How a couple manages their money together is a hot topic. Some prefer individual accounts while others do everything jointly. Given that money is one of the number one causes of marriages (or long-term relationships) failing, it’s something that has to be taken seriously and most importantly, talked about.
Though money gets the bad reputation for relationships failing, I think the cause should actually be a breakdown in communication. Money didn’t do anything to cause your relationship to fail, but we, as hurting humans, can’t always admit when we did something wrong, that something being lack of proper communication. We failed ourselves and our relationship, admit it and leave money out of it. Money is what we place the blame on.
My Relationships With Money and My Husband
I’m a bit of an anomaly when it comes to this topic. I’ve been with my husband since I was a kid. We were 16 when we started dating, the same time we were beginning to make our own money and grow up. Until we lived together what we did with our money was very much mine and his. I had no idea how much he made, what debts he was incurring or how responsible he was. Same for him, though he had a vague idea of the borrowing I did to fund my post secondary, it wasn’t until we moved in together that we had ”the talk”.
He asked me to marry him one beautiful May evening and I immediately felt the need to disclose my $77,000 deficit bank account. He insured me he didn’t care and that we would work on it together. He had some debt but I was the bugger anchor. From that moment on our money was just that, our money. We joint everything. We feel that we equally contribute to our household and so pool all our money together and equally decide how it’s spent.
This isn’t easy.
Especially now that we’re adults and have matured into the people we are today, some days I wish I managed MY money and didn’t have to talk to anyone about it. But guess what? This is my marriage, our money and how we have decided to work on things. There is 100% transparency with our money, not because of any trust issues but because for us, it’s easier to see where every, single, dollar is going. I don’t have to chase him for bills or worry if something got paid, this system works for us but I can totally respect couples who don’t do things this way.
Do What Works for You
This system, though not always easy, works for us. Having said this, if, as the woman I am today, was just starting a new relationship I don’t know that I would manage my finances the same. I feel like I would be more for separate accounts. Once you’ve committed to joint everything there is no turning back.
I have friends who are perfectly happy and honest about their finances though they have totally separate finances with their spouse. They make it work.
I also have friends who have totally separate finances and both spouses are 100% dishonest with their spending. Everything from secret credit cards, debts the other is unaware of and frequent missed payment responsibilities.
No one system is the answer. The answer is to talk about money regularly regardless on the system you choose to use. A long term committed relationship is something that deserves respect, as does money. If you treat both with equal respect things will be much easier. If you find yourself in a situation that requires help, ask for it. There is no shame in reaching out for help if you need it either. Ask a friend, family member or professional. It took my husband and I over a year to admit that we were slowing getting in over our heads due to a combination of maternity leaves, cut in pay and disorganization. We swallowed our pride, accepted that we were going no where, fast, alone and accepted the help that was offered to us.
Our money, and overall life, and most importantly marriage has never been better.