Banking in Marriage

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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runfast4
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Banking in Marriage

Post by runfast4 »

Hello all,
Just curious what everyone's banking strategy is for married couples? The FW and I have an emergency fund already set up in a savings account. What I am curious about is checking accounts. I have a Consumer's Credit Union (no local branches, just co-op credit unions) rewards checking account that earns 3.09% on up to 10k when you meet a couple monthly stipulations (direct deposit and 12 non-PIN transactions). So $10k is basically my zero for that account and I deposit my paycheck into it and pay my bills out of that account to reach the transaction count. My FW prefers a local bank and she already has a checking account at one of the local banks. I want our strategy to be as simple as possible, but we have also talked about having equal amounts of "spending money" deposited into our own checking accounts each month from the combined pool of our income. What is y'alls experience as far as what works and what doesn't? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I could not find anything when I searched. Thanks in advance!
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climber2020
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by climber2020 »

We keep separate checking accounts.

I check all my various financial accounts every day; my wife does so much less frequently. If we had a joint checking account, we would drive each other insane.

My income is about 4 times hers, so I pay the bulk of the bills, including all utilities and house related costs, she pays for all the food, and anything left over for the month gets deposited into a joint brokerage (taxable) account at Vanguard that we both contribute to. It's worked out very well so far with zero problems. Neither of us are big spenders and our fixed costs are low compared to our combined income, so if either of us wants to buy something, we just buy it.
barnaclebob
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by barnaclebob »

Why do you even use a checking account for more than bills or the odd check, cash back, or atm withdrawal?

When I look at our checking account all i see is direct deposits, bills being paid, and money going to vanguard 95% of the time.

My wife and I just buy what we need on a joint credit card and if its a big purchase we'll talk about it. I wouldn't be able to do the separate finances thing but my wife and I started when we both had very little out of college and we both make about the same. Second marriages, prior kids, or getting married with vastly different assets might necessitate some separateness and at least commingling slower.
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JDCarpenter
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by JDCarpenter »

If you search the forum for joint finances, you'll get quite a few hits. Surprised you didn't see anything, as this comes up a lot--although it generally is global couple finances, rather than just a checking account. Amusing how often those threads get into heated debate.

The bottom line is to do what works for you as a couple, and don't hide money/debts from each other. (Exception for couples who budget $X in "no ask" mad money for each person.)

We've had joint financial accounts (other than retirement accounts, which we still manage jointly) and are mutual authorized users on all credit cards at least since we were married and it works for us; others do differently and have had good outcomes. Some couples appear doomed no matter what.
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farnsy
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by farnsy »

My wife and I have all joint bank accounts and credit cards.

Income goes into a capital one 360 checking account on the last day of the month and all the credit card bills are paid out of that account on the first. I then transfer money to retirement accounts (solo 401(k) and backdoor Roth) and pay a couple of bills that have to be paid by check. After this I move anything over $1000 into a money market account at capital one (paying 1%). We call this the "emergency fund" and we treat $20,000 like zero in that account. Anything above $20,000 we consider available for things like home improvement or other big purchases that we agree on.

We have 4 or 5 credit cards. We use Citi's double cash for most things, Sams club rewards for restaurants and gas, Amazon's card for amazon purchases, and the rest I keep alive by paying one automatic payment out of each (netflix, the gym, etc.).

She has one account that's separate from our joint stuff, which is her paypal account. She works a part time hobby/job that pays into that account and she uses it to buy JuJuBe bags, of which she has way, way to many.
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runfast4
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by runfast4 »

climber2020 wrote:We keep separate checking accounts.

I check all my various financial accounts every day; my wife does so much less frequently. If we had a joint checking account, we would drive each other insane.
Exactly. This is the main reason we have discussed having separate accounts. On the other hand, we like the idea of seeing it as "our money" and not "his income" and "her income", just what we're thinking at first. We will have very little disposable income at first, so we will have to be watching it closely.
barnaclebob wrote:Why do you even use a checking account for more than bills or the odd check, cash back, or atm withdrawal?

When I look at our checking account all i see is direct deposits, bills being paid, and money going to vanguard 95% of the time.

My wife and I just buy what we need on a joint credit card and if its a big purchase we'll talk about it. I wouldn't be able to do the separate finances thing but my wife and I started when we both had very little out of college and we both make about the same. Second marriages, prior kids, or getting married with vastly different assets might necessitate some separateness and at least commingling slower.
So y'all use the joint credit card to get the rewards and then pay it off every month? I use the checking for bills and most "everyday" transactions to achieve the 12 transaction requirement. We are starting basically fresh out of college, so we are saving as much as we can and trying to live small. So the joint credit card would be pretty simple and worth discussing.

Thank you both for your responses :D
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SmileyFace
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by SmileyFace »

We share a single checking account and always have (since just after being married).
Our strategy is that I put money into the account and she takes the money out of the account.
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prudent
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by prudent »

To me this is one of those issues that has no "right" answer. I'd say whatever works for you and your wife is right for you.

Some people have His, Hers and Ours accounts. Some keep everything separate and divide up the bills. Some put everything in one joint account. You have to balance simplicity + what makes both of you comfortable.

If you stand back far enough and squint, it would look like we put everything in one joint account and pay bills from there. If you look closer, we also have another joint account that's only for having a nearby B&M bank with safe deposit box and having someone who knows us on sight when we need a favor ("Please treat this deposited check as if it were cash so it is credited to our account immediately").

I have a co-worker who has a crazy convoluted setup (3 banks, transfers among them frequently, direct deposits to two of them, plus two other accounts - one for Him only, one for Her only - but it works for them and they don't find it cumbersome. Different strokes.

If simplicity is important, then start simple and add complexity only if necessary to address "what makes both of you comfortable".
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bottlecap
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by bottlecap »

We have joint everything, except, of course, retirement accounts because we can't.

I don't know how often she checks the accounts, but it wouldn't drive me crazy if she checked it every half hour. How would I know?

I guess it just depends on what each of you is comfortable with. My wife and I have no interest in having more accounts and trying to split expenses. From our perspective, this would add nothing to our lives but clutter.

JT
Jayhawk11
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Jayhawk11 »

We keep totally separate accounts. I pay 95% of the bills. At the end of the month I tally up all mutual bills (with any mutual bills she has paid that month) in a fancy excel. The excel divides our mutual expenses so they are proportional (i.e., she makes 3 times what I make so she pays 3 times what I pay in rent).

I send her the excel with a bill for her portion of the mutual expenses, plus all discretionary saving (vacation fund, house fund, car fund, etc.). I then keep track of all the savings accounts for us.

It has worked well. If I could see her day-to-day spending I'd probably hit the roof. May have to alter it when kids get in the picture.
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willthrill81
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by willthrill81 »

We've always had joint accounts for everything. Since we share our lives (and everything else :wink:), I just don't personally see why we would need separate accounts.

Research has shown that joint accounts are associated with higher net worth households. Whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two remains to be seen.
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High Income Parent
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by High Income Parent »

That checking account sounds pretty sweet with the 3.09%. I need to look into that.

My wife and I deposit everything into one account. We take out investment money first, bills second and then we have miscellaneous spending last. We tell each other when we are making a discretionary purchase and bounce things off of each other.

We have kids so that makes it pretty difficult to separate finances if that is the goal.

I'm glad we combined everything though. It helps us be one mind and help each other accomplish financial goals.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

My wife wants nothing to do with financial issues whatsoever. To the point that she says that I am unusual because I balance my checkbook every month. She doesn't ever. It's probably good that I pay all the bills. We have separate checking accounts and are joint on all accounts. When she needs more money in her checking account, I transfer it in. I also make all investing decisions.

On the other side, she has a medical background and medical insurance (HMO, Utilization Review). She's the one who spends the 3 hours on the phone with the insurance company, pharmacy company, provider, my employer when their total incompetence affects us. Because of her expertise, one incompetent action by our pharmacy insurance provider (cancelled a contract with a supplier BEFORE getting a new supplier) won't hurt us.

We each have our strengths. I would have accepted what the first answer was on health insurance issues..she never would.
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Meg77
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Meg77 »

You don't need separate bank accounts for spending money; it's far easier for each person to maintain a credit card for personal spending. Having multiple bank accounts with smaller balances is just a hassle to manage.

My husband and I share one joint checking account which functions as our emergency fund as well. We each still have and use our own preferred rewards credit cards for almost all daily purchases, but all credit cards and all bills are paid (automatically) out of the joint checking. All income comes into the joint checking. When the account gets too big, we move a chunk to joint brokerage or pay down a debt.

I like this system because we both maintain autonomy when it comes to spending - he doesn't look at my credit card bills but he sees the total amount that is paid each month (to the extent that he checks, which is rare). All transactions still are tracked on Mint, but I mainly look at that. Every now and then he'll ask me not to check Mint for a week or so if he's buying me a gift or something so I don't see where it's from or wonder what some transaction is.
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jebmke
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by jebmke »

Joint checking account. My spouse pays most of the bills with bill pay and I monitor/reconcile and fund the account. That way we both know what is going on. I try to keep the balance as low as I can.
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aristotelian
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by aristotelian »

DaftInvestor wrote:We share a single checking account and always have (since just after being married).
Our strategy is that I put money into the account and she takes the money out of the account.
+1. Drives me nuts but joint account forces communication and that is a good thing. Joint credit cards too. The one downside is that I check our statement to pay the bills so I usually know what I am going to get for my birthday and she hates that.
Rupert
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Rupert »

I think the only correct answer is to do what works best for you and what you and your spouse are most comfortable with. My personal preference is separate checking accounts with a division of household bills commensurate with each partner's salary. That has worked well for my family forever, but YMMV. I will note this: Every once in a while there's a Bogleheads thread where the poster complains that he/she can't get his/her spouse to be interested in the family's financial matters. This poster is usually stressed about having to make all the financial decisions for the family and is always concerned about what will happen to his/her spouse when the poster dies. I believe one way to make sure each partner in a relationship has skin in the family's financial game, so to speak, is to make each partner responsible for specified sectors of the family economy.
LiterallyIronic
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by LiterallyIronic »

There's not going to be a right answer to this. Figure out what works for you and go with it.

We have a single checking account and a single savings account. Paychecks get deposited into the checking account. Both our debit cards are tied to that account, so all expenses come out of there. It also houses our emergency fund, so we don't let its balance drop below $6,000. We also have the savings account, to which we transfer money from time to time. It's currently operating as our savings for a house down payment (and it's 92% of the way to the goal). We can't see each other's credit card balance, but we can see everything else.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by pennstater2005 »

bottlecap wrote:We have joint everything, except, of course, retirement accounts because we can't.

I don't know how often she checks the accounts, but it wouldn't drive me crazy if she checked it every half hour. How would I know?

I guess it just depends on what each of you is comfortable with. My wife and I have no interest in having more accounts and trying to split expenses. From our perspective, this would add nothing to our lives but clutter.

JT
I like the one account. My wife has an idea of what's in the account.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by SmileyFace »

aristotelian wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:We share a single checking account and always have (since just after being married).
Our strategy is that I put money into the account and she takes the money out of the account.
+1. Drives me nuts but joint account forces communication and that is a good thing. Joint credit cards too. The one downside is that I check our statement to pay the bills so I usually know what I am going to get for my birthday and she hates that.
All of our cards are joint as well. She asks me not to look at a certain one as we approach my Birthday or Christmas (hard not to for a few weeks as I do check them frequently).
tech_arch
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by tech_arch »

We're fans of the one account approach, with $X set aside as an "allowance" to spend as we see fit. Whatever works for you, though.
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IFRider
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by IFRider »

I think the answer is based on each individual's attitude towards money.
If the couple is in agreement on either saving or spending, a joint account will work.
If one is a spendthrift and the other is a saver it won't work.

I'm basing this on personal experience. I also learned the separation of accounts was the
first step toward the separation of the couple.
feh
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by feh »

runfast4 wrote:We are starting basically fresh out of college, so we are saving as much as we can and trying to live small.
First marriage, little to no net worth - I suggest joint accounts. You are a team, both emotionally and financially.

That is my free-of-charge marital advice. :wink:
barnaclebob
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by barnaclebob »

aristotelian wrote: The one downside is that I check our statement to pay the bills so I usually know what I am going to get for my birthday and she hates that.
To keep the surprise she can buy and amazon gift card and then use that gift card to buy your present if its on amazon. Or buy a store gift card on amazon and then use that gift card...
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packet
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by packet »

Joint living
Joint aching
Joint giving
Joint taking
Joint stresses
Joint failures
Joint successes
Joint payers
...
Joint accounts.

The fact that my wife is double jointed has nothing to do with it...

:beerCheers,
packet
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T-Wrench
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by T-Wrench »

willthrill81 wrote:We've always had joint accounts for everything. Since we share our lives (and everything else :wink:), I just don't personally see why we would need separate accounts.

Research has shown that joint accounts are associated with higher net worth households. Whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two remains to be seen.
We also have all joint accounts or, for those that can't be a joint account, we are listed as each other's primary beneficiaries.
aristotelian wrote: ...joint account forces communication and that is a good thing...
This has also been our experience.

I think you want clear communication about finances, and adding extra his and hers accounts to discuss will add to the complexity. As other posters have said, you do what works for you, but (no offense to anyone here), I would feel like I'm splitting costs with a roommate instead of my spouse if we're discussing who pays for what out of their income.
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runfast4
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by runfast4 »

Wow! Thank you all for the inputs. I like seeing all of the opinions and really appreciate the advice! I do like the idea of everything being simple and easy to see in one place. I have several accounts on my own currently and wouldn't mind consolidating.
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Elsebet
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Elsebet »

1 joint account:
- all direct deposits go here
- all bills paid from here
- emergency fund lives here

2 retirement accounts (Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, taxable account)
2 401k accounts

I have an old account of my own with CD's awaiting maturity, once those mature I will roll the proceeds into my taxable account and close that old checking account.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca
Isabelle77
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Isabelle77 »

I agree that if you're young, first marriage, low net worth, it probably makes sense to try joint accounts.

My husband and I were married not long after graduating from college and joint accounts have always worked for us. I had to learn not to be a control freak and not to question everything everything that my husband spends money on and I'm sure that he's had to learn to put up with my money talks over the years.
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munemaker
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by munemaker »

We have one joint checking account. Both of our earnings go in. All expenses come out. Pretty simple actually.
wfrobinette
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by wfrobinette »

runfast4 wrote:Hello all,
Just curious what everyone's banking strategy is for married couples? The FW and I have an emergency fund already set up in a savings account. What I am curious about is checking accounts. I have a Consumer's Credit Union (no local branches, just co-op credit unions) rewards checking account that earns 3.09% on up to 10k when you meet a couple monthly stipulations (direct deposit and 12 non-PIN transactions). So $10k is basically my zero for that account and I deposit my paycheck into it and pay my bills out of that account to reach the transaction count. My FW prefers a local bank and she already has a checking account at one of the local banks. I want our strategy to be as simple as possible, but we have also talked about having equal amounts of "spending money" deposited into our own checking accounts each month from the combined pool of our income. What is y'alls experience as far as what works and what doesn't? Sorry if this has already been discussed. I could not find anything when I searched. Thanks in advance!
Joint since we got married. She hasn't worked since our daughter came along so anything other than joint now would just be silly.
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leeks
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by leeks »

We consolidated everything to join accounts when we got married. We kept three savings accounts we use for different purposes: emergency fund vs home purchase fund vs short-term savings (vacations, large purchases). We kept two checking accounts (to maintain a relationship with an out-of-state credit union) but mostly only use one of them. Both our names are on everything except retirement accounts and we see no use for separate his/her accounts.
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Prior to marriage - we each had our own checking account. We still maintain our own separate checking accounts but each hold minimal dollars in them.

After marriage - one joint checking account, money goes in and money goes out. Like the tides of the ocean, and with similar predictability.
One joint saving account, joint brokerage, both names on title of home and mortgage. Beneficiaries on each others retirement accounts and life insurance policies. One joint credit card, but I do recommend each keep their own card with their own credit history.

Done.
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btenny
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by btenny »

We have been married 47 years. We use two checking accounts. My wife pays about 30% of the bills from her account and puts her paycheck in her account. I pay about 70% of our bills from my account. She balances and keeps track of her account and buys everything she needs or wants from her account. I use mine for my stuff. We use two different banks. Her bank is across the parking lot from her office. Mine bank is the place I have been banking for 50 years. Both checking accounts are joint accounts so I can sign stuff on my wife's account and she can sign stuff on my checking account.

We tried the one check book thing back when we were first married. It did not work. We had issues. She would need a check when I had the checkbook and vice versa. We would forget to write down stuff. We would have big issues balancing the checkbook due to each others mistakes. So big fights over stupid stuff. It might be easier today with lots of credit cards and few checks. Maybe???

Good Luck.
sschoe2
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by sschoe2 »

I agree with Btenny. The number one cause of fights and divorce is money. Therefore I'd rather both husband and wife have their own account and agree how much each contributes to living expenses and the rest is their own business. That way there are none of those you spent how much on shoes and makeup and you spent how much on sports and car fights. This is especially true if one spouse is more frugal than the other.
GoldenFinch
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by GoldenFinch »

Every couple is different and you really have to find what works best for you. We have joint accounts for everything and I manage everything financial because my husband has a business and wants nothing to to do with money management or investing at home. He considers it work and feels he does enough of that already which is true. I like finance and am a pretty good money manager so it all works out. I keep him updated (even if he's not interested).
123
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by 123 »

We each had our own financial habits established before marriage so we each have our own separate checking accounts and credit cards. When either checking account balances get too high, say an excess of $10K over what's normally needed for routine use the excess goes into joint savings. I'm the finance person so I pay all household bills and expenses out of my account, many are auto-pay. If a large expense comes along, like property taxes or prepaid vacation expense I just draw down some cash from the joint savings. We each do our own credit card stuff and pay those off monthly. We have never had an argument about money.
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sco
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by sco »

I get having separate spending accounts. but we don't do that.

Everything goes into 1 account, it gets divided up and bills paid about every 2 weeks. We spend out of that account..

This works well when you start early in life, nobody has anything of value, and neither one make much money early on :)

it really is Our money... Downside, makes it a little harder to buy gifts for each other...
pennywise
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by pennywise »

We have a yours/mine/ours arrangement: each of us has an individual account and we have a joint account we refer to as our 'house account'. Years ago we set up a system in which we each decided how much money we needed to have available each month to run our lives and then deposit a proportional share of income into the house account to fund it.

In practice the house account is used for 100% of what we spend, and the individual accounts mostly sit in the bank although theoretically that money is each of ours to do with as we wish. It's worked well for us for 30 years although after we recently bought a vacation/retirement home we've now shifted to just putting our entire take home paychecks into the house account each month to ensure a good cash flow.

Major point made by others applies: do what works for YOU. This board has a large share of 'traditional' voices who seem to equate joint accounts in marriage to a mystical ideal of harmony and marital strength---which is IMO ridiculous.

Likewise there is a substantial set of members-with a big overlap of the joint evangelists I suspect-whose spouses are financially dependent on them (not working outside the home for pay) and who thus have a de facto joint financial life since only person is depositing funds. :wink:
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Traveller
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Traveller »

bottlecap wrote:We have joint everything, except, of course, retirement accounts because we can't.

I don't know how often she checks the accounts, but it wouldn't drive me crazy if she checked it every half hour. How would I know?

I guess it just depends on what each of you is comfortable with. My wife and I have no interest in having more accounts and trying to split expenses. From our perspective, this would add nothing to our lives but clutter.

JT
+1 on all points.
veindoc
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by veindoc »

Surprised to see so many people do joint everything. My husband and I married late in life at 35 and 36 in the same city where we met. We each had our own checking, savings, and credit cards. Every account opened subsequent to marriage has been joint. I pay all the bills but am not always able to cover all the bills with just my net income so I take what I need from his account and put into our joint account. I essentially pay bills from two accounts. With regard to savings it comes out of his account to the joint checking then to the joint investment. Now that I think about it our system is a bit convoluted. The good thing is that we have access to each other's personal accounts freely so there's complete transparency. I check my husband's checking account to keep an eye on the balance but almost never his credit cards. But I can't see us closing our personal individual accounts - there's way too much history to do that. Plus our spending patterns are pretty consistent- almost never any surprises. Its not like there will be $1000 or $100 unaccounted for.
kaudrey
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by kaudrey »

We turned my checking account into a joint account; I pay all the bills, so although my DH has access to it, he never uses it. There is also a savings account linked to it - we use that for e-fund, vacations, future cars etc. He has a separate business checking account and personal savings account. Every month, he puts a set amount into our joint account towards our expenses. Meanwhile, my check is direct deposited into the joint account, and I use the ATM/debit card frequently for cash or small purchases. We have a joint credit card used for most purchases, and his day-to-day small stuff comes out of his own account.

My DH doesn't want to deal with finances; so this partial separation of funds works for us. He just wants me to tell him if we are spending too much in any given month, and we both have the freedom to buy little things without any worries or questions. We generally mention to each other if we charged something over, say, $100, if he/she didn't already know we were going to buy it.
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JDCarpenter
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by JDCarpenter »

mrsytf wrote:Surprised to see so many people do joint everything. My husband and I married late in life at 35 and 36 in the same city where we met. ....
I would have to think that age at marriage makes a difference. We were together 3.5 years before we got married--in grad school, at the advanced ages of 23 and 22. :shock: That undoubtedly made it easier to have everything joint (although at first it was a whole lot of nothing).
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djpeteski
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by djpeteski »

There is a lot of good advice here, and the key is to work together. This can be done with or without separate checking accounts. All should be joint, if you do decide to opt for separate accounts.

Given that money fights and money problems are the number one cause for divorce, there needs to be a forum for money disagreements. My wife and I do this through a monthly (budget and progress review), and a special yearly meeting where we review past goals and set new goals for the next year.

Each month we do a budget meeting where I present the proposed monthly budget, and she is free to offer insight and make changes. We also go over our net worth status and review progress that we are making towards goals. Given that by intentionally keeping track and reviewing goals, the news tends to be very positive.

This is also a time to disagree about money. One of our famous "fights" was that during a November meeting, my wife got a little emotional because I did not allocate more money to the food budget for November. We were having guests for Thanksgiving and she needed more money to provide a nice experience for them. From her point of view, I did not care, and from mine I was just trying to accomplish the goals we set out to accomplish. If we did not have a forum for this discussion this probably would have turned into a real fight, but as it was she raised a very valid point at a time when I was actually listening, and a solution was implemented.

Working together will make you both much happier and more fulfilled.
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bottlecap
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by bottlecap »

runfast4 wrote:Wow! Thank you all for the inputs. I like seeing all of the opinions and really appreciate the advice! I do like the idea of everything being simple and easy to see in one place. I have several accounts on my own currently and wouldn't mind consolidating.
I will qualify what I said (that we have only joint accounts) by noting that when we got married, I had a separate savings account and I set her up with a separate money market at Vanguard with about $10,000 in it. She did not ask for it, but I thought it was a good idea in case something ever happened between us and she needed access to cash without me knowing or having a say-so in it. I knew she wouldn't need it, but I thought, "How does she know that?"

Almost 10 years and 2 kids later, she still has the $10,000 there, but probably doesn't even know it (I handle the finances for the most part. She could check her accounts, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't). At this point, all my pre-marriage savings are either in the house or in joint accounts.

I mention this to say that it's not a bad idea for you each to have a small emergency account on the side. Even if you are looking for simplicity, having an account or two that only draws interest doesn't add that much complication.

Good luck,

JT
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lthenderson
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by lthenderson »

Chalk me up in the joint accounts column and we even got married late in life compared to most and had sizable accounts to merge.

All income and debt is paid into/out of our joint checking account. All expenses are paid on our joint credit cards. It's so simple I'm not sure how that would drive somebody crazy. To me, I would go crazy having to figure out who owes what to whom, transferring money between accounts, etc. Personally I think it shows a lack of trust which I feel is an important part of marriage.
Xpe
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Xpe »

We have a joint checking/savings/brokerage, and a joint cc. all common expenses come out of the joint cc/checking. we each also have personal checking/credit card(s)/retirement accounts.

each month we get x dollars transferred to our personal checking accounts, which we can spend without judgment :D
Mike Scott
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Mike Scott »

We have always done the joint account and joint credit card thing. Everything goes into the primary account and back out of the primary account. It essentially goes to zero balance at the end of each month. There are multiple other accounts for various specific purposes/buckets/savings/investments.
Last edited by Mike Scott on Wed May 03, 2017 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Nowizard
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by Nowizard »

My wife and I made approximately the same income before retirement. When we married, we each had separate accounts and decided we would keep them that way until we got a solid feel of how each of us spent our income. After six months, we combined the accounts and have remained that way ever since. It is the only checking account we have, and both our SS and her pension are deposited into it monthly. We each have a check book and have full capability of writing a check for whatever purpose we choose. I pay all bills and enter her cashed checks from the bank web site. The account balance is sufficient to not have to check with any but large purchases. We are fortunate in that we have similar spending habits and have never argued over money.

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mnnice
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Re: Banking in Marriage

Post by mnnice »

djpeteski wrote:There is a lot of good advice here, and the key is to work together. This can be done with or without separate checking accounts. All should be joint, if you do decide to opt for separate accounts.

Given that money fights and money problems are the number one cause for divorce, there needs to be a forum for money disagreements. My wife and I do this through a monthly (budget and progress review), and a special yearly meeting where we review past goals and set new goals for the next year.

Each month we do a budget meeting where I present the proposed monthly budget, and she is free to offer insight and make changes. We also go over our net worth status and review progress that we are making towards goals. Given that by intentionally keeping track and reviewing goals, the news tends to be very positive.

This is also a time to disagree about money. One of our famous "fights" was that during a November meeting, my wife got a little emotional because I did not allocate more money to the food budget for November. We were having guests for Thanksgiving and she needed more money to provide a nice experience for them. From her point of view, I did not care, and from mine I was just trying to accomplish the goals we set out to accomplish. If we did not have a forum for this discussion this probably would have turned into a real fight, but as it was she raised a very valid point at a time when I was actually listening, and a solution was implemented.

Working together will make you both much happier and more fulfilled.
+1

I tend to think that couples without a few minor money differences of opinion probably are not talking enough and doing their own thing and not enough big picture.
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