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Thread: Getting Married - Some advice

  1. #1
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Getting Married - Some advice

    I was recounting this for someone who asked me how my wife and I were able to get along so well. "You guys never argue about anything!"

    Well ...

    I knew my wife for many years before we were married. We dated for a long time and simply cannot remember arguing about much of anything. So we marry, and money is extremely tight, as in we generally had less than $50/month left over after paying our bills for the month. For the first time, we found something to argue about, money.

    We were polar opposites on how we should utilize our fundage. Mrs. gonelong prefered to have creature comforts on a somewhat regular basis (coffee, eat out with friends, etc) while I prefered to save for larger ticket items I wanted. How could you spend $400 on golf clubs? Because I didn't spend $400 on coffee and wicker baskets in the last 3 months?

    After a year or two of paying off debts and a few raises money was not as tight, however, the discussions/arguments about money persisted, much to my chagrin. It took me a few years, but I solved it. We literally don't discuss money for months at a time anymore, which means peace and harmony.

    I opened up 3 checking accounts and a savings account at a credit union, all joint accounts. The savings account and one checking account are for our bills, savings, etc. Both our checks are direct deposited to the savings account and then trickle into the checking account to pay bills. Bills are paid first, savings is second, and then what is left over is our "allowance". [As we had less debt and more income, we set up sub-accounts for various other things such as a vaction fund, christmas fund, car payment (or saving for next car), and "next big purchase". Money is transferred automatically each month into these accounts. Occasionally we voted to raise our allowances. ]

    This was the key:One checking account is "hers" and the other is "mine". Automated transfers move money into the Bill paying checking account, and each of us get an equal "allowance" (I make 2.5x what she makes, but hey, we're partners). This is for gas and any enterainment/misc - spend it however you like, don't ask for more (this goes for *both* of us). If you buy something via credit card, you are responsible to pay it off out of your account, etc.

    There is some gray area here (clothes, tools, makeup) - you will need to set the ground rules for (and be semi-flexible about) these and things will change from time to time.

    We both have side gigs that we make a little cash at. Breadwinner can decide to either put it all into a sub-account ... savings/vacation/next purchase or split 50/50 with each other. (While you were out making that extra cash, I was picking up slack at home, it should be mutually beneficial).

    It's probably not for everyone, but it puts everything out in the open and ensured we were working towards some common goals. One for all and all for one kinda deal.

    The guy I explained this too was intrigued, so I thought I would share this with you. Hopefully you find something useful in it and it adds to your thinking.

    GL
    Last edited by gonelong; 01-20-2012 at 06:00 PM.

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  3. #2
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    My advice is RUN.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    My wife and I tried something like this when we first got married. I ended up paying for groceries and dry goods every week, plus a couple of bills. She paid most of the bills. The problems arose when we went out together for dinner, or rented movies, or bought shared items like a TV or a computer -- I ended up paying for all of these things. I was constantly having to draw money out of savings, and she was constantly putting money back into savings to balance out all the shared stuff I was buying.

    We ended up getting rid of the separate checking accounts and having both of our paychecks deposited into one shared checking account. She keeps track of the balance, putting quite a bit into savings while leaving enough in checking for the automatic bill payment. We maintain a couple hundred extra dollars in checking, and we live by a $100 rule -- if you want to spend more than $100 in a day's time, you have to check with your spouse. It works great. We have enough freedom to buy the things we want, but we are responsible enough to keep ourselves in check and not get overdrawn.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Sounds like a fine system, GL.
    Just one question: How long have you been running this new system?
    My experience with this sort of thing is that sticking with it is the hardest thing.

    A few years ago, I would track every cent we earned/spent in Quicken. We always lived within our means, but it would help us see things we could improve on/cut out.
    As our finances became more complex, it became harder to keep it up and now I don't track expenses anymore (except tax-related ones).
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    http://dalmady.blogspot.com

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    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by oneupper View Post
    Sounds like a fine system, GL.
    Just one question: How long have you been running this new system?
    My experience with this sort of thing is that sticking with it is the hardest thing.
    I asked her to try it for 6 months and we have never looked back. We've had this system in place for about 8 years now, we've been married 14+. I don't see us ever moving away from this system, all the way into retirement and beyond.

    If I want to stop and spend $20, or $200 (if I have it) on a whim, I do. If Mrs. Gonelong wants to buy a $7 coffee, a $200 purse, or whatever, she doesn't need my approval nor will I be concerned with the matter. Our "allowances" allow us to have the freedom to pursue our individual interests while we know that we have first established our financial security.

    We have an entertainment account that we pull from when we go out to eat, the movies, the theater etc. If we drain that account, we stay at home. We have a vacation account, so our vacation local is based on that balance.

    I don't track our expenses at all. Our allowances are what is left over after everything else it already taken care of (Savings, emergency fund, vacation fund, groceries, etc) so I don't sweat it.

    GL

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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong View Post
    I asked her to try it for 6 months and we have never looked back. We've had this system in place for about 8 years now, we've been married 14+.

    GL
    Very impressed on both counts (8 yrs on the system, 14 married)
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    http://dalmady.blogspot.com

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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    my wife and I do the same with our money...we keep a very strict policy in place, money is OURS.....regardless of where it comes from, its OURS.....for the 1st 10 years of being together, I made way more than her, sometimes double, but I still shared it as equal....we pay the bills first then split it up.....at times we might have to not pay a bill so we can live, but we make it up the following month.........nowadays, my wife makes a lot more than I do, but its still OURS....I have a side gig making extra cash but as you said, when I am out earning she is home with the kids and keeping up the house....so its still OURS.

    keep that thought and treat it as the law and normally your marriage will succeed.....it will fail if you think one of you deserve more cause you made more....treat money as something you dont need and live your life as if your partners, true partners and everything else will work itslef out.....

    when all else fails, RUN.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Mr. Gonelong I don't like your advice so I am not going to take it

    Finances are funny because they are often something that gets argued about constantly. If you find a system that works then by all means keep using it and don't stop. When my wife and I got married (actually when we bought at house) she was happy because she no longer had to pay bills. Its not that she doesn't have the money, she just is bad at keeping track of her bills. She only pays one of our bills, the cell phone, and its a crap shoot whether or not it gets paid on time.

    What we did when we got married was convert everything into my checking account. My mom's name is still on the account which my wife wasn't all too keen about at the start. I have always found its a pain to get a new checking and reset all your bill pays. I do have $100 each week taken out of my checking and put into a separate accoung (great idea if you want to save money). I never had a debit card or credit card drawn off that account, I used it to pay down our mortgage, invest, and now fund our Roth's. We have a joint credit card (American Express) and each have our individual mastercard that we use when we can't use Amex and for Xmas shopping or birthday shopping. We hardly ever complain about our spending, every once in a while she will get curious as to why I control all the money, then I tell her she can pay the bills and she just laughs.

    Whatever way of working your finances works don't change it. My one piece of advice is joint checking account that you pay your bills from. At the end of the day it is "our" money and it makes paying bills a heck of a lot easier.

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    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    I'm lucky to be married to someone who has the exact views on finances as I do. We hold everything jointly and to date we have never argued about money. This probably stems from the fact that neither of us would dream of buying something non-utilitarian over about fifty bucks without asking the other about it. It's just the way the partnership works. Neither of us is used to having much more money than we need and we still live like we may lose our income next year, despite very secure employment.
    We are like an old west side couple. No car payments, lots of equity in the house (and low payments), no credit card debt. It will be twenty years of marriage this year and so far, so good.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

  11. #10
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    ...
    When my wife and I got married (actually when we bought at house) she was happy because she no longer had to pay bills. Its not that she doesn't have the money, she just is bad at keeping track of her bills. She only pays one of our bills, the cell phone, and its a crap shoot whether or not it gets paid on time.
    Ditto, I pay all the bills out of our joint checking. She doesn't care to and I don't mind.

    ... every once in a while she will get curious as to why I control all the money, then I tell her she can pay the bills and she just laughs.
    That sounds familiar!

    Whatever way of working your finances works don't change it. My one piece of advice is joint checking account that you pay your bills from. At the end of the day it is "our" money and it makes paying bills a heck of a lot easier.
    That is exactly what we have, a joint checking account for all bills. We just have 2 additional checking accounts for our allowances.

    Sounds like our systems are not all that different.

    GL

  12. #11
    My clutch is broken RichRed's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    I'm lucky to be married to someone who has the exact views on finances as I do. We hold everything jointly and to date we have never argued about money. This probably stems from the fact that neither of us would dream of buying something non-utilitarian over about fifty bucks without asking the other about it. It's just the way the partnership works. Neither of us is used to having much more money than we need and we still live like we may lose our income next year, despite very secure employment.
    We are like an old west side couple. No car payments, lots of equity in the house (and low payments), no credit card debt. It will be twenty years of marriage this year and so far, so good.
    This sounds very much like my situation, except that my wife and I are relative newbies (married five years). Luckily, neither of us is interested in accumulating "stuff." Heck, half the things my wife buys, she ends up returning because she feels guilty about spending the money. We have no debt besides a mortgage, cars that have been paid off for years, decent savings. Marriage is soooo much easier if you're both on the same page financially.
    "I can make all the stadiums rock."
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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Married - Some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by gonelong View Post
    Ditto, I pay all the bills out of our joint checking. She doesn't care to and I don't mind.


    ... every once in a while she will get curious as to why I control all the money, then I tell her she can pay the bills and she just laughs.
    That sounds familiar!
    Sometimes she gets this idea that she is going to figure out our spending. She starts to ask for all the accounts and passwords again, starts to look at our finances, then about 10 minutes later gets tired of it. It happens about every couple of months, she often says "why do we do this" "why don't we do that" when I give her the answers she drops it.

    She left her current job about a month ago and had to get her 401K released to her. She made the comment "well, why can't you do that?" I told her I wished I could but they won't let me. In the end it was a simple conversation but she was dreading it for a couple of days.


    That is exactly what we have, a joint checking account for all bills. We just have 2 additional checking accounts for our allowances.

    Sounds like our systems are not all that different.

    GL
    Ture. I just don't do the allowance thingy. I have never been keen on budgeting. Its probably one of the things I should start to do but have never really needed to.


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