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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Arguments about money can be a major cause of all kids of stress in relationships. I have an idea that might help eliminate money issues in a marriage. Some say that to be on the same page in a marriage, you need to combine finances. This means that both parties have access to the bank accounts, which might not be ideal if you have one spouse who likes to spend money. Here is my solution:
1) Sit down with your spouse and go over his/her tax returns and get their last pay stub for each year. This way, you know what each other is making. This helps verify the amounts as well.
2) Instead of combined accounts, use a more diversified approach. Set up a spending account for each partner, with the rest going into a general/combined account, such as a checking account. For instance, say both spouses bring home $25,000 after taxes and deductions (retirement, court-issued deductions, kids’ college funds, etc.).
3) Sit down with your spouse and agree that a set amount of each other’s take-home income will be free spending money that the other cannot complain about—at all. Let’s say you both agree to 10 percent as spending money. 10% for his and her. So, 20 percent of total combined take-home income is known spending money, to be spent on whatever that person wants without having to report to the other. If you want to agree that some of that percent will be used for normal needs, then that’s fine.
4) The other 80 percent would be the typical combined account where you must come together with your partner to allocate your resources, be it for the day-to-day needs in life, to savings, retirement plans, et al. You would set up automatic deductions into the accounts through your employer, that way no spouse has undue control. You can’t really hide any money then because both will have access to the main account, and if the amount deposited in that account ever changes, then you know something is going on without your knowledge. These percentages can be changed at any time as life situations change.
What I think this does is it gives couples a way to have the best of both worlds: independence with some money while also coming together in the traditional sense of combined resources. This is a modified and adjustable approach and I think that, if implemented properly, it would help eliminate arguing, guilt, control issues, or lying about purchases with money. You have your (10 percent) and neither has a say over that stake. Want to be bad with your money? Want to indulge in some retail therapy? Go right ahead with that 10 percent. The more important 80 percent will not be affected.

EXAMPLE (see flow chart)



http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll86/novelk/Untitled-3.jpg

The system is, of course, built on trust. It won’t prevent some of the following:
- Doesn’t prevent hidden money from side jobs or other means that won’t show up on a paycheck.
- Can’t prevent a lying spouse from opening or charging things on a credit card and ruining you financially.
 

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Interesting.

My husband and I do it a little different:

1. One shared account. He uses the debit for food, cash advance, gas, shopping.
2. I use the debit card for food and shopping. I purposely don't have a PIN because I hate getting cash advances anywhere. It's an annoyance to me. We both track our spending through our online banking at anytime we want to.
3. We share one credit card under my name only and I am the only card holder. We've thought of putting him on it but it has never been a big deal and it's not a priority. This cc is for emergencies and large spending only (travels). Right now it has a zero balance. We pay it off full each time we spend it.
4. When husband gets paid, automatically a percentage goes into our credit union savings acct where it can't be touched. Some goes into his 401K. Eventually, I'll move my 401K from my last job into a IRA and we'll be putting money in there as well but for now...not really a priority.
5. The rest goes to bills.
6. Anything that is left in the checking is split. Some goes into the bank saving acct where our checking is (this saving is for large bills/loan payments so that we can pay thm off in chunks) and then some is kept in the checking for fun spending.

For us it is more than just the paycheck and being on the same level about spending and saving. We have a future goal. He wants to retire early. I want him to retire early (so bad) so that we can enjoy life and travel a lot more. We agree on our future goal and talk about it almost every day. We stay connected about it. If our ideas change, we tell each other...we actually have a conversation about it. We ask questions and we give our opinion. We always agree in the end. And the end is that we want our lives to be less stressful by work and by things around us. We want our time spent together enjoying the sunset with no worries.

I believe to achieve less money arguments there has to be a common goal between the spouses. Something they want to reach together that will make them equally happy. If that doesn't exist, trying to work out a plan will never work. It will feel like you are doing something you really don't want to do but have to...like someone is twisting your arm. If this continues, I'm sure one or both the spouses will explode and go spend crazy.
 

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The system is, of course, built on trust. It won’t prevent some of the following:
- Doesn’t prevent hidden money from side jobs or other means that won’t show up on a paycheck.
- Can’t prevent a lying spouse from opening or charging things on a credit card and ruining you financially.
If you're going to do this or have to deal with a spouse you can't trust. You really shouldn't be together. How can anyone submit themselves to these things?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you're going to do this or have to deal with a spouse you can't trust. You really shouldn't be together. How can anyone submit themselves to these things?
They don't willingly submit themselves to this. Unfortunately, people do lie. There are many threads and/or horror stories on this forum about couples who have been together for years, sometimes decades, and they don't discover something until X amount of years into the relationship. Things change and/or may deteriorate.

I have read a few threads that stated a spouse opened up a charge account without the other spouse's knowledge and then accumulated a lot of debt. Or that their partner lied about income, whether on the high end or the low end. Financial infidelity happens all of the time. Certainly, if the situation reaches the point where one spouse's actions become destructive, there is sure grounds for divorce. Trust takes a long time to build, but a second to destroy.

We stay connected about it. If our ideas change, we tell each other...we actually have a conversation about it. We ask questions and we give our opinion. We always agree in the end.
That's good. Money is a sensitive, emotional, and sometimes taboo topic. But it is important to get it right for the situation that works best for both of you, and it sounds like you have done that.

The system I describe may help those who might be struggling to get on the same page, or who fight consistently about money. By giving each an allotted percentage that they don't have to report, there is a "reward" or "incentive" component (10% each), reducing the instinct/emotions to be secretive about purchases, while also reducing the need for one partner to control everything. The meat of the operation is still the combined general account where the couple will need to work together to make their relationship a success.
 

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I totally agree that each partner should have a small amount of money each month that they can spend how they like.
We have been following Dave Ramsey and he advocates that.

I think that 10% is too much, but that is probably because we are broke. Our monthly personal spending (allowance or blow money) is more like 1%....typically between $30-50. I have recently opened an online checking account that I transfer mine to each month and H takes his in the form of cash.
 
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