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

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Timbaland, Oct 3, 2013.

Do you guys have separate bank accounts from your wife?

  1. Yes, we have entirely separate accounts

    8 vote(s)
    22.2%
  2. I have a separate and a joint account

    18 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. We only have a single joint account

    10 vote(s)
    27.8%
  1. hopkins_student

    hopkins_student Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    North Carolina
    We've been married for five years and we have joint checking and savings accounts and she has individual checking and savings accounts that she's had since before we were married. I closed my individual accounts when we got married. The mortgage is in my name. My student loan debt is shared by both of us.

    My wife is incredibly low maintenance. She is unbelievably thrifty when it comes to spending on herself. She's also relatively ok with the fact that I'm not at all thrifty. So really there's no way that I would stand to benefit from having a separate checking account.

    Our arrangement is that she does all of the bill paying. For the most part I take the lead on financial decisions, but I have no desire and feel no need to participate in the accounting and she's perfectly content to take care of that.
     
  2. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,201
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    People still do bill paying?

    I haven't paid a bill in years...once a year I go into my bank's website and tell them to increase the size of the rent check

    I bet she's got it all automated and shit...and once a month she says "I'm going to lock myself in the study and pay off the bills" while she climbs out the window, hops in the car, and drives to the spa.
     
  3. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    McAnally Flats
    

    Florida law is such that she gets half of the equity built during our marriage, regardless of whose name is on the deed or how much of the mortgage she paid. I think that's fair and wouldn't have felt right insisting on a prenup to prevent that.

    I'd advise you to do some preliminary research on the matter. Most states consider assets accumulated before the marriage to not be considered (at least directly) part of the divorce package. So for example, you have a 401(k) with $50,000 in it, you marry her, and divorce in ten years. The 401(k) at the time of your divorce is worth $100,000. You walk away with the $50,000 you put into, plus half of the increase value (i.e. equity built) during the marriage, which would be $50,000/2= $25,000. So you walk away with $75,000 total (irrespective of any state laws that may shield retirement accounts).

    I the instance of the property you share, any share you have, and have officially, not just an understanding, before the marriage would be off-limits to the divorce.

    This in no way constitutes legal advice, of course, and you should consult your own attorney before giving any merit to what I've said here. Also, boobies.


    LOL. I don't doubt some women do. For me, a year of extreme poverty and the subsequent climb out has made me extremely wary of automatic bill payments. If shit goes south, I want the option of easily being able to skip a payment on something. My wife thinks I'm ridiculous mailing in a check for the bills I pay (mortgage and Sallie Mae), but I don't give a damn.
     
  4. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

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    Aug 15, 2008
    The value of my free time FAR FAR exceeds the limited utility of knowing something won't go wrong with the transaction because I am doing it myself by hand.

    I mean, I still see the payments show up so I can check their value, and I have the option of cancelling/changing/postponing a payment until the day the bank cuts the check. If I do happen to have a billing error that goes uncaught, it would have to be pretty damn large to hurt me more than the amount of time not paying bills has saved me. It would have to be like...my rent check getting sent twice (not that I couldn't make that mistake by hand, especially if it was me and a wife thinking about the bills) and then I would notice it eventually when my annual rent expenditure (should be a fixed expense) was 8% high...
     
  5. Journeyman

    Journeyman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    It's interesting to read about the varied arrangements that people have.

    I have a rather Asian arrangement as, although I'm not Asian, my wife is. We have separate bank accounts but on the day I get paid, my account automatically transfers most of my nett pay packet over to her bank account, leaving me with some money to pay for public transport, lunch, and discretionary spending.

    My mobile (cell) phone bill is deducted automatically from my account, but my wife handles all of the other payments - council rates, electricity, internet, insurance, school, extra-curricular lessons for the kids etc etc.

    I can't complain because as a result of my wife's financial management we're debt free and we've got the equivalent of over two years' nett salary stashed away.

    So, whilst I've surrendered a good measure of financial independence, I still have some money to use every fortnight (or to save up for bigger clothing- or shoe-related purchases) and we're in an excellent financial situation, so it's the arrangement has certainly worked for us.
     
  6. Medwed

    Medwed Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston->NYC->Helsinki->St.-Petersburg->Budapest->A
    I have been in a relationship for 8 years, first we got married due to legal issues of work permits and permanent residency (she is Swedish citizen)and then once we established that for my then wife we promptly divorced due to tax penalty. We we awestruck how much our taxes skyrocketed (no kids no mortgage) in a first year, so we decided then that we are not going to throw money at Uncle Sam.
    I wonder why people who do not fall into my scenario even consider marrying before they have kids or joint property?

    To your original question; I don't remember once discussing who pays for what with my girl. If you are living paycheck to paycheck or worse then perhaps. But if you are two earning adults ...I honestly think all these negotiations and discussions about money spells trouble in a relationship. Who pays for entertainment? It is an absurd question just like who takes the trash out or who takes the car to a car wash? It is something you do when you alone don't you? Well just continue to do it and if your partner never offers you any help or to pay for your dinner or to pick up groceries on a way home then she is not really your partner, it is that easy.

    If marriage requires contracts and negotiations it is a financial partnership and it will end badly as most financial partnerships do. That is why there is a saying: "Never do business with your friends, if you don't want to lose them".
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  7. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Well-Known Member

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    How long, exactly, does it take you to write a check? I get my month's bills done in maybe two minutes at most. And you may think you have the option of cancelling etc... but I think you'll find out you've overlooked a lot of fine print when you actually go to do so.
     
  8. VaderDave

    VaderDave Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    My wife and I have been married for almost 24 years. We got married when we were in college, and we didn't have much of anything. So we've always had joint accounts. I can't even imagine having a separate account where I kept money that I considered "mine."

    I can see (especially after reading some of the posts here) how it might have been different if we had married later or if we had been further along in our careers, but everything I have at this point I owe to her support during college and law school, so I'm happy to give her everything I earn now.
     
  9. Michigan Planner

    Michigan Planner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Jan 18, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit-ish
    We've been married just over 5 years and we each have a personal account and then one joint account together.

    When we first got married, I still had a bunch of student loan debt and wasn't making too terribly much. She on the other hand had a high paying job and a ton of money in various accounts and trust fund payments coming in regularly. We figured it was easier to just keep things separate for a while and she paid the rent while I paid the utilities and for most of the groceries. After a year or so (not long after buying a house), at her request, we got a joint account and each contribute a portion of our paychecks to it as well as any annual gifts or anything like that we receive. These days we use that account for mortgage/insurance/taxes, utilities, house maintenance, groceries, gasoline, and child expenses (we have a 3-year-old). Anything else, comes from our personal accounts and over the past couple of years we've been slowly increasing what % goes into the joint account and decreasing what goes into the personal accounts.
     
  10. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Oct 25, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    We also have a joint and each a personal. All paychecks etc go into the joint which is the primary account. We then each get a set amount each month transferred into our personal accounts for discretionary spending. Has worked well for us.
     
  11. StephenB

    StephenB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Engaged to be married in about 3 months. Both of us work so our plan for bank accounts are as follows.

    We will have separate bank accounts and one shared account. The shared account is for all our shared expenses, we contribute equally 50/50 to this account. The account just pays for rent, Hulu, Netflix, Internet, Utilities, shared credit card (only for shared meals and expenses) etc, anything we use equally. When we have a shared goal (down payment, saving for a trip) we will contribute equally to this account as well.

    Outside of that we both have separate accounts (bank and credit) for everything else. This allows both of us to spend on fun stuff without pissing the other off and to contribute equally to our shared expenses.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Timbaland

    Timbaland Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies guys. Looking at the poll results and all the stories was nice to see.

    My girlfriend still doesn't want to have a separate account and a joint account. One of the things my parents were worried on is that my girlfriend is supporting her family. If it comes out of the joint account it would be some of my money going towards that too. After taking into account the advice on here I will probably just let it go. A miserable (complaining) wife = a miserable husband after all. :)
     
  13. NAMOR

    NAMOR Well-Known Member

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    ive really enjoyed this thread. never gave it much thought but its something ill have to look forward to in the future.
     
  14. Joffrey

    Joffrey Well-Known Member

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    Pennsylvania Ave/Connecticut Ave
    

    I'm not married so take this for what it's worth but once you get married you as a couple will be supporting her family. You may want to consider if you're okay with that financial burden on both of you. If not, maybe you do the separate accounts thing until her family no longer needs support? Or come to some kind of agreement on the extent you can support her family? I'm not sure the extent of the support but something to consider, because I'm not sure backing down on your "miserable (complaining)" wife on every major decision will necessarily lead to reduced misery as a husband/couple.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. Gibonius

    Gibonius Well-Known Member

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    ^ yeah that's absolutely something you need to hash out before getting married. Working hard to fund her family could be a raw deal once you have a combined household. Simply giving in to everything she wants (financially or otherwise) is just as much a recipe for misery as fighting over everything.
     
  16. mafoofan

    mafoofan Well-Known Member

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    My pay is magnitudes greater than my wife's, yet we share all bank accounts. My money is her money--on the principle that we both contribute equally to our marriage in different ways and support each other equally in different ways. Neither of us have to ask the other whether we can pay for a haircut or buy a pair of jeans. The issue is around big stuff, but we both understand that and discuss with each other to decide jointly.
     
  17. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    New York City
    

    My thoughts as well. We have defined "personal spending" budgets (equal), but I couldn't imagine us getting our paychecks in separate accounts, paying the joint bills, and keeping whatever is left over--wouldn't be equitable.
     
  18. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 22, 2009
    We make roughly the same amount, so not much of this has really ever been an issue. We've been together since before university so it's all happened pretty naturally. We keep separate accounts and a joint savings/investment portfolio that we both contribute to. Luckily we're poor and don't do/have fancy things so the issue of spending is never really something that comes up. If we had different goals/tastes the relationship would have ended long ago.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  19. Douglas

    Douglas Well-Known Member

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    Married for 2 years here, together for 8 or so, and we still don't know what we're doing. We are not a model case. I've finally convinced my wife that we needed a joint account to pay for bills and I can tell you my own personal feeling is that it's much better this way. I don't mind her keeping some money separate but we've had a slightly less-than-optimal set of debates over "who was paying" for certain things. Now, a grocery bill comes out of our money, so does eating out. And I like it better that way.

    I think everyone is different and the most important thing is that you find clarity and can agree on it.
     
  20. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Well-Known Member

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    A friend was telling me that he shared everything with his wife... except the secret "party card" that he rang up $8000 on just before his mortgage was set to renew...
     

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