For those of you who don’t know already, my husband, Kyle, and I keep joint finances and we are advocates of joint finances for married couples. We have a completely joint money management system, which means that we have no separate money whatsoever, not even monthly ‘allowances.’ We have just one Mint account so it’s easy to keep track of our accounts and either one of us can check up on the activity at any time.
We share a single joint checking account into which our paychecks are deposited and from which all our expenses are paid, we have all joint savings accounts for our various irregular expenses, and we share our base credit card. We even added each other’s names to our vestigial accounts from before we were married. The only accounts that are not in both of our names are our IRAs (not possible, but we think of them as pooled) and some credit cards we applied for individually so that we could get both sign-up bonuses when churning, like with our Barclaycards.
I have to tell you: I love this system. I think our marriage is stronger because all the money we touch is “ours.” While we have largely similar outlooks on money (we are both unconflicted tightwads), we do encounter friction from time to time – we have different definitions of frugality and are prone to overspending in different areas. This means that we agree most of the time, and when we don’t agree we still know that the other person is trying to keep in mind what’s best for our family finances – he just has a different and probably complementary approach.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of why I love keeping joint finances:
- we must contend with our differences and either resolve them or agree to disagree (they can’t fester)
- I’m not going to make dumb decisions because Kyle can help me think them through
- we make joint goals and work toward them together
- we have complete transparency
- it represents that our marriage is a full union of our two lives
- it keeps us from drifting apart
- it’s nearly impossible to keep a secret if money is involved
- we share the burden of paying past debt
- when we choose to treat ourselves, we share the experience
- it teaches me to think of ‘us’ before ‘me’
- I can see us practicing it for the rest of our lives (no changes needed for unemployment, reproduction, disability, etc.)
The cornerstone of what makes this money management system work for us is that we are both reasonable and want what’s best for each other. We don’t get into tit-for-tat you-got-that-I-get-this arguments; we don’t bargain. We evaluate each of our spending decisions on its own merits and how it fits into our overall financial path without giving consideration to which one of us might benefit more. It also really helps that we share a car and our life is very simple so our communication about our finances is easy.
What do you like and dislike about keeping joint finances with your spouse? What advantages do you see for other money management systems (joint with allowances, yours mine and ours, separate)?
photo from Free Digital Photos