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Thread: Should couples have joint or separate bank accounts?

  1. #21
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    Yeah, in the end, the account setup is probably less important than the clear and calm communication on spending priorities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    Well, sounds fine then. I really like the 3-account system, I think it's nice and flexible, but still has reasonable accountability for keeping spending in check. It's worked great for my wife and I. Interesting that some people have 2 accounts and have the paycheques coming into the joint account (like me) and some have the paycheques doing into the individual accounts. One way makes it easier to "hide" money from the spouse, which I know some guys like to do.
    That's something I noticed when I read the thread. Most of you guys seem to have your paychecks going into the joint account first. It's not an issue for the wife and I since we're both in the health care sector and we both know what each other gets paid but I would concur that having it set up this way makes it easier for someone to hide money since it goes into their personal account first.

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    If you don't know what your spouse gets paid, that's a red flag.
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    So the real question that should be asked is this..

    How was it in your home with your parents and their money vs how are you with your money in your relationship?

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    Quote Originally Posted by R!zz0 View Post
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    No he's actually just starting out and thinking marriage. he asked me if i had a joint account and i said yes. He asked if i had any issues, i said no. I don't stop my wife from spending and she doesn't stop me.
    We are the same way. When we got married neither of us had a lot of money so everything like bank accounts, credit cards, houses, cars, etc.. has been joint from day 1. Now 20 years and two kids later it's been working fine and I don't complain about her spending and she doesn't complain about mine. We'll she does complain sometimes, but it's not that we can't afford it but more because she thinks it's dumb or useless stuff so I don't care.

    I know a couple that keeps everything separate and bills each other for things. Really weird to me, but hey it works for them so whatever goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firebane View Post
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    So the real question that should be asked is this..

    How was it in your home with your parents and their money vs how are you with your money in your relationship?
    Why does it matter what your parents did? Every couple is unique. What worked for your parents 20, 30, 40 years ago or whatever may not be applicable today either, especially since the scenario is likely not identical.

    My parents had 100% shared / joint everything and it worked perfectly for them with zero issues. Despite that, we still much prefer the separate / 3 account system for reasons mentioned above.

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    You need to find what's going to work for you as a couple. We both hate micromanaging the other person and easily save 30+% of our incomes so we don't sweat any small purchases by the other person. Here is what we currently do:

    We each have our own credit cards so I don't see what she buys day to day, only the biweekly balance. Both of our paycheques go into a joint chequing account. A predefined RRSP contribution comes out the same day we get paid to each our of our individual RRSP accounts. On payday we also pay off whatever is on each of our individual credit cards and all automatic bill payments come out of the joint chequing account. We have a few different savings accounts to put additional money in to, emergency fund, vacation fund, personal savings account for bigger personal purchases and a home reno/upgrade fund. We have a quick discussion after the first pay period of the month about what our priorities are and then allocate into each bucket accordingly. We also talk about any purchase over a few hundred dollars with the other person.

    The way we handle money has been developed through trial and error and is working well for us.

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    In the eyes of the government, assets accrued during the marriage are split. Given that to be true, why bother with separating accounts/etc.? The reality is that if you split, you're going to share most (if not all of it) anyway.

    In my case, I came into the marriage with about $50k in cash/equity in my townhouse, so we made up a simple agreement that stipulated that, in the event of divorce, $50k is subtracted from our joint assets and given to me directly. The rest is then split down the middle.

    RE: how money works in this arrangement, we have a monthly budget and we stick to it. We communicate with each other re: purchases so we are cognizant of what's left in the budget. We each maintain a small CC and an individual account with a small balance in the event something happens to one of us and funds get locked up for a time, but otherwise all money goes into a single account that we both have free reign/access to.

    We save ~60% of our take-home pay and have split our investments evenly across our respective RRSP/TFSA accounts.

    It works well for us and I honestly have no idea how it could work any other way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    Why does it matter what your parents did? Every couple is unique. What worked for your parents 20, 30, 40 years ago or whatever may not be applicable today either, especially since the scenario is likely not identical.

    My parents had 100% shared / joint everything and it worked perfectly for them with zero issues. Despite that, we still much prefer the separate / 3 account system for reasons mentioned above.
    Because a large part of how we create or habits of spending or financial comes from our parents.

    Mine were not good with money or financial decisions so I took it upon myself to change it and try to create better ones for myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    I've always been fascinated by the logic whereby ramming your nethers together to make a baby is fine.

    But combining accounts? Woaaah...step to far.
    Same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A790 View Post
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    In the eyes of the government, assets accrued during the marriage are split. Given that to be true, why bother with separating accounts/etc.? The reality is that if you split, you're going to share most (if not all of it) anyway.
    .
    If you split (or just before you know it's coming), the other person can drain all your joint accounts, joint investments, etc. If they're separate, they have no direct access. Exactly what happened to my cousin as mentioned above, it left him almost homeless.

    I know of at least two other people who got divorced and they got absolutely railroaded by their (ex) wives who could afford better lawyers, it was hardly 50/50. It's never something you really plan for.

    All I am saying is nobody expects any of these kinds of things going in, but there are things you can do that are mutually protective should the unexpected happen. Same deal if one person gets mentally ill later on and drains/spends all the money somewhere, you're screwed it's in both your names.

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    Lots of good posts here, I have only been married 3 years and we both make around the same amount. That being said we have different personalities, I am very social and she is not. Its not fair that I use "OUR" money to go to the casino or to the pub with friends when she rather stay home.
    We have a joint account, we both came out with a fair amount that we both deposit at the beginning of the month, this should cover mortgage, all bills and activities we do together plus a bit of savings depending on the month.
    What we do with the rest of our income is fair game, I can buy all the shoes or watches I would like and she can spend hundreds on lulu-lemon if she wants.
    This has worked well for both of us, of course the amount we contribute has gone up with the years specially now that we have two kids.

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    I'm still stuck on people willing to take HUGE plunges in their life, like marriage and all that it implies in terms of commitment, and then kids which dwarfs any other life commitment of any sort.

    but then when it comes to banking: "I WANT MAH BANK CARD"

    Life is a team sport. One of the big advantages of getting married is the practical benefits of combining everything and then delegating everything. This half-in, half-out business which is implied by separating finances hinders the overall capacity of the couple to focus on more productive aspects of their lives and careers. Couples that think like a unit are rewarded for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    If you split (or just before you know it's coming), the other person can drain all your joint accounts, joint investments, etc. If they're separate, they have no direct access. Exactly what happened to my cousin as mentioned above, it left him almost homeless.

    I know of at least two other people who got divorced and they got absolutely railroaded by their (ex) wives who could afford better lawyers, it was hardly 50/50. It's never something you really plan for.

    All I am saying is nobody expects any of these kinds of things going in, but there are things you can do that are mutually protective should the unexpected happen. Same deal if one person gets mentally ill later on and drains/spends all the money somewhere, you're screwed it's in both your names.
    My step father did this to my mother when they split.

    It was the deciding factor on why she was awarded 25% of his business, the house, and $200k in compensation.

    Keep in mind: we are DINKs. All property was purchased together. All assets we have, save for that $50k, have been accrued together.

    The reality is that we will split 50/50 if we divorce. If she wants to be dumb about it... well, I make 3x what she does and can afford the better lawyers in this scenario.

    Then again, we have also signed a separation arbitration agreement, which forces arbitration in order to facilitate a quick and fair divorce.

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    Married 12 years now and we have a similar system to the "3 account" system.

    We have a joint checking account where the pay checks go into. All the bills are paid from this account, plus it's used for day to day expenses (gas, groceries, shopping sprees, etc).

    We each have out own "Discretionary spending" account. We transfer an equal amount to each account every couple of weeks, and we use these to buy things that we want. Small items mostly, like lunches out, books, that sort of thing.

    At the end of the month, whatever is left in our account, gets transferred to a joint savings account and isn't touched again until needed (loss of job and need to pay bills, large purchases, etc.)

    This is what works for us. Never had a second thought about having separate accounts. We figured that we're in it for the long haul and it would be overly complicated to have separate accounts. But to each their own. Find what works for the both of you.

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    [QUOTE=Mitsu3000gt;4812129]
    If there is a major income disparity, then you can't really keep things separate - hopefully this is something you know going in and have discussed at length before any commitments, arriving at whatever agreement/understanding keeps you both happy.

    Don't really agree. I make about 2x what my wife does, and I just pay for everything, and I have no problems with that. I have all my money, she has all hers. We share most credit cards, but I pay the bills. She does have her own credit card that she uses for her own purchases or gifts for me or whatever, but for the most part she doesn't spend much anyways.

    The difference with us, and what it works over the last 11 years of marriage, is that whenever a big purchase comes along, we are willing to drain each other's saving for a common goal, and the fact that we are mortgage free.

    When we first bought the house I put in just 35k of my own money as that's all I had at the time, she put in $150k. A few years ago we bought into something at 20K, I paid 5K and she paid the 15K remaining. I didn't ask, but she does it because I cover everything else. This works very well for us. Right now she has about 200K saved up and if we were to sell our house and upgrade, she would contribute most of that to the new house. She does give me half for our travels, which is the single biggest expense every year anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eblend View Post
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    Don't really agree. I make about 2x what my wife does, and I just pay for everything, and I have no problems with that. I have all my money, she has all hers. We share most credit cards, but I pay the bills. She does have her own credit card that she uses for her own purchases or gifts for me or whatever, but for the most part she doesn't spend much anyways.

    The difference with us, and what it works over the last 11 years of marriage, is that whenever a big purchase comes along, we are willing to drain each other's saving for a common goal, and the fact that we are mortgage free.

    When we first bought the house I put in just 35k of my own money as that's all I had at the time, she put in $150k. A few years ago we bought into something at 20K, I paid 5K and she paid the 15K remaining. I didn't ask, but she does it because I cover everything else. This works very well for us. Right now she has about 200K saved up and if we were to sell our house and upgrade, she would contribute most of that to the new house. She does give me half for our travels, which is the single biggest expense every year anyways.
    That's fair. I'm not sure I would consider 2X a major income disparity though (when I wrote that I was thinking more of a trophy-wife scenario, or similar type of disparity - but admittedly I wasn't clear), especially if you both make decent money to begin with, but as mentioned already no 2 couples are the same and whatever keeps you both happy and works for the both if you is the best plan. Sounds like you have a bit of an unconventional setup that works really well for the two of you and that's great.

    I was thinking more like if you were the CEO of an O&G company or some other multi-millionaire scenario. It's pretty unlikely that your SO is going to make anywhere near the same money, or be able to afford a remotely similar lifestyle - at that point you need to pretty much come to terms that you will be paying for everything if you want to maintain that lifestyle with someone else who will probably grow to have similar tastes for the finer things.

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    A spouse could drain the communal accounts, investments etc and then put all that money into a private account only in that one person's name... And the other spouse has no recourse to get half back? Wtf.
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    If by “no recourse” you mean the same level recourse as if a spouse was to run off with any other possessions. Money in a private bank account doesn’t disappear, it isn’t bitcoin lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
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    I'm still stuck on people willing to take HUGE plunges in their life, like marriage and all that it implies in terms of commitment, and then kids which dwarfs any other life commitment of any sort.

    but then when it comes to banking: "I WANT MAH BANK CARD"

    Life is a team sport. One of the big advantages of getting married is the practical benefits of combining everything and then delegating everything. This half-in, half-out business which is implied by separating finances hinders the overall capacity of the couple to focus on more productive aspects of their lives and careers. Couples that think like a unit are rewarded for it.
    Couldn't agree more.

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