Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?

That’s it. We did it. It’s official….

Jimmy and I share a checking account.

I mean, we can just move money in and out of an account we share with the click of a mouse. Just like that. I’ve never shared finances with someone this closely except for my parents, and that wasn’t exactly sharing.

The crazy thing is it’s so easy–we didn’t even have to step foot inside the bank. The bank sent us some forms, we filled them out, and voila, we share (some) money.

Now, we’re talking transfer dates, deposits, savings… I can’t help but wonder will this only cause problems?

Almost every long term relationship, and by long term I mean decades, that I’ve watched has a ruler of finances. In my house growing up, it was my mom. I’ve asked a lot of other friends and they agreed that one parent dominated the doling out of the Benjamins. I don’t want this to happen to us. I’m not sure how you truly keep your finances shared since I’ve honestly never seen this modeled in a relationship.

Money in our society equals power, so of course, people want to control their money, and they should. However, how do you both control your money when you can both toss it around accounts like a volleyball?

This is all preemptive worry, which I’m prone to do. I would like to hear of one relationship story where two people shared the managing of money somewhat equally. I’d even take 60/40.

On the bright side, we’re finally DINKS (Double Income No Kids), so I should be delighted to have this “problem.” We can plan weekend trips to Vegas, so what am I complaining about?

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3 thoughts on “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?

  1. Do you all have separate accounts in addition to the joint account? My parents argued about everything except money, and they set it up this way. They decided ahead of time what the joint account would pay for, e.g. household and everyday expenses plus vacations, and then they each used their own money to pay for the big “personal” items. I don’t know if that helps, but I’ve heard from a number of other people that they’ve been happy with a similar arrangement. The key is agreeing on how much each person contributes to the joint account.

  2. don’t have any advice for you on this. its pretty much a non-issue for my hubby and me at this point (4 years into marriage). all money gets tossed into our joint account – in & out it goes! 😉 i think you’ll find that over time it becomes less of an issue (maybe, hopefully?). when the hubs & i first started our joint account it was a big deal – it was new to us both, but overtime its become something neither of us even think about it. we’re both working towards the same goal – providing for our family, keeping a roof over our heads, and our bills paid. what’s his is mine, what’s mine is his… but that’s just us & what we found works for us. its different for everyone – you just have to find what you both feel comfortable with & that may change & evolve over time. good luck!!

  3. This is something Kate and I discussed a lot when we got engaged. First I’ll tell you our method, and then I’ll tell you how I think it answers your question.
    1. Calculate your average monthly expenses to be paid by the joint account (mortgage, utilities, groceries, dining, etc.); example: $1,000 per month
    2. Calculate your contribution by percentage of total take-home pay; example: paycheck for A = $1,000, for B = $1,200, so A’s portion is 45% ($1,000/$2,200), thus making B’s portion 55%.
    3. Set up automatic transfer equal to your portion of the joint expenses; for A = $450, while for B = $550.
    Now to answer your question: if you have an agreed upon, objective, automated method in place, the only time “control” is needed is when there’s an unbudgeted joint expense (purchase a new appliance, vacation together, etc.). That requires discussion and one person to calculate the additional transfer necessary to cover the expense.
    But the short answer: who already monitors their own expenses closely? Do one of you prefer the role of family accountant? Maybe that person should be responsible for monitoring the joint account too. If you have a joint account for combined expenses, but retain your own individual accounts for personal expenses, control should not be an issue.
    Good luck!

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