The Dreaded Money Talk (The W{h}iney Bride)

After the honeymoon period of being engaged ended, and my hand went back to feeling normal, Joel and I decided to have the dreaded money talk.

We dated for five years before getting engaged and lived together for a little over two. When Joel accepted his current job here in Los Angeles, we packed up our apartment in California and started making some legitimate “together” purchases – like hiring a moving company for a mere four thousand bucks. We were no strangers to dealing with “together” money.

We had a fair system of splitting bills, trading off who pays for dinner, and going in together on unexpected charges – like investing in a new TV. Our financial situation was pretty organized. He had his. I had mine. And we were happy to split everything 50/50.

That is, until we got engaged.

I was tiring of writing a monthly check to Joel for rent and bills – and then getting one in return for groceries and gas. Plus, we anticipated many more joint expenses on the horizon so we knew we needed to come up with a solution.

For us, that was creating a mutual account.

This may be an ancient way of thinking, but as a woman, I was hesitant to put all of my money into one giant pot. This was not because I didn’t trust Joel. In fact, he is much more financially savvy than I am, and in many ways it may have been smarter for us both to dump all of our cash into one account. We would have made more interest and wouldn’t have had six accounts to manage – but we ultimately decided that for now, that was the best choice.

What we did decide to do was set up a joint checking and savings account – separate from our own personal accounts. 75% of our paychecks get dumped into the joint checking every pay check and our joint savings account is set up primarily for the honeymoon. The last quarter our money goes to our personal accounts. That way, I can get as many manicures as I want without any sense of guilt. Anything that I do on my own – like happy hours, shopping, or barre classes – is paid out of my personal account. And the same goes for Joel – although he isn’t a big ballet dancer. And, we can both use our personal savings accounts for big-ticket items that we are lusting after (a Louis for me, and a new bike for him) without affecting our together money.

Any spending that has to do with us – like groceries, pet expenses, or travel comes out of the joint.

Since we are both in comfortable jobs, we feel like this is an equal set up for now. Who knows what will happen when we get married and have kids, but for now it’s working.

And we still like each other.

What have you found that works best for you and yours?