Joint versus individual bank accounts

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Joint versus individual bank accounts
7
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 12:06pm

http://www.ivillage.com/forums/home-garden/family-finance/debt-support-group/debt-discussions/joint-versus-separate-accounts

I started this thread, so I think it is okay to link it over here.  I posted this on Debt Support Board (my second home here on iVillage) and although some of the posters that replied are not in a second marriage, I thought there was some great viewpoints. 

Take a read and come back over here to MSMW to post.

Serenity

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Wed, 08-07-2013 - 4:58pm

Serenity - your posting could not have come at a more perfect time! my husband and I have been having major issues with regards to finances. Last time I posted on here we had recently moved to be closer to his kids and he had been laid off from his full time job. He went for 4 months without a job, started some part time work and then has another part time job (which can be anywhere from 5 hours a week to 40 hours a week depending on the projects he is put ont) and I am a full-time salaried employee. He barely makes enough to cover his child support and I am left paying for all of the other bills and yet if I want to buy myself a new outfit or some makeup he gets so mad at me. It has really gotten ugly and I wish we could split finances again (I didn't combine finances with my first husband and I WISH I hadn't with my second husband) but I am starting to feel used. He is going to school for a second and third masters and he told me the other day he has NO intention of getting a full time job until he is done with his degrees - in TWO  years. I have never felt so used in my life. It is to the point where we are arguing so much I almost want to leave. 

With that being said, I really like the idea of having separate finances, with a joint account for monthly expenses and maybe a joint savings for saving for vacations, etc. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 1:12pm

  Hi, Serenity!  I haven't been on here in a while.  Found a support board for stepmothers, so have been doing my venting there.  Anyway, you KNOW how I feel about this topic.  Everyone's view is different, but should be decided upon several factors - how each views money, who makes how much, and definitely whether there are children involved. It sounds from what I've read of other postings, people are making it work depending upon their own situations. 

 As you well know, I WISH dh and I had separate accounts due to the fact we are still helping our youngest 2 children for different reasons. Have the arguments continued??  Of course.  So, I'm a big advocate for separate accounts when there are kids involved.  What I have learned about being a stepparent is you have a much clearer picture of what that kid is about and we, as parents, have unconditional love for our own children which, unfortunately, blinds us sometimes and also to enable when we shouldn't.  The difficult part is when the other parent spends money on their child and the stepparent doesn't agree with it.  Then the fights begin.  You know my story, Serenity, so you know what I'm talking about. 

But, all in all, having a joint account is mostly working for me and dh.  We tend to be more savers than spenders and live a pretty simple life. You would never find either one of us taking vacations if we had debt or had to use a credit card.  NOT what we are about.  At 51 and 53, we are debt free (except for a loan to dh's parents he'd never been able to pay off from during his divorce), so we have 3 more years of monhtly payments on that.  I also feel an obligation to give my DDs money for weddings (which I finally DO have one getting married next year), so dh has to deal with that..plus the $2,000 it's going to cost us just to GO to the wedding since it's in PA and we live in the midwest.  So, although our children are adults, they still cause financial hardships and issues and none of it is easy. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 08-10-2013 - 12:46pm

You can only be used if you let yourself be used, although I recognize it's really difficult to stand up to someone who is going to argue with you.  I mean, you could open your own bank account w/o your DH's permission.  You could tell him that it's his responsibility to contribute more to the household--although then you would have to decide what are the consequences if he doesn't do that?  I mean, child support is definitely not your responsibility.  If someone ever told me that I could not buy myself clothes or makeup, my answer would be that I am working and covering my bills and I am an adult so I am not going to be told how to spend my own money.  And why does he have to get TWO masters?  Is he going to school for both at the same time?  Does it make economic sense for him to go to school full time so that he can finish in 2 years and then get a higher paying job (I know some schools will have a joint law/MBA degree so you do get the 2 degrees at once) rather than taking a longer time but having to work just part time jobs for a longer time?  It just seems that if you are married, one person just doesn't get to make a unilateral decision that has a major effect on your marriage without discussion (like this is just what I am going to do and you have to go along with it).  If that was how someone treated me, I'm not sure I would want to stay in the marriage either.  OH and then what would he do if you left and he couldn't support himself?  Would he then figure out how to find a job?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Tue, 08-13-2013 - 8:56am
quote: OH and then what would he do if you left and he couldn't support himself? Would he then figure out how to find a job? ----Yes, isnt that the truth...... I would second the feeling of disrespect here...........it seems like Allie moved across country for this guy to be near his kids, and now is supporting him financially..........ie: (quote): It just seems that if you are married, one person just doesn't get to make a unilateral decision that has a major effect on your marriage without discussion (like this is just what I am going to do and you have to go along with it). If that was how someone treated me, I'm not sure I would want to stay in the marriage either.-------- I would be feeling resentful, also, in that situation-----I think it would be good for you to at least be honest re: your feelings and esp just ask that question ML posed: (quote): OH and then what would he do if you left and he couldn't support himself? Would he then figure out how to find a job?------------- FWIW: (you dont have to fuel an argument by saying "if I left....how would you support yourself?".....but, rather something that implied if he had simply never met you, but went ahead and did this to be near his kids, how would he be handling it? ------ I think you need to bring this question up, anyhow..... ) As for the separate checking accounts, etc--------I 100% agree on their benefit for second marriages, at least where there are any children from prior marriages involved. We have always kept our stuff separate----and I could not handle the situations we've been through if it wasnt that way-----my SO has been (IMHO) completely used/abused for $$$ by his exW and kids----"giving" them WAAAYYYY in excess of what I would EVER consider reasonable to give my own kids,...............and if that was coming out of "Our" funds---I'd be livid. As long as he has funds for his share of our expenses, etc..............then whatever he choses to do beyond that is his business------------------------------and I think that's the main issue/problem for Allie-----her SO is NOT able to contribute to his share of household expenses, and then making unilateral decisions on how to handle this (go to school ) without including Allie in the decision making process........ (((Hugs!!))) BEST WISHES! Keep us Posted!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2009
Wed, 08-14-2013 - 5:55pm
I honestly don't think he sees it as him putting a burden on me. He complains about the workload for school but I finished my Masters while working more than full-time and did it without any issues (minus a lot of frustration and nearly quitting the school) but his excuse is that his school is more difficult. He can find a job, he has a lot of experience and already has a masters degree - this is being paid for by the GI Bill so that does help, but he doesn't seem to get that he isn't pulling his weight. He makes me feel guilty because he "doesn't have a choice" in c/s
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2003
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 3:11pm

This is something I've wondered about handling when the time comes.

Sorry if I don't completely fit in because I've never been married. (But can I post anyway, please? I'll be nice!). I'm in a serious relationship with my BF and we are on the path to marriage, so it would be a second marriage for him. (No kids).

Anyway, we have discussed finances in the past. I know that in his marriage- he handled everything. I don't think she ever paid a bill or looked at a statement. BF said he is perfectly fine to hand everything over to me and let he handle it because he is tired of paying the bills.

I'll be happy to do this when the time comes (as I say now). I've always handled my own finances. I just wondered what we would do since we are both in Finance and assumed we might end up doing it together or taking turns. Nope. He said he will hand me everything if I want it.

I personally would like to keep my own savings account and then have a joint account for bills. It is up to him if he wants his own savings. I plan to show him my account at any time and don't want to make it look like I'm "hiding" money from him. But I would like to keep my own funds for things like Christmas gifts and surprises. Plus any "girly" stuff like makeup, shoes, or trips to the winery.

I know they both pooled all of their money together in the past. For me, that won’t work.

It looks like people need to decide what is right for them. We make similar amounts so I would imagine we would put similar amounts into the joint account each month and use that for bills.

However, I personally would never get just one account again. I did that with an Ex-Fiancé and one day- he cleaned me out. Now I made some bad decisions while on that path and I don't think my current BF would ever think to do that.

I curious to hear what works for different couples.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2006
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 1:09pm

SEPARATE accounts are ALWAYS the way to go!! Having a joint acct for travel expenses and savings...that's cool..

You know...here is the thing.The fact that he knows he needs to keep up his child support payments...well he NEEDS to get a job and go to school part-time.It's not your fault that once he's paid his child support he barely has anything left..that should tell him that he needs to take care of business and GET another job and go to school part-time.ALL this is on YOUR shoulders now and he doesn't seem to care! I say talk to him one more time about this and if he's still stubborn about it..then just leave.Life is too short to be behind a man to handle his responsibilities....