortable.

This is really the "right" answer. The two of you need to discuss it and decide what to do and agree to revisit as needed by either changes in the financial situation or comfort level. Ultimately the goal is for both parties to feel like it is a fair situation where they are sharing and don't have to explain or justify where every penny they spend is going.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
8/9/13 9:46 p.m.
JThw8 wrote:
moparman76_69 wrote: We don't hide anything from anyone. It's not even a matter of mine vs hers. Its more like using separate accounts to budget bill money vs discretionary funds. I pay the larger percentage of the bills so that we each have similar amounts left after paying bills, but if either of us picks up overtime, we get to keep the extra we make. My wife has used this to her advantage when she has wanted to make a larger purchase for herself. Later down the road there is the possibility that she will make more than me. At that point we will reevaluate the situation. Also, I don't see any "you must do it my way because it is the only right and just way" talk in here so far.

^ This, its not about hiding, its about 2 responsible adults being able to decide how they spend their money. We don't even bother with a joint account, we divided the bills and she gives me a check each month for her portion of the mortgage. If she's short on cash she can have mine, if I'm short she gives me hers.

I know where she spends her money, she knows where I spend mine. But there's no feeling of "You must tell me what you are spending on and I must be ok with it" She buys what she wants, I buy what I want. When we discuss the purchases its rarely about the money itself but more about any other impact it will have on us (ie. I'm going to buy another project car, what will that do to my available time for other projects and our space available in the garages)

Every couple has their own way of dealing with it, there's no magic bullet, you need to find the method that you can both agree works for you and makes you comfortable.

Yep, exactly. There just seemed lots of opinions on "how could you do it that way".

Guess a rough day at work so I'm taking it personally when I shouldn't.

But I'm still happy I didn't have to justify the $3 k I spent on coilovers and front brakes I spent this week.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
8/10/13 5:36 a.m.

21 years of wedded bliss (well, at least the money part), so I'll toss my opinion out there. It worked out this way by accident, not planning, but it's worked so well we've never (and I mean, never) had an argument about money.

We have one main checking and savings account. Everything goes in there. Then we each have a direct deposit checking account of our own that gets an automatic, pre-determined deposit every pay period. The personal accounts are the play money accounts. Neither party can question what it goes for. If she blows it on Zappos products, I don't care. If I buy a car or motorcycle, she doesn't care. But that's all there is. There is no taking money from the 'family' account to help pay for something and then pay it back in (the one exception was the car trailer...offered by a friend at a smoking good price, she actually told me to buy it and she'd loan me the difference!). The point is, the play money accounts pretty much remove any threat of an argument breaking out over where the money goes. We adjust the direct deposit amount (equal, in our case, but YMMV) as income/expenses for the 'family' dictate.

This leaves only the 'family' account open for discussion and disagreement, which since it's pretty much constant expenses and adding to savings really doesn't cause strife. We do discuss and make agreements on things like how much to save, how much extra to throw at the mortgage, when to bite the bullet and get a car loan, and what to do (if anything) with the tax refund.

I make more than she does, but the disparity doesn't really bother me. I get the same monthly stipend of play money she does. I don't feel the need to get more than she because I make more. Our income difference is significant, but to me it's a marriage, so whatever each of us brings should be split evenly. The unintended upside is this self-imposed stipend budget keeps me from being more foolish than I'd normally be. Race car tires, or another motorcycle? Hmmmm....

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
8/10/13 10:45 a.m.
SVreX wrote: We put it in the bank account. We talk about a budget. We spend it. We both own 100%, including the bills. That's it. I would avoid joint accounts until married.

Exactly this - it works great. Once married, operate as one household.

BAMF
BAMF HalfDork
8/10/13 11:05 a.m.

I've been married for about 2 years, and we lived together about 3 before that. We both have new jobs in the last few years and now have similar incomes and we are about as close to independent financial parity as is possible. Though we have similar incomes, her net worth is vastly larger than mine.

Our current status quo has basically been we each take about half the bills, and we split other things like groceries, household items, etc. While it turns out that we both tend to spend similar amounts on things for both of us, we each only see what we're doing. So occasionally a conflict comes up, and once both people have explained what they have been doing for the group, the trouble falls apart, or gets corrected if needed.

There is a lot more strife and accounting than either of us wants to handle, it's exhausting to have to mentally keep score all the time for the sake of harmony.

Very soon, we plan to start pooling money in our joint accounts (which we started and didn't really use). We are establishing a budget for bills, food, household items, dinners out and such. We have also established savings accounts for our home (repairs, improvements, furniture) and vacations. Everything else we earn is ours to use as we choose.

This way, if she wants to spend a bunch of money on clothing, and has the money to do it, that's her business. If I want to sell my car, buy another, and spend some cash buying Konis or something she finds pointless, that is my choice as well. We have never been an ask for permission household, and never plan to be that way. If we wanted controlling spouses we could have just stayed married to our previous ones.

I think a common thread here, regardless of how you choose to operate, is that you and your spouse should be a team. You should be talking about how you want to move forward as a unit, and this includes finances. Talking about it is not easy. It's difficult to be objective, respectful, and come to consensus about how to handle life together, and just what "together" even means.

Conquest351
Conquest351 UltraDork
8/10/13 11:16 a.m.
bludroptop wrote: I make it. She spends it. (you asked) Seriously - I don't want to argue about money. I just threw in the towel. I have not paid a bill in 15 years, have no idea what's in the checking account and just work on trust. YMMV

Same here. I pay the cell phone bill, but all my hard earned money goes into her/our account and I get told what I can and can't spend. Mostly can't. I get gas in the car and that's about it. She earns $20k+ more than I do a year. Shrug

motomoron
motomoron Dork
8/10/13 11:45 a.m.

We bought a project house, got engaged, and I bought a nice used Ducati 900SS, all in a 3 day period in 2000. We discussed the money thing at some length, and this is what we did, and still do.

We've never had an argument about money, but we're not conflict people anyway. It may be worth mentioning that we're probably outliers relative to the GRM community as a whole - we live in the DC Metro area very close to upper NW DC. The average income is almost exactly double that of the US median. As are living expenses. The first house was bought for $250k in a zip code where median is close to $1M, and we DIY renovated. We sold it for 2.4x what we bought it for, and that's exactly what our current project cost us 3 years ago.

We have zero debt beyond the mortgage, a bunch of comparatively cheap, paid for cars, and no kids. I've been roadracing for a few years and am doing a full (expensive) season this year 'cause it's my Mount Everest.

So - here's how we do.

  • We have a joint account for common expenses. The mortgage, utilities, and any funds related to real estate reside here.

  • We pay in some additional amount for pop-up expenses. Since we banked a pile of money selling house #1 we were doing less of this, but we rolled a bunch of that money back in to house #2 during a re-fi, so were back to it.

  • We pay into this proportionally on the basis of income. Right now I'm making 1.18x what she does, so I pay 1.18x what she does into the account.

  • We both maintain personal accounts where the balance of our income goes. I actually have several. A personal account, a business account for the small business I maintain to write down and depreciate my shop that I use for my work. Plus a 3rd for my taxes - as a 1099 contractor I deal w/ that myself.

  • I have my IRA and a couple old 401ks and savings account, she has the same.

Everything is on direct deposit, every bill and credit card is on auto-pay, nothing carries a balance, ever.

And as I said, it's easy.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
8/10/13 12:53 p.m.
Conquest351 wrote:
bludroptop wrote: I make it. She spends it. (you asked) Seriously - I don't want to argue about money. I just threw in the towel. I have not paid a bill in 15 years, have no idea what's in the checking account and just work on trust. YMMV

Same here. I pay the cell phone bill, but all my hard earned money goes into her/our account and I get told what I can and can't spend. Mostly can't. I get gas in the car and that's about it. She earns $20k+ more than I do a year. Shrug

It's working for you guys so I'm not about to say its wrong but just wanted to share the very scary personal story about this. My mom and dad operated the same way, for close to 40 years of marriage mom manged the finances and dad didn't ask questions. Here's the problem, mom is terrible at managing the finances. At 65 when dad started thinking about retirement mom approached him with the reality that they weren't going to make the mortgage this month. After full disclosure they were close to 100k in debt to credit cards alone not to mention other debts. So instead of planning for a retirement he had to file bankruptcy and will be working until at least age 72 just to get out from under it.

Similarly my wife's aunt and uncle went through the same thing. Had to declare bankruptcy twice (I don't know why he didn't learn his lesson the first time) She was taking out CC accounts under their children's names to hide all the debt. When round 3 of "how the hell do I get out of this hole" happened she took her own life rather than face it again. Leaving her husband and kids deep in debt, all with wrecked credit ratings and without a mom.

Its ok to let your spouse manage things, but never turn a blind eye to it. Working together is always the best, at least as far as knowing what state you are in within the big picture.

rotard
rotard Dork
8/10/13 5:16 p.m.

Separate checking and savings accounts with one joint account for shared expenses. I've seen too many people get completely hosed by a significant other to do otherwise.

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