Post # 1
After living together for a year, my fiance and I got a joint checking to make it easier to pay bills, and restaurant tabs etc without trying to remember whose turn it was to pay. It made life much easier, and since we have added a joint savings (for wedding things) and have a car loan together. All this while, we have each retained our personal checking/savings/credit cards. My fiance wants to ditch separate stuff and put it all together because "what’s mine is yours". I want to keep at least one account as my own, because I feel guilty buying something only I use out of a joint account (like clothes for example), or paying my student loan out of a joint. Maybe later on when we have even more property together (house, another car loan–my poor 100K mile car) things will be different.
I make more than him now, but that will flip once he finishes the PhD and gets a job, and I go back to grad school. Then who knows.
What do married people do? What do you engaged people expect to do?
Post # 3
We have been living together for 3 years now and everything we have is together, bank accounts and savings accounts. We do have credit cards separet but I think that if you contribute to the bank account then you are entitled to pay your separete bills from that joint account. I pay all the bills he couldn’t even start telling you when his credit card bills are due. I do tell him what goes in and what comes out and such. I think it’s personal preference and how comfortable you feel with FH knowing everything you spend on.
Post # 4
We have one joint account. We each put 80% of our paycheck into the joint account to pay bills and groceries, dinners out etc. The other 20% has to cover our own expenses such as nights out without the other with friends, gas, and clothes. We don’t have any credit card debt, but when we did we forked over as much of our own money as we could and paid the rest from joint, just to get it done with. Neither of us is very good at sticking to our 20% so we just get money from the joint on an as needed basis. It’s not a perfect science, but we’re working on it.
Post # 5
When we moved in together (a few months before we were engaged) we each had our own accounts and one joint checking that we contributed to for rent and other shared expenses.
Once we got hitched, we totally combined all our accounts- one savings, one checking, and one high interest savings account with ING. It helps us to budget better because we each know how much we’ve got (as opposed to contantly checking with each other to see how much we each have in our accounts like we did before we merged).
However, we did keep separate credit cards so if we want to surprise each other with something, we won’t see it on the statement ahead of time!
From what I’ve heard, going joint is the best way to do it. Often times you can get better interest rates and such when you have more money (which can be accomplished by pooling assets) and it can be better for your credit score not to have lots of accounts with lots of open lines of credit all over the place.
Post # 6
We have ALWAYS had combined finances. Seriously! But I highly recommend you still each keep your SEPARATE credit cards, etc. The reason is because if someone steals your information, there will only be fraud on ONE credit report, not both. Otherwise you’ll get a double hit (and creditors don’t always agree that your identity was stolen!) So I think out of practicality you should have some items that are joint, but the majority separate.
Post # 7
Right now we have two joint accounts together, and I have a personal account. We also have personal credit cards. After the wedding, I’ll get rid of my personal account, and just use the joint accounts (he pays all the bills anyway; even my students loans and credit card bills). I think we’ll both keep our credit cards, though. That way, there is still the possibility of buying each other something without the other one knowing (like for birthdays, Crhistmas, etc…).
Post # 8
we have a joint account for household bills and savings and personal accounts also. My FI is terrible with money. I refuse to have to be in charge of all of his spending. I make sure all of the bills get paid (including both of our credit cards), but he uses his personal account for all his other needs….gas lunch dry cleaners etc. I would be too stressed if I had to keep track of his spending to balance 1 joint checking account. We dont take withdrawals from out joing account…we only use it to pay bills…
Post # 9
Post # 10
Wow. I am so glad this thread came up! It certainly gives me something to think of. I think we’ll probably go with joint, but it’s gonna be a real change for me..I am super independent and have run my household for quite a while as a single, working mom.
I also like the idea of the separate account for "fun stuff" like clothes, gift items, etc.
One thing I did learn..when I divorced..my xh and I had joint credit cards and they had a fairly high limit. He defaulted on them, leaving ME to pay for them when I retained an attorney and didn’t go through things "his way" (aka the unfair division of assets decided by himself way). So remember that when you have a joint credit card. These days, it is important to retain a great credit report in this wild economy. I worked HARD and I mean hard to pay them off. He finally was ordered by the courts to pay half, but it was almost a year later on, and had I not continued the payments, it could have been horrible..but just to let you know.
I do know of one couple to marry soon, and there was an issue she had with him..she was worried about some of his past "payment situations" regarding credit cards as he’d defaulted on a few and (she’s somebody I used to work with who recently married) they discussed this very issue (mingling checking accounts, possibility of joint credit cards with her adding him onto a few accounts) with their counselor BEFORE they married to make sure no wierd issues surfaced years down the road..
Post # 11
Once we got engaged we decided to combine all our finances. We’d been living together for over a year and let me tell you–things got soooooo much simpler after that. While we hadn’t kept track of every little thing (ex: whoever went shopping paid for groceries, no running account) we split rent and big expenses down the middle. It was exhausting to keep track!
The thing I realized is that this now makes us really accountable to eachother. I’m not going to go buy a super expensive new pair of shoes without consulting with him (no matter how pretty they are) and he’s not going to buy great seats at a baseball game without discussion. Which makes the most sense–if we are serious about a future together, big purchases impact eachother. It’s really gotten us thinking long term about our savings, investments, etc.
Post # 12
We are slowly moving toward being completely joint. We’ve been living together for three years, though. In the beginning everything was separate and more or less half and half. Neither of us likes doing accounting though, so we figured out that if we split rent evenly, I paid bills (phone, utilities, cable etc) and he bought groceries we’d be more or less even. Eating out mostly was every other time or whatever. He graduated before me, though, and then jumped to earning like 6 times my grad school stipend. Then 6 mos later I had to pick a job and ended up picking a somewhat lower paying one that was closer to him. At that point we started to be less equal about how we split our finances, though it was a little rough negotiating it all.
Once we got engaged it was much easier b/c we consciously have been combining our finances. We have a joint savings account for our house, and one for general savings. We are still maintaining separate CC’s and checking accounts at the moment, but will be combining them soon. I’m a big believer that finances should be completely joint, but I also see the wisdom in going a different route. I think, for me, one of my issues is that I chose a smaller paycheck to make our relationship work. I don’t regret this…but I know it’s possible that I may choose later on to take some time off work for kids etc. also, and I don’t want to feel that somehow my say in finances is diminished b/c of it. (My FI insists that would never happen, but I just think it can be more difficult when you see money going out of different accounts. He is also much more conservative financially than I am, so I think having joint accounts would make it easier to see how our spending impacts both of us.) I sometimes feel that my Mom defers to my Dad (they’re both doctors but he earns more) since she feels that he’s the breadwinner; I just don’t want it to be that way for me. I don’t want to ever feel like I need my husband’s "permission" to do something. Yes we have to make decisions together, but I feel like separate accounts will always feel like "his money" and "my money" and I don’t want that.
Post # 13
I picked "halfway" because we have a joint account and separate accounts, but we never use the personal ones (I guess they are there in case one of us wants to surprise the other with something without revealing the cost?). All money goes into the joint account anyway, and all bills (personal and joint) come out of that account.
Post # 14
Thanks bees! My hesitation has nothing to do with trust or secrecy with money, and after living together for 4 years, our spending habits have sort of moved to center so we spend about the same on about the same things. Good point about the identity theft, Sapphire, and that’s part of the reason why I want some accounts separate. I’ve gotten mine stolen before, and it was really helpful having two checking accounts so I wasn’t crippled. We’ve discussed it a couple of times and he’s cool with whatever I want, but I was curious if it’s selfish or shady of me to want to keep my own accounts.
Post # 15
So far, we just have our individual accounts. After the wedding, we will open a joint a checking account. But like bellenga, I would still like my own account. For 15 years, I’ve had my own account and would like to keep a separate account for personal items, cothes, gifts, etc.
Post # 16
We have completely separate accounts and it works fine for us. Neither of us want to explain or have to justify purchases to one another– I am a bargain diva and he scoffs at the idea of a sale rack (I dont want to let my inner control freak get the best of me). We split some bills down the middle and send in two checks, some bills he pays, and others I pay.
We have one ‘joint’ account although its in my name, for our house which we pay into equally.