So, you finally made that big step, and decided to move in together. You have talked about how you will split the bills and maybe even who does what chore. Great! But, now your starting to see that paying bills is a little more complicated when he pays half, you pay half, and you do the money shuffle every month to get it done. You might think that life would be a lot easier if you just had a joint checking account. Let me tell you why this is very far from the truth.
My Personal Experience
Having all of your money combined into one account with your significant other, even a spouse, always spells disaster for me. I am a little over-compulsive about tracking my spending habits and knowing exactly where I am financially. I have never dated, or been married to someone who is more anal-retentive, when it comes to money, than I am. Let’s just put it this way, I’ve had a joint checking account with 4 men in my life, all of them turned out badly. The first thought I was always nagging him because he had spending issues. The second and third somehow found ways to not work, and I had to support them. They bled me dry, to say the least. The fourth always had to have the next best toy, and had constant debt that I wanted nothing to do with.
I am working on getting out of my 5th joint checking account. It’s not a joint account per say, but all of his money gets put in there, because his new job only did direct deposit and he hates banks. However, I do not plan on keeping it this way because I have no idea witch dollar or dime is mine and his. It’s making me crazy! I don’t want to have to function like an accountant with my little bank account.
Financial Differences Causing Problems
The two of you may be sharing rent, utilities, and more; but you probably don’t have the same financial goals, spending habits, income, or expenses. You may save every dime you make, and your significant other may be using every extra penny they make for some expensive hobby. You may have student loans to pay, or child support, etc. It causes a lot of animosity between couples when one is working tons of overtime to save for a huge dream and the other is barely getting by. FYI: One of the leading causes of divorce is due to finances.
Arguments Over Money
All of these differences can cause arguments, or at the least – negative feelings. I know, for me, every time my boyfriend talks about wanting a new add-on for his new bike; I cringe. My heart starts beating a little faster, and I want to wrap my hands around his gorgeous neck. This wasn’t an issue before his money was in my account. He could talk about what he wanted to buy all he wanted, but if his check didn’t cover it, it wasn’t happening. Now, there is no solid line between what money is his and what is mine. If he didn’t put enough money into my account to cover that cost, he’s using up my money! I don’t like that. I didn’t need to buy a wide-angle lens for my fancy mountain bike. I don’t even have one!
Solution: His, Hers, and Ours
If you want to have a joint checking account for bills, that’s fine. It makes sense. But, combining all of your money is not so smart (in my opinion). The solution to all the risks and benefits, or a joint checking account is to have an account that is his, one for her, and one joint account. You can easily transfer money from one account to the other every month.
Write down all of your joint bills and divide that is half. This is how much each of you should contribute to the joint account every month. Then add around $250 each for the utilities each month. If you are wanting to buy something for the house, it comes out of that account. It’s really that simple. Also, if there is a joint financial goal you are working towards, the money you save goes in your joint account as well.
Now, all of your joint bills are being paid from your joint checking account, you each can do as you please with your separate accounts. No worrying about what the other might say if you buy something, or if your check is a little light this month. You are each responsible for your own individual bills and your own spending money.