Tales from the Wallet: Who Manages the Money In Your House?

Kate Spade New York Glitterball Coin PurseWho is in charge of your money — you? your partner? everyone?  This came up recently with a friend, and I thought it might be an interesting open thread.  For those of you without a partner, do you want to stay in charge of your finances — or will you be happy to give that drudgery over? (Pictured: Kate Spade Glitterball Coin Purse, available at Zappos in pink and black for $50.)

For my $.02: In our household, I’m the primary one in charge of our finances, both day-to-day and long-term.  (We tried when we were first married to put 80% of our income into a joint account and 20% into separate accounts for spending money, but we simplified everything and have totally joint accounts now.)  I give my husband a “State of the Union” summary about twice a year (or whenever the mood strikes) — what the balances are, how the investments are doing, how we’re doing on our goals for the year, the good news (how much debt we’ve paid down/savings we’ve banked), the bad news (if we had to dip into savings to pay any bills, how much, when, etc).  He also gets the weekly summary emails from Mint, as well as text messages when our accounts drop below a certain balance (I think that’s another Mint feature, but it may be through our bank, Chase.)  In all honesty, I think it’s easiest to have one person manage everything, but that’s just what I know.  (Especially in our situation, where I occasionally write about personal finance and so I’m reading about it more, whereas my husband just was never into it that much.)

I think it’s funny how sometimes this is seen as a “gendered” family role — I think it’s usually seen as “the man’s job,” but my mother was the primary one in charge of day-to-day finances while I was growing up, as were both my grandmothers before her.

Ladies, who manages the money in your house? If you’re not the primary person, do you get “reports” from your partner?  Was this something you negotiated before you intermingled finances, or did you just fall into your roles?

Comments

  1. Research, Not Law :

    We split responsibility. I handle more of the budgeting and long-range planning. He handles the bill payments. I used to handle the bill payments, too, but I got really ditzy when I was pregnant. It was no good. I’ll probably take them back soon, since it’s not really his cup of tea. Also, I’m a saver and he’s a spender, so we do better when I’m in charge of the money.

    We both have access to all accounts and review regularly. We discuss everything together, too.

    • “I’m a saver and he’s a spender, so we do better when I’m in charge of the money.”

      Haha. My thoughts exactly :)

      • This is why I gave over the finances to my husband. :) I am the spender and our savings balance has definitely improved since I ceded control. BUT, he keeps an old-fashioned ledger so I am never in the dark about our financial situation because I can always check the ledger for a quick look at all of our debt/utilities/credit cards/savings/etc. plus as you both mentioned, I have access to all accounts and we discuss any large or out of the ordinary purchases.

        • Also to clarify, we have all joint checkings/savings/investments into which our entire paychecks go but then each have our own personal account into which we get a weekly allowance so he can waste money on tools he doesn’t need without judgment and I can buy starbucks without comments on how we spent good money a Keurig. :)

    • Research, Not Law :

      Also, we only have joint accounts.

      • My husband took over budget management this year. We also have only a joint account and he does most of the Bill payments except for my credit card which is paid off every month. We have monthly budget discussions that are essential as diffas. erent expenses come up. I Don’t miss all the budgeting and he really enjoys it, so this setup works well for us. It also makes me less impulsive as I used to be a shopaholic.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Such a wonderfully interesting topic! I handle all of it in our house. We pool all our finances, even though I make twice what DH makes. I am in charge of day-to-day budgeting, bill-paying, cash-flow, all of it. I do zero-based budgeting so every penny has a job to do, and I have it all set up on MS Money and track it all down to the penny. We have a million different accounts and at this point all the money pretty much flies hither and thither, untouched by human hands. Paychecks come in to the checking account electronically, then are whisked away via automatic billpay or automatic transfers to savings. DH and I each get a cash allowance each week and we also have money transferred every week to our separate personal savings accounts.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, and we definitely make big decisions together. We don’t have regular official finance meetings, but all big decisions are discussed and agreed on.

  2. we are not married, but we DO have a joint bank account. we add in equal amounts each month to pay for bills, groceries, dinners, happy hours, etc. we’ve been trying to save a bit into this account, but it’s not a huge deal. as long as the account stays above a certain dollar value, we’re ok with that! nobody really checks it regularly, except around rent time or another big purchase… as long as we’re always in the “we need to watch our spending” mood, we’ve never been unsatisfied with our joint finances :)

  3. We discuss & decide the budget jointly, but he pays the bills. Short & medium term savings is discussed & decided together, as is any debt. I’m responsible for long term savings as I’m an accountant & understand investing a little better than he does. Taxes are 100% my responsibility (apart from him getting me the slips & other info I need for his taxes). We each have one account that is 100% ours (aside from retirement savings). I use mine to keep track of my spending money. I don’t think he uses his for anything beyond student loan payments. Since I’m far, far more likely to spend money on myself I keep track of my fun (clothes, etc) spending separately.

  4. When we first started dating I was in charge of all of the day to day bill pay. Then I realized he was going back and checking everything because he is, well, anal about money stuff. Since I didn’t really like doing it, I happily relinquished the duties to him. We do investments, saving, and paying down debt (when we have it) together. I do the taxes. We communicate frequently about how we’re doing money-wise. It all kind of evolved into this system, and it works well for us.

  5. We have a joint account that our pay goes into, we use that to pay bills, move money into savings, etc. My husband does the mechanics of paying the bills. We discuss amounts to be saved for different purposes and obviously, most purchases beyond day to day things. I have my own little account that I use for my own personal wants– a coffee at starbucks, lunch out during the work day, a top or pair of shoes, etc. I like being able to keep track of these things myself and not have to “explain” the small discretionary purchases to my husband.

  6. We recently got married and had been living together for a while. We have a pre-nup. So we generally keep our money in separate accounts and have one joint account where we deposit a designated amount to cover all of our joint expenses (rent, groceries, meals eaten out together, entertainment, etc.). I’m in charge of budgeting that stuff and once a month, when the joint credit card bill is due, I’ll let him know if we’ve gone over budget because we’ve gone on vacation, bought a bunch of Christmas gifts, etc. and we both make an extra deposit. We reevaluate the amount of the monthly deposits once in a while and can increase it in the future if there are additional child-based expenses. We have joint ownership over that account and keep the rest of our paychecks in personal accounts to do with as we wish. And we have been pretty successful at setting and forgetting this.

    For long term savings and investments, my husband is just way more into it than me. We keep separate investment accounts, but I’d just dump all my money into something super-safe and he’s more savvy. So I gave him access to my non-401k accounts along with a few parameters (i.e. don’t buy stock in Cigarettes4Kids) and let him make those investment decisions. That may seem a little gendered but I seriously could not care less about stocks and he takes hardcover investment books to read for fun on vacation. So it works for us.

  7. Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

    Long-term saving & investing decisions are made jointly.

    Day-to-day and month-by-month: He pays the bills. I do the bulk of the budgeting.

    We have agreed upon a certain amount to be saved every month, and a certain amount of play money every month. We have pretty similar atttitudes and habits about money, so that makes things pretty easy.

  8. Anon in ATX :

    DH & I have merged our finances and I am primarily in charge of running the budget on a monthly basis. We will discuss larger savings & spending goals, but otherwise mostly all the categories for spending are set by me. DH & I both get a monthy “allowance” that we are free to spend guilt-free on whatever we want.

    Where we struggle is when I try to get him actively involved in making investment choices for his retirement accounts. I refuse to take this on myself because I feel like he needs to have some say in this. (I already manage my own retirement accts + investments outside retiremment). But it is such a struggle because he drags his feet on research and pulling the trigger. Any advise on how to get him more engaged in the process?

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      Is your DH very goal-oriented?

      It can be hard– trying to do something today, researching, re-researching, discussing, etc. for something that seems very far away.

      Perhaps ask him when he’d like to retire. And what he’d like to do retiring. If he can visualize that goal, he may feel more motivated to work towards it.

      I suffer from the same myopia, but when I think that like many other employees in this country, subject to the vagaries of senior management, management trends, rolling layoffs, and a crap economy, I get motivated and start pulling the trigger on long-term investing stuff.

    • FYI, my husband and I (both in finance) have our money in Vanguard (and employer 401(k) companies’) mutual funds with target retirement dates. We basically don’t have to make any decisions, and this is a relief for both of us. Even for our non-retirement savings, we put the money into those types of funds, and just pick a “retirement” date around the time we expect to need the money. Anything that is really short-term, we put in our savings account or a money-market account. We don’t have to do research, we don’t have to follow the markets to closely, we don’t feel bad if the balances go down, and we’re pretty sure that we’ll do okay long-term. If your husband doesn’t like to conduct research, this may be a good option for him. (And it’s recommended by a lot of finance experts, including Felix Salmon, who just wrote about this a few days ago, if I am recalling correctly.)

      • Senior Attorney :

        Thanks for this. I am great at the day-to-day part of finances but I am at a loss when it comes to actually investing the money we’ve worked so hard to save!

      • Turtle Wexler :

        I’m so glad to hear a finance person say this. I don’t actively follow my retirement accounts either, I just have my Vanguard roll-over IRA and my TSP account set to the 2050ish target dates. I was never sure whether this was the best plan, but it’s by far the easiest and reduces my natural tendency to fiddle with things. I’m pretty sure I’d do more damage than good that way…though the funds in TSP are so limited, it really doesn’t matter either way.

      • karenpadi :

        I’m also glad to hear a finance person does this! I use the Vanguard target date funds for retirement and the “lifestyle” funds (defined by a ratio of stocks vs bonds vs other) for other savings. I really like these funds because I feel like I can dump money into them and forget about it.

        • We do this in part to avoid improprieties/insider trading allegations. But we would probably do so anyway. (There are day traders on both sides of our families, and we are not impressed with their pickings.) I don’t have the energy or interest to be hand-selecting stocks, much less following them and trading going forward. And I’m not interested in paying someone to do that for me, either. Vanguard funds have reasonable maintenance fees, you can get a lot of diversity within them, and (if the fund has a retirement target date) they will adjust appropriately among stock, bonds, and other investments, so you don’t have to reallocate your investments yourself.

      • Anon in ATX :

        @Ginny,

        I too love Vanguard. Back when I started getting serious about fiances I read alot of stuff that basically convinced me that index/target funds are the way to go, so that is what I do for my own 401k plus our joint investments. I guess the issue is DH is not convinced this is the best way to go, but also doesn’t want to commit to the time/homework of doing his own research. I know I don’t want to do the research, & I don’t want to pay someone else to do it either. So, how can I convince him this is the best strategy? I have tried to get him to read books on investing but he just abandons them before he finishes. He seems to rely heavily on advice from his father, who I love, but don’t consider him to be a reliable source because this is not his line of work, and I really have no idea what his father is using for his suggestions besides his own experience.

  9. I am in charge of writeing all check’s on my own bank account, but my DAD manage’s it for me, and ocassionally deposit’s money in it when I need him to do so. Yay dad!

    He also pay’s the morgage on my CO-OP, but I pay the maintanence myself to the CO-OP every month. My dad also manage’s my 401(k) retirement account for me and is handeling a seperate brokerage account he has mantained for me ever since I was a MINOR under the UNIFORM Gift’s to MINOR’s act. It still says this on the account, even tho I am HARDLY a minor.

    My dad also doe’s my taxe’s for me (BOTH FEDERAL + NY STATE + NY CITY), but I sign all of these return’s.

    My dad want’s to transition responsibility for all of this once I get MARRIED, but so far, that is NOT in the card’s b/c most guys are onley interested in spendeing money not saveing for my retirement. If ONLEY I could find a guy to marry like my dad! That is not possible I think, b/c he was recruited by MENSA but turned them down.

    The dummies I meet here in NYC are realy dumb compared to him, so I stopped thinkeing I could find anyone close. FOOEY!

  10. I am in charge of budgeting, bills and building medium-term savings/emergency fund. Since we just merged households recently, we don’t have any joint investments yet – we just have our individual investments. We each put 60% of our paycheques into the joint account, which covers all our mortgage payments/bills/joint financial needs. The system is still a work in progress but so far appears to be working pretty well. We’ll be having our first financial review session in the next week or so to determine how we should tweak our budget and financial processes.

    It is actually kind of ironic that I am in charge of the budget, since BF is more financially savvy than me, but I get very uncomfortable if I don’t know how my money is doing – I’ve actually become quite neurotic about checking Mint (it’s that Type A personality coming out). As well, being in charge of the budget and therefore being accountable to someone else for my financial decisions helps me in my own quest for better personal financial health.

  11. I’m single, so can’t comment for myself. I will say that my mom has always handled the finances in our family. Apparently she started balancing my dad’s checkbook when they were dating in college and has had the responsibility ever since. If anything ever happens to her, my dad is in big trouble. Last year she sent him to the bank to deposit a check … and he went to the wrong bank!

    Although I would want to be informed about the basics, I would love to have a spouse handle the finances. I’m just not a numbers person, I guess.

  12. I used to think that I was the responsible one and therefore the only one who could handle managing our finances. At the same time, I felt put out for having to spend the time paying bills and being the one with ultimate responsibility for our financial condition. AND we were fighting all of the time about all of the frivolous things that each of us wanted to buy. Two solutions:

    1. We rotate bill paying/finance responsibility every two years (it turns out that my husband does an excellent job at it — I should have trusted him long ago); and

    2. The bulk of our paychecks go into a joint account, from which all bills are paid, but a set amount of each paycheck (the same amount for both of us, no matter who makes more money) goes into an account to which the other person does not have access. We each spend that money on whatever we want – no questions asked.

    Viola! No more fighting about money and no more martyrdom on my part.

    • I had a similar situation with my partner. Unfortunately he is not super responsible with bill-paying so rotating is not an option at this point. On the plus side, he wants to develop better habits. Hurray!

      Giving him a couple of small, less important bills did not work, so we’ve starting doing the bills together twice monthly. We made a shared calendar with all of our bills and paydays, and our twice-monthly bill pay time scheduled. We also use that time to talk about other financial things – for example, he started a new job so we went over the benefits options during Bills time. So far, so good!

  13. It’s a bit frustrating, I handle everything and my spouse is a bit clueless on our money front and doesn’t really engage when I try. He nods his head when I try to talk to his about paying off loans, savings, etc., but then will go and spend away the next day. We’ve tried separate accounts (just dips into main one when his allocated funds dry out), cash only, etc., but to no avail. I think he thinks since we have such a comfortable combined income it shouldn’t be a big deal, but he’s not the one paying the monthly expenses, building up savings/retirement, trying to plan vacations and other things. Wow, that was nice to get off of my chest…

    • get some money into a bank account only you have access to!

    • Would he agree to putting most of his money in an account he doesn’t have access to? I suppose that doesn’t prevent him from using a credit card, though.

      I’m inclined to agree with moss that a personal safety account for you would be a good move.

  14. My mother was in charge of the day to day finances, too, but that always made sense to me as she was mostly a homemaker, so this was another “home” duty, though I never got the chance that she was more “in charge” of where the money went then my dad. No idea about my grandparents.

    In my household, my husband definitely does the day to day work. We never sat down and decided that – it just sort of naturally happened, I guess because when we first got together, I really had no regular bills (college student on full scholarship, no car payment, no credit cards). Looking back, I’m actually sort of surprised to see that I’ve never really dealt with any of that stuff. Though most of it is on auto-pay, anyway, which simplifies things.

    That said, though, financial *decisions* are joint – we both are very respectful of each other and confer with any significant financial decisions. Also, I keep an eye on the balances and that sort of thing. I don’t handle the day to day stuff, but I don’t in any way feel like it is out of my control or that I am out of the loop.

  15. I’m married and our finances aren’t really very mingled. He pays the bills for our mortgage, utilities and joint credit card and bills me for my share. I was 31 when we got married and had been on my own since I was 17, so I’m perfectly comfortable handling the bills, he just likes doing it so I figure might as well let him. We have a joint savings account, but each maintain our own checking accounts that our respective paychecks go into. He’s a scientist and I’m a lawyer, so right now I make a lot more than him, but have a lot more student loan payments going out. So for now we just manage our own bills. I also have my own personal credit cards and car insurance that I pay out of my account.

    We’ve been married 5 years, but we’re both pretty independently-minded so for now while we’re both working full-time and don’t have kids yet, this separate system works for us. I’m sure once kids come into the picture and I possibly cut down my hours, or he moves to a university position, we’ll reassess. We’re both pretty responsible, financially, so it hasn’t been a source of contention for us.

    • Oh, he also does the taxes, again, because he likes it (weirdo!).

    • Turtle Wexler :

      This sounds a lot like us, except that I make sure everything gets paid and we have a joint checking account that the mortgage and utilities come out of. I contribute a set amount every pay period and he usually makes a big transfer in every couple months. We also have a joint savings account designated as an emergency fund. Other than that, we keep things separate. I usually pay for groceries from my own account and he pays for dinners out, which pretty much evens out. For other household and other random purchases, we loosely alternate but don’t track too closely who spent how much and when.We don’t make that many big purchases, but when we do, the way we pay for it is on a case-by-case basis. We have no plans to have any joint credit cards and don’t have investments outside of our retirement plans, which I don’t think allow for more than one owner (though we are each other’s beneficiaries). For us, it’s not so much that we think of it as “his money” and “my money,” as that we like having the flexibility of our own accounts (I would go nuts trying to keep track of how much was in a shared checking account used for day-to-day purchases, whereas I always know how much is in my own accounts) and feel like it doesn’t really matter where the money comes from.

      We might reassess when we have kids, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

      On a somewhat tangential note, I paid off the last of my law school loans today! It took a chunk out of my savings, but I should be able to make that up pretty quickly now that I’m not throwing every spare penny at the loan. I’m excited, it feels pretty darn good!

  16. We keep things really separate because when I don’t pay attention it kind of gets out of control. I make more so I pay more bills. I pay mortgage & all other bills except internet, netflix, and the newspaper. He pays those plus all the gas and groceries. He is an independent contractor and can’t really save right now so I save for both of us. I buy all the extras like clothes etc also (he doesn’t need many since he works from home). And I spend my extra money on myself, guilt-free.

  17. I’ll use this thread where Kat recommended a coin purse to recommend my favorite one to the hive. It is this one by Candy Store.

    http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod4090197

    They sell it here on ulta and other places. It is brightly colored so you can find it easily in your bag and it is silicone so you can clean it out. Circulating change is disgustingly dirty. I bought my change purse at a duty free shop four months ago and I am astonished at how grimy it got on the inside since then. I’m grateful that I was able to just clean it out with dish soap.

  18. I ‘m in a really unusual situation. My husband is an attorney who makes tons more than me, although I am a professional in a management position and earn a very healthy salary of my own. All of our finances are separate. We have a prenup– it is his house and he pays all bills. He also pays for all meals and household items, other than the few things that I choose to shop for on my own. I sold my house when we married and the profit and all of my savings are entirely separate. The only real thing I contribute financially to our household is to pay for health insurance (it is expensive–slightly less than 1/6 of my take home each month). He has a child from a previous marriage and we are not planning to have any together. I never lived with anyone before being married, so have never had to mix finances. Before being married, I always outearned people I dated quite a bit–so even having meals paid for all of the time when husband and I were still dating was a big switch. I have really mixed feelings right now about the whole financial part of my life. I know I am very lucky–I am saving more than I ever dreamed I could and don’t want for anything in any way (not always the case in my life– early career post-grad for me was filled with a couple of low-paying but prestigious positions). I know I should be very happy and I do consider myself quite fortunate, but there definitely is a weirdness to the present arrangement. Husband and I have now been married almost 10 years and get along famously. I’m happier than ever with our relationship and feel like we make a fantastic team when it comes to most decisions and views on things. But I still am a bit envious of those who are “in it together” in every way. That said, I also don’t know if I could ever have that sort of arrangement at any point in life having been solo on my finances for so long. I can’t even imagine having to answer to anyone for any purchases or having to worry about saving while they spend, or any other sort of natural give and take. But I also think having that ability to share so well is a really important character trait and recognize my feelings around this as a personal weakness. The other real negative: There always is the nagging downside, that I’m not really living in “our” house. Sure, I can choose to decorate as I please and it feels like my home–but it isn’t really, and I still know that. (And have financially planned for and protected myself knowing that.) I guess every side has it’s positives and negatives. Such a weird position I am in.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      If you two have a loving relationship, then that’s great. And it sounds like you’ve been super-responsible about your own finances.

      Don’t feel weird or shut-out because you don’t own the house. A house is a liability until it’s fully paid off, and even then, it’s a never ending black hole of repairs, maintenance, and property taxes.

      Plenty a spouse has “fought for the house” post divorce, and found that to be a millstone around his/her neck, leading to personal bankruptcy.

  19. Anon for this :

    Subscribing to follow thread.

  20. TO Lawyer :

    My SO and I have talked about our ideal set-up once we’re married. I’m not sure how well this will work but: joint accounts, with separate credit cards. So all of our money goes into one pot and we would have both a joint credit card and separate cards for our own expenses, that would be paid out of the joint account. (but so neither of us could criticize the other’s day-to-day purchases).

    One of us would likely be responsible for the day-to-day management and bill paying (likely me) and the other would be responsible for investments etc. (likely him because he’s more interested in that). We think that for practicality reasons, one person will have to be responsible for the day to day management but both of us would have a say in investments, risk tolerance, savings proportions etc.

    • This is pretty much exactly what my DH and I have done. We started out with a joint checking, joint savings, and two individual checking accounts, but we pretty much only transferred money into the individual accounts to pay student loans or credit card bills and it was more hassle than it was worth. We haven’t gotten around to getting a joint credit card yet (married four years, together 12) but plan to once we find time to research good rewards cards. Neither of us spends extravagantly, although I definitely spend more than DH does. He handles our Vanguard account where we invest our retirement savings, but he tried to run the investment strategy past me (admittedly, my eyes glazed over a few minutes in but I liked where he was going with it). I handle the day to day bills because I’m more on top of that than he is. We have weekly discussions about how to allocate our funds (savings, paying down debt, upcoming large purchases) and feel like we’re both in the loop.

      What is important to me is that both of us know what accounts we have and where. My dad was suddenly hospitalized last year and passed away. While he was in the hospital and after he passed, my mom had a monumental job gathering together all of the account and deadline info, as well as usernames and passwords, because my dad had been the point person on most of that. I want to get better about organizing things in a hard copy file that can be easily reviewed by my spouse or other beneficiary in the event of an emergency.

  21. Socksberg :

    Between the cats and I, we decided that I would be in charge of the finances. At first one of the cats was in charge, but after she blew a month’s paycheck on premium catnip, I took control.

  22. I manage our money 100%. I pay the bills, do the long range planning, and handle all the budgeting. DH is just terrible with money, so I have all the budgeting planned out in Excel for the next three months, and each couple weeks I email him the planned budget, but he never pays attention. Oh well!

  23. Divaliscious11 :

    We do 10%/90% split with 10% into individual accounts for incidentals, and 90% for household etc… I manage all of the bills and investing, but its all mostly on auto-pilot. Periodically I update my husband, but he mostly trusts me to manage it. I do have a notebook in our family safe that lays out the details etc… should something happen to me but otherwise, I do the managing….

    • I love that you keep a notebook. I also always leave a papertrail and if I am travelling with my SO, for example, I will tell my mother where to find all the important papers so that if the tragic happened, she would at least not have to deal with that aspect of it all. Same for the SO, if I am traveling without him.

  24. I am in charge of the finances in our house. My mom is at my parents’ house (my dad is a complete spaz, so if he were in charge, no bills would ever be paid). I have a couple of finance degrees and have always been a personal finance nerd, so I keep a closer eye on spending than my husband and love my budget spreadsheets! All of our accounts are combined, although I have never bothered to add him to the house. He has recently taken more of an interest and is actually learning a few of our IDs and passwords so he can log into the bank, credit card and see how we are doing each month. We live entirely on one salary and use the other for savings and aggressive student loan repayment.

  25. mintberrycrunch :

    I probably take more interest in the day-to-day stuff (checking in on our bank accounts, etc.), whereas my husband is the long-term investor for retirement, does our taxes, etc. When we first got married, we had a long, drawn-out conversation (argument?) about how to handle our finances – it was hard, because we’d both been single and independent for a long time, and were both very wedded to our way of doing things. But now that we’ve figured things out, it’s pretty much all on auto-pilot.

    Paychecks go into a joint checking account, out of which bills are paid and all joint expenses are purchased (groceries, dinners out together, weekend trips, etc.). A set amount also moves from this account into a joint savings account each month. We also have individual checking & savings accounts, with a set amount going into each monthly (same for both of us, although I make more at the moment). Our individual checking accounts are “play” money that we can use as we wish – no questions asked. Individual savings are designed for major emergencies (like if our car completely dies) or job loss. Joint savings are for “joint” emergencies like home repairs and for joint savings goals (vacations, big purchases, etc.). We also have individual credit cards and a joint credit card, which we really keep around for the sake of our credit scores, points/cash back, and emergencies.

    At first I thought I would hate having so many different accounts (six plus credit accounts really seems excessive), but I’ve found it’s so much easier to visualize what we have this way, and it keeps us both honest and accountable. My biggest requirement was that family came first, and I feel like we have that since all of our money goes into our joint accounts first – that is our priority. I really like the way it has worked thus far.

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