Post # 1
My husband and I got married in May and we are now buying a home in the upcoming months and are tying to maximize our savings. The other day, we opened a joint savings and chequing account. Our idea was to pool everything in there pay all of our bills, groceries, day to day expenses, including loans and debt (DH has a lot of tuition debt from his MA degree which although I am not responsible for, I wanna help him maximize his payments towards). Then have our individual debit accounts where we’d transfer a weekly allowance after all is paid off and money had been transferred into savings. We both believe in retaining some financial independence and both make approximately the same amount of money otherwise. And we are both very transparent about our spending to each other and don’t have any superfluous spending habits.
Anyhow we went to the bank and told our financial advisor what we wanted to do and she made my account our common account, kept my husband’said individual debit account, and now instead I only have an individual savings accounts that I can’t even take money out of which is linked to our joint account so I can just transfer to and from. Her reasoning was ‘what do you need individual debit accounts for?’ I honestly didn’t want to justify my train of thought to her although I was polite and I did (what if i wanna surprise him, gifts etc)…and her response was to just take out an allowance in cash form.
She also went into how I should be legally responsible for my husband’s school debt because “we are a team now”, which we both found incredibly patronizing seeing that this is a discussion we had before we even married and a choice we are both comfortable with. Of course we are a team and of course we are only as rich as the poorest of us two I completely agree with that and so I make it so he can make bigger payments to his student loan and our spending money is separated equally. It’s not like im banking these savings and eating caviar while he struggles. We are equals. I just dont want to legally be responsible for his debt. Amongst other things she made me take on some small debt of his on my line of credit (to consolidate) which maxed my line of credit out and when we went to apply for mortgage my credit score was lowered by that. The mortgage specialist said it was poor advice on her part.
Anyway needless to say we are looking for other ways to utilize our common account (and for another financial advisor) and also have separate debit accounts. We don’t wanna get in the ugly “what did you spend this or that on…” conflict a lot of couples experience with merging of finances. How do you guys manage your money? What is your philosophy?
I didn’t realize how much I needed to rant about her.
Post # 2
We have independent debit and savings account, a joint debit and savings account, and our own credit cards (although when we move countries next year we’ll switch to a joint credit card account).
We keep very little in our individual accounts…but it’s to avoid comments like “you spent how much on Starbucks this week?” “You bought yet another work out gadget?”
We agree in advance on financial goals and targets, most of our money goes into savings (school loan repayment and house savings), and large purchases that are for both of us (e.g. travel) come out of savings while large individual purchases (rare) are discussed in advance about whether it comes from joint savings or individual savings. We’ve yet to really cross that last bridge though yet since we’re recently married and haven’t had any big purchase decisions as we’re foucsed on saving for our move/house purchase.
ETA: Terrible advise by your financial planner. Darling Husband contributes to my debt payments, but my school loans are legally my own. Plus, why should he have an individual debit account but you shouldn’t? That’s nonsense. It’s completely normal for spouses to have individual accounts and BOTH partners should have that choice — that’s not a choice for a third party to make!!
Post # 3
I’d get another financial advisor. She’s not aligned with your vision, sounds a bit overbearing, and MANY couples keep things a little separate. You have a clear example where her advice led you astray, and that seems like a dealbreaker to me!
For my husband and I, we have a single joint checking account where all our cash goes, and we each have individual checking accounts to which we transfer a few hundred dollars each month to spend or save as we wish. We then use YNAB to allocate all our funds and goals, and keep track of spending of everything else. We haven’t run into any conflicts because we have specific budgets and talk about our purchases in advance that affect us both (such as do we want to replace our living room chair using funds from Home Maintenance budget) and we can do whatever we want with our allowances.
An example, we each get $X a month for clothing budget, in addition to our allowance. Darling Husband bought a nice suit jacket last month and used up his entire clothing budget, and covered the rest with his allowance. Because it was all accounted for in our budget, he could make that purchase knowing it wouldn’t cause problems. It’s up to us as individuals if we want to blow our entire allowance on fast food, and the other person would be none the wiser.
We also have a savings account where we have our ‘nest egg’ savings that we do not touch.
Post # 4
nlovesm : We have separate checking and savings accounts, and one joint house/grocery expense checking account.
I’m sorry you got railroaded by the advisor.
Post # 5
Ugh – she sounds ridiculous.
We have a joint savings & checking, and then we each have an individual savings & checking. Our paychecks are deposited directly into our joint savings – and, once a month, we move money to all 3 checking accounts – an amount to the joint to cover our joint expenses (rent, groceries, car payment, etc.) and then ‘no questions asked spending $$’ to each of our individual checking accts – which we can spend on whatever we like. We try to save the rest. I feel like this is a good balance of pooling resources and still having some autonomy.
Post # 6
What in the everloving hell is wrong with that woman? OP, you got a little steamrolled, and I’m really sorry about that. I imagine you probably felt put on the spot and that’s why you didn’t put your foot down about certain things, but keep in mind for future situations like this, you can always tell the person you’re speaking to that you’d like to go home and speak about things privately with your husband before making a decision. The bank will always be there.
Fiance and I have separate checking and savings accounts currently, and some of our utilities are autodebited from my account and some are autodebited from his. Currently he pays the rent so I can focus on knocking out my student loans (he was the one who proposed that idea). We don’t keep tabs on who paid what and whether we’re exactly 50/50 on expenditures.
When we get married, we plan to open a joint savings account to save for major purchases, vacations, etc, or just to have as a general emergency fund (or perhaps even two joint savings accounts, one for each purpose), but we’ll keep our separate accounts as well. We probably won’t even create a joint checking; we’ll just keep paying for daily/monthly expenses out of our own accounts like we do now. As long as your method works for you and you are transparent with each other and not hiding or weirdly hoarding money, it doesn’t matter if you have joint or separate accounts.
Post # 7
I agree she’s not aligned with our vision, and yes I was definitely taken back by her attitude. When my husband packed me up with “I absolutely don’t want her responsible for my debt” she just did one of those elongated raised-eyebrow “oooookaayy!”
I love reading about how everyone manages money! The current budget we have is highly focused on saving for the house. Once we buy, we will reevaluate if we even need this common chequings account. I fear I’d be the nit-picky one of us when it comes to seeing random expenses on our statement, and I really don’t wanna fall in that role, so like everyone else so far seems to think, separate spending accounts are a must to us.
Post # 8
I’d find another financial advisor.
We have separate accounts, the ones we originally had before getting married. DH says we can do whatever I want. Out of laziness, they are still separate. Perhaps when we buy a house, we’ll get a joint account of some kind. We each have access to one another’s accounts and are very open about our finances. We are financially responsible so we’ve never had an argument about who is spending what and how much.
Post # 9
He makes the money, I spend it (haha, just kidding)
He makes more than I do, and we are just engaged right now, so we just have a joint savings for our wedding/future/whatever.
I think you should have your own checking account.
A joint savings (and vacation savings) with separate checkings is fine .
Post # 10
We have separate accounts. Then we have a spreadsheet of everything that gets paid. I mean detailed spreadsheet. Our joint bills, morgage, water, trash ect are with me paying 1/3 since I make less then him.
This year we have paid off debt and bought a house.
That woman is crazy and way too old fashioned in her way of thinking.
Post # 11
I would be FURIOUS if that happened to me. I give you credit for keeping your cool. If you want your own debit acct. you should have it! Darling Husband and I have yours, mine, and ours accounts basically for everything, but the longer we are together, the more blurred the lines are getting (which I think is ok– we are both comfortable with that so it works for us). We each have our own savings, checking (debit) and credit cards, and we also have shared accounts and card. We got a shared checking acct, when we moved in together to pay bills in the way you described, and got shared savings and credit card after we were married. I do all of our accounting (DH is not a spender, so there’s not a lot to consider there…the occasional Taco Bell charge pops up…) and I, like pp, also keep a very detailed spread sheet. I do require that he looks at it and is up to speed with our finances even though I am managing. It works for us.
Post # 12
- Wedding: February 2015 - Chapel on Base
We each have our individual checking and savings. We also have a joint account that is used when my husband transfers me my allowance every pay day. I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom I get $100.00 per week to spend as I wish. He pays for everything including what I or our children need. This works well for us since he is the sole provider.
Post # 13
We currently put all everything (joint and individual purposes) on our joint credit cards. He pays the credit card bills, I pay our rent. When we get married we will have joint bank accounts – the only reason we are waiting is to do it once I’ve changed my name.
One thing people always seem to forget in these threads is if you live in a community property state, it does not matter if you keep separate accounts – if you don’t have a pre/post nup, all income earned during marriage is community property.
Also, I can’t believe the planner advocated you becoming legally responsible for his debts! That’s absolutely insane and serves only to potentially hurt you. I’m pretty floored anyone would give that advice.
Post # 14
that lady sounds stupid!
Darling Husband and I have everything separate except from one savings account that we never use, but there’s money in there. It’s how dh wanted it and I am fine with it. We both work and haven’t run into any issues with anything.
Post # 15
nlovesm : We opened a joint account for checking and savings. All of our paychecks and any other cash we have goes into these accounts (a certain percentage into checking and savings automatically each check). We also have a joint credit card – we charge basically everything on this card, and pay off the balance monthly – just helps us build rewards points. We do both have a separate credit card that allows us to make purchases that the other can’t know about (only for birthday gifts, surprises, etc). It works well for us.
I would have been really put off by the lady you dealt with at the bank. It’s honestly none of her business!