Separate Money

posted 8 months ago in Relationships
Post # 2
132 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

I would advise you to consult a financial advisor and find out how much responsibility you have for his debt. It may vary by where you live, but it’s possible you can’t be financially separate now that you are married in the eyes of the law, unless you have some kind of agreement in place that would protect you.

Quick google: “In community property states, you are not responsible for most of your spouse’s debt incurred before marriage. However, the IRS says debt taken on by either spouse after the wedding is automatically a shared debt. Even if your spouse opens up a line of credit in their name only, you could still be liable for that debt.”

Post # 3
1108 posts
Bumble bee

Now that you’re married, his debt is your debt, Bee. Therefore, all decisions to take on debt should be mutual. If he defaults on the payment for the Harley, you’ll be the one on the hook. 

In my opinion, this is grounds for a third party to intervene. A therapist, a financial planner, a lawyer.  Anyone who can explain the consequences of being irresponsible with money. I remember reading that financial disagreements are the number one cause of divorce. It’s not too late to avoid being a part of that statistic, but it doesn’t seem like you’re making headway on your own. 

Post # 4
1030 posts
Bumble bee

We have separate money too but we are still a team. This sounds TOO independent. Big purchases should still be consulted and debt shouldn’t even be a thing.

I agree that seeing a financial planner is a good idea. Maybe even marriage counseling? Not sure if they could help you get on the same page. 

Post # 5
922 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Here’s the thing. It’s not “his money”.  Legally, as a PP suggested, he is signing your combined estate up for debt when he buys a new vehicle.  When he cashes in his 401K to pay rent, he might feel ok in the present, but your estate may have taken a hit in terms of penalties/ fees instead of using cash on hand to cover rent.  

It sounds like your husband may just not understand that running separate ledgers doesn’t mean he’s a separate financial entity.  I suggest you guys get a third party to explain things to you both–seriously, using 401k money for rent makes me wonder about his overall financial understanding.  

In the future I also suggest you guys set a minimum and time-period maximum “independent spending” limit.  For example: neither of you needs to clear a single purchase of up to $X with the other and Neither of you needs to clear purchases up to $X/ mo with each other.  (Maybe $500 / $1000?) You guys should have a fair amount of flexibility, but you need to be on the same team when it comes to spending.   

My OH knows that my shoes, hairdresser and jewelry habits would give him a conniption, but as long as my spending per month is less than $X, he doesn’t care if I spent money at a spa and restaurants or on a flat iron. 

Post # 6
2656 posts
Sugar bee

There are so many levels of wrong here, I don’t even know where to start.

IMO, barring a financial emergency, no one should be cashing out their 401K.  If you had the money to help, he should have accepted the help and then repaid you later when he was employed (if he wanted to feel “even”).  There was no reason for him to cash in the 401K.  Now he has tax repercussions and penalties to deal with.  That all could have been avoided.

And while I am find with small purchases being made without the others consent, a $25K motorcycle is not a small purchase.  I would be livid that he took on that kind of debt without consulting you.

I would be more concerned with the debt that you don’t know about.  Spenders like your H are notorious for hiding debts.  I uncovered over $25K worth of hidden credit card debt at the end of my marriage.  Luckily, he didn’t try to pin it on me….but I got lucky.


Post # 7
6442 posts
Bee Keeper

I would not be okay with this at all!  His debt is yours.  Unpaid anything is your responsibility.  And they can garnish your wages.  This wouldn’t fly with me.  Making impulsive purchases that affect both of you isn’t responsible at all.  How old is he?  Because he’s acting like he’s either a teenager or having a midlife crisis.

Post # 8
790 posts
Busy bee

This would be a dealbreaker for me. Financial transparency is a must for me in a marriage, I’m not sure I would be okay with separate accounts in any capacity. But that’s just me. You two need to find your own balance like yesterday. He needs to understand just how huge this is.

Post # 9
104 posts
Blushing bee

Would he let you take over handling the finances? Not everyone is good with money and saving. But you can’t let this continue. You are going to be angry when you have to pay income tax and penalties on the 401K he cashed in. Its time for financial transparency and its time to sit down and have a joint discussion about savings, retirement, spending etc.,. Bring in a financial planner if you have to. Do you know what his credit score is? In the future you may need to make joint purchases together such as a house and this is important. It sounds like you have a solid marriage except for this one weak area. You can work it out.

Post # 10
3038 posts
Sugar bee

margz :  oh heck no.

Doesnt matter if he bought it before or after marriage, you do not trade in, sell or upgrade a vehicle (or bike) without discussing it with your SO! 

If he was in an accident (god forbid) and was unable to work, that bike payment now falls on you. Even if you split up, you are still liable for that payment so you should absolutely be included in the decision. 

And that is just silly to make a purchase like that with only an offer. I would wait until something had been signed or the first paycheck came in at least!

FWIW we keep our money separate too. Maybe because we lived together before we were married and are just use to that? I feel like i would still be calculating whos money is whos if we had a joint account, even though yes it all goes to the same place now. 

Has he made a large purchase without discussing it? Yes and i was a little peeved. It wasn’t a car, but a decent chunk of change. Since then we decided that purchases over X amount should be discussed beforehand. 


Post # 11
927 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

He lied about it. He lied about it. 

That’s not being a team.

Post # 12
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

Bee, do you have a prenup that stipulates what is marital property or what isn’t?  I’m having one because we’re going to have our own individual accounts as well as joint accounts so it is clear that anything in one name only is separate property and joint accounts/investments/property are marital property.  My understanding is without that all debt and accounts are essentially shared even if you don’t treat them that way.  In the event you divorced you would be responsible for that debt.

Post # 13
7856 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

margz :  None of this would fly in my marriage. Of course you don’t take on $25k worth of debt to buy a toy when you’re unemployed, but you knew that. Cashing out a 401k is one of the dumbest moves possible unless it’s a dire emergency (and having an employed wife who can float the household bills for a month means it is not an emergency). You need to sit him down and talk about expectations going forward. It’s one thing for couples to have separate accounts, but to pretend that your finances aren’t intertwined is just silly. And lying about finances? That’s a deal breaker for me. 

Do you have a household budget? If not sit down together and decide what makes sense and is reasonable for your situation. I’m the saver in our family – my husband is the spender (although he always gets ‘such a good deal’ ugh.) and we have worked out what’s an acceptable amount of money for us each to spend without having to consult the other. Do you plan on kids? You need to get the money under control before then because they muck it all up and daycare costs a small fortune.

Post # 15
640 posts
Busy bee

margz :  My Darling Husband and I have separate accounts, but are very much a team. We both contribute a certain amount towards bills and savings each month, but we also consult with each other over purchases over $1,000 (unless it is a present). For instance, Darling Husband and I discussed for months before he got a new car, even though he will be the only name on the lease, and making the payments himself. However, we both understand that every large purcahse/ decision affects BOTH of our futures. 

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