It’s the ultimate question that plagues just about every couple — the details of combining your finances.
If there’s one thing that every couple has in common, it’s that just about everyone has a slightly different way of looking at this. Some couples combine every penny into one account. Others keep completely separate accounts, choosing to only combine them when needing to pay for common household expenses. Some even will live on one couple’s income, while keeping the other spouse’s earnings in a separate account to be invested.
These are all valid ways to do it, depending on your circumstances. Frankly, for the most part, I couldn’t care less how the average couple is combining their finances. There are stocks to analyze and potential rental houses to buy, like I have time to question your choices. This is why in my relationship I have almost zero to do with managing the day-to-day finances. Trying to figure out how much I can “afford” to spend on food isn’t something I care about. I’ll let her think about it, and then blow our budget on steaks. HAVE FUN CLEANING THAT UP, SUCKER.
My budget as a single guy was simple. I’d set aside a large percentage for saving, take out cash for my spending money, pay the bills, and call it a day. I liked it because it allowed me to accomplish my goals in the simplest way possible. No fuss, no muss.
Anyway, here’s what me and the lady are doing with our finances, and why we’re doing it.
It’s ours, dammit
Frankly, I’ve never really understood the people who insist on having their “own” money inside of a marriage.
First of all, these people need a primer on how divorce laws work. Say a husband was great at saving his cash, amassing $100,000 over a few years, while his wife pissed away every cent on stickers and gum, because apparently she is six years old.
They get divorced, and husband tries to tell the court that he’s got $100,000 in money that HE saved to be excluded from the divorce proceedings. Do you think it’s going to happen?
It’s not. In the eyes of the law, marriage is treated as an equal partnership, even if one spouse makes a million dollars and the other makes squat. The non-earning spouse is deemed to have contributed in other ways, especially if she’s hot.
It goes the same way with the ladies. If I had a nickel for every woman I’ve ever talked to who thinks it’s a good idea to stash some of their own money somewhere out of her husband’s reach, I’d have at least a dollar. It’s sad, really.
But here’s what bugs me the most about that attitude. If you’re secretly stashing money in an accessible spot “just in case” things go bad, then are you really committed to a marriage or relationship? It’s the equivalent of a Christian visiting a Synagogue every few weeks just to hedge his bets. When you make that commitment, make that commitment, dammit. Don’t half-ass it.
It sends a terrible message to your spouse if you’re quietly preparing for a future where you’re alone. Besides, just taking care of your finances will ensure that there will always be cash available if it’s ever needed.
What we did
It’s really simple. She has a bank account and I have a bank account. And now we have two joint bank accounts. It doesn’t matter to me which account bills come out of, or income goes into, because it’s all the same pie. Money flows in, a smaller amount of money flows out, and we invest the rest.
The rest is just details, really.
I’ve worked really hard to accumulate a couple of bucks in my time. My lady now has the ability to drain my accounts without any real consequences. I’ve spent exactly zero minutes worrying about that happening, because I never would have taken that step if I didn’t trust her completely.
It’s important that I gave up some control. Unless you end up with the most passive partner in the world (or one with admittedly no interest in finance), all taking complete control will do is just piss the other person off. This especially concerns you, PF nerds. One person can’t just exclude the other from everything.
And that’s about it. Our way of combining your finances is about as simple as you can get. We’re on the same page financially, so it was easy. It’s kind of a lame ending to a blog post, but really. It’s not much of a stretch to assume two finance bloggers would find a pretty easy solution.