I’ve officially been married for over a year now, and I’m finally getting this joint money thing under control. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve had our share of unexpected fights about it (it’s amazing when I talk to my single and engaged friends and they tell me that they have never fought with their significant others, how I always want to point, laugh, and loudly yell “Bah!”), but we’re finally getting into a place where we have a plan and a system.
We have a joint checking account. Rather than hashing out whose checking account we were going to keep, we dumped both of ours and opened a new one. It made more sense to us because we were moving to a new town anyway, and it helped to diminish the “mine” feelings.
On the other hand, we each kept our own oldest credit card. We simply added each other as authorized users. We did this because of the conventional wisdom about credit score and length of credit history. However, after a few months of trying to balance “yours, mine, ours” credit, we decided on a single card to use for all of our regular needs. We use the other when only when a promotion or offer makes the cash back better than the primary card.
We set up our investments to automatically deduct from our checking account, so that we don’t have to think about it.
I am a budgeting nerd, and my husband is not. Therefore, it makes sense for me to write up the budgets every month. However, if I made the budget by myself, my husband just ignored it and there went our savings goal for the month. So, we developed the system of me making the budget and my husband having the right to review and edit it. This way he doesn’t need to worry about the technical stuff that bores him, but he gets to assert his own priorities in the process by adjusting things up or down.
I physically pay the bills and balance the checkbook because again, that’s my personal orientation. We discussed it and it makes the most sense.
Hubby on the other hand gets a real kick out of researching investments, so he is in charge of our portfolio. He chose our mutual fund, and he checks the balance every day. Personally, I’d rather not see it.
Unfortunately, we do not always agree on how money should be spent. He really likes having toys, whereas I really really want to rid myself of clutter. I’m committed to getting out of debt, but that’s not something he cares about nearly as much. We agreed never to spend more than $100 on something without asking each other first, but it’s difficult for me to always say no.
We’ve argued and cried and hashed it out again and again. Sometimes we can come to a compromise, sometimes we just have to accept each other’s decisions (and remind ourselves how much we love each other). I’m sure we need to work on this part even more as we go on, but we’re getting to a better place, and that’s necessary if we ever want to grow our money.