joining finances

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lovetoteach Posts : 5 Registered: 4/10/09
joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 10:24 AM

My FH and I just got engaged a month ago. This is a busy time for us as I am finishing up my master's degree and teaching full time, but we have begun the wedding planning and will soon be deciding on a site and a caterer. We are anxious to get a house and feel financially ready. It seems to make sense to just join finances now... I know there is no such thing as "the normal thing to do" but when is the right time to do this?

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Lilmisssouthern... Posts : 658 Registered: 8/12/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 11:04 AM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

FH and I combined our checking accounts into one joint account about a month after we got engaged. Only because it was easier to save for the wedding when we both had access to it. I don't think there is a right or wrong time to do it. I mean I also have a checking account on my own still. i use that for like gas and stuff. My room mate and her husband STILL don't have joint accounts they never got one and have been married for years now.

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karebeartg Posts : 831 Registered: 6/25/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 11:13 AM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

I think the "right time" is whenever you feel comfortable. When FH and I moved in together, we opened a joitn bank account. Originally, we'd planned to keep our own checking and savings accounts and just each put money in for the bills, but we quickly determined that we just didn't like doing this. We both have very similar outlooks on money and had discussed what would be ok and not ok with each of us prior to opening any joint accounts.

Now, we've pretty much entirely combined accounts. We both closed our solo checking accounts. We opened a joint savings account. We each have an individual savings account, but only keep about $100 in there. Our paychecks are direct deposited into our joint checking account.

This works great for us, but it's certainly not for everyone. There are plenty of posts on the boards where couples have had MAJOR problems with sharing money because they don't have similar spending habits.

If it were me, I would start by opening a joint account where you both transfer a set amount of money to pay joint bills. See how it goes and then gradually combine finances. I know people who can't imagine one having one pot for everything and I know FH and I can't imagine trying to figure out which bills come out of whose share of money. The one-pot scenario works great for us.

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2009ToBeMrsV Posts : 256 Registered: 12/30/07
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 11:32 AM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

There is no right or wrong time, it all depends on when you and your FH feel comfortable with it and if you both think it will work best for you. My FH and I joined accounts when we were looking to buy a house because it was just a lot easier to keep track of our money that way and pay our bills. It was more a pain in the ass to write checks to each other for bills and things. We still have our own checking accounts, but we only keep a very small amount of money in there just in case we forget or lose an atm card and need cash for gas or something. We also make the same amount of money a month so there is no question of who is contributing more or less, it just works for us.

___________________________________ 

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Getting Married: September 19, 2009

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 11:50 AM Go to message in response to: karebeartg

I agree with Care.

Dh and I have lived together for about 4.5 years. We didn't have a joint account until the wedding and we opened a joint savings account.

We've been married for eight months and we're just going to open a checking account tomorrow for the household bills.

I have NO idea if we'll end up giving up our own accounts, but we're not there yet.

 

 

 

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DoesntPlayNice Posts : 809 Registered: 12/17/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 12:11 PM Go to message in response to: PharmToxGirl

I agree with Kare also.

Currently we have a joing checking, joint savings, and I have my own personal checking and savings. My husband had his own personal but after racking up $600 in overdraft fees i had to shut him down!

I totally agree that you should find out if your spending habits are similar before you do a joint. Decide how you are going to pay bills, how much each of you can spend (kind of like an allowance) etc etc.

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CheetahAngel Posts : 2,017 Registered: 11/29/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 12:27 PM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

About 3 months after we got engaged we opened up a joint account so that we can save for the wedding together. It's easier to put money in our accounts that way. We still each have our own personal separate bank account. The joint wedding account is strickly just for the wedding. Once we get married that will be our s'ave for a house' account :-p So whenever you feel comfortable and ready open up a joint wedding account.
                              

 

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We2Heart Posts : 452 Registered: 10/11/07
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 12:37 PM Go to message in response to: PharmToxGirl

Like the PPs have said, there really is no specific time to combine into a joint account. It depends on your habits and what you're comfortable with. DH and I opened up a joint checking shortly after the wedding. The cash gifts we recieved from the wedding were our opening deposit. The money was for both of us so why shouldn't we both have access to it. Prior to opening that account, we just split the bills - one month he'd pay, one month I'd pay, etc. If you think about it being one pot anyway, where the money comes from doesn't really matter. Like if I had extra expenses and didn't have enough to pay rent when it was my turn, he would pay, and vice versa. We didn't keep tally of who was spending how much because we already considered my money and his money as our money. With one exception - my savings account. Thats my money - which I've dubbed to be used for emergencies/future house downpayment.

Our paychecks get direct deposited into our joint account, but I haven't closed my old checking account (neither has he now that I think about it). Every once in a while I'll throw in $20 to the old account, I use it kind of like a mini savings for days I want to buy something without having to consult DH on it.

The one thing I will say is it takes a while to get used to money randomly disappearing from the account. It's not random - he's just taking money out/buying stuff. It took me a few months to get used to it and I'm still caught off guard once in a while. But we're a little different when it comes to how we like to handle money.

I know married couples who still have seperate accounts, and I have 2 guy friends (roomates) who opened up a joint account they throw money into to pay for rent, bills, and other things they routinely pay for together like food and such. So its really up to you and your partner to decide on what to do with your finances.



~~~~~~~~
together is a perfect place to be because it's there that you can be delightfully imperfect. and there's nothing closer to perfection than being loved just because you are. 

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BenjaminsWife Posts : 1,069 Registered: 1/11/07
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 12:50 PM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

We moved in together after 1 year and joined finances after 2 years together. We have a joint checking and a joint savings. We've been together for 4-1/2 years. The main reason we did that is because DH was horrible when it came to paying bills. He wasn't a spender but just couldnt figure out how to balance his finances. He's had his power turned off because he forgot the bill was due even though he had the money for it. That's how bad he is.

We were talking about it couple days ago and he had mentioned how glad he was that I am really good with the finances because he hated having to deal with it.

You just have to do what feels right for you.

Just Married...9.20.08

Formerly BenjaminsBride 

 

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lovetoteach Posts : 5 Registered: 4/10/09
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 10, 2009 1:39 PM Go to message in response to: karebeartg

Thanks and I appreciate your advice! These responses have given me a fresh outlook on joint accounts. I am more comfortable with the idea of opening a joint account, keeping our individual ones, and gradually depositing money into our joint accocunt and increasing as we get more familiar with this! I can present the options to my FH and we can go from there. Thanks again for the help!

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Mushaboo Posts : 2,165 Registered: 3/22/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 11, 2009 12:51 PM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

It's strictly a personal decision. If you feel it's right, then that's the time to join finances. DH and I do not share accounts. We divide the bills equitably. We take turns buying groceries and household items. Less confusion. Less drama. It works out great for us. I have no interest in a joint account.

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JJsWifey08 Posts : 272 Registered: 12/5/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 11, 2009 2:04 PM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

we had a joint account after we were married but I had my own account as does he before we married. This is the right thing to do only because your wedding and bills or whatever can go into joint and your own money is safe in a account of your own
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mrsJLA Posts : 445 Registered: 5/25/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 11, 2009 4:47 PM Go to message in response to: JJsWifey08

For us, there is no way we couldn't do a joint account, simply because I make alot more $$ than DH does, and get paid salaried once a month. I ended up paying most of the major bills from my account, and then subsequent, smaller bills and groceries and other expenses came from DH's account. And having a joint account just for food and gas and other expenses became a real PITA, with transferring funds back and forth all the time.

Currently, we have one joint brokerage/checking account where all the paychecks go into, and all bills get paid out of. We also each have a separate high interest checking account, although my acct is being used to save for baby and DH's will eventually become a trustee account in baby's name.

I think it really depends on one's individual situations. I am also curious as what people do when they make very different salaries... like DH and I do... do those who make more $$ feel more entitled to the extra money because their jobs pay more? Or in deciding how to spend it? I know this would cause alot of fights between DH and I because we both work equally as hard at what we do, but I am the breadwinner so to speak....

That being said, for us there is no question of who pays what/when. For us, it just doesn't work that way; we share all of our money. We make all spending decisions together, as its the only way we have found to keep ourselves on track financially. When we have the luxury of extra spending money, we either split it as an allowance, or take turns choosing how to spend it. If we did the 50:50 thing, I think my poor DH would never have anything to save and would become resentful of how much extra cash I had.

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Edited by: mrsJLA on Apr 11, 2009 4:52 PM

Edited by: mrsJLA on Apr 11, 2009 4:56 PM

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 14, 2009 2:55 PM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

Ladies,

There is a new book out there that addresses financial issues for engaged and newly married couples:

Financially Ever After by Jeff D Opdyke

I have read the whole book, and highly recommend it.

Mr Opdyke goes into detail on the plusses and minuses of joint and separate accounts. Once you read all that, you will be in a better place to make a decision.

***

Having said that, I personally do not recommend combining finances until you are legally married. One married, you have legal protections if the relationship goes sour. If you combine your finances before the wedding, either can empty the account and vanish. Legally.

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TheNewMrsJ Posts : 754 Registered: 1/6/08
Re: joining finances
Posted: Apr 14, 2009 3:33 PM Go to message in response to: lovetoteach

we opened our joint account after we got back from the honeymoon and i had my new license and stuff. it's just easier when it comes to paying bills, since we can just put our checks into the one account and draw out the money for all our bills from the one account. we also have a savings account too, which DH has a certain from his paychecks put into it. i still have my own checking account, which I put x amount from my paychecks in to cover stuff like gas, lunch at work, etc. DH closed his solo account and just keeps the cash he makes from plasma each week ($50 for going twice) in his wallet and uses that towards his gas and fast food excursions.

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