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Three Couples on Sharing Money

Fabric Vault

When you’re in a relationship, how do you handle money? Do you have separate bank accounts and split dinner checks? Or do you mush everything together? No matter how you approach finances, a new online tool, Fabric Vault, helps you get organized and on the same page. Here, three couples reveal how they share money…

Aaron and Julia Robbs

Julia and Aaron

“Julia’s the financial mastermind,” says Aaron about his wife of eight years. “Everything is shared, but she handles it all.” The couple had separate accounts when they were first married, but now they mesh all finances — including the business that they run together. “I like to know where we stand,” says Julia. They also touch base before buying anything over $100. “Last night, I wanted to get AirPods,” says Aaron, “But I was like, maybe we should talk about it first!”

Christine Han and Tocha

Christine and Tocha

Married for seven years, Christine and Tocha share a savings account, but also have separate checking accounts and credit cards. They keep each other’s passwords written down, but they wouldn’t be easy to find. “I have a notebook at home called ‘Grandpa notebook’ in Korean, and for better or worse, it has all my passwords and information,” says Tocha. “I’m going to burn it after this post!” Meanwhile, Christine’s list of passwords is on her computer desktop. “And you know what I call it?” she laughs, shaking her head. “PASSWORDS.”

Lisa and Michael Fine

Lisa and Michael

Parents of two, Lisa and Michael have been together for 21 years — and all their money is shared. “We know everything about each other,” laughs Lisa. “We are not one of those couples where there’s mystery.” Michael handles the finances, and, although Lisa’s name is on all the accounts, she wouldn’t actually know how to access them. “If Michael died, I would be screwed,” she says. As for Michael? “If Lisa dropped dead tomorrow, I’d be like, Oh? I’m fine,” he says. “I mean, I’d be devastated for the rest of my life, and I’d be huddled in a corner, and my parents would have to move in, but I’d know where the money is.”

Fabric Vault

Did you know that over four out of ten couples would struggle to find each other’s financial information (like bank accounts and investments)? Fabric Vault is an amazing free resource for helping partners get on the same page. Vault discloses basic information to each other, like what accounts are in what bank, but lets you and your partner decide how much to share beyond that. So, it can simply mean that you have everything in one place — or it can be a great jumping-off point for financial planning. How good would it feel to say, “I know where everything is!”

How do you share money with your partner? Would you know how to access all the accounts — including bank, investment, 401(k), mortgage, life insurance, credit card, etc? Fabric Vault is such a smart and easy way to organize everything.

(Photos by Heather Moore for Cup of Jo, taken at 51st Cafe & Bakery. Wallpaper provided by Flat Vernacular. This post is sponsored by Fabric Vault. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. Jo says...

    Both joint and separate. Joint for household spending where my Wife puts money in and I spend it :-) Separate accounts for whatever we want to do ourselves. I have no income and she earns a decent amount so I have an ‘allowance’ for my own stuff. We have savings and investments and she mostly deals with that stuff for historic purposes, and I deal with the day-to-day bills etc, at least the ones which aren’t on automatic payment. We regularly talk about money and I have a fair idea what is where and how to access it (or at least who to talk to!) and we have annual meetings with our Financial Advisor together to keep track of things and make plans.

  2. My partner and I have been together for nine years, and we still keep everything having to do with finances separate—but we often have conversations about our shared future and financial goals. Basically the premise is we have the same shared purpose, but different methods of getting there. Keeping separate accounts helps each of us respect that the other has another valid way of doing things, and we each get full control over our own money that we have earned. Self-sovereignty and independence is a really important value to me, and I usually chafe at having to ask someone else for something that is already mine (this is a main reason I’m self employed! I loved the work I did but felt boxed in by having to ask someone else for earned time off).

    Plus, YNAB (from another sponsored COJ post) and Profit First have made me a real money nerd! I love budgeting now, haha. My partner doesn’t care for the same level of detail in managing finances, and is kind of willfully ignorant about things like retirement planning, so I just keep plugging away so I know I’ll be fully supported when I eventually shift away from working or if something happens—and that I could potentially support him too if needed.

  3. J says...

    Does anyone have views on how to combine your money if one person has debt and the other doesn’t? I am sadly the one with debt (mainly student loans) and have always felt uncomfortable with my husband being in any way responsible for that. We earn a similar amount, are newly married and he is desperate for us to start saving for our future (children, house, etc.). I have carried around my burden of debt for years now and despise talking about money (shocked that I even opened this post!) I don’t want to repeat bad behaviours I’ve seen from my parents and would love to go about sharing our money in a healthy, open way. Any advice/thoughts are welcome!

    • N says...

      I’m in a similar situation, though we both have pretty substantial student debt. My husband and I have kept our money officially separate (and plan to stay that way until our debts are at least halfway paid off) but we save together in one savings account (mine; he’s more likely to “borrow” from savings whereas I think of it as a vault lol). So every month, my husband Venmo’s me a designated amount for savings and I match it. I don’t know if it’s the best system but it’s allowed us to save a considerable amount this past year while still using our own separate money for our debts and whatever other personal things we want to buy. It’s kind of like an unofficial version of the “one shared account; two separate accounts” strategy!

    • Megan says...

      J, we had a similar situation when I went to graduate school while my husband worked. We got married right after I started and have shared all finances since. He viewed my debt as “our debt” and we are still paying it off together. We both would like to save more for the future, but agreed that it didn’t make sense to not pay off my debt as quickly as possible, so we both contribute to it now.

    • AR says...

      My husband and I are in the same boat. We had a serious talk about it when we first combined finances, basically, this is part of our “portfolio” for better or worse. We don’t bean count over it. I try to be conscious of the fact that I brought the debt into the relationship when we are talking treats etc. (he got a new mountain bike recently, I did not). But overall, if you think about it, if you do save for your future and buy a house together, won’t that house be as much his as it is yours, even if 70% of the $$ for the down payment came from his account at the outset? Also, while most of the accounts are in my name, but my husbands manages our day to day finances, I manage dealing with the student loan company exclusively (which is hellish). So I guess from my perspective, if you are going to have integrated finances and joint property, that has to be part of it too. Is he going to leave you at home when he goes out on Friday night for a steak because you have to pay your student loan?

    • Jillian Kerr says...

      We split everything house based on our income; he makes more so he pays a higher percentage of the household costs. We have a shared checking account; but also have our own individual accounts and pay for what we want out of those. I also had a significant amount of student loans that I kind of held close to my chest because I didn’t want to burden my partner either. Finally one day he asked ‘let’s looks at your student loans and see how much it will cost you in interest to continue paying for the next 20 years.’ Ouch. So much money wasted in interest… So we decided that he would take on the burden of the household costs for 18 months or so, while I contributed what I’d been paying toward the household to my loans. I got them paid off… I thought about them weekly for years and was tormented by how little I was paying toward the principle. Honestly, this is the first relationship I’ve had where we talk about money often…and it’s not so scary when you know what is going on. Good luck to you – I hope you can get those loans paid off sooner rather than later…

    • Seraphim says...

      When my husband and I first moved in together 15-years ago, I had student loan debt and we had different incomes. We handled our finances by each putting the same percentage of our incomes (we found a number that made sense for us) into a joint ‘operating’ account for shared expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, etc…) This felt fair to us because our incomes weren’t equal and the same set dollar amount would impact us very differently, but the same percentage of our incomes would impact us similarly. Our car payments, student loan debt, personal credit cards, etc… were still paid by us individually. As time passed and we bought a house, had kids, paid down our debt, we flipped our model and now put all of our dual income into joint accounts, and pay ourselves ‘allowances’ that go into private, personal accounts. This model has worked really well for us. I like that the bulk of our income goes to funding our ‘family’ life, but that we still have individual fun money, too. I never have to feel guilty about buying a new handbag or getting a pedi because I’m doing that out of my personal funds. It also makes spouse gifting easier because a tell won’t come through on our joint statement. It’s been a good balance for us. You’ll find something that works for you… and you’ll get the student loan debt gone eventually – it’s such a good feeling when it’s finally paid off. Good luck to you!

  4. Sasha L says...

    Thank you for this post! I read it and worried. My husband does all of our financial stuff, I have way too much anxiety to go near it and this really works for us. I asked him and he’s got all the passwords and usernames compiled in one place, told me what to do to access his life insurance, it’s all really easy. He said he’s thought through what would happen if…

  5. Beautiful portraits of these couples!! <3

  6. Paula says...

    I found this post so interesting! We keep separate checking accounts and a shared savings account. Even though he earns more than me and is usually suggesting we should merge our accounts, I personally love to have my own and manage it as I please. We also have separate credit cards that we use to pay for common things (let’s say groceries, holidays, dinners, out, etc), and so when we get both credit card bills, if they are significantly diferent we would Venmo the other to even things out! This really Works for us!

  7. DAMLA says...

    My husband and I keep our separate bank accounts (just because we were lazy to open a mutual one) but share everything. I have always found the conversation around money very stressful and upsetting regardless of abundance and scarcity. In an effort to spare my feelings, my husband ended up taking the the toll. He studied “financial engineering” so I was happy for him to keep the books and manage our money. He has been telling me that I should get involved more but I have been avoiding the issue.
    However, this post has changed something in me mostly for the comments of your readers! I am so inspired by these smart women who keep their finances in control. There is something very cool and (dare I say “sexy”) about a women who is smart, resourceful and money-savvy. I am inspired to become one :)

  8. Agnes says...

    My parents shared everything, and growing up my dad did all the finances and gave my mom a ‘housekeeping and shopping for yourself’ allowance each week. He earned so little as a manual laborer, and yet with her frugality they managed to own a home and a car, she stayed home with 4 kids and we had holidays 1-2 times per year. When he retired, they switched over (in case anything happened to him) and she took over the finances and gave him a weekly ‘coffee’ allowance which he invariably stashed in a drawer as he spent literally nothing on himself but the actual coffee (what, $2 a day?). When the drawer was stuffed with money she’d take it out and deposit it in the bank again. Sure enough, he died first and she was completely in the know over every last penny. Whatever works, but they did very well for themselves and I’m proud of them!

    • Char says...

      That’s really sweet Agnes, thank you for sharing! What great role models to have.

  9. AJ says...

    Interesting to read all this as a singleton. There was a point in time when I’d have joined finances in a flash, but now I’ve got a hefty string of break-ups under my belt (ha!) and got used to life being completely financially independent and self-sufficient, it seems like such a bigger deal now! I love the idea of forging a relationship that reaches that level of faith in the future and sharing your life – but I also don’t think I’d ever feel comfortable not retaining some financial independence. It’s just such a part of me! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have much money or earn a lot, but I guess I’m proud of my independence and value the freedom – I’ve worked hard for it! Of course I’d readily combine for bills, household costs and childcare costs etc, but I wouldn’t sacrifice having my own account too.

  10. Kristian says...

    Oh…. hi, Lisa! I’m just like you. Don’t know most of that information and know I need to be more personally financially literate… or at least how to access our accounts! Thank you for your honesty because it makes me feel less silly and more ready to take on the task of getting the info.

    Jo- This product seems super helpful. I love your sponsored content because it is almost always something I’ve been thinking on. I did want to point out (in case anyone else was wondering like I was) how Fabric Vault makes money. They don’t make money off the app nor sell your data. They sell life insurance . It just made me feel a bit easier about putting personal finance records in an app. So…. hopeful this was helpful to others too.

  11. Laura says...

    Wow, a lot of comments and I was not to read all, but had a few points from what I read.
    We combined everything when we got married. We were both almost 30 and each owned a home, he also made way more than me, but we felt it made sense. It was actually nice not to have to think so much about my salary and what it would cover. It gave us so much more credit when we went to buy a new house together and meant we did not have to operate two separate budgets. I never felt guilty about the fact that his profession was more lucrative than mine and never made me feel that way either. But I am also a natural saver and so it took me some time (and an increase in my own salary) to feel like I could spurge on items just for me. We even tried to split out fun money for awhile and it just was too much trouble.

    We also have a financial planner. We don’t pay him directly, but he gets a commission from investments we have with him.it is 100% worth it. We have short term money, midterm money, life insurance, and retirement and it is so nice to know that we are slowing growing those pots and have a plan.
    Finally, this does take some of the fun out of presents. So we rarely give gifts to each other. Instead we do things together for birthdays and such and for Christmas we may buy a joint gift (like a new piece of furniture or nothing if it’s a lean budget year) and just get stocking stuffers for each other. It’s actually a lot of fun!

  12. Jen says...

    We had a joint account since we got married. I do make more than my husband, sometime 2X the amount. We’re both self employed so our income can really fluctuate. I’m more interested in personal finance so I take care of all the financial aspects of our family and we do meet with our Financial Advisor yearly so we’re both aware of the big picture. We’ve been married over 17 years and so far we’ve never had major issues. I think at the end we’ve always thought the money we both make as our money and for the most part we don’t have vastly different spending habits and we never make large purchases without consulting each other.

  13. Lisa says...

    Jo,
    Please tell me you and your husband were photographed on this couch! These images are beautiful.
    Lisa

  14. Natalie says...

    My husband (of 4.5 years) and I are both super nerds so we have a giant shared Google spreadsheet. Each month has its own tab, and other tabs include things like our big savings goals (a house! Maybe, hopefully, eventually…) and other smaller savings pockets for things that pay out once or twice a year but we save for them continually (like auto insurance.) We have a quick budget meeting every month to figure out what we can expect of the new month. It sounds restrictive but we both find it so freeing to know where the money is going. Plus, I love the puzzle of trying to make it all stretch as far as it can. :)

  15. Abby says...

    My husband and I (8 years) have always shared and keep things transparent. However, my dad pulled me aside the other day and pulled out a binder with everything in it about his finances, his subscriptions, his life really. The binder is for me in his eventual death. I thought it was kind of morbid but then I recognized what a huge favor my father had given me. I won’t be struggling to deal with the business of his life whilst grieving his loss. I need to make that binder.

    • Karen Canas says...

      Very thoughtful of him. I need to make one for my parents. I agree that it’s morbid but totally necessary. They are a financial mess and the mess will quadruple if I don’t organize things while they are still living.

    • Emma says...

      Anyone with assets – no matter their age – should have a “binder” of sorts! Your partner or family should be able to find your basic financial information in case of an emergency. Insurance information, bank accounts, even a short letter with wishes about medical care (e.g. please don’t keep me alive on a ventilator with a feeding tube) can save your family a lot of extra anxiety and heartbreak.

    • Leslie says...

      There’s actually a binder you can buy to organize these things. It includes more than that — last wishes, passwords for accounts, etc. We found it hugely worthwhile and have gifted it to many people: http://theeverythingbinder.com

  16. Lauren says...

    After buying our first home last year, we went from only having a shared savings account to combing our checking account since we had to switch banks for our mortgage and they automatically withdraw it monthly. We still have separate credit cards and have a flexible budget for how much we plan to each spend on our cards each month and then have open conversations about what the bills will be before we pay them in full every month – we are both all about Chase points and use our credit cards for almost all of our purchases. It’s nice to have our own cards and feel like we can still treat each other and ourselves to things while staying with in a general budget. My husband makes almost 2x my salary and we treat both of our incomes as shared. It works for us!

  17. Mary says...

    I am probably older than most of commentators. My husband always made more money than me. Now, I am no longer working. We have always shared everything and I took the initiative on handling savings and retirement investments. We maybe have slightly different spending philosophies but we always just worked it out. Every year we do sit down and discuss big spending and saving goals. We agree on how much we save each year and agree on big ticket items that either need to be made or maybe we want to go on a big trip etc. We are both very supportive of each other in our hobbies.We did disagree more when we were raising kids and there can be some very interesting learning experiences when you try to get at the root of some these conflicts. Money brings up some interesting baggage for people at least it did for us and you can work thru the disagreements better when you can understand what is driving them. We both know how are our money is spent, all banking accounts etc. Having had a spouse die ,it is imperative to know all these things in the event one of you dies.

  18. MK says...

    Feel like we need a full post on Lisa and Michael! So funny/sweet/good-looking!!

    • Mina says...

      I just read the week of outfits post which I somehow hadn’t seen before. Love it! It’s such a different look to my own, but I love how she puts everything together.

  19. Whitney Olson says...

    My husband and I also share everything, finances are combined, and we share the same passwords that are all typed up in a binder (and on the computer) in our safe in case either of us kicks the can. It’s nice to have no secrets, not because we are both perfect people who are perfect with money, but because we don’t have to hide the weird things or weaknesses we have. We accept each other as we are and as we grow to be better, we are growing together.

  20. Aly says...

    My husband and I have been together for nine years, married for almost three. We’ve had combined everything since we got engaged. Curious as to whether any couples with a big delta in their incomes have separate accounts and if so how it works. There is a 5x difference in our income so if we were to split bills and then use our personal funds for extras we’d be living with vastly different budgets. That seems unfair to both partners as it would effectively limit what can be spent on vacations, dinners, other non essentials etc. We share the pot and do not clear expenses with each other but do try to check in about spending habits and our budget etc. on a regular basis.

    • Leanne says...

      Aly, our delta is 1.5x difference, but for a long time we contributed based on percentage of income/bills rather than on split right down the middle. He was always saving and I’d always be strapped, so figuring out that bills would be 65/35 or whatever worked really well. (Now we just each take certain bills that generally even out to that split.) It’s not about contributing exactly equally, it’s about being equitable in how things are split.

    • Emily says...

      Our difference is 2x so the bulk of our incomes go into together for all the joint bills and we have a very small but same amount direct deposit into separate checking accounts as spending money. I don’t have to feel guilty about paying for a pedicure with my sister whereas my husband’s socializing is more going out to lunch from work. We chat through big purchases, especially how we’re using his bonus- something I don’t have.

    • Sarah says...

      Our difference is about 2x (I’m the higher earner). When the difference was a bit less we went on a system of each contributing a certain percentage of our income (my percentage being higher) to all joint contributions. We’ve slowly moved toward a system where all income goes into a joint account and we each take out a monthly “allowance.” This way things are fair, we have a bit of fun money for ourselves, and we’ve also found this is the best way for us to meet our joint saving goals.

  21. Jean says...

    Jo & team – would LOVE to see a post on prenuptial agreements! Getting married this year and our financial advisor suggested one but it feels …icky. Would love to hear from couples who have used one (or not) and why and learn from the comments and discussion!

    • d says...

      Maybe that’s good news–because apparently you have something to protect! When we got married, we were very young and had nothing, so there was no reason for a prenup. All the wealth we have has been generated together, as a team, and that feels really great. We did have a verbal agreement that the person who left would get only the privilege of leaving–a fresh start but nothing more–you get to leave with what you came with-sort of thing. I realize that would probably not fly in a court and alimony would be a factor in a split. Luckily (and because we work at it), we are still together nearly 18 years later and more in love than ever. Good luck and congrats to you!

    • Jenna says...

      Jean–my fiance and I are getting married in summer of 2020 and he has asked that we sign a prenuptial agreement. I make about 2x his salary, but he has a large inheritance from his grandfather that he clearly has some insecurities about. He’s always had more hang ups about money than I do because of this. If a prenup makes him feel more comfortable, that’s fine, but I agree that it feels bad. I’m past the sadness about it and just focusing on getting the job done but I agree–prenups have such a scary implication!

    • Elizabeth says...

      My husband and I have fully shared finances, are one of those couples who are honestly rediculously in love (as in, my coworkers roll their eyes at me on the regular) and we happily did a prenup of our own accord with zero family input involved! Neither of us has ever been married before, but we’ve both been in long term, serious, living-together relationships previously, so know that things CAN end, even with the best of starting intentions. He makes more money at this point, but I entered the relationship with more (thank you, wise real estate investments while single) and we have 100% combined money as a couple. Also notable is that I took a pay cut and (temporary) career hit when I immigrated for our relationship. We’ve also had half a dozen friends get divorced within a few years of getting married, and figured money was a thing best sorted while we were getting along splendidly and feeling both fair and generous about it all. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever spilt up, but am so happy we won’t have to add legal battles to an otherwise ALWAYS awful process if we do. It wasn’t an icky process, it was pretty… responsible and adult feeling? We also shared a single lawyer for the prenup process, which made it feel like something we were doing together, not against each other. Would honestly recommend!

    • Anne says...

      Someone else (maybe in the comments below?) pointed out that you do already have a pre-nup: the laws in your state/country that define how assets are split after a divorce. So it’s not a choice between pre-nup or nothing, it’s a choice between the default and a personalized pre-nup. Not sure if that changes anything?

  22. Jay says...

    My comment on the photos in this post. I see the reference to When Harry met Sally, which I love. But in each (hetero) couple, the woman is sitting slightly behind the man or tucked into him somehow. The body language doesn’t say equals. I know this isn’t how you roll.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I think they were just being cozy — I wouldn’t read too much into it! After all, Julia is the financial mastermind in their marriage etc xoxo

  23. Brooke says...

    My husband and I joined checking and savings accounts when we got engaged. We both wish we did it earlier in our (long) relationship because were now both so much more financially responsible! We like the accountability and working as a team.

  24. Alex says...

    I’m single so it’s all on me but I dream of the luxury of having someone else handle it all…. And not to say I don’t have the skills for it I’m a CPA I just don’t. Want. To. Do. It. 😂

    • Sarah says...

      Word. I’m no CPA but it would be nice to have all my finances taken care of… and be fed grapes from the vine, fanned by someone with a banana leaf while I just sit there lookin pretty… (I am currently doing taxes right now, hence the mood…)

    • Julie M says...

      I’m marrying a tax accountant. The first year I let him do my taxes was a little odd but OMG. Not having to do those every year is sooo nicw. If you can, find you one of them ;)

  25. Sadie Arneson says...

    In the last year, there has been a complete switch for my boyfriend and I. It has always been a system of generosity (read: a competition of who could pay sooner and be more thoughtful), but with both of us purchasing houses this year there has been a definite switch of feeling flush to both being house poor. Our relationship has turned into whosever house we are ripping 70’s linoleum out of buys the take out.

    I’m looking forward to renting one house out completely and reaping the benefits of our hard work.

  26. Married for 15 years. Four kids. We lot of accounts, mainly different savings. We share everything and each have an allotted amount we can spend however we want. I file all the paperwork, my husband looks at our finances every week to make sure we are staying within our limits. If we get in a pickle, we look at it together. My husband jokes that I can find $300 anywhere. Also, I hate having money talks, but feel awesome afterwards.

  27. Emily says...

    Hey that’s my bakery! LIC is the BEST!

    • Callie says...

      Also live in and love LIC! And I love 51st cafe!

  28. Jessica says...

    My husband and I got married in college. Neither one of us had any money or any reason not to join finances. We’ve always had combined finances. And at different times, each of us has been “in charge” of paying the bills and such. We both have access to all the accounts. And apps like mint make it so easy for both of us to see where we stand financially. And we do have talks about our finances from time to time. I do keep a binder with info on our various accounts, in case something happened to the two of us. I would want to make sure our children get what’s entitled to them – life insurance, our various retirement accounts, savings accounts, etc.

  29. Anastasia says...

    please get a password manager – ‘1password’, apple devices has ‘keychain’. please don’t store passwords in a folder on your computer named password. 🤦🏾‍♀️

    • E says...

      I echo this! Please please please do not save a list of passwords on your computer. Our personal devices are NOT secure (don’t take my word for it — just Google “cybersecurity breaches” and see what comes up). By saving your passwords on your computer, you are basically handing the keys to your bank accounts to a bad actor. LastPass is another good option for a password manager.

  30. Lilly says...

    Ooh, I just got engaged and we’re starting to talk about combining finances. We’ve been living together for three years (now with my sister) and we mostly split everything as roommates, with one exception.
    Any meals, movies, dates etc we’re doing together (even Ikea runs), we get one bill and we play rock paper scissors for it. Either one run, or best out of 3. Best out of 5 if we’re waiting for a waiter to come back and we’re bored or our friends are egging us on.
    We tally up the receipts at the end of the month anyway, but this way there’s no awkward reaching/conversation, no one feels weird about always paying, and it ends up being roughly even already.
    Plus it’s just a fun way to do a not-so-fun thing, and always makes us smile.

    • Rachel says...

      This is such a fun and sweet way to split the date bills! I love it and think you should keep doing it, even if it’s out of one account ;).

      We have a little tradition too…My husband always “pays,” eventhough we share accounts. I always say “thank you for dinner,” and he says “thanks for helping me pay for it” (or when he was in grad school “thanks for paying for it!”). It’s simple but a sweet reminder that we are in it together!

    • Alice says...

      An ex boyfriend and I used to toss a coin every time to decide who pays!! He was heads, and I was tails. Our theory was that as, statistically, there should be an equal number of heads and tails, we’d end up more-or-less equal in how much we were paying for stuff.

      We had SO many laughs with bartenders, waiters, and shop staff over it- you’re right, it makes a not-fun thing SO MUCH more fun!

    • Lilly says...

      Rachel – I love that little acknowledgement, that’s so sweet. We’re definitely going to keep doing this :D
      & Alice, cheers to making bills way more fun!

  31. Irina says...

    We have joint accounts for everything. My husband is largely unable to work and has no income of his own these days, but even when he did work, we had combined checking and savings accounts. Because our budget is very limited, we consult with each other about nearly all purchases that are not essential, no matter how small.

    This system works pretty well for us. What I’m more concerned about is that, should I die or become severely disabled, my husband would be totally lost financially. He has a debit card for our bank account so he’d be able to get money out of it but he wouldn’t know how to access my life insurance policy or retirement savings. And, he wouldn’t know how to pay the bills either. We pay most of our bills online and while I have all the logins and passwords written down in a notebook in alphabetical order, he is not computer-savvy enough to be able to log on and pay the bills.

    On an even more fundamental level, I’m not sure how he would survive long-term, given that he cannot work yet is unfortunately ineligible for disability benefits. Our current savings (my retirement fund plus our savings account) would last several months, half a year at best. He’d almost certainly fall behind on bills and lose the house that we purchased just 18 months ago and are supposed to be paying off for the next 28.5 years.

    My husband hates discussing this; every time I bring it up, he just says that he won’t be able to live without me and can’t bear to think about it. But, the reality is that life usually does go on for the surviving spouse, and I feel like I need to make some sort of a plan for him. Any ideas, besides obviously building up our savings account and ensuring that my husband knows how to access it?

    • Rose says...

      Hi Irina! I am sorry you guys have been dealt a rough hand. A practical solution to your plight is to get life insurance. Also, get a will done and whoever executes your estate will get him access to accounts, etc.
      If he’s intellectually disabled and that’s the reason he wouldn’t be able to find log ins and pay bills, etc, then a sizable life insurance policy would allow him to hire the caretaker he’d most likely need without you. If he’s just not computer savvy but he could learn, maybe you could set aside a couple of days where you teach him how to do it and that way you can split those duties from now.
      Good luck and virtual hugs!!

    • T says...

      Term life insurance…could help u!

    • Anna says...

      Hi Irina, I’m also sorry that you’re dealing with this and the fears and worries that accompany it. I know that you said in your comment that he isn’t eligible for disability benefits, but it might be worth looking into working with a disability advocate to jump through some of the legal loopholes. Not a legal office that will file the paperwork for you but rather someone who works more on a social work-type level that can help you navigate that system. It can be complicated but there are resources that can help. At the same time, you should look into setting up a power of attorney for yourself to take over his care and financial stewardship if you are unable to. This could be a family member or a trusted friend, and the information would be held in your trust by an attorney until they needed it. It’s hard to do this kind of stuff, but it’s an incredibly loving act to do it. Hugs to you.

    • Irina says...

      Thank you everyone for your kind words and helpful suggestions! I’m really touched. Not all of the suggestions are applicable/actionable for us, for one reason or another, but a few are really relevant. I do have life insurance through my employer and will look at increasing the amount of coverage. Will also look into term life insurance. And, I’m thinking about making a list of important phone numbers, like close friends and the life coach that we’re seeing, and posting it in a prominent place so that my husband can reach out for support should something happen to me.

  32. Ellen says...

    While this seems helpful for just financial accounts, a password manager can be used for all accounts and seems like the real fix for these problems. I’d recommend anyone who is writing down passwords, or not securely sharing passwords with their partner (in case something does happen. or maybe you’re just tired of not remembering your shared Comcast password), use Lastpass or another secure password manager.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/smarter-living/password-manager-two-factor-verification.html

  33. shannon says...

    We dumped all the money into one checking account the weekend after our wedding…we were 21 and 24 and didn’t have much to combine, so that made it easy. As we become more established, we already have a system in place of doing financial things together, so it’s been easy to continue the everything together approach.

    Speaking of which, I need to brush up on the details of all our accounts and passwords. Off to discuss with my husband! Thanks for the reminder, CupofJo!

  34. In Ireland the fuck off fund is called ‘your running away money’ . Traditionally it was a small amount given to a woman by her mother, to be hidden away and added to, in the event she had
    to leave her husband (divorce was only introduced here in 1995). Nowadays, while not so much a tradition, most Irish women would have some running away money squirrelled away in the bank …or hidden in their underwear drawer :)

  35. J.Fizz says...

    We make exactly the same money doing exactly the same job–we even have the same pension. All of the money goes into to one account and we spend and save together and it’s not hard, weird, or even interesting.

  36. Christine says...

    Love this, and could read 1,000 more comments.

    My partner and I keep totally separate accounts…but have entirely shared finances, suddenly. It started as an experiment: could we live on one income (his) and save one (mine)?

    We budget out his salary for our rent, utilities, and recurring expenses like donations and the gym. Then we each get a small sliver of what’s left over to spend individually, and most of it goes to joint expenses. Dinner out together, or groceries is a joint expense, but Galentines cards is something I purchase from my money, and soccer cleats come out of his.

    We split my money for individual debt repayment or savings. Managing our money this way makes me take our budget more seriously, because he only makes so much, and makes me feel more free. My job isn’t so secure, so it feels good to know we could figure it out on one income if we had to.

    We have an expectation of how much money we’ll each save this year for shared goals, but I put way more towards my loans and he saves more.

    As a child of a messy, contentious divorce, it feels good to me to have my savings in my own name so that if something happened I could walk away with that safety net, but if things continue to be sunny, we have might have a nice nest egg for our shared future.

    • meg says...

      I agree – I love reading all of this!
      My partner and I (14 years?) keep everything separate. His salary pays for the mortgage and most home-related expenses (taxes, water, heat, electricity), while I pay for what he calls the “fun” expenses (internet, vet bills and all pet-related expenses, all the household stuff like toothpaste and toilet paper, food and meals out, plus vacation costs). We each buy our own clothes, shoes and whatnot – which makes it hard to judge each other’s expenditures, but we’re both pretty responsible and don’t buy very expensive stuff or gadgets. We each make about the same salary per year but have different benefits (I get a 401k thru work but he does not). We have never compared monthly or annual totals but we both check in once in a while to make sure we feel like we’re getting a fair deal. We’ve never argued about our “split” costs.
      We don’t talk much about retirement funds, savings or long-term planning, although we did make wills last year. This is the biggest source of my shared financial anxiety – the long term planning. Everything “works” in the current day-to-day, but since I’m saving and he’s choosing not to, it gives me a little pause as I wonder about his expectations. (I honestly don’t think he’s ever thought about it.)
      I keep my own savings and 401k, which feels like my own Irish “running away money” like Maria described in the comments! I, too, was a child of divorce and always feel I need to be prepared to pay to live completely on my own, and have no excuses not to leave if things aren’t working out.

  37. I take care of investments. To quote Ladybird Johnson, I wouldnt share a checking account with the angel Gabriel.

    • Jean Smith says...

      What a great quote, thank you :)

  38. Lisa says...

    I feel like a terrible married person. My account is my own. I make the money, I spend it as I see fit. Same goes for my husband and his account. We of course switch back and forth when paying bills so that it ends up about equal, but I work way too hard for my money (and he for his) for anyone else to have anything to say about it.

    Am I the only one who feels this way?

    • Mariana says...

      No, you’re not…I feel the same and me and my husband have the same system as yours.

    • julie says...

      My husband and I are the same! He makes a little more than me but we both work full time and work very hard for our money! We do not have to answer to each other over little things but definitely discuss the big things. We share bills and expenses, and trust each other to spend wisely. We share our money when we put away extra into a shared emergency fund. All of our money pretty much goes towards our 3 kids anyway, so that is a joint effort for sure!

    • Maureen says...

      My husband and I are the same and girrrrrrllllll I do not feel bad about it one bit. It’s awesome! We only just got a shared credit card since it’s great for cash back but even then we still each pay for our own expenses and share the family stuff like groceries. After hearing about how our friends do things this is what works best for us and we are happy with it almost 4 years later

    • T says...

      Do you have an idea of what you’d do if one of you were to stop working? I had to stop working for chronic illness and while I’m now getting back on my feet, the adjustment was harder than it needed to be because I held. so. much. guilt. About spending HIS money while in recovery (for 3 years now). So I’m curious as to how such a separate financial arrangement works when one is not earning?

    • Kate says...

      I’m with you! My husband and I keep totally separate finances, and for the same reasons you noted. It works!

    • Ks says...

      I am always curious about this arrangement. Is it humanly possible to not compete and compare who paid for what and if someone is paying more than other for certain costs ? I am curious if few years in marriage it doesn’t take away a kind of little mutual dependence that is needed for long healthy marriage. Clearly i have narrow view of this based on observing few couple. So I would love to hear from anyone who has been married long and have completely independent finances and also no bitterness.

    • Andie says...

      Same! Accounts are separate, but we split big finances and pay our own for little things—somehow everything is equal. When either one of us has been in between jobs or with unpaid leave, we just paid what we could on the bigger stuff. We’re not spenders and so the little stuff wasn’t ever an issue nor something that prevented being able to contribute to larger stuff.

    • Marian says...

      Nope, not terrible! My husband and I have been together 5 years and have a 2 year old. Our money has always been completely separate. We have a joint saving account where we save for a few big things and pay off our car every month. But everything else is separate and we split all expenses 50/50!

    • N says...

      In response to T: I’m so sorry you carry all that guilt. As a fellow person dealing with illness and unable to work, I feel you and am weirdly jealous of the commenters who are able to keep things separate. So lucky! My husband and I combined finances (I meant it to be temporary) because I left a job right when we got married, but when I started working again didn’t separate just because we were busy and never took the time to figure it out. About a year and a half later I was diagnosed with cancer, and I haven’t been working for over a year now. I still have a lot of guilt and feelings of discomfort with my level of dependence (I was VERY financially independent before all of this, and proud of my career and financial freedom) but you’re right that it was easier to make that transition because we’d combined earlier.

      My husband was also very much raised to consider anything he earned to be ours (and I didn’t really feel the same way!) and I pretty much had to get on board and feel that way once I got sick. But I also have friends who have had messy divorces and wish they’d kept things separate throughout, so it just depends on the relationship and the challenges you face.

      I don’t know how you would separate finances when one person can’t work–the only thing I did was keep a small savings account separate from when I was working before we were married, but once our credit card balance got high from my medical expenses and we had to decide whether to take money out of our joint savings (including my earnings from the year I worked between marriage and cancer), I emptied my separate savings to help get us back to a comfortable point without taking that step. I had a moment of feeling like I’d contributed at a key time, but now that money is gone and we are back to all shared everything, for better or worse. I’m lucky that we are financially stable, but I even in my gratitude, I hate the situation.

    • Leah says...

      We do the same! Because we make different amounts and spend differently, we only have a joint account for bills that we both put the same into every month, and the rest is our own. On times when we need to put more in (for a trip or an emergency that came up) we just add more. Our own savings are our own.

    • T says...

      Thank you for your words and camaraderie, N. xx

    • Vanessa says...

      We do the same. Totally separate accounts. We each handle different bills. Married 7 years. If something happened to one of us, I think we each roughly know where the other one has accounts/ credit cards but not the passwords or how to access…

    • Lisa says...

      T, a totally reasonable and thought provoking question. We are indeed very lucky to not be in such a situation and to be able to keep things separate, which has worked for us over 10 years of marriage and two kids. That being said, we are also lucky to have decent savings and decent disability insurance, which is necessary given our professions. Were we to come to a situation where one of us lost the ability to work and/or had huge medical bills, we would take that on as a team because we are just that. I do not imagine I would have guilt or any issue paying for his “stuff” if needed but it is of course impossible to know having never been in that situation. I am very glad that you seem to be doing well and same goes for N.

    • BettyLou says...

      Thirty seven years married. Never put money together except into a joint checking and credit card account. We were 28 and 32 when we married. We made a list of monthly house hold expenses and split it in two. That was our monthly contribution. Car, car insurance, clothes, etc., were our own. We have never argued about money and my father said it was nuts. Yet when I heard my Mom and Dad ask each other, what did you make that check for or you spent how much on that I knew our system worked best. I even had a college professor ask me to explain it in depth because he wanted to use it as an example in one of his classes. We are just starting to head into retirement – another stage in our lives. We may have to rejigger some things but I have never been sorry for our decision. I should also say we never had children, which may atmitedly changed things. Very interesting comments from everyone –

  39. Em says...

    Not related at all, but it is just me, or do the people in each couple kinda look like each other? Same eye crinkles? Face shapes? Cheeks? Cute!

  40. Ma says...

    This is such a timely post! My husband and I have a system where we have a shared checking and savings account, then each have a personal checking account for spending $ and personal savings. The shared checking account we set aside the exact same amount each pay period which covers everything needed for the month no matter what is due during that time period. I will say I was previously engaged when my fiance suddenly passed and though I had a handle on the day to day finances and was able to manage that had we actually been married I didn’t have a clue on any of his retirement accounts and the like. Something like this would have been a lifesaver had we been married and I needed to get a handle on the whole financial picture instead other’s handled that. I’m excited to see how we can incorporate this into our current system for clarity and peace of mind.

  41. Michelle says...

    My husband and I have been married for nearly seven years now and have had combined finances since we were engaged. Though I came into the relationship with less savings (I was a recent college grad and he had already been working for several years), I quickly began to out-earn him and now earn more than twice as much. It gives me a bit of pride to be able to say that, but in reality we see all the money as “ours.” We’ve each made major moves to follow the other’s career around the world (most recently, him for me) and sharing all of our resources gives us the courage to do that. I can’t imagine uprooting myself for a partner, not knowing when I’d next find a job, if our finances weren’t shared completely. We do discuss major purchases together; we don’t have a set dollar amount but we typically mention anything over $100 or so. Automatic transfers for savings, rent, etc. really help in showing us how much money we have to spend for the month.

  42. Carrie says...

    Husband and I joined bank accounts right after we got married, but he has his own credit card which he had years before we met, and same for me. Other than that, all other accounts are both of us. Passwords are shared and stored in a secure location. We don’t have a specific dollar amount, but we do talk to one another before making bigger purchases.

  43. Gem says...

    This is so great and SOOOO important!! Having seen my mother go through this when my father died and we had to change everything to her name (and dont even start on how hard it is when you have accounts in different countries – France, I’m looking at you). It was months and months of emotionally challenging phone calls and eventually visits in person to figure everything out. She found them deeply upsetting. Especially when she had to repeat the facts over and over again (France, I’m still looking at you).
    I know where my husband’s passwords are saved, but I can’t remember which bank accounts are where and what goes into what (we have moved countries and therefore opened new accounts TWICE since we met!). And I don’t think he knows where my password are – oh wait. They’re on a post-it note on my monitor right in front of me. Oh God.

  44. Court says...

    We have a shared credit card that we put all expenses for our child/home/bills/etc. on, It’s a miles card, and we hope to go to Hawaii one day for free (fully funded by our years of daycare bills!). We have separate bank accounts and each pay our portion of the credit card each month.

    I learned that sharing a bank account with my husband created more spending anxiety. For example, he would be like, “Wait you spent 35 dollars on shampoo and conditioner at the salon?!?! But you can get that for like four dollars at the grocery store…” (Not in a overbearing way, just in a shocked that I spent money on something he doesn’t think twice about) But without him seeing that deduction out of his personal account, I get more of a “Oh your hair looks great” comment. It works for us!

    • Kate says...

      Yes – I feel no shame for what I buy, and my husband doesn’t judge me for my purchases, but it’s exhausting whenever the conversation does come up!

    • Court says...

      Kate- Yes! Because then I have to explain whyyyyy I like the 35 dollar shampoo and not the 4 dollar shampoo. He never judges either. He’s just like “I didn’t know that much thought went into shampoo…”

  45. My wife and I have a business together. I’m always encourage by other couples who are partners in life and work. Can you share the name of Julia and Aaron’s business?

  46. Althea says...

    My husband of six years and I have always kept separate bank accounts. We’ve always split the bills up like roommates! (I pay gas and he pays electric, then we split the mortgage, etc.). Even now, as a stay-at-home mom, he transfers money into my account every two weeks. We both chip in for bills and then decide on our own how we want to spend/save the rest. We’ve never had ONE fight about money!

    This financial situation was due to the fact that we were roommates in college before dating and eventually getting married. We just thought, “why fix something that isnt broken?”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so interesting, althea! my friend and her husband handle money similarly — they’ll venmo each other after dinners out. it’s so great that there are so many different ways to do it, so everyone can find something that works for them.

  47. I’m not married yet, but I think I’ve found the one. Right now, while I’m still in medical school and probably into residency my significant other will out-earn me. And then one day I’ll surpass him. We always say, we’d like to keep the money between us flowing – combine our accounts and really try to do this thing called life as a wholesome unit. I think we also will always keep a little side account for our personal spending money or for surprises (for one another!)

    • Kim says...

      I met and married my non-medical husband in residency – and am still a resident. We are so excited to officially be a family and combined our accounts. So happy to hear about your happiness.

  48. Amy says...

    I’ve always found it useful to have one shared account and one separate. I like to transfer my share of bills money & savings into the mutual account. Then I like to keep my spending/fun money in my personal account so I can more easily/accurately keep track of it.

  49. Ceridwen says...

    I’m the full time earner in our family and my husband is the full time stay at home dad. We’ve had this set up since my eldest was two (now 10) and did a swap. Money I earn is for the whole family so we share everything plus started a budget though Australian org, MyBudget. This helped us a lot and cracked open how we both feel and use finances. It was hard for me because I wasn’t great at saving. Weight Watchers but with money! We put in our own spending money too so we have freedom to buy stuff we individually want and don’t have to justify it. We feel like a team so never felt like my money/his money. What he does at home enables me to earn that money and the work I do enables us to live how we need to.

    • Cazmina says...

      Ooh, on this note, I’d love to see a Cup of Jo post about couples where the man is the stay-at-home parent, because I think it is so important to see more of this to help undo some of the gender stereotyping!

    • Christina Bourne says...

      Same! My husband is a stay at home dad. During the first year of his new “gig” he struggled with not contributing financially and he said he was afraid to spend “my money” on himself. When he shared with me that he felt this way, I reminded him that even when he had a job outside the home, it was never “his money” and “my money”. It was always “our money” and it still is. He is our rock and holds our house together so that I can be 100% present at work.

  50. Heather says...

    Thanks for this post! Could you also do a post about how couples actually share expenses, particularly when one person makes a decent amount more than the other? Do you each pay for half of all joint expenses, contribute a set percentage of your income, or some other system?

    Money is so stressful to think about just as a single person (or like, someone in a new relationship) — Thinking about it in the context of a long-term relationship nearly sends me into a panic!

    • Ann says...

      Second.

    • Sara says...

      I second this request!

    • Sharon Wharton says...

      My partner makes twice as much as I do, so we split expenses in the same ratio, for example, I pay 1/3 of our rent and utilities and he pays 2/3. We always split up dinners out down the middle, but when we travel I do the same 1/3 usually. And this was his idea :-)

    • Susan says...

      We don’t have a big discrepancy in incomes but my husband makes about $10k more than I do and we split household expenses and bills so that he pays a little bit more than I do, he puts a little bit more into savings than I do, and he still has a little bit more discretionary spending than I do – a lot of which ends up going to things for both of us like dinners out. As our incomes have changed over the years we’ve just gradually shifted who pays for what household expenses to keep things at relatively the same percentage of each of our incomes.

  51. Bex says...

    So good to know this, thanks team! I’d love to know how couples manage when one person earns way more than the other (let’s say no kids involved)- how do they handle finances then?

    • Jackie C says...

      I’m in this situation – I make a lot more than my husband with no kids yet. We’ve always shared our finances fully, we have one account that our paychecks go into and all our bills come out of it. I know that doesn’t work for everyone but it works for us.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are great questions! we’re on it :)

    • Heather says...

      Second this request!

    • Abby W. says...

      Pick me!
      As a teacher married to a sales team manager, my husband makes about 3 times as much as I do. We have no kids (and aren’t planning to) and don’t own a home but have plans to buy one soon-ish.
      We have a separate bank account for each of us and one joint account.
      We have a joint monthly budget for most daily things: groceries, dinners out, activities we do together, wine, etc. And each month we each get an ‘allowance’ that goes in our personal accounts and is our monthly ‘fun money.’
      If either of us has things that are above our allowance, we talk about it on a case-by-case basis and either decide to buy it with ‘our’ money or have the person wait and save their ‘allowance’ until they have enough.
      We’ve been doing this for about 3 years, and it’s working really well for us!
      Abby

    • Manda says...

      That’s my husband and me—we share everything, no personal accounts. He makes way more than I do, but also works many more hours. I work part time and take care of almost all household responsibilities, including paying every bill. He wasn’t great at paying bills on time before we were married, so it works out well. In addition to our jobs, we have two companies together and we invest. So there is a lot to juggle. We talk about money all the time. He knows the passwords to all of our accounts but rarely uses them. I have the password to the business account he uses for his day job, but mainly just ask balance questions.

      I’m a what-if-we-need-cash-tomorrow saver, he’s a let’s-make-our-money-work-for-us investor. Other than that, we have similar money-saving styles. We usually talk with each other before spending over $100, and major purchases are seriously thought out.

    • Lisa says...

      This has always been the case for me and my husband. I’ve always earned more money and, for the few years my husband was finishing up school, he had no income. Those were tough years. We have always maintained separate bank accounts and credit cards. We split the mortgage and I pay for all of the utilities and cable and he pays for our cell phones. We each pay our own respective personal debt which includes personal credit card debt, car payments and insurances. When we go out to dinner or the movies or whatever, I pick up tab probably about 80% of the time. That’s just the reality of how money works in this situation. That being said, my husband is very mechanically inclined and can repair pretty much anything related to our house, our cars and even our bicycles. That saves me loads of money in the long run.

    • A says...

      I am in this situation. My husband earns significantly more that I do. We have always fully shared our money, and see everything as joint. All our bank accounts are in both names. We do maintain individual credit cards, but his name is on mine and vice versa. We now have a child and have continued this trend. We both work full time, but his job requires way more hours than mine, so I am also the main “parenting” parent in the household. Sometimes I do feel badly about our income inequalities (especially bc we are both attorneys so we are essentially in the same field), but that is more of my insecurity. He never makes a big deal about it.

    • B says...

      My husband makes double what I make. We have a joint checking and savings where each of our paychecks are deposited and then we get a weekly “fun money” transfer. The amounts are the same. He doesn’t want more or think it’s unfair. The way we see it, we are equals in our relationship. It’s quite nice!

    • Carrie says...

      Pick me too! My partner (not yet married, but live together with dog) out earns me many times over. We used to split everything in half, but when I took a pay cut to enter the nonprofit sector, we started splitting our larger shared expenses by our respective salaries. We split everything else (groceries, vacations, dog expenses) in half. I love our approach because it’s very transparent, and doesn’t require my partner to make a huge lifestyle change in order to accommodate my budget.

    • Jeannie says...

      This is my husband and me. All of our money is deposited into a joint account and from that account we pay our mortgage, groceries, utilities, gifts we give as a couple, necessities for our daughter, etc. We also transfer money to our savings accounts.

      This is the cool part… from that account, we each get an allowance that is transferred each week. I get a bigger allowance because 1) I make more than him 2) it’s more expensive to be a female and 3) he’s okay with it. I can spend this money on anything I want and he can spend his money on anything he wants. It’s what we use to pay for gifts for each other, clothes, hair cuts, gifts for friends, and the like.

      It took a little bit of time to get the formula right (how much I get and how much he gets), but it totally works for us. We talk about big purchases (anything over $100). Most important, we review our spending monthly and we set financial goals annually.

    • Kim says...

      My husband makes a little more than twice as much as I do. We both put 60-70% of our take home pay into our joint checking, out of which come all bills and shared expenses, and our joint savings. The rest we keep in separate checking accounts, which we use for individual expenses. That way, I buy clothes out of my budget, he pays for golf out of his budget etc. :) hope that helps, if you do it as a percentage it seems fair for both parties.

    • K says...

      I make more money than my husband of 5 years. Although both our incomes have risen during the course of our marriage, my income still outpaces his almost 2x. He says his coworkers (even his boss!) have jokingly asked him why he still works when they find out my profession since they assume I must out earn him.
      He takes it in good stride, and does more at home with our 2 year old than I am able to since I work longer hours. Our life has taken him by surprise though because he does say he always just expected he’d be the breadwinner when he had a family.
      These finance discussions are so interesting to me because we have gone through several iterations trying to find what works for us (everything separate, one joint account with a personal budgeted account on the side, everything joined, etc. ). Once our kid came along it got more complicated.
      Right now we have a joint account with a joint credit card, except we each have personal credit cards that are paid out of the joint account and we don’t see into what the other person is buying and just trust that they are not being unreasonable.
      There is no question I am the bigger spender, which I think comes from us having had different upbringings (my husband is super thrifty and also just being female I feel like there are more expenses(??!)).
      Making more money than my husband has helped me feel less guilty about buying nice things for myself occasionally!

    • Leanne says...

      We have a percentage system and shared finances. For example, 65% goes to shared checking, 25% to shared savings, and 10% to personal allotments. We’re pretty frugal with our own purchases, so this works well. The best part is the person who earns more, keeps more, and it’s easy to navigate with income changes.

  52. this is such a smart idea! we are both young(ish) and health but I still sometimes worry about where we would find information and passwords should something happen.

  53. Liz Velasquez says...

    We’ve had a joint bank account ever since we’ve been married (38 years). I’m an accounting major so it’s rather easing for me to handle all the budgeting plus managing our retirement and individual investment accounts. My husband doesn’t mind one bit. He’s the techie in our family, so his knowledge is greatly appreciated and used quite often!

  54. katie says...

    We keep accounts separate; however, we view all of our money and assets as shared. He’s better at money, so I send him a set amount each month. Half goes to our mortgage. The other half goes to savings/future kitchen remodel. He takes care of utilities. I buy groceries and things needed for the house. He buys a lot of dinners our because his cc has a better point system. He also pays for a lot of our travel, again, because of his CCs. He makes about 55k more than me, so we feel things are equitable. We both have “fun” money. A lot of mine is spent on nieces and nephew.

    However, after reading this, I realize we do need to share passwords, etc. I’ll get on that soon. Thanks CoJ!!!!

  55. Tara says...

    I love this! Also seeing other women who take the lead in finances normalizes how I feel about being the one in charge of finances. We share everything but I make the budget and am the one keeping tabs on our accounts or suggesting which credit cards to get etc. sometimes it makes me think my partner is inadequate, but it really is just about playing to your strengths!

  56. emma says...

    We’ve been together 10 years and started sharing everything about 2 years into the relationship, about 3 years before we got married. My husband has zero interest in investing or saving and if I wasn’t around he probably wouldn’t even cash his paychecks…. so I do all of that stuff… and once or twice a year I force him to sit down and go through everything with me just so he’d know what was going on if something ever happened to me. I also keep a spreadsheet with all our accounts and info to access it- it’s in a short hand only he would know. I also send a copy to my mom for our kid and also in case my husband forgets… because that’s how he is. We don’t have a hard and fast rule, but we discuss most unexpected purchases over $100 as well.

  57. Maire says...

    My husband and I bought a house together before we eventually got married, so we already formed a habit of him sending me a money request for half the mortgage payment and half of the utilities bills. We still have separate accounts. Although we go halfsies on mortgage and utilities, he pays whenever we go out as a couple and also pays for all our vacations as a couple as well as for our Netflix/Hulu/Spotify accounts. (He makes about three times as much money as I do.) I pay for groceries, and we both individually save for retirement/put money in our HSAs.

    I like having separate accounts because even though I know he wouldn’t really comment or care, I don’t need him to see when I drop $100 at TJMaxx, etc.

    Also…please please please please all women…even if you share finances- I am a firm believer in the Fuck Off Fund. Whether you need to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, job, house, apartment, car, roommate to fuck off, it is such a nice personal insurance policy to have, I think. I also use it to dip into in leaner months if I need to and then replace when I have a more flush month.

    • Anon says...

      Question: how do you keep your Fuck Off Fund private in a marriage? or you don’t? is it just an account in your name only that your spouse knows about? or they don’t know the balance/existence of it?

      We keep separate accounts (bc I too like dropping $100 at TJMaxx without raised eyebrows) but we go through everything annually (tax time) to see if we’re going in a net upwards direction or not. I feel like a FOF shouldn’t be on the balance sheet for “our money”, but also how can it not?

    • Samantha says...

      10000000000000000% YES TO A FUCK OFF FUND!!!!!

    • Andrea says...

      Yet, in keeping your money this separate, your FOF is also just what you can throw into it. He makes three times the money you do, but you effectively see little of it.

    • Nicole says...

      Yes to the fuck off fund! I also have a “fuck it” fund (different than fuck OFF). This little account takes care of all of life’s unpleasant financial surprises (my mom calls them “the cost of doing business”).

      Got a parking ticket it?
      Flat tire?
      Your 8th wedding invite this year?

      It all comes out of the fuck it fund. Now I don’t get aggravated every time life hands me something mildly unpleasant to pay for.

    • Alyce says...

      If you’re married, whether or not your fuck off fund is truly yours to keep in the event of divorce is likely dictated by state laws. Where I live, a fuck off fund would only be exclusively mine if it existed before we got married and the funds were never co-mingled. Any money that was earned after the marriage then added to my seperate pot would be marital property and split 50/50 if we divorced. (And possibly adding that money would be considered co-mingling funds and open the entire pot up for grabs.) If you’re truly trying to keep a fuck off fund to yourself, it’s better to never let anyone know it exists (which, yes, means you’d have to be willing to lie about its existence).

  58. Julie says...

    My father-in-law passed unexpectedly in November, and my stepmother-in-law has been through nothing short of a complete nightmare trying to gather and discover all of his assets. Keep telling my husband we need to do something like this. Thank you!

  59. Amanda says...

    I’ve been with my boyfriend since high school, we’ve lived together since we were 18 (which makes about 11 years now) and everything has always been totally separate. I handle the bills and charge him (via Venmo) every month with a list of what I’m paying to whom. I also do most of the shared grocery shopping and charge him half. We almost always split dinner costs, etc., and make an effort to split purchases of small amounts (e.g., coffee) about equally. He’s much better at saving than I am, and honestly it just doesn’t seem fair to split it any other way because I wouldn’t feel as free to purchase what I want and he wouldn’t save as much as he’s been able to. If we’re ever to get married and have kids I imagine we’ll still handle it the same but with a shared home/kids expenses account and a shared emergency savings account!

  60. Nicola says...

    In my home, we seem to have divided our finances based on categories. It’s not something we discussed, but happened on it’s own, and we each have access to all accounts.

    Husband pays the mortgage, utilities, phone, house cleaning, travel and dining out. My money goes to all the investments, insurance, preschool and daycare costs, kids and my clothes. Groceries are about 50:50.

  61. Anne says...

    We share all accounts and money. My perspective is that we’re partners and teammates, and we have jobs so that we can bring in money for the family, not for the individual. Right now my husband makes a lot more than I do, but that will switch in a few years. We watch our spending pretty closely (thanks YNAB!), but we each have a generous ‘fun money’ budget that can go to anything, no guilt allowed. To me, shared finances seem like an obvious choice, but to each her own – every marriage is different.

    • Ali says...

      I could have written this comment myself! Although I make significantly more than my husband, I have always viewed my income as equally belonging to both of us. I am extremely lucky in that my passion translated into a well-paying career. I don’t think my husband’s spending power in our relationship should be less than mine just because what he loves to do led him to a career that is less valued by society (at this moment in time) and therefore pays less than mine. I also love the long-term view that you take. We have no idea what could happen to either of us – our health or our jobs. Just because I make more now doesn’t mean that our financial picture won’t look different in the future.

    • Olivia says...

      Completely agree. It doesn’t fit my definition of marriage/partnership/team to do it any other way. I make more than double what my husband does right now, but that will drastically change in the future. I’ve never once thought of it as his/my money – it’s ours. We did, however, recently decide to have our own “allowances.” We have completely different spending styles and I can’t deal with seeing what he spends on, then I spend less bc of it etc. So we each have our weekly allowance and if we want something, we can choose to spend or save as we see fit :) liberating. I think at the end of the year I’ll have thousands and a few luxuries I’ve splurged on and he’ll have pennies and a lot of shit. Haha

    • Yep! We saw marriage as becoming one, so that included combining our finances. All our accounts are shared, and we both have the same amount of personal spending money each month. Anything for the house that isn’t essential has to come out of that personal monthly allowance. For bigger purchases, we have a separate fund where we can save up a bit more money and agree on what to spend it on (we usually switch off buying a bigger item – for me a camera, for him new speakers, etc.). We also have a travel designation and date designation. We make all of our decisions together, can’t imagine it any other way! There are no surprises, and we keep each other in check so we can live within our means and save for the future.

  62. Rue says...

    I live in the south (transplanted New Yorker — send help & bagels), and folks here still have a HARD TIME with the fact that my boyfriend and I split dinner bills down the middle on two cards.

    One waiter recently brought the check over and said, “two checks? I’m just kidding!” because he thought it was super funny since we were so obviously on a date. When we put two cards down for the one check he was all horrified like, “wait, I was joking,” and we were all, “we just wanna both pay?”

    At least I’ve found my dream southern man: a guy who wants to split the check with me.

    • “send help and bagels,” haha!

  63. cgw says...

    Please, please, please, if you’re in a serious relationship and are sharing even one account, know where everything (bank, retirement, debt, etc) is, be sure you’re listed as either a co-account holder, authorized, or a benefactor… and know the passwords, or have them accessible in case of an emergency. Please do not just leave it up to one person/spouse to know. My cousin’s husband died very suddenly of a heart attack due to heat stroke one summer and left my cousin in a lurch. She was the spouse that didn’t know how to access accounts online, didn’t know passwords, and all that. It was traumatic and devastating enough that her husband died so suddenly, but then to navigate through the mire of proving accessibility to accounts and paperwork… it was just truly awful.

    • this. all of this.

  64. Lindsay says...

    Ahhh!!! You found the sofa, Joanna! (And a lot closer than in my parents’ Bay Area storage unit!). This one is lovely :-)

    And channeling When Harry Met Sally, my all-time favorite <3!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha yes! Xoxoxo

  65. Jaime says...

    I would highly recommend getting a password manager! I use LastPass and it was a little bit of a pain to set up but now I only need to remember ONE password!! Seriously life changing.

    • Heather says...

      Is it an app or what?

    • Sarah says...

      This! Use a password manager! Better for both organization and security.

  66. Andrea says...

    I’m happily single but made a “death” folder for my family that has all my info like accounts, passwords, landlord’s contact info, utilities, and passwords for anything that would need to be canceled/deleted, like spotify and all social media.

  67. seriously people!!! OMG use lastpass or 1password!!! and share it with your significant other!!!

    We have joint checking for our bills, but our individual savings and checkings as well.

    • Nickie says...

      Yes! Everyone should be using a password manager! Once you start using one you will wonder how you ever survived without one!

    • Keeley says...

      Ditto on 1Password!

      Starting to use a password manager is a huge pain at first, but pays off big time in the long run (avoiding being hacked, never forgetting a password, etc).

      My funniest friend put it this way: “Starting to use a password manager ruins your life for a month and then suddenly makes your life 1000 times easier.”

  68. Bonnie says...

    My husband and I have a small notebook, kept in a safe, with our passwords to every single account and a penciled in amount that we update annually. When we move funds around, we update the listing. If one of us should die unexpectedly, there would be no period of discovery. I am of the belief that anything elec can be hacked, so we’re comfortable with our solution. We joined finances soon after we met, and with our common goals of not working into our 60s, we’re mindful of spending and think about what we’re willing to pay for. Ten years in, we’re further ahead of where we thought we’d be financially, by really looking at the cost of items in terms of how long we have to work for the money to buy something, how it fits into our home/closet/lifestyle and is it something we truly think will enhance our life.

  69. Sue says...

    Separate checking accounts but our names on both. I take care of investments. To quote Ladybird Johnson, I wouldnt share a checking account with the angel Gabriel.

    • Lisa says...

      Love, love, LOVE that quote!

  70. Amy says...

    Agreed with the other commenters who appreciate CoJ’s sponsored posts! When my husband and I did a marriage counseling class when we were engaged, the teacher was adamant that couples should have shared accounts only…. then went to say that the main thing he and his wife fight about is money! We still have the same separate accounts as when we were dating and still split the bill at dinner — lol, but we’ve never had a fight about money after nearly 10 years together! We have each other’s account numbers though, so hopefully it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to figure things out in the event of tragedy.

    • Jessica says...

      I also think fights about finances depends on personalities. My husband and I have been married 16 years, always with shared accounts, and have never fought over finances. But I also don’t feel the need to hide spending $100 at the store, like some have mentioned, and he doesn’t care. We are both grown ups, after all.

  71. Claire says...

    My hubs and I have tried a few systems, and learned that over-engineering it doesn’t work for us. We talked about keeping separate accounts for individual guilt-free spending, but we never got around to setting them up because we kept spinning on rules about what should be bought with our own money vs joint money. We funnel all of our our non-savings money into a joint checking account. I am SO THANKFUL that we are aligned on our general $$ philosophy (i.e. treat yourself a little but never at the expense of financial insecurity) so when we have a big spending month, we loosely agree to reign it in the following month and it seems to even out!

    But on the access-to-accounts: something I found super helpful when we first got married was to meet with someone who helped us sort out all of our accounts, adding each other as joint owners and beneficiaries where necessary. I know that not everyone prefers that, but for us, it gave us visibility into what we had, and made us feel like we were taking the first step towards looking out for each other if anything were to happen in the future. In some ways it felt more monumental to me than the wedding!

    • Whoops says...

      I would advise against this. I learned the hard way that once you become a joint holder of a checking account, you can’t undo that unless someone dies.

    • Claire says...

      Thanks, Whoops. It’s something I’m willing do as part of entering into a marriage with someone, although I do understand the risks associated with it and that not everyone might feel the same way.

  72. What an interesting post!

    My husband and I have separate accounts and one shared account for shared expenses (rent, insurance, etc).

    As for passwords, we both use 1password, encrypted data, very safe! All you need to remember is one single password to all of your other automatically-generated passwords.

    Money is such an important and sensitive subject!

  73. Here’s a tip re: FINANCE TRACKING and PASSWORDS that has worked wonderfully for my husband and me:

    1. Create a shared Google Doc spreadsheet for your budgeting. It can be structured in any way that works for you! (I built ours and it breaks down everything: personal spending accounts, house finances per pay period, all open credit cards with limits, due dates for all fixed expenses, our gross and net salaries, etc.)

    2. List all your passwords within this doc, but waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy down inside it — like 5000 rows deep! For ours, you would have to scroll for maybe a minute before reaching the passwords list, which means it would be highly improbably that anyone would ever think to look there!

    Google Docs are the best because I have the app on my phone and can access passwords, finance details, etc. from anywhere!

    • Alice says...

      This is not secure.

      If for instance your Google password, which gets you in to everything including your drive, was phished or obtained somehow, or your device stolen – then they use a search function through your Google drive in its entirety out of curiosity, just in case you keep a list of passwords somewhere, because people do, and bam.

      I know this sounds unlikely, improbable but as someone that has studied card fraud the lengths people will go to are so often longer, more complex and way less likely.

      Use passphrases, and not something common like a film title but something that is personally easy for you to recall. Encrypt your data.

      And know that however unlikely it seems…it’s not.

    • Alice says...

      Oh and please protect all the other stuff you have in there, it’s a gold mine for identity theft.

      Do you have two factor authentication turned on both your accounts?

      I don’t want to seem unkind but your comment leapt out at me with red flags ablazing.

    • You make excellent and important points! To your question: YES — we have two-factor authentication turned on both our accounts and I absolutely should have noted in my first comment that the sensitive data within the document itself is encrypted/password protected as well. (Google Docs unfortunately and shockingly doesn’t have password protection as a standard option, but there are workarounds available to be able to do this). We also change our passwords to our personal emails quarterly at least, if not monthly. (I worked for several years in the medical industry as part of a HIPAA privacy & security compliance team, so this practice has been hammered into me!)

      Additionally, even once we decrypt the information, we don’t use words like “user name,” “password,” or other account specific terminology within that section for just the reasons you mentioned. It’s designed simply for the two of us to understand it (read: LOTS of abbreviations!) in the event, say, I need to pay the electric or daycare bill but am not usually the one who does it — I can get the login details from a central place. This method is *not* designed to be used as a resource for others (like family) in the event we both die or something like that.

      Any accounts/password resource one has that isn’t on printed paper needs to be encrypted/protected to the nth degree for exactly the reasons you said. It slipped my mind to even mention it, because my comment was more about offering a simple option for those commenting about needing a way for them (or their partners) to document account information when maybe only one of them handles the household finances. Protecting and encrypting your data or personal information is a WHOLE additional piece of this, and for a couple who is more savvy, there are certainly better options than a Google Doc. It’s just what has worked for my husband and me after too many years of frantic phone calls and password resets.

      Thank you, though, for emphasizing the importance of this in the absence of my doing so, as it certainly cannot be overstated that protecting your data should be a higher priority than easy access to password and usernames.

  74. Marcella says...

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and although marriage is far off this is something we talked about – but also about prenups?? My opinion is why would you get a prenup, to me it seems like you’re assuming you’re getting divorced but he sees it as protecting assets (whereas I’m like ok I have student loan debt and 0 assets lol). Have other people had prenups?? How did you feel about it?

    • Leah says...

      I’m currently in the middle of a divorce after 15 years of marriage. My husband has always had the primary income and I have little knowledge of our finances (he is secretive and deprecating with me about money). I sadly have never known his salary and only had access to joint accounts he created. When I married him, I felt eternally committed and didn’t think that divorce would be an option. I felt as you do that any type of pre-nuptial agreement would be planning for failure. Fast forward these many years through all the unimaginable sorrows and heartbreak and I now realize that my idealism was hindering my good judgment. I’m currently paying my lawyer a ridiculous amount of money to find out what should have been common knowledge about our finances. I’m certainly not making a universal statement about pre-nuptial agreements or suggesting one should enter marriage shrouded in suspicion–I’ve simply come to understand the wisdom of planning for the worst and then working your tail off to avoid it. If a terrible end happens, you’ll be happy you planned ahead. If you manage to write a life-long love story, you’ll never have to think about those arrangements again.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I heard some great advice about this, which I’m going to pass on to you:

      You *do* have a prenup. You have the prenuptial contract that exists in the laws of your state/country. Those laws govern how assets, property, etc., will be split in case of a divorce. A prenup is just a way for you to say you don’t want the standard package, so to speak.

      Maybe you are certain you will never get divorced, and that is great! In that case, I would suggest you pretend that you are looking over the laws/prenup options for one of your best friends. You love her, you trust her taste in partners, and you don’t have any reason to think things will go wrong — but you are going to make sure her interests are protected just in case.

      It’s important to consider family assets when you’re considering a prenup. For instance, does your family own a piece of property that you are likely to inherit, in whole or in part? In my own family, my dad and his siblings were forced to buy out my Uncle’s ex-wife’s share in a property that my grandfather bought decades ago. My dad had to take out a second mortgage to pay for a piece of property that had already been in the family –and paid for! — for over 50 years. These kinds of things are worth avoiding, or at least worth thinking about before signing a marriage contract.

    • t says...

      I think prenups are a great idea if there is significant debt or assets that would be assumed in a marriage. I don’t think it at all is an assumption that divorce is inevitable. Instead it is like an insurance policy; you can just sleep soundly knowing that it is one more thing you have covered in the unlikely chance that something happens.

      And if you are totally confident going into a marriage- no harm no foul since it will never come into play.

    • Irene says...

      Marcella, I was in your exact shoes 2 years ago! We got a prenup and I had no assets and student loan debt, he had tons of assets and no debt. He felt it would be important to protect his assets. I didn’t see the point. The prenup process was also eye-opening for me. We were forced to lay all of our finances on the table and talk about money. It actually turned out to be a good thing for us. Go figure!

      Flash forward 2 years later and he’s paid off my loans and we share all of our finances. There are no surprises, no questions, no uncertainties.

      My best advice – talk to a lawyer. She or he may put your mind at ease.

      That being said, it’s a personal decision and you do what’s right for you. GOOD LUCK!

    • Milena says...

      When I took community property in law school, my take away was you need a prenup for three main reasons: the primary source of income for one spouse is a family business, one of you had kids from a previous relationship, or there is a large disparity between debt and assets (one of you owes a lot of money and the other one has a lot of money). What someone said above makes a lot of sense- it’s not planning, but it is insurance. I also advise my friends who are getting married to at least talk about it- at the very least you are go into the marriage with a clear picture of finances and attitudes towards money.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Prenups are great for people going into marriages with substantial assets. You don’t really plan to divorce, but a prenup can really, really help make things smooth if there is a divorce or other issues.

      Prenups can help a lot if you have “family assets” that need to come back out if there’s an issue in the marriage and parents/siblings who are in on the family assets can feel reassured by them.

      My family, for example, has a vacation area and property trust that has pieces given to each grandchild, but there is a legal document in place that states in the event of divorce the property and income remains with the family. In the event of death the spouse keeps a percentage of the income commiserate with years married, but the vacation property “share” returns to a designated immediate family member or any child they have who is over the age of 30 and does not ever go to the spouse. And sure enough…when my brother divorced his wife the document protected our extended family from having to give a piece of the family’s vacation home away to someone we were not super fond of. My grandparents are both deceased – they passed away when my siblings and I were teenagers- but clearly they were looking far enough down to road to predict this might be an issue someday.

      My husband and I were both broke when we got married at 23, so we have no formal prenup, only what’s written into my grandparent’s trust that has survived them. Anything we’ve built we’ve worked on together. I would never have thought to get one once I got married, tbh, and it was only when I was getting married did my parents sit me down and explain to me exactly how the trust worked.

      Please note that that kind of estate planning is not at all inexpensive. My grandparents paid thousands of dollars in attorney fees to set up a watertight trust like that in the late 90’s.

    • emma says...

      I’m a lawyer, my husband is a lawyer, everyone we know is a lawyer… no one we know has a pre-nup. I agree that it is right for some folks, but I agree with Leah that there are laws in each state that cover asset division. My advice is to check those laws out and see if they substantially differ from your own philosophies. For us- we went into the marriage about equal (tons of school debt, no assets, high expected salaries, high expected job loss expectations) and live in a community property state (CA) and the way CA divides assets is no different than how we’d set it up in a prenup. No law or prenup is going to stop your ex from being a jerk and a half in proceedings if that’s what he or she wants to do.

  75. Sarah says...

    I need this! We share all our money and I’m totally in the loop about our day-to-day checking/savings…. but I’m a little fuzzy on some on the retirement accounts, escrow accounts, etc. Obviously this is very important information! eek!

  76. Allison says...

    my husband and I only partially combined, mostly out of laziness but he also has his own business and needs separate accounts for that. I’ve been struggling to gather all of our bank information, accounts, passwords in one place (sooooo many passwords……i currently have a half-populated excel spreadsheet.) After finally meeting with a trusts and estates attorney to set up a will, i’ve been spurred to gather all our financial and other important information in one place in a binder in our house, not just for my husband but for my mom or our potential children’s guardian, in case anything happens.

  77. jeannie says...

    My husband and I basically own everything jointly, too, but we each manage different accounts and each use the same credit cards we had before we were married. We would absolutely have to search through each others desks and files to find account numbers and passwords and other important papers, which would definitely make things more fraught if the unthinkable happened. It crosses my mind from time to time to do something about it, but I keep putting it off! This sounds like such a good way to sort things out. (Next up: advance directives!)

  78. Molly says...

    This is been a topic of conversation in my home lately – and I hate talking about money! Every month or two, my fiance and I go through an painful process of reviewing what we have each spent on shared things (home expenses, groceries, entertainment, travel, etc.) and then settle up with one another, proportionate to our incomes. I use trip splitter the way I would with friends on a weekend away. We are getting married this summer and, among the many reasons i’m excited about it, I can’t wait to end this accounting/splitting exercise. Would love to hear how most couples handle this in the long term – is separate chequing accounts but shared saving account a good approach? Or does each person contribute a set amount into a common account to cover daily life expenses?

    • Amanda says...

      Hi Molly! I got married 2 years years ago and my husband and I just figured this out 3 months ago! He was resistant to change, and I pushed it because I was so tired of the paying back and forth. We each have our own checking account–we have some of our paychecks direct deposited here (our “fun money”) and the rest goes into a joint checking account that we pay our bills and grocery shop from. We also share a credit card and have a joint savings in addition to our own separate savings accounts (just left over from before the merge). This was a challenge to get used to for both of us–mainly because the amount of fun money we were spending on ourselves before was SO much more than it should have been. We were living outside of our means without even realizing. I have been re-training myself to shop less and make lunches instead of eating out and it’s easier as time goes on. I would definitely recommend the joint account with your own separate checking for the freedom! I don’t want to know what my husband is buying from Home Depot and he doesn’t care how much I spend on manicures :)

    • Claire says...

      We got some advice to use just two accounts while we got a handle on things at first… one checking and one savings. The idea is that you keep a minimum of your “emergency fund” in the checking account, and get all direct deposits and spend/pay all bills out of that checking account. Then, whatever’s leftover at the end of the month in excess of your emergency fund gets moved into savings in a single transfer. After a few months, it’s a super easy way to see how much wiggle room you have and how to move forward.

      Just another option to consider – It was a big adjustment at first but it really simplified things for me!

    • Hanh vu says...

      We’ve been married 14 years. Here’s how it works for us: All income gets directly deposited into our shared checking account. On a monthly basis a portion of money goes into our shared saving account, other portions go to each of our retirement accts (which are separate), more portions go to our kids 529 accts (one for each). equal portions get transfer to our “personal” checking account for guilt free spending. The rest remains in the shared checking account for living expenses. the portions size are decided based on our observation of our finances over the years and is adjusted as needed.

      We arrived at having personal checking accts after my husband complained of working so much and never really feel the freedom to spending any money. He’s a very frugal person. The accts help a lot.

  79. Nas says...

    Ah! Was just talking to my boyfriend about having some finance sharing for joint spending and we were trying to figure out the best way to do that. So the timing of this is PERFECT.

    Currently, the mental load of finances falls on me. I pay for everything (because I do most of our shopping since he’s a first year resident doctor – he’s never home to do the errands), and keep ALL the receipts and then go over things item by item (because he eats meat, I’m vegan, I pay for dog-related stuff, he doesn’t, his salary is 1/3 of mine, so we split certain things based on percentage) and then I venmo him at the end of the month. I’m not a fan – it’s so much work – and there’s gotta be a better way!

    Same with rent, I pay, and then venmo request him.

    Will be checking out Fabric Vault ASAP!

  80. Maria says...

    So far we do exactly as Christine and Tocha. I think would be really annoying to have to ask for permission to buy something over 100. But who knows maybe we change the system one day!

  81. Kate O'Connor says...

    oh my gosh, oh my gosh oh my gosh. A woman who doesn’t know how to access her own money?! Not good. Lisa, things change in a heartbeat! Please educate yourself to protect your family!

  82. Heather says...

    “I was sitting with my friend Arthur Cornrom in a restaurant.
    It was a cafeteria and this beautiful girl walked in and
    I turned to Arthur and I said, “Arthur, you see that girl? I’m going
    to marry her, and two weeks later we were married and it’s over fifty
    years later and we are still married.”

    • Antonia says...

      Oh wow! You went through so much trouble, CoJ team! But it was well worth it because that Harry and Sally was the very first thought entering my mind when I saw the post :)

    • Julie says...

      Best. Movie. Ever.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This was my first thought!!! I LOVE the When Harry Met Sally reference.

    • Nicola says...

      I saw the couches and immediately thought “when Harry met Sally!”

    • Emily says...

      LOVING the When Harry Met Sally reference!! Well done, COJ team!

  83. Nikki says...

    can I just say I LOVE your sponsored posts?!? I don’t care what any other readers think, but your sponsored posts are always so spot on. I was LOOKING for a service like this after reading horror stories about partners and parents dying and now your post shows up. I appreciate how much thought the Cup of Jo team puts in to make sponsored posts real life, thoughtful and on par with readers. Insert clap emoji here.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad, nikki. that means a lot to us!

    • Kim says...

      I was JUST thinking the same thing. I so appreciate the care and utility put into sponsored posts — and even if a given product isn’t a good fit for me right now, I am happy to have it on my radar.

    • Em says...

      I complete agree, Nikki! I particularly appreciate CoJ’s sponsored posts because I trust your preferences for products and services. Your ability to meld sponsorship with valuable and interesting content is impressive – don’t listen to the nay-sayers!

    • Lauren E. says...

      100% agree. Sometimes I’m not interested in the product but the post is still thoughtful and informative. A rarity nowadays!

    • b says...

      Agreed. Every other blog I read (not that many) has sponsored posts that are so blatantly about the product that I mostly refuse to buy those products. But something like this is actually useful.

    • K says...

      Agreed! You have the most thoughtful and interesting sponsored posts. After I read each one I think, “Well done, Cup of Jo!”