Joining finances - what's easiest?

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Topic Author
Trying2learn
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Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Trying2learn » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm

My spouse and I are working on joining finances. We just set up a joint checking and joint savings account. Our paychecks will be direct deposited into the joint checking, our agreed-upon joint expenses will be paid from it, a set amount will go into the joint savings and set amounts will go into our separate checking accounts for personal spending. We've worked up a rough budget and I will oversee all the accounts. That's the idea, anyway.

The conundrum is how we will spend our joint expenses - one new joint credit card, add one's name to the other's existing card or keep using two separate credit cards. Most of our large joint spending cannot be charged to a credit card (rent, daycare, etc) so that leaves numerous small charges throughout the month (groceries, eating out, gas, etc). I'll be the one tracking the joint spending and ensuring it gets paid monthly so I'd rather only have one account to track as opposed to two but maybe I'm missing something. How would you guys do it?

Tal-
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Tal- » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:23 pm

To disclose my own bias, I'm old school, and I don't really understand systems like this. To me, marriage is a fully-fledged partnership for life, and in that partnership, the lines between me and her blur. I no longer have possessions. Nor does she. Instead, we have possessions (and goals, and expenses, and hardships, etc.).

With that said, lots of people do split their finances in various ways. Though, I'm not entirely clear how you're splitting yours. Here are some questions...

How much will the joint account cover? Required clothing? Luxury clothing like new shoes? New car? Car insurance? Vacations? gifts? donations? eating out together? eating out alone? etc. etc. etc.

On a related note, what is the purpose of providing individual spending accounts? What would these be used for? Why do you want them?

What happens if there is income discrepancy? What if one of you lose your job? Will that impact how much he/she gets in spending money, or will it impact both equally?
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

ddurrett896
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by ddurrett896 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:34 pm

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm
How would you guys do it?
Separate savings/checking accounts, separate credit card account and 1 joint Visa.

All our direct deposits go into our own savings account. Joint expenses are paid on the joint visa (groceries, gas, dining out, etc). Individual expenses go onto our own card (her TJ Max trips or my Sports Bar tab).

At the end of each month, we track the expenses in Excel. It's good for splitting bills, but also seeing trends. We add up everything paid including the mortgage, then split in half. Whoever underpaid sends money to other person. It just keeps things simple.

I know a couple with a joint account and it's a never ending quest to match the spouse. He buys a $1,000 gun, she then says it's ok to go buy a $1,000 Macbook. This goes on and on and on! Yes, they are tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debit.

Separate accounts is just easy. If I want to pause my individual spending for a few months to splurge on something big, my wife can care less. Same with her.

Flyer24
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Flyer24 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm

We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.

Topic Author
Trying2learn
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Trying2learn » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:51 pm

We probably think alike. The following is what provoked us to do it this way:

- We are wanting to save aggressively. We're good savers individually but feel we can do even better. The amount we're wanting to save each month is very aggressive in order to meet our joint goals and will come off the top.

- Most of the expenses you listed we consider joint. I think DH spends a lot in some areas each week and he thinks I spend more than I should in another area a few times throughout the year. But in the end, its pretty even. Rather than track it each month, we'll just give ourselves personal spending money that can roll over and spend on those wants. But the personal spending amount will be a bit less than what we are used to (see first point) so we'll have to spend wisely.

There is already a large income discrepancy but we view it as one pot. Each of our personal spending money is not related to the % we bring in and its only a small fraction of the total income anyway. But either of our incomes is more than enough to sustain our current budget if it came down to it.
Tal- wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:23 pm
To disclose my own bias, I'm old school, and I don't really understand systems like this. To me, marriage is a fully-fledged partnership for life, and in that partnership, the lines between me and her blur. I no longer have possessions. Nor does she. Instead, we have possessions (and goals, and expenses, and hardships, etc.).

With that said, lots of people do split their finances in various ways. Though, I'm not entirely clear how you're splitting yours. Here are some questions...

How much will the joint account cover? Required clothing? Luxury clothing like new shoes? New car? Car insurance? Vacations? gifts? donations? eating out together? eating out alone? etc. etc. etc.

On a related note, what is the purpose of providing individual spending accounts? What would these be used for? Why do you want them?

What happens if there is income discrepancy? What if one of you lose your job? Will that impact how much he/she gets in spending money, or will it impact both equally?

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Trying2learn
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Trying2learn » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:55 pm

That sounds simple enough! Exactly what I am looking for, except for also just wanting a bit of separate pocket change each month.

Thank you.
Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm
We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.

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Tamarind
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Tamarind » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:10 pm

We merged all checking and savings accounts into a single set of joint accounts. We kept our separate credit cards, but each is auto-paid from the same checking account.

We don't track to the level of detail you are describing because neither of us are inclined towards much discretionary spending and our incomes are more than sufficient. We have an agreement that items above $100 should be discussed before purchase, and that's it. All saving is automated and the EF is kept in a no-penalty CD.

Flyer24
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Flyer24 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:21 pm

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:55 pm
That sounds simple enough! Exactly what I am looking for, except for also just wanting a bit of separate pocket change each month.

Thank you.
Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm
We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.
We just have an agreement about how much extra can be put on the card each month outside the normal spending. As long as my wife stays in the budget then I am fine with it. She feels the same for my spending. We jointly discuss big ticket items.

zrail
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by zrail » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:28 pm

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:55 pm
That sounds simple enough! Exactly what I am looking for, except for also just wanting a bit of separate pocket change each month.

Thank you.
Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm
We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.
We have the described system plus individual checking accounts. Each individual checking account gets $50 on the first of every month. We have debit cards for these accounts so we can easily spend. The volume is low enough that a rewards card would just make no difference.

delamer
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by delamer » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:29 pm

If you get a joint credit card that you agree will be used for only joint expenses, that seems like the simplest method to track them.

You can each keep an individual card for personal expenses.

Golf maniac
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Golf maniac » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:20 pm

Why not just have agreed upon personal money in the budget for each of you? Why establish completely separate accounts for personal money? Seems overly complex for a simple problem.

StudentT
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by StudentT » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:31 pm

We're firm believers in sharing everything.

Both paychecks go into a joint checking from which everything is paid automatically. This includes credit cards, utilities, mortgage, and investments. We track expenses in Quicken. Each of us has a "discretionary" fund we can use for whatever we like. Our salaries are widely different but we each get the same amount of discretionary funds. We tease each other about what the other spends but the deal is we can't complain about what the other spends...just as long as she/he stays within budget. Discretionary items include clothes (truly not discretionary but that's how we do it), lunch out, getting coffee, buying books, hobbies, etc. We do have a separate dining category but that's only used when both of us are together. Whenever either of us balances the checkbook and reconciles accounts, she/he texts the other the current status of the discretionary fund. Several years ago we started afresh each year but we've been carrying balances over from year to year for several years now.

Around the end of each year we update the family budget for the coming year. Most things are stable from year to year so don't really need much discussion. We discuss, fine tune, agree, shake hands, and that's it. Obviously, there are some years when we get unexpected expenses but that is usually handled by our emergency savings and/or an adjustment to other categories.

We have a teenager and we've been tracking expenses for her since she was born. When she was about 13 we changed how we treated the money budgeted for her. Instead of mom and dad being responsible for making decisions about what to buy, we made her do it. Suddenly she no longer pushed for lots of clothes when back-to-school shopping and she's been much more frugal and thoughtful. Our thought is that everybody needs to learn to budget and doing it now while the consequences are low is the best time. We're now including our daughter in the discretionary text updates.

For many years I had Quicken installed on my laptop which meant that my wife had a hard time seeing where we were financially. For about three years, we've been using a virtual PC at Amazon (https://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/) to run Quicken, do our taxes, and save PDF statements. It is an additional expense but it has done a lot to increase transparency. My wife can log on anytime she wants but really only does from her Mac laptop at home. I log on from my Mac laptop, my office PC, and my Chromebook. There is a risk of somebody hacking in but I think the risk is pretty low. Amazon backs this up to multiple locations so the chance of a disaster causing us to lose all of our data is pretty small.

The most important factor is to agree on where you're headed and on how you want to get there. This is important for all aspects of a healthy marriage!

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Rus In Urbe » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:53 pm

@Flyer24 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm
We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.
+1 Worked for us for over 20 years. We do think of all money as "our" money. We are both naturally frugal----my husband is always trying to get me to spend money on myself, and if I go clothes shopping, he wants a "fashion show" when I get home. Very endearing. We are aggressive savers who have, nevertheless, enjoyed a life of abundance.
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

teamDE
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by teamDE » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:04 pm

We've only been married for 5 years, but we've merged everything except our personal credit cards which we pay out of our joint checking every month. Having everything merged keeps it simple, but having separate credit cards allows for a little bit of privacy. You have to have the right relationship and personalities for it, though. I know couples who are very tit for tat and do better with separate accounts. It's important to acknowledge reality rather than force yourselves into something that's doomed to fail.

Cruise
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Cruise » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:23 pm

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm
My spouse and I are working on joining finances. We just set up a joint checking and joint savings account. Our paychecks will be direct deposited into the joint checking, our agreed-upon joint expenses will be paid from it, a set amount will go into the joint savings and set amounts will go into our separate checking accounts for personal spending. We've worked up a rough budget and I will oversee all the accounts. That's the idea, anyway.

The conundrum is how we will spend our joint expenses - one new joint credit card, add one's name to the other's existing card or keep using two separate credit cards. Most of our large joint spending cannot be charged to a credit card (rent, daycare, etc) so that leaves numerous small charges throughout the month (groceries, eating out, gas, etc). I'll be the one tracking the joint spending and ensuring it gets paid monthly so I'd rather only have one account to track as opposed to two but maybe I'm missing something. How would you guys do it?
Not knowing anything about your ages and circumstances makes giving advice a bit difficult. Is this your first marriage and you are young? Or, are you twice-divorced and collecting social security or living off a trust fund?

Back in the day some 35 years ago, when we were living in sin, we started off having a joint account and separate accounts. My future wife, who was earning a bit less than me, wanted to proportionalize our contributions. I refused, saying that we were in this together, and should be equal partners. She relented.

When we got more experienced with each other and cemented our commitment, we merged all finances and got married.

Can't imagine that I'd commingle my finances if I were remarried later in life.

basspond
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by basspond » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:13 am

We have had joint accounts on everything (except IRAs) from day one of over 30 years of marriage. We both had check registers for the same account with money transferred from one register to the other to keep from over drafting. Never had an issue. My philosophy is the more you split the more you split!

traveler901
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by traveler901 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:09 am

Joint checking and savings here.

Separate credit cards since we like to do the points thing. If you have separate CCs then I don't understand having separate checking accounts for personal spend. Just pay off the CCs out of the joint checking.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:15 am

My husband and I we have joint accounts on everything since day one, before we got married but already engaged. Except for credit cards, I get of each to earn bonuses.
We like to solve problem together, not separately. But we had similar assets and similar income.

22twain
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by 22twain » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:32 am

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm
The conundrum is how we will spend our joint expenses - one new joint credit card, add one's name to the other's existing card or keep using two separate credit cards.
We have a joint credit card in addition to our individual credit cards, and a joint checking account in addition to our individual checking accounts. I pay the joint credit card out of the joint checking account. We each pay our own credit cards out of our individual checking accounts.
Most of our large joint spending cannot be charged to a credit card (rent, daycare, etc) so that leaves numerous small charges throughout the month (groceries, eating out, gas, etc). I'll be the one tracking the joint spending and ensuring it gets paid monthly so I'd rather only have one account to track as opposed to two but maybe I'm missing something. How would you guys do it?
I manage three credit cards: the joint card, one for in-person personal purchases, and one for Internet personal purchases. DW has one card that she uses for occasional in-person purchases. She's old-school, usually uses cash or a debit card, and doesn't buy stuff online (or do any financial stuff online, for that matter).

You'll find that a lot of people on this forum have several credit cards in order to maximize rewards points, signup bonuses, etc. We don't play that game, ourselves.
Last edited by 22twain on Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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serbeer
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by serbeer » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:32 am

We use separate credit cards, not even authorized users of another's credit card--though both are paid from the same joint checking account. This is because even though our finances are joint, there is not a single benefit to combining credit accounts. What do we gain?

On the other hand, if one's has credit is hit, eg by inadvertent late payment, stolen identity, etc, we will still have a good credit of another. So, no benefits to combining but clear benefits to keeping separate, just like you want you life raft to have multiple compartments.

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Trying2learn
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Trying2learn » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:37 am

Yes, first (hopefully only) marriage. Expecting our first (planned) baby. Early and late 30s. Uneven income and assets but both high earners and willing to share.
Cruise wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:23 pm
Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm
My spouse and I are working on joining finances. We just set up a joint checking and joint savings account. Our paychecks will be direct deposited into the joint checking, our agreed-upon joint expenses will be paid from it, a set amount will go into the joint savings and set amounts will go into our separate checking accounts for personal spending. We've worked up a rough budget and I will oversee all the accounts. That's the idea, anyway.

The conundrum is how we will spend our joint expenses - one new joint credit card, add one's name to the other's existing card or keep using two separate credit cards. Most of our large joint spending cannot be charged to a credit card (rent, daycare, etc) so that leaves numerous small charges throughout the month (groceries, eating out, gas, etc). I'll be the one tracking the joint spending and ensuring it gets paid monthly so I'd rather only have one account to track as opposed to two but maybe I'm missing something. How would you guys do it?
Not knowing anything about your ages and circumstances makes giving advice a bit difficult. Is this your first marriage and you are young? Or, are you twice-divorced and collecting social security or living off a trust fund?

Back in the day some 35 years ago, when we were living in sin, we started off having a joint account and separate accounts. My future wife, who was earning a bit less than me, wanted to proportionalize our contributions. I refused, saying that we were in this together, and should be equal partners. She relented.

When we got more experienced with each other and cemented our commitment, we merged all finances and got married.

Can't imagine that I'd commingle my finances if I were remarried later in life.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:53 am

There are various ways to verify transactions on an account.
You can keep all the receipts or remember them all; check everyday or once a month, keep a register, or not. Take out cash for incidentals or put everything on a card.

If your habits are not compatible it's a lot easier to have separate accounts than to bounce checks or bump heads.

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dogagility
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by dogagility » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:12 am

Trying2learn wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:37 am
Yes, first (hopefully only) marriage. Expecting our first (planned) baby. Early and late 30s. Uneven income and assets but both high earners and willing to share.
Like others have posted, my wife and I always considered our income/assets to be a joint entity. It helps that we both have similar spending habits and trust each other.

I think your last statement (willing to share) is key if you want co-mingled accounts.
Taking "risk" since 1995.

FederalFIRE
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by FederalFIRE » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:56 am

My wife and I have been married 10 years and ascribe to the "share everything" approach. One credit card, one joint checking account, and one joint taxable brokerage account. Our income works as follows:

Her income: 100% to joint checking

My income is automatically distributed as follows:
100% fund employer IRA
100% his and her traditional IRA
Fund taxable brokerage with target savings
Any remaining to joint checking (my income can be variable)

All of our expenses go on the credit card and are paid out of the joint checking on a monthly basis. We both have Personal Capital on our phones and use it to keep an eye on how much comes in and goes out. We also both use the Capital One app for our Credit Card, which pops up alerts on spending and gives joint accountability for the finances.

We share everything, and see everything as "ours" without defining his/hers splits. In my opinion, this is a key part to managing the financial aspect of marriage that can so often be the demise for people. To me, having his and hers accounts seems like a good path toward jealously and grudge-holding. This has worked well for us for 10 years, and we've never had a significant fight over money (though it helps that we're both inherently frugal people).

Jags4186
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:02 am

Everything from before marriage remains as is and isn’t used anymore.
New Roth IRAs/IRAs opened after marriage. Old ones don’t get touched anymore.
A joint checking account that all of the paychecks go into and bills come out of
A joint savings account for your emergency fund
A joint taxable account that gets all extra savings
Some sort of coherent credit card strategy—whether it be new cars working on a bonus, or simply a 2% cashback strategy. No problems having 2 separate accounts, but make sure it is symbiotic.
Link everything to an account aggregator like Mint or Personal Capital so everyone can see everything whenever they want.

The only downside to this plan is that it’s hard to buy a surprise gift for someone.

nguy44
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by nguy44 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:46 am

We have 3 checking accounts, a joint and 2 "separate" - both of our names are on the "separate" accounts, but each of us uses one much more than the other. But this is mainly from the history of when we were writing a lot more checks to pay things, and checking accounts bore interest. Also, one of the "separate" accounts is with a local bank, so we can more easily get face-to-face services.

My pension (and previously my paycheck) and the wife's paycheck are deposited into the joint account. This is used for all of our joint bills (housing, utilities, groceries, joint recreation/entertainment, joint gifting, etc.).

All of the accounts are linked to online high yield savings banks, where our savings and CD are. These are completely shared.
For items that suit our individual interests, we have a budgeted personal "no questions asked" amount for each of us. This is an amount each of use can use for anything we want. Or let it build up over several months to gain larger purchases. For example, I just purchased an expensive laptop as a want, not a need (I have another laptop that works, I just wanted something much more powerful dedicated for programming projects). I took me several months to decide, by which I had built up enough in my personal budget to cover the cost. My wife will do the same thing for her interests. It way not always be for material things- for example, each of us might use it on the spur of the moment to help someone in a random act of kindness (though in many cases when the other finds out, they insist that this be a joint effort and not impact that persons personal budget amount).

For credit cards we have one for local purchases, one for travel purchases (as it gives great travel rewards), and each have our "own" for personal purchases. However, all cards are in both our names.

The most important thing, however, is that with "joint" and "separate"checking and CC accounts, we share everything. We both have access to all accounts at any time, and each can see all deposits/expenditures across all accounts. I am blessed with a spouse who has had the same financial goals that I have. That above all else makes things much easier.

Olemiss540
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Olemiss540 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:59 am

Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm
We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.
This. All the money goes into one account and goes out of one account. We have separate Visas, but the charges are all aggregated with YNAB against the budget. We set a budget at the beginning of the month and agree each year on our longer range plans (so we know how much to set aside each month for those).

Having "seperate" accounts just lends to stupid mistakes and distrust. I dont care what my spouse spends her money on. As long as we are setting joint goals and have money set aside for "play money" that we each get to spend on our own hobbies.

Dont be too stringent or micromanaging until you have been through this process for 4 or 6 months and really have had a chance to feel it out and get to know each others habits.

The important thing is the communication and that each person has their own amount they can spend absolutely judgement free. I can light my "play money" on fire each month and my wife would stand by the fire to enjoy the warmth.....
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dcabler
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by dcabler » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:15 am

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm
My spouse and I are working on joining finances. We just set up a joint checking and joint savings account. Our paychecks will be direct deposited into the joint checking, our agreed-upon joint expenses will be paid from it, a set amount will go into the joint savings and set amounts will go into our separate checking accounts for personal spending. We've worked up a rough budget and I will oversee all the accounts. That's the idea, anyway.

The conundrum is how we will spend our joint expenses - one new joint credit card, add one's name to the other's existing card or keep using two separate credit cards. Most of our large joint spending cannot be charged to a credit card (rent, daycare, etc) so that leaves numerous small charges throughout the month (groceries, eating out, gas, etc). I'll be the one tracking the joint spending and ensuring it gets paid monthly so I'd rather only have one account to track as opposed to two but maybe I'm missing something. How would you guys do it?
When we got married 29 years ago we started similarly to what you proposed. We were both making six figures and had been independent for a long time. After about a year, we both declared keeping separate accounts to be a pain in the butt. Neither of us cared what the other spent on small items and we already made a habit of at least discussing with each other before making big purchases. 3 checking accounts became 1 and things just became simpler for us.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:21 am

If you are if the mind to get those miles and perks from credit cards or financial institutions then it is better to have seperate credit cards as then you can double the possibilities.

vested1
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by vested1 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:52 am

I'm grateful that my wife and I have one checking and one savings account. Why grateful? Because it was a lot less stressful when I got laid off at age 60 for 6 months, and went from getting paid 20% more than my wife to 20% (unemployment benefits) of what she was making.

Regardless of how marital finances are split/combined, the main goal should be to get on the same page on spending/saving. If that can't be agreed upon there will be unavoidable arguments that may resurface at unexpected, and perhaps inopportune moments. Although it may be merely a personal observation with no basis in fact, women tend to have a much longer memory about certain things than men do, so providing less canon fodder to your loving partner may be in your best self-interest. :wink:

As far as credit cards go, we have one joint card, which until recently was the only one in my name. She has several others and plays a secrecy game with me about the balances. I let her think she has been successful, even though it's easy to check a credit report that reveals all. She gets nervous if her balances exceed $100. Bottom line, I trust her and she trusts me.

Our other game is who has the better credit score, a contest I am ill-equipped to win. I recently opened a second card for the generous flight rewards (Southwest Chase) with just my name on it. I have full confidence that doing so will allow me to surpass her credit rating. If I live to be 200 years old.
Last edited by vested1 on Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GoldStar
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by GoldStar » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:54 am

Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:45 pm
We have one family checking account, one family savings account, and one family credit card. We have never felt the need to split our income. We work together on expenses. It has worked for 18 years of marriage.
This is what we did. We went all-in - combining everything. It's worked for us for 28 years of marriage. Having separate spending accounts/credit-cards/etc. just never made sense to us.

I believe its a personal decision however - some other methods work for others.

dbr
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by dbr » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:56 am

We never hold joint credit cards because there are far more frequent flyer miles to be grabbed as bonuses on separate cards. Note one can add an authorized user on any card.

nick evets
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by nick evets » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:00 am

Didn't we just have a 4 page thread about joint vs. separate finances for married couples?

Objectively: those of us who separate our finances and some of our accounts have found a system that works for us. Those who combine everything have found a system that works for them, and it would work for us, too, if we weren't lacking in trust or devotion, lol...

To the OP -- I don't see why, if credit scores aren't an issue, you wouldn't each have an individual card(s) maximizing rewards, and you can just pay the balance each month, from the joint account.

Thegame14
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Thegame14 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:04 am

My Wife and I while we were engaged watched suze orman every Saturday night together. We took her suggestion and kept separate accounts for personal savings and checking and opened a joint savings and checking accounts. We then had to figure out how much our month joint bills, which this is a little grey area on some items and that is ok. Then let's say that amount was $5,000. Then we had to figure out our after tax take home, and yes, 401K contributions will affect this, and then combine out incomes after tax and lets say that amount is $10,000 total combined doesn't matter who contributes more or less and that is the point. Then that means that 50% of take him pay needs to be put into the joint account each month to cover the average monthly expenses, and then add a small cushion so then maybe call it 55%, and each person puts 55% of their after tax paycheck into the account. So if that means one person is putting in $$1,500 and the other is putting in $3,500, so be it.

The one drawback is if there is a large discrepancy in earnings, it is easier to put 50% of your check into a joint account the more you make, and of course you have to factor in if one person has to repay student loans, but this is the basic idea and you adjust it to fit your needs. This methods works so that if one person wants to spend their money, it doesn't come at a cost of the joint bills not being paid, of course this doesn't mean free reign spending and all large expenses should be discussed, (especially a motorcycle, who would want one anyway, boggle inside joke)...

We also have joint debit cards, linked to joint checking.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:08 am

dbr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:56 am
We never hold joint credit cards because there are far more frequent flyer miles to be grabbed as bonuses on separate cards. Note one can add an authorized user on any card.
Or wait for bonuses to show up. I recently "recommended" my wife, using a link on my discover card account. She applied and got the card. She gets $50 immediately and her bonuses are doubled for the first year (currently 5% grocery) and I got $50 once she opened.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Misciagno
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Misciagno » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:21 am

Almost 20 years in, and we're similar to your plan: joint checking and savings and a joint CC. Separate personal checking and savings and a couple CCs each from before we were married that we kept - it helps the credit score to have a lot of unused credit. Paychecks go in the joint checking, and half or so gets transferred into savings every payday. That then gets moved into taxable investments every couple months. Joint CC gets paid out of joint checking. We keep separate savings and checking so we can buy our own stuff or buy each other birthday and Christmas gifts. I control all finances outside of DW's personal accounts, and she prefers it that way. So far so good!
"History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes." -- Mark Twain

Isabelle77
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:36 am

We have everything joint as well.

If you're looking to have separate spending money but want to keep everything else joint, you can always pull some cash out at the beginning of every month. We did that at the beginning of our marriage when we budgeted more tightly than we do now. Now, we just talk about any large purchases, otherwise, we're both pretty responsible.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:28 am

We have joint everything. Combined it all as soon as we got married. The only credit cards we have that are individual are occasional temporary ones to rake in sign-up bonuses but all the non-transient cards are joint (Citi Double-Cash for 2%; Amazon for 5%). It works well for us - no reason to make life more complicated by having separate accounts.
Since my spouse is a stay-at-home-Mom my joke has always been "We have joint accounts and we came up with a system that works well for us - I put the money in and she takes the money out.". :)

dbr
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Re: Joining finances - what's easiest?

Post by dbr » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:43 am

Trying2learn wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:01 pm
The conundrum is how we will spend our joint expenses - one new joint credit card, add one's name to the other's existing card or keep using two separate credit cards. Most of our large joint spending cannot be charged to a credit card (rent, daycare, etc) so that leaves numerous small charges throughout the month (groceries, eating out, gas, etc). I'll be the one tracking the joint spending and ensuring it gets paid monthly so I'd rather only have one account to track as opposed to two but maybe I'm missing something. How would you guys do it?
The actual question is not how to spend the joint expenses. The actual question is which of the three choices will be the easiest for you to track. The answer to that question is that one joint account is easier to track than two separate accounts. Technically you are not even supposed to be able to access another person's account if it is really separate. Adding one person as an authorized user on an existing card could be equally easy, but some card companies, AMEX for one, actually create a new card number for the authorized user, and that may be slightly less easy to work with. An aside is that it is prudent for spouses to each have a credit record and for that purpose people having their own cards is a good idea, but a little more work to track and pay.

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