Post # 1
ok – so I have a question for all of you…
when it comes to finances are you of the belief and husband and wife should always be joint and each other KNOW about each other’s finances – or should they be seperate?
I ask because – well my parents have always been a joint-finances couple. No questions – my mother was the one “in charge” of their finances, even though my father was the “bread-winner” – she was the one who just always took care of the bills and the accounts. BUT they both knew what the finances were and they never had seperate account…(fyi they’ve been married 37 years)
My husbands family, however, I have recently learned is the kind of couple who – his mother knows NOTHING about their finances and his father keeps everything extremely seperate from her…(fyi they’ve been married, i think, about 30 years)
For example – I was amost a little appalled when I found out that my FIL came into an inheritance lately and he told us that he gave his wife a certain amount out of the inheritance but the rest he kept for himself. To me that was shocking that their finances weren’t joint and it was almost like he “allowed” her to have some of his money.
My parents had the same situation about 10 years ago – my father’s father left an inheritance – but it was “their” money as in my mom’s and dad’s – not just my dad’s. It’s always been their money together and never seperate.
I’m just curious what your opinions are on how finances should be handled between a husband and a wife. Does your opinion come from a cultural standpoint?
Just interested in starting a conversation! 🙂
Post # 3
Yikes, that’s a little strange about the inheritance thing.
As far as me and my husband, we each have our own separate checking and savings accounts, and one joint checking account for bills and “together” money, which is for vacations and fancy dinners out, etc. We both believe that each person should contribute and help pays bills appropriately (we each pay different bills), but that we’re also entitled to a little privacy when it comes to money. Hence, our own accounts. Nothing’s ever really a secret, though. Sometimes I don’t know EXACTLY how much he’s spending on video games, and I don’t tell him EXACTLY how much that new pair of shoes costs 🙂 We both view it as: as long as bills are paid, and we’re saving money according to plan, we’re entitled to our financial independence. But when it comes to major things, there are no secrets and we handle it together.
Post # 4
I think it’s really important for both of us to have a clear picture of what our financial picture looks like. What if something happens to one of you? On top of dealing with the injury/death of your spouse, do you really want to have to simultaneously tackle knowing nothing about your finances? In this spirit, my fiance and I had a “Financial Summit” recently, where we sat down and went over our incomes, investments, debts, etc. I suspect it’s something we’ll repeat several times a year.
Post # 5
My parents have always kept seperate checking accounts and joint savings accounts. This seems to be the path that my FI and I are taking. For me, it is a matter of financial independence. We will buy a house together, cars together, vacations together, but we will keep our seperate bills. If he wants to buy a new iMac, he can go for it. If I want to push an extra $200 into my student loan payments for a couple months, I can. For us, it is a matter of building up our finances together, while budgeting for our own expenses and splurges without the stress of “sharing” the expense.
Post # 6
We do joint money for everything, but I think having separate accounts or a mix of joint and separate makes sense for some couples. I think it depends on whether both people have similar incomes, their personal preferences, etc.
That said, there is one thing I don’t get AT ALL: husbands and wives not knowing how much the other person makes or has in savings. You don’t need to report every little purchase, but having no idea what the other person’s financial situation is seems strange.
Post # 7
I guess I don’t really understand the concept of “separate money” once you’re married…presumably, you would be making decisions on large purchases together, as a couple, so I don’t really see why something like an inheritance should be kept as “his” or “hers”. That just puts a bad taste in my mouth, and I know I would feel badly if my FI had that perspective. Like you said, it’s like your FIL gave your MIL an allowance–as if she’s a child. If it works for them, great, but I don’t think I would be okay with that sort of idea.
We’re (FI and I) are struggling with this idea of “yours” and “my” money right now, actually. He makes much more than I do, and he really believes that once we get married (and even now), it’s all “our” money. However, I’m having a hard time with this idea–I feel almost like I’m mooching off him, even though I know I contribute non-monatarily to our relationship in addition to my smaller salary. I agree with the idea of everyhing being “ours” in principal, but it’s hard to do it in practice.
In terms of managing the finances, FI works in finance and so he is obviously much more knowledgeable than I am. However, I think it’s important that both partners have some idea of what’s going on in their finances, even if one person usually ends up doing the actually bill paying, etc. Growing up, both my parents were equally involved in how the money was spent, etc, so maybe that’s influenced me?
Post # 8
My parents have pretty much joint everything… which they say is because they never had enough money to do more than just pay the bills anyways 🙂 My mom does have one separate account for an inheretence that she got, but that was a joint decision between my parents. My dad has always been the bread-winner and he wanted her to have some money just for her to do with whatever she wanted without feeling badly about it. Not that he ever tried to make her feel bad, but because my dad has always made 5+ times what she does, she feels guilty about spending money sometimes.
FI and I have discussed it and we are agreed that we want to have a joint checking account for all household and joint expenses, and then seperate checking accounts for our personal purchases (like for me, camera stuff and for him electronics). We are not 100% sure if we want to do 1, 2, or 3 savings accounts. I think we are leaning towards one though because all the stuff we’d be saving for would probably be joint purchases.
Post # 9
My parents have joint and separate accounts, which is probably the route I’d want to take. Honestly I wouldn’t care about having completely separate finances as long as all the bills get paid. I just can’t get my mother’s voice of out my head when it comes to money… she always told me to make sure I can support myself without anyone’s help, so that’s what I intend to do. That way I wouldn’t need to join finances, but if he wanted to have one account that we both put a certain amount in for bills and big purchases, that would be fine with me. I do think both people should have a fairly specific idea of what the other person makes and saves and a general idea of how the money is being spent, but people should have their financial independence too, regardless of whether they’re married or not.
Oh, and there are some good reasons for keeping inheritance money separate for divorce purpose. Not that anyone ever plans on getting a divorce, but if it happens and you commingled your inheritance with marital funds, then the inheritance would be split upon divorce, so you wouldn’t be able to keep all of your own inheritance, which would stink. (Can you tell I’ve been studying for my Dissolution of Marriage final that’s next week? haha)
Post # 10
Boston Bee–that’s a good point about losing your inheritance in case of divorce! Is that true even in states like NY where everything is split 50/50? For instance, if my FI and I were to get divorced, I think I would get half of any investments or purchases, such as a house, if they’re made after we’re married, even if it’s mainly “his” money used to do so. I could be wrong about that tho–I’m definitely not an expert in this.
Post # 11
I think different things work for different people. My parents are all combined, except my mom has a separate account she uses for my sister’s money because she does all my sister’s finances. My in-laws are pretty much together, except my FIL keeps a secret account his wife doesn’t know about. I thought it was weird when he used his secret account to buy himself a motorcycle he kept at a friend’s house so his wife wouldn’t find out about it, but it’s not really my place to say anything…
For my husband and me, we are joint on everything. He is in charge of the finances, but keeps me pretty informed on what’s going on. We talk about all the big things, plus he lets me know about the little things, too, when they come up. I really prefer him to be in charge of the finances/bill paying/saving accounts/budgets/etc… though, because he’s just more responsible with that stuff. 🙂 I guess our personal preferences just kind of evolved with our relationship; I don’t think there is any direct connection between the way we handle finances and the way our parents do.
Post # 12
@hilsy85: well I’m taking FL dissolution of marriage, so it may be different from NY, but from what you described it seems pretty similar. You’re right that whatever investments and purchases are made during marriage and equally divided, no matter whose money was used to buy it. But inheritances are considered non-marital until you do something to make it marital… for example, putting it in a joint account and mixing it with other marital funds. If you put the inheritance in a separate account and don’t let the other person have access to it then it stays non-marital, so it wouldn’t be divided in the case of a divorce.
Post # 13
Ah ok, thanks for the clarification 🙂 Not that I’m expecting any sort of inheritance to come my way, lol, but still, good to know.
Post # 14
We have joint checking and savings, the way we work it is we each get a little money each week to do whatever we want with, so we don’t really ask each other about that, but everything else comes together to pay bills and go into savings. We don’t have any financial secrets between each other. We both are in the loop as to where our money is going. We believe in being a total unit. Although a seperate account for christmas presents and stuff would make things a little easier so we wouldn’t have to hide the purchases as hard…haha
Post # 15
We’re joint AND separate, but it is very clear to my SO that my inheritance is not going to be “ours. Inheritances are different…Well, ultimately of course “we” will use it to retire and go on vacations and such, but my parents are leaving the money to me, not my husband. It’s to be used with my discretion. It’s not like i’m dropping it all into our joint account. It will stay separate basically and go towards our kids’ colleges, etc, finish the house, you know that kind of stuff. So it doesn’t seem too weird to me that he kept the inheritance–I’m sure she “cashed in” on some of that when they went on vacation anyways. I doubt he made her pay her own way =]
Yes, ultimately it’s all “joint” money but it’s how you set it aside and spend it. We’ll both end up benefiting from my inheritance (i’m not exactly going to make him work if we can retire, that’s silly!) but he knows it’s technically mine, not his.
I do NOT believe in hiding things, though! That’s awful! Or holding money over peoples’ heads…but we each have individual financail things we want (Me: Makeup, him: other stuff) so we keep things separate mostly so we can have financial freedom.
Post # 16
My parents have a joint bank account. Any extra $ they get is theirs not one individuals. My FI’s parents have joint accounts as well.
My FI and I decided to keep our individual accounts and open a joint account for house expenses/groceries/entertainment etc.
We are keeping individuals because I don’t always agree with the money he spends on say his snowmobile or motorcycle and he doesn’t always agree on my purse/shoe habit so it’s better off as mine, his, ours.