Marriage Talk: Who handles the Money?

A while back a read an article that talked about how a married couple handled their finances. The author talked about her relationship and how they manage their finances as an example for the readers to use (I’m assuming that was the goal) and then asked what worked for them in regards to how they manage their money. The article specifically talked about whether or not a married couple should merge their finances. The author and her husband had separate accounts with a joint account used to pay bills. But there were some people who still believe that once you are married everything should be merged. I don’t necessarily agree with that. It’s mostly because I am incredibly anal about how my money is handled, and there are A LOT of people out there who don’t know how to manage money. I’m not the kind of person who spends everything I have and waits on the next check. What if there is no “next check”? I couldn’t see myself with someone who was constantly coming up short with money for bills every month but somehow manages to always have new toys or clothes. Lorenzo says there are people who only think about having fun, and while there is nothing wrong with having fun, eventually you have to stop and ask, “Who’s paying the bills”?

My husband and I have separate accounts. We were already adults and living on our own when we met so it was just easier to leave everything the way it was. We eventually opened up a joint account, but it was initially used to save for our honeymoon, now we mostly use it to transfer money back and forth to each other. Lorenzo isn’t bad with money; his spending isn’t outrageous, and he is well aware of what his priorities are. When we can spend we spend, but when it’s time to cut back and save; that’s what we do- no complaints. What I love (and respect) the most about our relationship is that even though we have separate accounts, we won’t make any major purchase without consulting the other. This took some getting used to on my part because I wasn’t used to discussing what I wanted to do with MY money to someone else- but that is what happens when you get married (I guess).

We are always talking about money as well. Again, even though we are separate, we know how much the other has, how much the other is saving, and what they are spending it on. We don’t hide things from each other either. You know that joke that that women will buy stuff and hide them from their husbands and then act like they’ve had the items for years when it’s time to pull them out? Yeah, I don’t do that. If I want to go shopping (which has been a rare occurrence lately), I’ll just tell him. He’ll ask what I want or need and sometimes how much I plan on spending but there’s never an issue. I don’t feel like he should spend more or pay all of the bills because he makes more; we are in this together. I do what I can afford, and he does the same.

Talking about money is tricky. Some people avoid it all together, which is never a good thing (aren’t issues with finance a major reason for some divorces? I’ll have to look that up). Money one of those things you can’t run away from, so it’s best just to confront it head on and deal with it. We both have individual savings goals and marriage goals. We try to make an active effort to read more books about money and investing when we have time, but we always make an active effort. I like to do things, and doing things requires money- and it has to come from somewhere.  If we can  spend time talking about having fun and going on vacation, then we can talk about how we plan on cutting back to save the money to pay for said vacation. It’s all about making a plan and sticking to it.

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2 thoughts on “Marriage Talk: Who handles the Money?

  1. We have an almost identical setup. We opened a joint account when we moved in together for the sole purpose of having one account to pay all our joint bills from (rent, utilities, groceries). We somehow came to the mutual conclusion that we should refrain from buying a single item over $100 (roughly) without talking to one another first.

    Before we were married, we had to attend Pre-Cana classes through church. One of the most practical sessions was a finance session. The discussion leader had some examples of how couples managed their money (joint accounts, separate, etc) and then had each couple break off to talk about what our financial goals were and how we could reach them. It was a great way to discuss something that can otherwise be a touchy subject.

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    • Yes, it can be very touchy but its so important to do it and a lot of people don’t realize that. I used to take into account people’s spending habits versus their assets, in addition to asking them what their financial goals were. If there was no plan or it was completely unrealistic – I ran. Lorenzo was the same way when he was dating, but that’s a story for another day.

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