As I grow closer and closer to having my fiancee move in with me (again), I am pre-planning many aspects of our new living arrangement. I have considered garage space, closet space, eating out vs cooking at home, and many MANY other things. But one I have been pondering on more than others is the dilemma of having one joint account or separate accounts. I’ve always been one for planning things out in a financial aspect, and our finances moving forward will always be an area of close focus for me.
If we had one joint account I would have no problem trusting her. Trust has no part in my thinking this whole thing out. I trust my girl as much as any guy who’s truly in love with a girl. However, our lives are quite different for many reasons. I am a healthy 27 year old male, who for the most part, spends money on things I need, plus a little extra for fun, and then saves the rest of it. I’ve been saving and/or investing money since I was 18. She on the other hand…has not. She hasn’t saved money, spends it a lot more than I do, but not irresponsibly so, and she went through a divorce a few years back and didn’t fight for anything. She literally left her last marriage with nothing except her clothes/essentials, her car, her dogs, and of course, her son. Based on what I know about that past marriage, I don’t blame her for getting our of it without putting up a fight for anything. She just wanted out and honestly, that’s what was best. So she had nothing and left with nothing. And she hasn’t been in a hurry to save money since then either. But in all fairness she is raising a child on her own as well. It takes money, even with child support.
She is also prone to visiting the doctor a lot. From female checkups to minor surgeries, like her wrist or having her gallbladder removed. These things cost decent money, even with a good health insurance plan. She also has stomach issues and no real answers on the problems. I can’t hold any of this against her. These are things she can’t control, they just happen…and again, they also cost money. I don’t want to spend my life paying off doctors bills for either her or me. We can deal with those in our older ages when we hopefully are stronger financially. But it does worry me about how often she goes and just the fact that she seem prone to accidents or things just going wrong with her health…which sucks because she is only 32.
So with one joint account I can’t really have full control over how the money is spent. She will want/need things, and she will have doctors bills to keep paying for a little while. So I’m thinking that option is out. The next option is just keeping our money separate. We currently keep our money separate and we have a joint checking account just to cover our house payment and bills for the house. So as opposed to only having our money separate, we sort of do both. Having the joint account is perfect because we each contribute the same amount each month to it, and it covers the expenses that we share as a couple. Beyond that, we each keep our money in our current personal accounts. And honestly, I think it’s the best option even after we live together and are married.
Even though we try to stay somewhat balanced in who pays for what, we also don’t control what the other spends money on. I have worked with her to cut back her spending over the last few months and she has been doing much better. But I don’t totally control her spending. As long as she doesn’t put herself in a bad situation financially, then it’s her money. And since my money is my money this allow me to spend my money my way, as well as save money for myself. She certainly doesn’t have the money to save right now, but I do. And I’m not trying to sound like an ass, but I can’t let myself get held up from saving money because I’m in a relationship. I’m not saving much at the moment, but I try to save what I can.
I don’t want to be 60 or 70 and not have enough money to retire. I don’t want either of us to find ourselves in that situation. So the money I am saving is mine yes, but it is mostly for OUR future. I want us to be comfortable financially at all times, but even more so in our golden years. And obviously we have to have an emergency fund in case something unexpected comes up. I’m trying to keep us covered for that as well.
While our current banking situation is working very well, I have just been questioning what will work best for us once we live together, and of course when we are married. I really don’t see an issue with keeping things the way they currently are. She has never had a problem with this setup, and I really don’t think she would have a problem with continuing it. Even if she wants to lean more on our joint account and start funding it more, that is fine as well. And while it’s not something anyone wants to think about, I do think about the worst case scenario. IF, and that’s a big IF, we were to breakup/divorce down the road…at least our joint accounts should be fairly safe from each other. The less we would have to fight for or have the ability to fight for…then the easier it will be. I love her more than anything, but I do also have to look out for myself. We all have to do that.