Mr. POAI and I separate our finances into 3 overall categories: his accounts, my accounts, and our shared accounts.
He has a checking for his business, and a savings dedicated to building funds for a car (for way in the future, we hope). I have a checking which I use for travel, my hobbies and any other discretionary purchases I want to make, and a savings I use for home improvement projects.
Finally, we have a shared checking, our “family account,” from which we pay all of our bills and shared costs, including food, housing, clothing, shoes, hair cuts, etc., and a savings account that dip into for emergencies.
Why We Each Have Our Own Accounts, Our History:
I was 36 when I married Mr. POAI, and had lived alone since I was 20 so I was very used to having my own money. Before we met, I was able to save to put down 20% on the home we now live in, I could pay all my bills, save for retirement, and make any purchasing decision I wanted. Making my own money decisions was freeing…
Growing up, I felt like I was supposed to cost my parents as little as possible. The males in my family could splurge a bit, but the females, meaning my mom and I, were to choose only the minimum when going out to eat, or at amusement parks, and other entertainment events. This was never stated in my family; rather, it’s what I grew up believing based on my interpretations of my parents’ responses.
When I was in my very early 30’s, I was making more money than I needed, and I had been working on working on allowing myself to spend more on things I wanted. I spent money on travel, and hobbies, and going out with friends. I was developing my identity.
So when I got into a relationship with Mr. POAI, I still had a lot of growing to do in terms of my relationship with myself, which effected my money. I knew that it would be easier for me to spend on what I wanted if I had separate funds. If we shared our funds, I would be tempted to scrimp and save and feel deprived as I did when I was a kid.
Mr. POAI had his own complicated history with money. In his first marriage, money was a huge issue. The two racked up major debt while going to school and raising their small children. Further, Mr. POAI’s ex took care of the finances so he was often unsure about where the money went and baffled as to why they were always in debt. Mr. POAI also likes games and entertainment, and was a bit more of an impulse spender than I was.
When he divorced, he craved to become more stable and to live off of his income. When we met, Mr. POAI had been living within his means for just about a year, so he was pretty new at being happy with his spending and tracking his money.
Another reason we keep our money separate is that Mr. POAI runs his own business, and he’s got that student loan too. I feel like we are protecting my money by keeping that separate, which benefits us both. Neither the business or the loan can infringe upon my accounts which can support us both if needed.
Our Money Values
Now, our values in terms of money were very compatible. We wanted to save for a rainy day, spend on what makes us happy, and live within our means. But we were both newbies in using money in a way that made us happy and pooling our money would likely have made it all more challenging. We wanted to give ourselves time to grow.
The system we created then still works for us today. We figured out how much our expenses would be, divided that in half so we each contribute that amount to our shared pot.
Our Slow Evolution
We have always payed the mortgage and our shared bills out of that pot. Over the years, we’ve included more and more of our individual expenses onto our list of what our shared money covers. We talk about larger purchases, and whether or not we feel like we are receiving what we want and need. We talk about our dreams and how we’ll fund them.
Will We Ever Put All Our Money Together?
Mr. POAI and I have been married for about 7 years, and we still keep some of our money separate. It works for us for now, and we’ll just have to see how our personal relationships with money grow and change and how our relationship with each other grows and changes. If there comes a time when we see the benefit of combining overriding our keeping things separate, we’ll move towards that.
What do you think? How do you decide how to deal with money with a partner? How has your relationship with money grown over the years? How does money affect your identity and/or how does who you are affect how you handle money? Let’s chat in the comments.
Till then, Peace Out (and in),