Here’s a question that’s come up a few times in our various money snapshots: How often do you talk to your partner about money? Particularly for those of you who are married or Permanently Coupled (and may be legally entitled to some of your partner’s money), do you talk regularly, have easy access to information about the others’ accounts, or something else? Or, on the flip side, do you have an arm’s length approach to your partner’s finances — a strict line between My Money/Your Money?
(Bonus question: If you do talk about finances, at what point in the relationship did you discuss net worth, debt, salary, and retirement savings?)
As I’ve written before, my husband and I are Common Potters — all income we’ve made after we got married has gone into a joint account, and we make decisions together about retirement savings, large expenditures, and similar things. I know exactly how much he makes, and I give him regular updates on my income, which fluctuates from month to month. All of our accounts are accessible to both of us through Mint, too.
But, as I’ve also written before, I tend to manage all of our finances, so he almost never looks at the accounts. Early on in our marriage I would give him a State of the Union rundown about finances on our anniversary — net worth, change, large debts — but that fell away in favor of random, less regular, as-the-mood-strikes kind of updates, usually after I’ve updated our financial snapshot. (Both times I was pregnant we had a loooong talk to get our accounts in order before labor.)
For the bonus question: I seem to remember that we first talked about money after we started to get serious, but well before engagement. To me — particularly with a partner — I think I would have had to think long and hard if our financial habits were really dissimilar. I was a fifth-year associate at the time, so I knew I made a lot more than him, but I’ve always been the type to pay off my credit card in full every month, put money into savings, and in general live well below my means.
I remember being a bit scared of how this talk would go — I’m not sure I would have done well married to a guy who had a “head in the sand” approach to credit card debt, for example.
As it turned out, my husband at 28 a) didn’t own a credit card, and b) had a fair amount of savings considering he didn’t make a lot of money at the time. (We talked more about financial compatibility in our post on dating someone with less money or more time.) But talking about finances early(ish) showed me that we would probably be pretty financially compatible — and to sign him up for a credit card to start his credit history.
Readers, over to you: Do you know how much money your partner makes and/or has in their accounts? How often do you discuss money, either in terms of strategies and goals or just general “state of the union” kinds of talks?
Stock photo: Deposit Photos / Syda Productions.