Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

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Caduceus
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Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Caduceus » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:25 pm

So I recently moved in with my boyfriend and I think marriage is on the cards (he has hinted about proposing). We are a perfect match in just about every other way but our organizational/financial styles and differences drives me (and him) a little nuts sometimes. I am a perfectionist and I keep detailed tax records, have everything digitized, etc. He will say things like - "I don't know how much it was and I can't find the receipt, but it was definitely more than $X, so let's just put $X on the tax return." He also constantly is late on credit card payments - he pays when he remembers - and he says the interest cost is negligible anyway since he doesn't put much on them. He will close bank accounts without saving the closing statement ... things like that.

It doesn't cause too much relationship conflict because all of these habits are part of the same personality that I fell in love with. But I am wondering how couples with different financial styles manage it. Does one person just usually end up managing the joint finances? It is all a little new to me - the idea of poring through his credit card statements and checking receipts, etc. ... do people do that? Up till now, we've basically led separate financial lives.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:39 pm

Often one person takes it over. You will get answers of all types. Tip - figure this out before getting married.

I do the finances, DW does the cooking. Coming up on 39 years married, 41 together. Works for us.
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mhalley
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mhalley » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:43 pm

Probably the only thing to do in this situation is to take over the finances completely and be his “finance mom”. If he doesn’t know how paying credit card bills late affects his credit score, and the importance of irs records, I don’t know how you can teach him. Maybe taking a Dave Ramsey course together would help. It doesn’t cause much stress now, but how much stress will there be when the IRS audits you, or you can’t get a mortgage because his credit is bad because he is constantly late on $20 cc bills?
I take care of all the finances in my family. I ensure the bills are paid on time, go over the cc statements to make sure they are legit, file the important paperwork, etc. Some people just have no interest or desire to learn these things.

oldfatguy
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by oldfatguy » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:45 pm

mhalley wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:43 pm
Probably the only thing to do in this situation is to take over the finances completely and be his “finance mom”.
If he has any interest at all in this type of arrangement, run the other way.

veindoc
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by veindoc » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:46 pm

All I can say is don’t try to change him. Just love him.

My husband does things with regard to money that drive me insane. Like buying the cheapest thing always- not one of the cheapest. The cheapest. So If it is something important like an appliance or lawn mower, I will buy it to make sure we get something with the features we want. If he wants to buy socks for 50 cents with two thread count- I let him buy it and conceal my “I told you so” when the socks don’t survive the washing machine. Similarly he has found a way to deal with my faults. He can’t stand the way I fold clothes (go figure) so he took that over pretty quickly.

If he is ok with it I would just handle the money - all of it. Paying all the bills and tracking receipts if he remembers to bring them home. You can make suggestions like please leave all the receipts in this basket when you empty your wallet but he will either do them or not. If it is clear he won’t do it because of some personality flaw, stop nagging. It won’t make him more likely to do it.

With regard to missing deadlines be wary of that. That could have other manifestations outside of financial like with regard to kids.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by megabad » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:46 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:25 pm
Up till now, we've basically led separate financial lives.
And just to be clear, you still should have separate finances. You are not married until you have the certificate in hand. Only then are your finances joint.

That said, prior to marriage (typically during engagement), it is important to discuss this topic in detail. To be objective about the situation, it seems like you perhaps have a beyond the normal sense of organization and documentation (you state perfectionist but it seems more reasonable than this) and he seems to have a beyond normal sense of lackadaisical mentality. Both can marry together quite easily through open communication.

I would urge you to be open with him about your feelings and understanding about his. This will take compromise for both of you (that is what marriage is). If you attempt to review all of his credit card bills and scrutinize his every dollar with a fine tooth comb, that is likely a recipe for conflict. If he blows off paying bills on time and keeps no records of anything, this is also likely a problem. Find a happy medium. He is a great candidate for automatic bill pay if he is amenable to it. Then you are not the bad guy by reminding him to pay bills on time (which of course he should be doing. Perhaps you have a monthly "slush fund" where either of you can just blow that money without any scrutiny. There are many potential solutions.

I would reiterate my strong opinion though. It is essential that you work this out before marriage. And it is equally essential that you keep finances separate until marriage.

JBeck
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by JBeck » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:50 pm

Have an understanding between both of you that if you are to get married you will handle the financials. If he doesn't like storing tax documents, remembering to make CC payments, etc. I think you could frame this conversation as you taking something burdensome that he doesn't really care about off of his plate
Last edited by JBeck on Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mptfan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:51 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:25 pm
Does one person just usually end up managing the joint finances?
Yes, the more organized and diligent person takes over and manages the finances.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by JBeck » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:53 pm

veindoc wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:46 pm
Similarly he has found a way to deal with my faults. He can’t stand the way I fold clothes (go figure) so he took that over pretty quickly.
I feel this was strategic :twisted:

azianbob
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by azianbob » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:53 pm

Compromise.

When we got married, I took over most of the finances, such as rent, bills, etc. I also run her 401k and IRA.

However my wife, like your boyfriend, does not save receipts and generally will forget to make credit card payments.

It caused some friction so we just compromised. My wife closed all accounts except one checking account (where her paycheck gets deposited) and one credit card. She uses her credit card to buy the things she wants and I set her payment on autopay so her checking pays for it each month. No more missed payments. Each month she also has an auto transfer set up of a certain amount of cash that gets sent to my checking account (her contribution to our bills and savings). The rest of her money she is free to spend how she wants no questions asked. I pay for everything else so I have the records for taxes, etc. Our savings and brokerage are in joint accounts with both names but she never looks into it or does any transactions.

I have her bank login so her purchases feed into my aggregator and I will randomly will look and see what she has been buying, but I never comment on it unless it seems weird (like she makes a large purchase or at a store I never heard of, etc). For example if it shows she spent $10 at Starbucks I just brush it off. If she spent $200 at Nordstrom, I'll just casually mention if she bought something recently at Nordstrom and she says yes thats the end of that. But sometimes I will ask about smaller amounts if it is strange, like she spent $20 at some weird place I will ask. But this arrangement brought peace since she can do what she wants and doesn't get nagged by me and I can live with no receipts for her spending since its a nominal amount. I probably end up asking her about 1-2 purchases each month at most, there are many months where none of her purchases raise a flag.
Last edited by azianbob on Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

mptfan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:53 pm

megabad wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:46 pm
And just to be clear, you still should have separate finances. You are not married until you have the certificate in hand. Only then are your finances joint.
I agree, but there is nothing wrong with managing his finances before marriage.

Ybsybs
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Ybsybs » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:54 pm

The term 'finance mom' sounds really bad.

But you can have a good relationship where one person in the couple does the financial planning and both are happy with it. (This describes my marriage of fourteen years and counting.) We both agree to a budget and I keep him informed generally. We have a monthly budget that I autofill from credit card spending. He checks the budget to see how much is available in a particular category before making any usual purchase.

If now while in the warm glow of a new relationship, the idea of being the money person feels like you'd be a parental role to a non-compliant child, I'd be worried.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by dachshunddad » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:06 pm

I would definitely figure out a solution/plan before marriage. Typically the more compulsive person is well suited for managing the finances. If he is amenable to that it may work for both of you. However, you also need to discuss your spending/saving habits/goals. If he doesn't save a coffee receipt it's not a big deal. If he spends more than he makes and doesn't save that is a different story.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:09 pm

Differences in financial styles are common. I think having one partner handle more of the finances is common.

Consider keeping finances separate (investments, credit cards for personal spending) as much as possible. But both should be responsible for saving according to an agreed-upon % and both should be willing to share investment statements.

For joint financial items (like a mortgage, house savings, joint checking for shared bills, etc.), have a written agreement on how it will be handled. Suggest you manage it to avoid late payments that will ding your credit score/report.

Reamus294
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Reamus294 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:16 pm

Congratulations on the move-in.

I manage our finances and all of our finances are combined, but we married pretty young. We didn't really have a chance to develop autonomy around our finances because were we so poor right our of college. I imagine, the older you get married, the more likely finances may be split.

I am not as detailed as your are, but if I was, I'd have a tidy receipt filing system and a designated place to leave receipts, statements, that I would sort out later. Maybe setup an email inbox just for finances. A shared password manager has made our lives much easier as we can both access anything anytime. I would also detail what happens when someone doesn't take care of finances and the effect it has on the future (low credit scores, hacked accounts, etc). If your significant other feels peppered, set aside a designated time each week/month to get your questions asked.

If he knows how important this type of organization is to you, he will hopefully do what it takes. If both of you see the give and take (what relationships are all about), it should go pretty smooth. I do a lot of things for my spouse that don't make sense logically to me, but they do the same. Many on here have explained how important it is to your future self to find the right spouse, so make sure the both of you are on the right path (both living below your means) and do the necessary homework. Good luck!

almostretired1965
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by almostretired1965 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:21 pm

Indeed, it is a little weird now that I think about it, but my wife and I never had an actual discussion about it; sort of just happened. Our split, from the moment we started living together was that I did all the finances (except for her personal brokerage account, which, admittedly was by far the largest part of our combined assets until 10 to 15 years after our marriage). I was a grad student when we met and she was a full time RN. I even did her taxes before we got married. Her attitude about that was a little like your boyfriends, which was a source of considerable frustration for me, so we solved the problem by me taking over. Similarly, I have a fairly high tolerance for dirt, so she owns that. We did and still do that for most of the day to day chores. I do basically all the cooking and she does most of the cleaning and yard work.

It's worked out reasonably well for us and a day does not go by without her telling me to pick up after myself. :-)

A

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Sandtrap
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:28 pm

Thoughts and Considerations:

1. What seems like little things now become big things later when there are house payments, children, larger salaries, larger expenses, car payments, etc. Now, late payments are a "really big deal" that effect your credit rating!!!! And ability to qualify or a home equity loan, mortgage, etc.

2. What is merely forgetful now, or "easy going", is "irresponsible" and "uncaring" later.

3. Casual reminders now become "nagging" and "resentful mothering" later. (get off my back).

4. One of the major causes of relationship/marital discord, is money.

5. What is cute and adorable "youthfulness" and "young at heart" now, can become "immaturity" and "irresponsibility" later.
(some puppies do not grow up). IE: Chronic credit card debt.

6. Compatibility is great, but in areas that matter and bring long term strengths and stability for both to build on.

7. IMHO, everyone had different opinions on this: OP: living together is a good change to test drive financial compatibility.

8. Being a perfectionist is a good thing in areas of life that require that. Such as finances.

Actionable solutions to consider:

1. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Can each be mature and humble enough to relinquish "control" to the other to best advantage of the pair?
For example: When my wife and I met, I kept my receipts in a shoe box in my work truck (general contractor), she was totally organized (used to work for the IRS). I excel at making money. Businessman. She excels at keeping it and budgeting and organizing. Fortunately, we are both frugal.
It took many many years to work out protocols (systems in place) so that each of us recognizes the other's strengths and gives them control over those things.

Can you folks do this? (answer to yourself)

2. There must be clarity, the earlier the better. In your case, these financial things have to be faced before marriage if possible or later if you want to take the risk.

3. As suggested here by many. Keep your finances separate. Accounts in your own names. Each pays own bills out of own money. Etc. Until you work these things out.

4. Usually, the financially responsible person "pays" for the financially irresponsible person. And, will continue to pay, and pay. Or shoulder the burden of making everything work.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:30 pm

Quarter century in, i handle finances, my wonderful wife earns the money and could manage it, but really has no interest in doing so. I don’t have a great memory for these things, so I have CC and recurring bills on autopay. I know some BH’s resist that, but I also download to Quicken (almost) daily, and do a sanity check on what shows up. Maybe twice a month I text my wife and ask “did you just charge $1234 at Dr. Hackenbush?”

It was a bit tense in the early years, when money was dear, but after a while you learn which expenditures require a joint decision and which are better taken care of by the one who cares. I try to give her a State of the Finances talk once or twice a year; I wish I could bottle and sell the drowsiness that causes.
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by forgeblast » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:44 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:39 pm
Often one person takes it over. You will get answers of all types. Tip - figure this out before getting married.

I do the finances, DW does the cooking. Coming up on 39 years married, 41 together. Works for us.
Yes!! I do the finances, cooking, grocery shopping, wife does the cleaning and folding the towels her way....this works for us. But before it was a cluster....but that being said being upset that someone is doing that job or saying no we do not have enough for that cannot result in an argument. If you doing the job then you know the whole picture, your judgment must be appreciated.

mptfan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:44 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:30 pm
I try to give her a State of the Finances talk once or twice a year; I wish I could bottle and sell the drowsiness that causes.
LOL

mariezzz
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mariezzz » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:48 pm

As a perfectionist, you should perfectly perceive that perfectionism isn't possible and is counter-productive. Preferable path is to aspire to be proportionately prepared for your particular path. Pragmatism is more productive.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by daheld » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:53 pm

megabad wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:46 pm
And just to be clear, you still should have separate finances. You are not married until you have the certificate in hand. Only then are your finances joint.

That said, prior to marriage (typically during engagement), it is important to discuss this topic in detail.
I absolutely think this is something that should be discussed in detail prior to engagement.

mptfan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:02 pm

daheld wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:53 pm
I absolutely think this is something that should be discussed in detail prior to engagement.
I agree, I think waiting until you are engaged is too late.
Last edited by mptfan on Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

BanquetBeer
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by BanquetBeer » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:09 pm

We were aware (in depth, review of accounts) starting prior to engagement but didn't "manage" anything jointly until kids (when major joint expenses hit).

I manage most finances and records. We have separate and joint finances - separate for purchases beyond joint needs:
$100 work outfit? joint.
$3000 purse/gaming computer? Individual
interestingly enough, we do cars separately as well.

I will echo that even if you take over finances, your SO should know what is going on and be part of the regular discussion. I discuss how much we are spending every month and if we need to adjust down or have extra room. If I were to suddenly die - wouldn't want my spouse to have no clue what is going on and have to pick up starting at zero knowledge.

I will also say (this should not be applicable to you because you would be managing them) - don't just trust a spouse to manage finances. It isn't that uncommon to hear stories where the money manager says things are going great only to discover when the house is being foreclosed on that they have a drug or gambling problem.

As much as the money manager should communicate the situation to the passive spouse, the passive spouse should trust but verify!!!

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:21 pm

BanquetBeer wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:09 pm
I will also say (this should not be applicable to you because you would be managing them) - don't just trust a spouse to manage finances. It isn't that uncommon to hear stories where the money manager says things are going great only to discover when the house is being foreclosed on that they have a drug or gambling problem.

As much as the money manager should communicate the situation to the passive spouse, the passive spouse should trust but verify!!!
I understand what you are saying, and I don't strongly disagree, but isn't there a point in a healthy marriage at which you trust but don't have to verify? How far does this sentiment go, should you "trust but verify" that your spouse is not cheating? "Honey, I trust that you are not cheating on me, but I need to verify it, so give me your phone so I can check your texts and your emails."
Last edited by mptfan on Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ethelred
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Ethelred » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:23 pm

Having one spouse manage all bills and finances is not a big deal, though it's better if both know the basics of what's there. Disagreeing over spending is often a big deal and can easily break marriages, especially if one spouse is not able to live below the joint income.

mptfan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:28 pm

BanquetBeer wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:09 pm
I will echo that even if you take over finances, your SO should know what is going on and be part of the regular discussion.
What if your SO is not interested to know what is going on or be a part of a regular discussion?

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:37 pm

An easy way to manage joint finances is to not have (m)any.

I would rather be poked in the eye with an ice-pick than attempt to maintain a joint checkbook, or other joint account. NO! NO! NO! NO!

We have had a joint account before when both of us needed to deposit funds to cover larger bills. Thankfully those days are over, and we have closed our joint checking account. The joint account was only to collect funds from both our paychecks to pay mortgages, car loans, etc.

She pays certain bills, and I pay others, roughly using a 20% her and 80% me breakdown.

Works for us. The bills get paid, she spends her money the way she likes, and I spend my money the way I like. If she has a bill that isn't regular and routine, I jump in and pay also, as I don't want her to face large bills by herself. This year she has faced higher medical bills, so I have paid along with her.

There are those here who believe to have a successful marriage the couple must have joint finances. I say nonsense to that. Though, truthfully we have only been married 48 years this year, so we might still falter one day. But, our falter will have been many, many miles from the altar! :D

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by bgatze » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:41 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:39 pm
Often one person takes it over. You will get answers of all types. Tip - figure this out before getting married.
+1

Only thing I would add is we regularly still discuss things; I don't want to ever have my wife feel like I am not involving her within the process. Figure out what works for you both but always ensure the other is still involved (things also change over time so keep the conversation going).
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delamer
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by delamer » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:43 pm

Yes, people with different financial styles can work it out. My husband is a cash flow guy, while I am all about the budget. He would be a bit more conservative than me, asset allocation-wise.

But being chronically late on credit card payments and making up numbers for his tax return?

That’s a level of disregard that is concerning.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by aristotelian » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:46 pm

My wife is like your husband. I do the finances, about 99% of the actual work. However, it is important that we are aligned in our goals. Having those big picture conversations about what you want in life are the most important.

The 1% of her involvement is probably the most noteworthy.

We check in once a month or so, especially earlier in our marriage when things were tight, to review spending and saving targets.

We also both insist that she log in under her own credentials to do transactions in accounts in her name (e.g. IRA and 401k contributions). Not only does this keep within terms of service, it also ensures she has at least some involvement in the finances.

The biggest issue is indeed receipts for things like HSA and Flex spending accounts. We got in some epic fights back when she was running her private practice and we needed receipts from people. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do but train your spouse to do at least get you the receipts, even if you are the one to keep them organized.

In no circumstances would I claim a deduction that I was not prepared to back up in case of audit.

My goal is one day to teach my wife to do our taxes. Every year I ask and every year she says no but one of these days it's gonna happen.
Last edited by aristotelian on Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mariezzz
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mariezzz » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:50 pm

mptfan wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:21 pm
BanquetBeer wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:09 pm
I will also say (this should not be applicable to you because you would be managing them) - don't just trust a spouse to manage finances. It isn't that uncommon to hear stories where the money manager says things are going great only to discover when the house is being foreclosed on that they have a drug or gambling problem.

As much as the money manager should communicate the situation to the passive spouse, the passive spouse should trust but verify!!!
I understand what you are saying, and I don't strongly disagree, but isn't there a point in a healthy marriage at which you trust but don't have to verify? How far does this sentiment go, should you "trust but verify" that your spouse is not cheating? "Honey, I trust that you are not cheating on me, but I need to verify it, so give me your phone so I can check your texts and your emails."
The problem is misguided trust can destroy you financially. Both spouses need to pay enough attention that they know the major bills are being paid and at least annually review major outgoings from financial accounts (better at least every 6 months).

A spouse might truly love the other, but have an addiction (or mental disorder like being bipolar, often undiagnosed) that is financially destructive. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the overall risk of someone developing an addiction and the presence of such problems says nothing about whether one spouse loves the other.

Being informed is the key to a healthy marriage - not blind trust.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:55 pm

mariezzz wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:50 pm
The problem is misguided trust can destroy you financially.
That is a good point. It's one thing to be destroyed emotionally if you find out your spouse is cheating, but it's another to be destroyed financially if you find out your spouse has squandered all of your money.

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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by miamivice » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:16 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:25 pm
So I recently moved in with my boyfriend and I think marriage is on the cards (he has hinted about proposing). We are a perfect match in just about every other way but our organizational/financial styles and differences drives me (and him) a little nuts sometimes. I am a perfectionist and I keep detailed tax records, have everything digitized, etc. He will say things like - "I don't know how much it was and I can't find the receipt, but it was definitely more than $X, so let's just put $X on the tax return." He also constantly is late on credit card payments - he pays when he remembers - and he says the interest cost is negligible anyway since he doesn't put much on them. He will close bank accounts without saving the closing statement ... things like that.
I am going to say, and I am saying this politely, you do not need to keep the detailed records that you think you do. You can, for a while, but as you grow older you'll find yourself consuming more and more free time organizing and keeping records.

I used to keep a ton of records. Then one day, after spending 2 hours organizing records, my wife suggested that I stop. I did. Nothing bad happened.....

As far as credit cards, it saves a ton of time and money to put them on auto-pay.

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CAsage
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by CAsage » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:25 pm

For a "fun" date night, both of you run copies of your credit reports and sit down and compare. If anyone is truly missing payments or running up interest due to inattention - that's going to cost. Real money. And that will impact you both if you want to share that financial future. Best solution for someone like that was broached previously - have them own one checking account, one credit card "A" for all their personal expenses. You have one of your own, and a third one for shared expenses (rent, utilities... future whatever). You manage B & C, and put credit card A on autopayment with alerts for low balances and no overdraft options (like I did for our teenage - he cannot debit what isn't there). Free spirits can be a lot of fun, but we all need to drive within the lines on the real roads! And carefully research what you need to save receipts for - tax stuff (business expenses) do need to be saved, somehow.... but not consumption spending.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by ThriftyPhD » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:27 pm

mptfan wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:28 pm
BanquetBeer wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:09 pm
I will echo that even if you take over finances, your SO should know what is going on and be part of the regular discussion.
What if your SO is not interested to know what is going on or be a part of a regular discussion?
What if the person in charge of finances is incapacitated for some time? If the SO is unaware of and uninvolved in the finances completely, how are they going to pay the bills? One person can be in charge of doing it all, but hopefully the other has logins and/or knowledge of accounts so that they can help out when needed. The extreme case being the finance spouse is hospitalized for a couple months. If the bills don't get paid, you can lose the house and medical insurance.

It may seem silly, but I've known people in their late 20s who didn't know how to pay a bill or write a check.

miamivice
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by miamivice » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:27 pm

delamer wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:43 pm
But being chronically late on credit card payments and making up numbers for his tax return?

That’s a level of disregard that is concerning.
I am not sure of the context of the OP with regards to the $39 item on the tax return. We don't need receipts for individual tax returns. If the OP or OP's spouse own a business, they might need individual receipts for business expenses. However, I wasn't getting the sense they are for business expenses. Rather, I suspect that the OP wants to save all receipts, which few families do.

I know this is a financial forum, but the OP's post made me wonder if she has some OCD tendancies. For example, keeping the final statement with the closing balance of a bank account. I am not sure why one needs that. When I close bank accounts, I remember that there is about $200 in there, and then I receive a ~$200 check from the bank. I do not need to see on paper that I had $235.18, and then compare that to the check I received to ensure that the check was made out for precisely $235.18. Nor do I need to compare every receipt for every purchase against the credit card statement.....

I agree that credit cards should be paid on time, not just close to on time. (With that said, I am routinely overdrafting our checking account and then it's drawing from a personal line of credit, which results in numerous small interest payments. I somehow rationalize to myself that it's a good thing, even thought it is not.)
Last edited by miamivice on Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Thegame14
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Thegame14 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:33 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:25 pm
So I recently moved in with my boyfriend and I think marriage is on the cards (he has hinted about proposing). We are a perfect match in just about every other way but our organizational/financial styles and differences drives me (and him) a little nuts sometimes. I am a perfectionist and I keep detailed tax records, have everything digitized, etc. He will say things like - "I don't know how much it was and I can't find the receipt, but it was definitely more than $X, so let's just put $X on the tax return." He also constantly is late on credit card payments - he pays when he remembers - and he says the interest cost is negligible anyway since he doesn't put much on them. He will close bank accounts without saving the closing statement ... things like that.

It doesn't cause too much relationship conflict because all of these habits are part of the same personality that I fell in love with. But I am wondering how couples with different financial styles manage it. Does one person just usually end up managing the joint finances? It is all a little new to me - the idea of poring through his credit card statements and checking receipts, etc. ... do people do that? Up till now, we've basically led separate financial lives.
have a joint bank account that you both contribute enough to that it covers the bills. Use a percentage method to make sure both contribute equally despite differences in income so for example, you each put 60% or 75% of your paycheck into a joint account to pay joint bills and for joint savings, then you can manage the account. Same with a joint credit card. So he can do his thing and you can manage from your end.

ddurrett896
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:37 pm

Salary goes into individual accounts. Joint bills are paid and we spend 5 minutes per month plugging into Excel (good for utility tracking too). Whoever paid less transfers the remainder of their 50% to the other person. Easy.

401K and Roth IRA contributions are automatic.

I don’t care what my wife spends weekly at TJ Max and she could care less if I blow $5,000 on a firearm or blow it all in Vegas. Or in your BFs case, if he wants to spend his extra $$ on interest than so be it.

The only problem would come if 401K/Roth is turned off (to supplement their spending) or they can’t make their 50% of the joint bills.

Thegame14
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Thegame14 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:41 pm

or you take over the finances completely, maybe it isn't of interest to him and your skill set is better suited for it. Let him mow the lawn or do laundry, or something else that he likes better. I found when we got married things I like to do like greocery shopping or running errands, my wife hated that stuff, and the cleaning the house she "likes" and I cant stand, so then some of these things just work out, you take over the things you are more apt to do and let him take on other things

miamivice
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by miamivice » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:50 pm

When we got married, finances were tight and I maintained detailed spreadsheets of every expense.

Then, we both got better jobs and money wasn't tight. Rather than worry about every expense, I setup auto-investments to invest a set amount in retirement/taxable. As long as we met our target monthly investments amounts, I didn't worry about where the money went.

For our monthly spending, I don't worry about what we put on our credit cards (we use our credit cards for everything except places that require checks). I simply look at the amount at the end of the month. If it is within the "normal" amount for us, I am happy and wife is happy. If it is more, I sometimes dig in to see what we spent extra on. Usually we spend about $3,500 to $3,700 a month. Things sort of even themselves out. There were several years that I never looked at the charges on the card at all. Money is tighter now so I do keep a closer watch now.

Sometimes my mother will make comments about how my wife buys too many clothes for the kids or otherwise wastes money. I just say - we save plenty and I'm don't care how she spends money as long as we meet our savings targets. My mother disagrees.

It sounds loosey-goosey, and perhaps it is, but it has worked for us and neither of us have to spend much time wearing our accounting hat.

mptfan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 pm

ThriftyPhD wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:27 pm
What if the person in charge of finances is incapacitated for some time? If the SO is unaware of and uninvolved in the finances completely, how are they going to pay the bills? One person can be in charge of doing it all, but hopefully the other has logins and/or knowledge of accounts so that they can help out when needed. The extreme case being the finance spouse is hospitalized for a couple months. If the bills don't get paid, you can lose the house and medical insurance.

It may seem silly, but I've known people in their late 20s who didn't know how to pay a bill or write a check.
I don't think it is silly. And you didn't answer my question, I agree it is good for the non-managing spouse to know what is going on, but what if he/she is not interested and does not want to know? Should you try to force the issue "for their own good" even if it causes conflict? How far should you go to try and force someone to be interested in something if they have little or no interest?
Last edited by mptfan on Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

esteen
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by esteen » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:53 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:46 pm
My wife is like your husband. I do the finances, about 99% of the actual work. However, it is important that we are aligned in our goals. Having those big picture conversations about what you want in life are the most important.
This. You can have different styles, and it is common for one person in the household to generally manage the finances. HOWEVER, it is key to be on teh same page with the big picture things. How do you as a couple, in general, want to save/spend? If one is a diligent saver and the other has a wallet like a sieve, that is a big problem. How about your relative views on the long term (eventual financial independence)? On level of lifestyle? These are the things you need to have in-depth, recurring discussions on and ensure you see eye to eye before you tie the knot. As others have mentioned, money problems are the #1 cause of divorce - get on the other side of that statistic early with confirmation that your loved one will have the same overarching financial goals as you (even if they handle their day-to-day differently due to personality styles).

Also to echo what others have said, if you take over the finances he should still be kept in the loop regularly, and vice versa.

jmk
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by jmk » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:04 pm

There is a huge difference with a person not being good with details and being financially inappropriate.
My partner for instance is horrible with details or numbers, so I handle all of our finances. That usually makes both sense: the ocd person should do that. But at the same time they are very frugal and we share the same Boglehead values, so work in consort to save and invest well.

(Side note: If you are truly "perfectionist" it might hurt your ability to invest wisely though since 'stay the course' is based on non-perfect returns so hoping you're being facetious.)

WanderingPothos
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by WanderingPothos » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:26 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:37 pm
An easy way to manage joint finances is to not have (m)any.

I would rather be poked in the eye with an ice-pick than attempt to maintain a joint checkbook, or other joint account. NO! NO! NO! NO!

We have had a joint account before when both of us needed to deposit funds to cover larger bills. Thankfully those days are over, and we have closed our joint checking account. The joint account was only to collect funds from both our paychecks to pay mortgages, car loans, etc.

She pays certain bills, and I pay others, roughly using a 20% her and 80% me breakdown.

Works for us. The bills get paid, she spends her money the way she likes, and I spend my money the way I like. If she has a bill that isn't regular and routine, I jump in and pay also, as I don't want her to face large bills by herself. This year she has faced higher medical bills, so I have paid along with her.

There are those here who believe to have a successful marriage the couple must have joint finances. I say nonsense to that. Though, truthfully we have only been married 48 years this year, so we might still falter one day. But, our falter will have been many, many miles from the altar! :D

Broken Man 1999
It is really great to see this can work in the long run! Congrats on 48 years! Seems like people think my marriage is doomed to failure because of separate finances.

My SO and I also have a small joint account for joint expenses, but everything else is separate. We have been married about 2 years, however this last year's tax return was a nightmare (me nagging for docs, him stating we filed an extension so what's the rush), so even though it seems like a waste of money (and pains me if we could have saved money MFJ), we may file separately next year for both of our sanity. I am the money perfectionist/OCD in this relationship and he is like OP's boyfriend, however SO makes 4-5x what I do so I am not really concerned that I will have to pick up after him financially. We do 20%/80% contribution based on salary to joint and I pay the bills from that account. We also use that for other things we will enjoy together or do together like dining out, concerts, vacations, etc. There is flex and nobody is counting the nickels and dimes in that account. Our arrangement might change if we had kids.

Talk with your bf and even see if he cares if you manage his money. Me managing SO finances is absolutely not an option because 1. he has a lot of expenses from investment properties, side business, professional licenses, etc. that I am not interested in managing financially 2. he doesn't want me to 3. it would stress me out. If we had all joint accounts, I absolutely wouldn't want SO asking any questions or making any comments about what I choose to spend my money on, and vice versa. We are also very independent - other friends I know have co-dependent relationships and that works for them.

Maybe it's ok that finance stuff is a work in progress as long as you can discuss and compromise periodically. We talked about money before marriage. Also, consider if there are other aspects outside of just money, for example, like emotions and control. Sometimes you can't control what people do, but you can change the way you react/feel. However, if his handling of finances is causing real financial problems for both of you while living together, then I would say that's a major issue you should definitely resolve soon.

delamer
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by delamer » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:49 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:27 pm
delamer wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:43 pm
But being chronically late on credit card payments and making up numbers for his tax return?

That’s a level of disregard that is concerning.
I am not sure of the context of the OP with regards to the $39 item on the tax return. We don't need receipts for individual tax returns. If the OP or OP's spouse own a business, they might need individual receipts for business expenses. However, I wasn't getting the sense they are for business expenses. Rather, I suspect that the OP wants to save all receipts, which few families do.

I know this is a financial forum, but the OP's post made me wonder if she has some OCD tendancies. For example, keeping the final statement with the closing balance of a bank account. I am not sure why one needs that. When I close bank accounts, I remember that there is about $200 in there, and then I receive a ~$200 check from the bank. I do not need to see on paper that I had $235.18, and then compare that to the check I received to ensure that the check was made out for precisely $235.18. Nor do I need to compare every receipt for every purchase against the credit card statement.....

I agree that credit cards should be paid on time, not just close to on time. (With that said, I am routinely overdrafting our checking account and then it's drawing from a personal line of credit, which results in numerous small interest payments. I somehow rationalize to myself that it's a good thing, even thought it is not.)
I am not sure where you saw a reference to a $39 item on a tax return...

Personally, I’d keep a statement for a closed account for a year or so, in the unlikely event that the bank tried to claim that they’d overpaid me or there was some other issue. But I don’t think it is reckless to not keep the statement.

I guess as long as you acknowledge that you are rationalizing, there is hope. :?

MotoTrojan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by MotoTrojan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:52 pm

oldfatguy wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:45 pm
mhalley wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:43 pm
Probably the only thing to do in this situation is to take over the finances completely and be his “finance mom”.
If he has any interest at all in this type of arrangement, run the other way.
Why? I run the household investments/finances (male), as I am sure many do.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by MotoTrojan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:53 pm

Why do I need closing statements from banks? Closed quite a few after getting signup bonuses; never planned on looking back.

Leemiller
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by Leemiller » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:12 pm

Sounds irresponsible/immature. My husband didn’t have as much background in asset allocation when we got married, but he was a saver and didn’t blow off credit card bills. Life only gets more complex, and you need a partner who is mature enough to do all the boring adult things we need to do without blowing it off. Trust me. Add kids and it only snow balls.

michaelingp
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Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Post by michaelingp » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:27 pm

ThriftyPhD wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:27 pm
What if the person in charge of finances is incapacitated for some time? If the SO is unaware of and uninvolved in the finances completely, how are they going to pay the bills? One person can be in charge of doing it all, but hopefully the other has logins and/or knowledge of accounts so that they can help out when needed. The extreme case being the finance spouse is hospitalized for a couple months. If the bills don't get paid, you can lose the house and medical insurance.
I'm in charge of finances in our marriage, and I'm pretty sure things would work fine on auto-pilot for quite some time (many months). I can't think of a single bill that I actually write a check for. If I'm unable to communicate for several months, that's equivalent (as far as managing money) to me dying, and I have written instructions (including passwords) for that eventuality.

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