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Do you and your wife have separate bank accounts? I need advice/help

Poll Results: Do you guys have separate bank accounts from your wife?

 
  • 22% (8)
    Yes, we have entirely separate accounts
  • 50% (18)
    I have a separate and a joint account
  • 27% (10)
    We only have a single joint account
36 Total Votes  
post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hey guys. My parents and I were arguing. For the married guys on here, do you and your wife have separate bank accounts? Or even the guys who aren't married yet, what is your plan? My parents say now times are different now and most married couples have separate bank accounts. I disagree. I figured what better way to find out than creating a poll on styleforum.

For those with separate accounts, how do you and your wife split the bills and dinner/drinks/entertainment costs?

I'm wondering this because as I'm sure you can tell, I'm thinking about marrying my girlfriend and there are differences in opinion in this whole mess. It's not like I'm even wealthy or anything. Also how important do you feel it is that your parents like your fiancee/spouse?

Please answer the poll. I'm very curious. Thanks.
post #2 of 40
married for 13 years next week... yeah me and my then-fiance discussed it and I suggested that we have our own individual accounts for our own expenses/purchases, and a joint account for everything else (household expenses, utilities, kids....) and since we do not get the same pay, we also agreed to have a fixed percentage of our income placed in that joint account. this has been working well for me, but ymmv.
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response acidboy. Happy early anniversary and I'm glad everything worked out for you.
post #4 of 40
19 years married- joint account.

Works for us- keeps it simple. Wife is the checkbook accountant- I focus on other things.

The best answer is what do you and the missus want? Money starts the end of a lot of things. Don't sweat it too much but just focus on what the two of you want.

Best advice I ever got that my mother in law apparently never got:

When the two of you get married, mom and dad are now number two, especially mom.

parents have to accept that and, you both have to accept that - whatever you do, the two of you come first.
My mother in law really liked who my wife was dating before we started dating... that, and her raging menopause at the time made for a difficult couple of years. We get along well now.
post #5 of 40
Joint for me for fifteen years. I just can't marine having a question within a marriage about who is going to pay for what. Just seems inconsistent to me with the idea of joining together as a family.
post #6 of 40
My parents were always separate...so I don't know that I could see myself going joint.

Part of it was probably because my dad had intermingled personal and business banking for his solo business for many years (only incorporated recently) and my mom was also self employed with a similar setup (and often her work was for my dad...kind of weird to cut a check from the joint account back to the joint account). Might be different if they started out how they are now (incorporated business for my dad, seasonal paycheck work for my mom).
I think she pays most of the bills except for things that he pays as a business expense...and he just cuts her a check when needed.

They are not big spenders though...I think it would be stressful to be married to a big shopper and have a joint account. Somebody who goes off to the mall and buys a ton of shit that is a net drain on the joint account could definitely lead to problems.

So maybe that personal and joint option is the way to go. A joint account to cover family expenses and saving/investing goals makes sense (especially if you are both paycheck workers so its not a question of business expenses and deciding when to pay yourself out of the business). Then you still have your personal accounts for your own spending habits...you don't have to feel funny about your SF approved purchases and she doesn't have to feel funny about her spending since you have already paid for the important things with the joint account.
post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses. It's good to hear other people's stories and how they make it work.

Almost all of the complications with my parents and girlfriend revolves around myself co-owning a place with my parents. The place isn't even close to being paid off and has over 20 years left on the mortgage. If we sell it now, we would lose quite a bit of money after you take into account the money that the real estate agents take, the property taxes we've paid, the mortgage payments mainly being interest, etc.

Then there is the fact that my girlfriend went to grad school and has well over $100k left of loans to pay off. My plan was to rent the place I have out and try to pay off its mortgage asap from a separate bank account while having my wife (girlfriend) set aside the same amount in her separate account and use that to pay off her student loans. She doesn't want a separate account at all though and is bitching about it making things especially difficult. She also doesn't want to live in my place with me paying the mortgage because she wants to buy a place of our own.

I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of this. I see my parents point as they are trying to protect me in case a worst case scenario happens (divorce) and my wife would get part of our property and I would have to take on half of her student loan debt. I also see how the property is making things so complicated. My parents did look into a prenup but they say that under California law that the spouse is still entitled to some of the property value from when after the couple is married.


Cary Grant, I like the advice. I think it's harder for me as it's my parents and not the in laws. Haha. I definitely don't want to burn any bridges with them as they have done a lot for me all my life. Thanks.


manchambo I also see your point and my girlfriend thinks the same way. If you're going into something, go all in. My girlfriend also thinks this way because her parents divorced and she feels if someone is holding out, maybe they're thinking everything won't work out. Thanks for the feedback.


otc, I would love to have the joint and separate accounts but I have the previously mentioned difficulties. Thanks for the response.


What do you guys think of all this? Is 1 side or the other being unreasonable and I am just not seeing it? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
post #8 of 40

Was married for 15+. Now engaged again... in both we had 3 accounts

 

 

1 joint, one hers one mine.... we each contributed a set amount to our joint account for the monthly bills and other goals, and our individual accounts were ours.

 

that way she didnt have to ask for money for the hairdresser or if she decided to but some jeans or something.... it let her keep a sense of independence. 

 

AND demonstrates a commitment to us... we each have a stake in our financial health...

 

OH... and she got a copy of all bills paid during the month... Accountability is important. 

post #9 of 40
I think you two just need to have a candid discussion and come to an agreement on how you want to handle things. Personally, I would not comingle any significant amount of money with a woman outside of a (good) marriage. You're just setting yourself up for a big mess if it doesn't work out, and also you're going to make it much harder to designate separate property if you do decide to enter into a pre-marital contract.

I agree with CG, when you get married, your wife becomes #1. You guys need to decide what you want, then discuss if with your parents. If they don't agree, then you may indeed need to walk away from that support and start over. Frankly you'll probably be a better man for it. Maybe if they see your dedication to your new wife, they will come around. I'm married 7 years, with several joint accounts, but we each maintain a personal account which the other does not have access to. A set amount is automatically transferred into the private accounts each month to cover our discretionary expenses. It's nice to be able to keep some things secret, especially around birthdays and holidays.
post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by TC (Houston) View Post

I think you two just need to have a candid discussion and come to an agreement on how you want to handle things. Personally, I would not comingle any significant amount of money with a woman outside of a (good) marriage. You're just setting yourself up for a big mess if it doesn't work out, and also you're going to make it much harder to designate separate property if you do decide to enter into a pre-marital contract.

I agree with CG, when you get married, your wife becomes #1. You guys need to decide what you want, then discuss if with your parents. If they don't agree, then you may indeed need to walk away from that support and start over. Frankly you'll probably be a better man for it. Maybe if they see your dedication to your new wife, they will come around. I'm married 7 years, with several joint accounts, but we each maintain a personal account which the other does not have access to. A set amount is automatically transferred into the private accounts each month to cover our discretionary expenses. It's nice to be able to keep some things secret, especially around birthdays and holidays.

Very, very, very good advice.

Never mingle finances outside of marriage. If you ever doubt this, spend a day in court watching 50% of the docket being taken up by ex-couples suing each other for expenses, loans, etc... incurred during the relationship.

When you get married though, wife is number one. And finances will probably be the most common source of arguments.

FWIW - My wife and I have separate accounts, but we have a great deal of trust and are on the same page financially. I came into the marriage with a mortgage. I make about three times as much as she does. I pay the mortgage and cell phone, she pays utilities and car insurance, we split groceries, and I usually spring for the big ticket items and most nights out. Works out well for us, but we're very lucky in that we live really simply and save about 17% of our household income every month.
post #11 of 40
And just wait until the "who gets you for Christmas" discussion wink.gif
post #12 of 40
well, since this topic got started...

my girlfriend and I were discussing this and she broached the idea of wanting us to get a joint account. we're heading towards marriage, so the seriousness of the relationship isn't an issue, but I just feel... strange about the whole thing. we've talked about doing the whole separate accounts for spending while we each contribute a % of income to a joint, but I was also thinking about possibly adding her to my amex account and we could just both pay the bill every month? anyone done something similar?
post #13 of 40
Pre-marriage?

Seems like a bit of a funny thing to do. Did your employer start paying you before you signed your contract?
post #14 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by renman23 View Post

Was married for 15+. Now engaged again... in both we had 3 accounts


1 joint, one hers one mine.... we each contributed a set amount to our joint account for the monthly bills and other goals, and our individual accounts were ours.

that way she didnt have to ask for money for the hairdresser or if she decided to but some jeans or something.... it let her keep a sense of independence. 

AND demonstrates a commitment to us... we each have a stake in our financial health...

OH... and she got a copy of all bills paid during the month... Accountability is important. 


renman, if you don't mind me asking did you buy a place with your ex-wife and did you use the money from the joint account if so? I am curious as to how that part worked out. I understand if you want to keep that private. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TC (Houston) View Post

I think you two just need to have a candid discussion and come to an agreement on how you want to handle things. Personally, I would not comingle any significant amount of money with a woman outside of a (good) marriage. You're just setting yourself up for a big mess if it doesn't work out, and also you're going to make it much harder to designate separate property if you do decide to enter into a pre-marital contract.

I agree with CG, when you get married, your wife becomes #1. You guys need to decide what you want, then discuss if with your parents. If they don't agree, then you may indeed need to walk away from that support and start over. Frankly you'll probably be a better man for it. Maybe if they see your dedication to your new wife, they will come around. I'm married 7 years, with several joint accounts, but we each maintain a personal account which the other does not have access to. A set amount is automatically transferred into the private accounts each month to cover our discretionary expenses. It's nice to be able to keep some things secret, especially around birthdays and holidays.


Yea I would never comingle funds unless I was married. The problem is I want a separate and a joint account while my girlfriend wants a single joint account. I would love to have a separate account too so I don't have to explain to her how much I spent on an article of clothing. shog[1].gif Thanks for the input.
post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post

Very, very, very good advice.

Never mingle finances outside of marriage. If you ever doubt this, spend a day in court watching 50% of the docket being taken up by ex-couples suing each other for expenses, loans, etc... incurred during the relationship.

When you get married though, wife is number one. And finances will probably be the most common source of arguments.

FWIW - My wife and I have separate accounts, but we have a great deal of trust and are on the same page financially. I came into the marriage with a mortgage. I make about three times as much as she does. I pay the mortgage and cell phone, she pays utilities and car insurance, we split groceries, and I usually spring for the big ticket items and most nights out. Works out well for us, but we're very lucky in that we live really simply and save about 17% of our household income every month.


Yea I agree. My parents are worried if I do marry her and get divorced she will get half of my stake in the property I share with them, half my 401k, and I will get half of her student loan debt to boot. At least we both make roughly the same.

If you don't mind me asking, how did you work out the mortgage situation? Did you have your wife sign a pre-nup saying she can't touch it? Or does she get a portion of your place? I understand if you don't want to discuss that. Thanks.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post

And just wait until the "who gets you for Christmas" discussion wink.gif

smile.gif Right now she says we will split it but we will have to see.
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