How Marriage Changed My Finances
you're totally allowed to get emotional about money
Getting married is apparently some kind of big deal. I have been told on multiple occasions how drastically my life would (or will) change after taking the plunge and locking down the man of my dreams, but I’m still waiting for all of the (super) hard parts. *cough* it’s only been 8 months, so I'll wait a little longer *cough*
Sure, there have been some small changes that have made me cringe – like changing my last name, all of the small billing details (like combining our phone plans), and making big decisions (that I used to be able to make on my own). But it’s nothing we haven’t been able to get through.
Don’t go to bed angry is a myth. Don’t fight angry is probably the better idea.
Before I get going any further, I’m not saying that marriage is easy. I mean, the only reason we’re doing as good as we are is because we openly communicate about things that normally cause mass destruction in relationships.
AKA: Money, Sex, Work, and Chores.
In fact, before we got married (and stayed debt free), we had many discussions about our finances.
Here are some of the questions we asked one another:
Do you have any debts?
Which bank(s) are you with?
Have you started saving for retirement?
What type(s) of insurance do you have?
How do you feel about joint banking?
What would you do if you had an extra $10,000 at the end of the year?
And finally, we calculated our net worth together. Full disclosure. Judgement free.
To be able to comfortably discuss all of your money woes and successes with someone is actually a really great feeling. It may seem scary to begin with (even for those of us who think we have our $hit together), but it’s important to be able to have these discussions before entering the lifelong contract of marriage.
How do we manage our money as husband and wife?
There are a few options when it comes to sorting your finances in marriage. You can pool all of your money and work as a team, you can have one household account and two separate accounts, or you can have two separate accounts.
We currently have two separate accounts, one household account, and one joint credit card.
For both of our sanity, we decided to keep our separate accounts to allow one another to enjoy our hard-earned money without question. As I am pretty strict with my money, I don’t think my husband would appreciate me peeking into our joint account every day and questioning one cup of coffee.
Our household account is for shared financial goals and shared expenses. We both contribute to this account whenever we can, and as much as we can. There is no competition with this money. Once you put that money into the account, you understand that it is now shared. However, as it is a savings account, we cannot take the cash out all willy nilly (yeah, I said that).
Our joint credit card is probably my favorite part of our finances. As we prefer to split most purchases down the middle, using this card for things like groceries, events, and dinners is the best option for us. Rather than playing the “I’ve got this”, “No, I’ve got this” money dance, we now know that we are equally responsible.
Would we ever change our financial management?
Absolutely. I am one to say that if someone in the relationship is making more money, splitting the rent might not make the most sense. However, these changes would come much further into the future, and with many more discussions about how we both feel (because you're totally allowed to get emotional about money).
Sharing accounts and financial decisions is something that is different for every couple. Don’t be afraid to test the waters with a few different techniques to see which ones work best for you.
How do you and your significant other manage your finances? Have you asked each other any of the above questions? Let me know in the comments!