Of Love and Money

They say that all is fair in love and war, but what about love and money? Is everything fair there? Probably not, considering that finances and monetary issues are a leading cause in fights and divorces.But if all isn’t fair, than what is? How do you decide how to break things down? Who pays for what? Who covers what?

Fully combined accounts, joint with separate checking, completely separate accounts – there are so many ways to think about merging accounts post marriage. And not just assets, but debts too. Does the what’s your’s is mine and what’s mine is your’s philosophy extend to debt?

All good relationship counselors, advice givers, and random passerby on the streets will recommend bringing up the “awkward” subject of finances and debt after engagement. A few say that covering the talk of how the wedding will be paid for is a great time to broach the subject.

B and I brought it up way earlier. And for that I am incredibly grateful. Way back at the beginning of our relationship, about 2.5 months in actually, B first brought up my moving in with him. We had already each made out of the way trips to see each other in our long distance relationship, and the first rule of an LDR is to have an end goal for it. Ours was cohabitation. It was very, very important to B that we live in the same city before we got engaged. So when he brought up moving in he brought up finances. Namely, he needed to know what my monthly expenses were so he could work to make sure he could cover them once I moved in with him. Cause, he knew that my leaving my jobs, breaking my lease, and moving across the country was going to leave me lacking in funds. From that point on when both knew what the other made, had in savings, and owed in debt.

From that point on I knew he was fully committed to me. Even without a ring. Because, you see, he told me that the first thing we were going to do once I moved in with him was pay off my credit card debt because he hates the things. I managed to take out two grand of it on my own, while still aggressively saving for my move and taking three trips to see him, but there was still a hefty chunk of change to pay off.

We originally started with one joint account and two separate checking accounts. B was paid into his private account and he transferred money to me to pay for things I needed like gas, groceries, etc. Everything else he just paid for out of his account. My checking account (still) has just the 25 bucks needed to open it. I’ve never really touched it. This continued for probably the first 6-9 months of our marriage. At which point I asked him what would happen if I needed access to the savings account for any reason and he was unavailable. That began the switch to attaching my name to the savings account too. With that, I explained how the current checking situation made me feel like a sub-par member of our relationship. I had to ask him to transfer me money, I had to ask him if it was okay to purchase things with our joint account.

*Sidebar: This wouldn’t have bothered me if we’d done as originally planned and paid for everything joint out of the joint account and each received an allowance to our separate accounts.

Now neither of us use our private accounts. Everything goes into and comes out of our joint account. Neither one of us is reckless with money, so it works well. We do take an “ours” philosophy to money and debt. B does not get more leeway to spend money just because he earns the bigger paycheck. I do not feel guilty about spending money just because I had more debt at the beginning.

This is one part of our relationship that I am most grateful for. It is hard at times being the spouse who has the lesser paying job. But, as a military wife, I will never have the healthy, robust career that my husband enjoys. So I am beyond thankful that we have taken an open, team approach to our finances.

Do you and your SO share finances?

~The Countess~

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About texancountess

I find myself in the calming roar of the sea, floating gently on the foam of the breaking waves. Blue. Green. Gray. The colors of the sea mark the boundaries of my soul. The tumbled glass finds its polish under the relentless pounding of the waves upon the shore. Thus am I. Rough transitioning to polish, refinement ever a process, finding my niche in the storms of life.
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6 Responses to Of Love and Money

  1. AMargaretV says:

    My husband and I had to recently reevaluate how we do our finances when I quit my job to go to graduate school. I agree with you, that it’s hard to be the spouse that doesn’t contribute as much (or in my case any) money, yet still spending it and trying to not feel guilty about it. But we both agree that it’s “our” money, regardless of who earn it.

    • It’s a hard conversation and it’s hard to be the lower earning spouse for sure. It was one that was essential for us to have before I quit two jobs to move across the country for him.

      Remember that grad school is an investment in your future and totally worth not earning any money right now. Best of luck!

  2. Army Amy says:

    We lived together before we got married and at that time had completely separate accounts. (We’d take turns paying for things, split the rent evenly, and money was never an issue.)

    After getting married, my husband was nervous about getting a joint account. (I think he had some strange fear about losing the last strands of his single-hood.) So I added him to my account. He kept a separate account, but there was very little money in it. (I think it just made him feel better knowing it was there.) After a few months, he realized that he wasn’t using that account and since I was taking care of our finances, it was just easier for him to get rid of it and let me take the reigns completely.

    I really like that our money is together. It’s so much simpler than how we did it before. But I know different things work for different people. This is what works for us!*

    • I think B’s fear of operating out of one account was that we’d turn into the couple that had to have the other’s permission to do anything. I don’t think he realized at the time that touching base with the other person over a large purchase is not the same as needing their permission. It’s not an issue for us at all now, but I do know that’s why he wanted the three accounts at the start.

      I agree that having it together makes it simpler. And I say major kudos to the way you split things out before you were married. We didn’t live together long enough prior to marriage (only 3ish weeks) to even think about how finances were going to work in the long term. The short term was just that he would support me until I found a job and we’d figure it out from there.

  3. When R and I first starting talking, even before we were officially dating, we had the money talk. I was surprised and moved by his utmost honesty about it. His credit card debt, his truck payment, his savings account, his child support, his income, etc. It was the first money-talk I had that wasn’t emotionally charged. Currently we are not co-habitating, we have separate accounts, he takes care of his bills in NC, I take care of the bills up here, with the understanding that if either one of us finds ourselves tight at the end of the month, the other is there for them. When he moves up next month, he’ll take care of as much of the home expenses as he can (a point of pride for him), and whatever money I have left over at the end of the month will go into a jointing savings account. The point is, we know what’s important to the other, and we have a plan.

  4. Pingback: Money Management – Status Check | Aprons and Cammies

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