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Should Married Couples Combine Finances?

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Not by default. Married couples should do whatever it is they feel is right for them and their situation because everyone’s situation is different. For me, the answer to that question is yes. Many people always jump to the issue of trust whenever talking about combining finances because they assume that if you trust one another then you would combine your finances. If you trusted one another, you wouldn’t require a prenuptial agreement. If you trusted one another, you would have separate bank accounts and you wouldn’t draw the line so clearly.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that it’s not that simple anymore and to boil down a financial decision into an emotional one is a bad decision. There are many emotion independent reasons why you should combine finances and there are many emotion independent reasons why you shouldn’t, I’ll outline them both and then let you decide which is best.

Here are some reasons why married couples should combine their finances:

1. It’s just easier

Having two of everything is terribly inefficient. If you wouldn’t want to separate milk cartons or egg crates in the fridge, why would you want two bank accounts or two brokerage accounts? The simple fact is that dealing with one of something is much easier than two of something and you can remember one thing better than you can remember two of something, such as credit card bills. By reducing the number accounts, you simplify your life and reduce the number of potential errors.

2. Fewer accounts mean higher balances, better returns

Many banks and brokerages have low balance fees or better rates for higher balances and so there is a true financial incentive to pooling your financial resources. While some of the low balance fees are really low on a relatively scale (like $3,000 for some Vanguard funds), by pooling your finances you have a chance to get in on the investment a little bit earlier. Also, some accounts offer higher returns for larger balances. Again, you can take advantage of this earlier if you pool resources.

Here are some reasons why married couples shouldn’t combine their finances:

1. Building credit history

This is an acute problem for men and women who relied on their partner to handle the finances and then find their lives without that person due to death, divorce, or some other reason. If every bill was in one person’s name, the other person wasn’t building credit history. Now, you might say that this is only a problem if you think you’re going to get divorced but that’s not a good approach because there are any number of reasons why you would be separated, temporarily or permanently, and so both sides should be building a history.

2. Access is restricted in probate

If one spouse does die, the accounts with their name on it will likely be frozen until the courts can settle the estate. This is the second biggest reason why you should at least have some money in an account with only one spouse’s name on it – they can access it during this unfortunate time.

Those are the two biggest non-emotion/trust related reasons for both cases and I think each side has valid points. Now, as we all well know, life isn’t black and white. You don’t have to split it entirely down the middle and you don’t have to pool it all, you and your spouse can decide that you want to pool 80% and keep 20% on the side – remember, in this stage of the game, you decide what’s right for you. Thoughts?

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103 Responses to “Should Married Couples Combine Finances?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    We have been married over 43 years, and we keep separate checking accounts. We both can sign on both accounts, but we never do without asking. This takes care of the “lack of trust” issue some folks have with separate accounts AND it lets each of us budget our expenses without worrying what the other person is spending.

    Every year or so, we review the income and expenses and maybe renegotiate where the direct deposit checks are deposited. I, the wife, pay all the bills (mostly because he hates that sort of thing and I’m better at it), but we both have a similar amount to spend on non-essentials.

    I HIGHLY recommend this method to young (and old) marrieds. It cuts down on the “you spent what?????” arguments that can lead to so much trouble in marriages.

    For the first 20 years of our marriage, we had a joint checking account, and it didn’t work well. Part of it, of course, was we didn’t have as much money to work with (LOL), but the biggest problem was having to tell each other when we spent money so the account wouldn’t get overdrawn. Why should a grown person, male or female, have to justify their expenses to another, even their spouse?

    We discuss large expenditures and plan for them, but for the daily stuff, the separate accounts keep life simple.

  2. TK says:

    I have been married for twelve years now. We had combined finances for the first ten years. We fought a lot about money, one of the top causes for divorce. Many couples fight about the new shoes the wife brought home and have hidden in her trunk, the extra money the husband spent on poker night. Ideally if a couple agrees on goals and is given and “allowance” that they don’t need to explain to each other what that money is spent on, it should work. But over 50% of marriages fail as things break that weren’t in the budget and at the end of the week, you’re out of money. My husband and I seperated three years ago and many of our fights were over money, one of the top causes of divorce. Add in kids under 5, one of them with special needs, and in-laws and you have your typical dysfunctional marriage.

    We worked things out but now keep our money seperate (and the kids got older!). The “money” fights no longer happen. For us, it is one less thing to argue about. It works out much better for us but not ideal for all.

  3. Used 2B Childfree says:

    Luckily so far in 8 yrs of marriage, wife and I still have same financial goals and all joint accounts. People say to have separate accounts so you don’t impact the other person, but uh….you’re married…and just because someone doesn’t know you spent even $20 going out with friends, it still impacts the other person because YOU”RE MARRIED.

    Maybe people are not as civil as we are. We had our 7 yr itch and were basically talking separation, which did lead to a fight about splitting our finances, but we are both so logical when it comes to money that we stopped arguing and sat down like adults to sort out what each person would get. Anyway, it’s all silly now looking back, and we are both stronger for it. We laugh now how even when on the brink of divorce we were both very calm and caring when it came to the consideration of money, and neither of us worry one bit about it. However, I know most people are not like this so maybe get separate accounts.

    And even with our joint accounts, we have an American Express with no set limit, so she can spend what she wants and same for me. However, we both care so much for each other that if there is anything major we want, we talk it over. Otherwise we are free to spend “our” money individually if we want. Like, she goes out for lunch everyday and I don’t. Yeah, I wish she wouldn’t but she has a higher metabolism than me and gets hungry fast. However, I am a gamer and have a monthly subscription.

    And yes, I agree it probably takes more trust when there are separate accounts. A little secret ladies: 9 times out of 10, your man wants a separate account so he can pay for porn without you knowing. Luckily for me, if I want porn I get porn. haha

    Also, we may be in a better situation than most: both 28 yrs old, started out broke, now over $110K per year, masters degrees, etc. And choose your mates wisely. Yeah, anything can happen like it almost did for us, but you can minimize the risk. If your soon2B spouse likes to spend like there is no tomorrow or is into drugs, etc, then cut loose. Get someone with the same goals while also balancing each other out with differences in personality.

  4. Used 2B Childfree says:

    To anonymous above, I’m glad separate accounts worked for your 43 yrs of marriage. But a question is, why would either of you overdraw on your joint accounts if you both have access to information? Were each of you trying to spend the money as quick as possible so the other person would have less to spend? I don’t get it. But all of a sudden with separate accounts, you both became responsible and didn’t overdraw…….

    My wife handles the bills too. I used to but felt like she wasn’t getting experience with things that seemed so simple like balancing the checkbook. 8 years ago when we were 20. Ever since then, she’s been doing it, but we both plan together.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have been married for 25 years and my wife and I keep our finances separate. I would prefer to pool all resources and make decisions jointly but my wife like many of my friends women does not feel she should contribute equitably to household expenses. (I am the man after all) We are both high income earning individuals and this issue has created minor problems over the years. Not the kind most people haveto deal with, but where to park, spend or invest monies, believe it or not even people with major funds argue about money. My wife has managed to stash a substantial amount of money well past the six figures by only paying 1/4 of her income to run the household during this timeframe. This is considered her money and she keeps it in a low yield moneymarket account. I can’t convince her otherwise. I guess I should be happy at least she saves, but it leaves an odd feeling sometimes. Why? I have paid the lions share of our bills and also managed to amass twice as much money with less money investing in stocks and mutual funds over the years. She some how feels that these funds that I have managed to gain are ours. It is almost comical that she does. When I think of the amount of money my wife and I could have right now getting close to retirement if she was on the same page, but it just will not happen. So my goals now are to keep a smile on my face as much as possible. I just brought me the new sports car I have always wanted that my wife thinks is frivilous. I just got back from an Alaskan fishing trip that she did not want to go on, but will be repeated, god willing. I even paid for my dad and took him along since he is getting up in age it was wonderful. I always was the one who had to plan for the future. The future is now! Having amassed a great deal of money separately allows me to do what I want when I want. Life is getting good!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow life is funny. I can’t help laughing while I read this post. My wife and I are married for two years and she feels that I should pay for all household expenses as well even though she does earn decent money at her job. She chooses to deposit all of the money she earns in her own separate account. I don’t like to pay for everything since I don’t get to save much. Unfortunately, the only thing I get to save is what goes into my 401(k). I guess it works out since she came into the marriage with 150k and I had -20k. She gave me 10k to invest in a joint brokerage and paid off my debt. I manage her IRA, individual brokerage account and she pays for any bills if my paycheck does not cover the monthly bills. I think she is building up this massive cash savings so she has plenty of cash when she gets unhappy and decides to leave me. In the long run I guess having things separate gives you decision making power.

    • Sarker says:

      Wow life is funny. I can’t help laughing while I read this post. My wife and I are married for two years and she feels that I should pay for all household expenses as well even though she does earn decent money at her job. She chooses to deposit all of the money she earns in her own separate account. I don’t like to pay for everything since I don’t get to save much. Unfortunately, the only thing I get to save is what goes into my 401(k). I guess it works out since she came into the marriage with 150k and I had -20k. She gave me 10k to invest in a joint brokerage and paid off my debt. I manage her IRA, individual brokerage account and she pays for any bills if my paycheck does not cover the monthly bills. I think she is building up this massive cash savings so she has plenty of cash when she gets unhappy and decides to leave me. In the long run I guess having things separate gives you decision making power.

  6. Married With Child says:

    My husband have been together for almost eight years, married for five. We were 18 when we first started dating. To say we were broke is an understatement. We rented a condo together right off the bat and opened a joint checking account. Since then, everything has been joint. There have been periods when he has made more than me, and times that I earned more than him. It all evens out in the end. Our communication is amazing, and we trust each other 100%. We discuss big purchases with each other before buying. Yes, there are times that someone buys something and the other is astounded at first. But we are of the school that it doesn’t help to argue. Maybe it’s because we both have divorced parents, and we are very adamant about not turning out like them. I brought more debt to the relationship thanks to student loans. But like I said, there have been years that I earned more than he did.
    We believe that marriage is a partnership, and no one should be keeping score. So we both need to prepare for our financial future, we both need to share equally in the household and childcare duties, and we both need to enjoy each other as we grow older. Both of us knowing exactly what goes on with our finances gives us one less thing to argue about.

  7. Stephen says:

    My wife and I did the Dave Ramsey course about 4 years ago. And while we’ve tailored it to our way of life, there is one thing that has been such an obvious boon to us that I have trouble imagining how a couple could do things differently. And that is using a budget. By that I mean a budget that both people agree on and help create that includes all income from everybody.

    That one simple exercise of creating the budget will mean that you have talked to each other about what you want to spend money on. It will show you what is important to your partner. It will give you a way to prioritize and compromise. And in the end you will have a plan you both agree on.

    A second immense benefit to us was that, once a category was set (say, $300 for dining out for a month, or $100 for clothes), it is a guilt-free transaction when you spend money on it, because you have already “spent” it when you assigned it to that category. These two aspects of our financial behavior have all but eliminated stress due to any spending we do individually. We each have clothes categories and so long as there is money in it, I can buy whatever new hiking boots I want. So in a way, this gives each person there own money where they need it, to spend without consultation.

    I cannot recommend a budget exercise like this highly enough. Just the act of deciding *together* what to spend in each category will help you get on the same page, financially. So, while it won’t solve the issue of not having enough, it will solve the issue of what to do with the money you do have.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think the fact that you’re married to a person and sharing major bills (eg, mortgage, family stuff, etc.), already implies trust. Even if you have personal accounts seperate from your joint accounts, you are still trusting the person to not spend all of their money irresponsibly and end up having to live off your joint funds completely. Having all vs some finances joint is not really an issue of trust. It’s an issue of varying degrees of need for personal independence. I don’t want to feel guilty or like I need permission if I drop a few hundred on clothes or a spa day one Saturday. We trust each other not to spend more than we can afford, because the result of that would be a “joint” problem whether it’s from personal funds or joint funds.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was single for ten years and married now for that same amount. We talked about Finances before we got married, and we both agreed that seperate accounts would mean less arguements over money. We are simply two independent people which equals a healthy relationship. each month, he provides 1/2 for the living expenses (which is evaluated each year based on a budget of fixed and estimated variable for groceries, etc.). So, being single for so long, the financial benefits are there and i can appreciate them because it’s less and i can save more. I made a little more than him, but in time his salary went up…which made him strive to education. He is a spender and I’m a save type personality so it all works out, there are rarely arguements about money. If there is a major repair on the home, etc. we split it right down..gifts and nights out are more appreciated cuz it’s almost like dating, not oh…it was on my dime earned or whatever. I’ve been married before, and this was definetly the way to go…it feels like a real partnership! But of course, there’s no kids and to each it’s own…this works for us!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Used 2be childfree…you are pretty arrogant to judge a successful 43 marriage based on your 8 year one. One can overdraw a joint account because all things are not written down in the same register, and some may escape the attention of another. She SAID that for 20 years they tried the other system and it didn’t work…and now her new system does. If her joint account scenario happened over 23 years ago…the instantaneous availability of information that happens now was not possible.

    As for your supposition that all men would want to buy “porn” with their extra cash…you don’t know my husband…all cycling, all the time. I don’t think you can judge the male of the species entirely by yourself. People have hobbies and even other vices (gambling, alcohol, drugs). You’re a porn man…but not all men are…sorry to burst your twisted little bubble

  10. Anonymous says:

    We keep our finances separate and I think it is a HORRIBLE idea!! I have a child from a previous marriage, which my husband knew about before we were married and I am the one who pays for everything involving my son (his birthday, Christmas, and especially daycare). Also, his paychecks are bigger, so dividing the bills in half makes it where he has lots of money to spend and I have little to none. It really isn’t working out for me. The only thing that I do like about having separate finances is that when I do go out and buy something, he cannot say anything about it because it came out of my paycheck not his and vice-versa. So it could see it working for some, but you have to think of the fair way to do it and you have to think about every aspect of it before deciding to combine your finances or not.

    • sheryl says:

      okay, I was married for 20 years my first husband passed away in an industrial accident, we shared our finances, I stayed home with the kids and worked odd jobs here and there to help out the Family budget, there was never a his money or her money..all the money went into the household and we both tried to make sure the other had money to enjoyt their own hobbies, ect…and when money was tight both sacrificed money spent in those categories, money was a joint partenership experience. Neither of us had seperate accounts. And I know in the state of Pa..if there is a joint acoount the money in the account goes to the surviving spouse…anything with both names on it is devied up that way…the problem would have arise had my husband had his own accounts…had vehicles in just his name..ect ect…
      Fast forward now 8 years, I am now remarried, gave up a widow’s pension my new husband has a completely different attitude about money, he believes his money is his money, my money was his money ..and he is in control of it all. I see major marital issues coming about because of it ..not to mention the horror I will face should something happen to him and all of my possessions become part of the estate..what a mess.
      Talk about money BEFORE you get married and if someone is unwilling to talk about it..take that as a big red flag, I am sure he and I will work this situation out…I have extreme faith…
      remember all the money in the world can not replace the peace of being in a marriage with a fantastic partner.

    • Mark says:

      You having a son from a previous marriage is actually the reason why he should keep it separate. Why should he be taking care of a seed that does not belong to him? Also, if you have a partner who is paying child support, you better keep your finances separate in case it gets raided by the previous spouse for extraordinary expenses that should not be the problem of the current spouse.

  11. WhoKnows says:

    We keep our finances separate and I think it is a HORRIBLE idea!! I have a child from a previous marriage, which my husband knew about before we were married and I am the one who pays for everything involving my son (his birthday, Christmas, and especially daycare). Also, his paychecks are bigger, so dividing the bills in half makes it where he has lots of money to spend and I have little to none. It really isn’t working out for me. The only thing that I do like about having separate finances is that when I do go out and buy something, he cannot say anything about it because it came out of my paycheck not his and vice-versa. So it could see it working for some, but you have to think of the fair way to do it and you have to think about every aspect of it before deciding to combine your finances or not.

  12. debbie mc coy says:

    Although I got married in1994 andwent on to buy my own home and have been filing Head of Hold and raising my child ssince then. Will i qualify for HOH and single with a qualifying child or just single with Q child?

  13. debbie mc coy says:

    please advise

  14. Leslie says:

    My husband and I have been married for 2 years now. We came from 2 different financial upbringing–he came from a “work and spending more than you earn type of bringing” and “borrow now pay later” type of upbringing while I came from a “saving first before buying”. I also always like to have a stash of emergency funds, while he always like to carry a large balance in his credit cards. Needless to say, this caused a lot of fights and almost “annulments”. And I almost regretted marrying him. To be honest though, this is the only reason for our fights–our finances.

    It got so bad I suggested we both sign a Marriage Agreement that we will not hold each other liable for each other’s debts and we will no try to take the other’s assets IF we divorce. However this did not make sense since it creates and “I” mentality rather than a “we” mentality. What happens when we eventually have kids, etc? So anyway….

    Initially we kept our accounts separate. And here are the pros and cons of our initial “separate” account set-up:

    Pros:
    1. We do not fight about money. I only worry about mine and he carefreely spends his.
    2. I feel a sense of security and comfort knowing I have savings for a rainy day.

    Cons:
    1. Because we are married, at the end of the day, when he recklessly spends his money it still affects me and our financial future. (If we get divorce, I could be held partly liable for his debts, too)
    2. I also feel resentful that I have no access to his bank account and no idea what he spends on.
    2. It is rather awkward when we go grocery shopping and/or eat out since its always unclear who will pay
    3. Even though we keep our accounts separate, if we end up divorcing, he is entitled to half of whatever I saved up and I will liable for half of his debts.

    So here is our Solution:
    1. Joint Account for Joint Bills (Mortgage, Taxes, Bills, Spending, Grocery, Emergency)
    2. Separate Accounts for Each of Us (BUT have both our names on both accounts). We trust each other to only use funds from own accounts yet we have access to each other’s account should we wish to do so.
    3. Arrange a “date” once a month to go over our “budget” and bills so my husband sees exactly where his money is going and makes him more conscious of what he spends.

    It is still a work in progress but it is working (so far) since we both want it to work. Essentially we both want the same thing, a comfortable financial future for our family.

  15. Joe Schmoe says:

    Separate accounts are a bad idea. All that money that is being wasted on frivolous expenses and being hidden from the other spouse is money that is NOT being used to move the marriage/household forward. Once you’re married, there’s no more “me,” there is only “us.” A lot of married couples don’t realize this, and the “separate” mentality fosters an environment for divorce because people think in terms of “me first.”

    Everyone needs to buy fun stuff, but it should be kept within reason and not hidden.

    • shadoo97 says:

      Sorry Joe, but I am being faced with the problem where I need to have separate accounts from my husband. He makes significantly less than I do, and for years I have “carried” expenses he would be unable to afford on his salary. The way we divided expenses is based on a percentage. Since he contributes 35% of the household income, he is responsible for 35% of household expenses, while I am responsible for the difference. These funds are deposited in a joint account exclusively for bills. I’m not sure if this is the best way, but it seems to be the only way he will become aware that his taste is a bit too expensive for what he makes.

      • Mark says:

        Why are you even marrying a man who can only make half of what you make. This is not just a bit less, this is a lot less. Lady, I hope he changed his last name to yours when you got married and you, not him are the head of the household.

      • JIMMIE says:

        I PAY ALL THE BILLS IN THE HOUSE AND MY WIFE MAKE MORE THEN ME ,IM ALL WAYS STRUGGLING WE NEED TO SPLIT THE BILLS,BECAUSE I CAN HAVE SOME MONEY FOR MY SELF.

        P.S

        JUST HOUSE BILLS

  16. Maude says:

    As on “older” couple in late, late 60′s, having been married couple times before, both widowed and both divorced…after 13 years of living together unmarried, keeping separate finances, sharing household expenses and 50/50 other expenses, we recently married. So, the good part of all this is that we have had years of experience in dealing with finances and learning how we both are with our monies. He is retired and I am semi-retired. I am pretty frugal with items for myself and household goods, but pretty generous for things for my Grandchildren and grown children. He, on other hand is the opposite. Being an independant person I prefer the one joint account for all expenses, savings, medical emergencies, vacations, etc. We have all of our incomes electronically deposited into a joint acccount, then transferring an equal amount into our individual accounts to do with as we choose with no explainations to each other. We are just new at this sharing thing with each other, but so far seems to be the best workable way for both our personalities.

  17. Deb says:

    What do i do…i have been married for 4yrs and we have had a joint account for 5 yrs. I JUST FOUND yesterday that my husband decided to stop his paycheck for automatic and get his own personally account. Keep in mind this is a process that takes a few weeks so there was no forwarning about this and we have the majority of our bikks set on automatic payment…I went out and remved him from the joint and now in the process of canceling the bills on automatic. There is a trust issue when you must do things seperate…..

  18. Sarah says:

    My husband and I have been married for only a little over a year, but have been together for about 7 years now.
    In our first year of living together we tried to keep our finances seperate, though the hubby was (is!! lol) quite forgetful and wouldn’t give me the necessary funds to pay the bills as I’m the one who does it. Eventually we moved on to have joint checking/savings accounts. We have seperate credit cards that are paid monthly and one joint loan. As we’re getting on with life and making more money, there has been a coupled interest in keeping things the way they are, but to open seperate checking accounts for each of us so that we might have our own money that we are “responsible” for.
    I admit that having to tell the hubby that I spent a couple dollars on a drink at a gas station is annoying, but in the current situation this is the best way to go.
    He trusts my budgeting instincts and he respects my decisions when I deline a large purchase, but on the other hand we both enjoy the money that we share and there is never this “his or hers” crap. It’s ours. We both enjoy it. Most of the time it leads to us going out TOGETHER to help keep track of spending and that in itself strengthens our relationship as we usually skip the little “wants” purchases and really get some good out of our dough.
    I suppose for some people they just can’t trust their spouse enough to share their earnings, but maybe that could be an indication of the state of the relationship. I always have people telling me I’m crazy for setting our finances up this way, but I’m not too worried. There were more problems when we had “his and hers” money accounts.
    Whatever floats your boat, I suppose :)

    • Mark says:

      I like the idea that my money is mine, and hers is hers. If she drowns in debt, I want none of it, and I want to keep my nest egg to myself. Thank god for dual citizenship, I can offshore my money in my other country where I have not registered my marriage and keep it away from her.

  19. Martin777 says:

    My wife and I have been together for 7 years, married 5 of those years… We have ALWAYS kept the money separate.

    My wife and I both have college degrees, we went to the same college and that’s were we met. My wife is a smart, intelligent woman who is JUST AS CAPABLE of earning a living as I am. There is absolutely no reason for me to “pay for everything” just because I’m the male.

    There have been times when I my wife was earning MORE than I make. She has her own account where her paycheck is deposited and she has her own credit cards and CREDIT HISTORY separate from mine.

    We share ALL the bills and household expenses by each paying 1/2 of the cost. This includes Food, dining out, vacations, etc. I’ll write her a check or she writes me one depending on who’s paying the bill that month.

    Now, If I want to go out and buy a new car, I do so with MY MONEY and the car becomes MY responsibility. The same goes for my wife who has her money and her FREEDOM to do whatever she likes. If I choose to sell the car, then I do so and put the money back into my account.

    The key here is we love each other, and share a life together but we each have our own Identity and our own carriers and success within the marriage.

    You people need to get with MODERN TIMES, it’s 2009 not 1950. A Married couple has the right to have their OWN LIFE and Identity within the marriage.

    The day’s of the Man making 110K while the woman makes 20k are over. I suppose some marriages work that way but I love being married to an intelligent woman with a mind of her own, not some hired hooker of a wife who just lives in my house and waits on me hand and foot while I “provide”.

    By the way, we DON’T have kids and never plan to… I can see where having kids would make the way we handle money a problem.

  20. bec says:

    My husband and I have separate checking accounts but joint savings, and we both can access all the accounts if need be. We also don’t split everything 50/50, but according to our income which works out to be 60/40. It might seem a little anal, but it has worked out fine so far.

  21. Amanda says:

    I just got engaged a month ago, and we have worked to join all of our accounts since then. We have been dating for several years, and living together for one, so we both feel pretty comfortable about this. I also wrote an article on eHow about how to do this (see link above). Have fun, and good luck!

    • Mark says:

      Joining accounts officially should not occur until the actual marriage, unless you got a kid together or something. Engagement is not enough.

  22. Deirdra says:

    I got engaged in December of last year. My fiance is divorced and accumulated debt while married to his ex. About 6 weeks ago, he mentioned that when we get married his expectation is for us to pool all of our assets, and that once this happens, the first priority for use of these combined assets is to pay off his accumulated debt (he has no money to pay this off currently so the reality is that it would be my contributed assets that would be used to pay it off). I have never been married and have a professional career so have managed to save over the last 10 years or so – nothing huge but something that I’ve expended a lot of sweat and tears over, so, I was a little taken back with my fiance’s expectation as to what would happen with the pooled assets, particularly as there was no conversation about it beforehand. He has 2 children and a dependent mother who lives with us and while his reasoning for his expectation is that “this is what married couples do” “it’s about making decisions together”, there is very little “together” in the decisions that have been made so far in our life and as he has outright stated that his children and his mother are his key priorities, I am concerned that I will have very little control over how financial decisions are made within his priority list. He has said that not to combine all assets (not just some) is a sign of distrust. I have already agreed on a joint account but see no reason why this has to extend to pooling everything. While he appears to make very non-emotional and logic based decisions in every other aspect of his life, he appears to be making a very emotional decision in this case. The conversations have resulted in him saying that he doesn’t want to marry me while I do not share his views on the “togetherness” that he ascribes to. I am finding this difficult to understand within the context of these particular circumstances, ie., an express acceptance on his part that he acknowledges that he has to factor me into his other main priorities of his kids and his mum but still expect me to give “everything” from my side. It is not a commitment issue for me, I’ve given up a job, friends and life in one country to move to a place that I’d never even visited before to enable him to be close to his children and care for his mum. This decision itself placed me on the other side of the world to my own family, and resulted in me having to requalify to do a job that I was already qualified to do elsewhere, so, is it me or are his expectations entirely unreasonable about the complete pooling of assets? Anyone else been in the “partner with prior debt and lots of baggage” situation?

    • Slinky says:

      I think it’s his expectation that he will make all the decisions on his own that is entirely unreasonable. He should have asked how you wanted to handle things and compromised. He should have asked if the two of you can use ‘your’ savings to pay off ‘his’ debt.

      He has to ‘factor you into his other main priorities’, but he also has to factor in you being your own person with their own ideas, opinions, and dreams. Honestly, from what you’ve written (which I’m sure isn’t the whole story), he sounds like he’s approaching your marriage and decision making like a dictator and not a partner.

    • Mark says:

      He is the one with debt, and you are the one with significant nest egg. You are, not he, is going to be the head of the household. You should tell him that he will have to take on your last name also since you are the one that is carrying him. He is to be the “wife” and you are to be the “man” of the house.

  23. Divine Intervention says:

    Dear Deirdra, You worked so very hard to acquire your savings. It would be unwise to give it all to your “fiance” because of love. It would be very different if he were a saver like you and he was financially trustworthy.

    In fact, I bet he wouldn’t suggest you “pool” your money with his because he would have himself established. I like the way people who don’t have money or good credit want to do that. (No offense to anyone who practice this who are on the right track)

    Are you comfortable signing away your savings knowing he doesn’t have any to put up? It doesn’t sound like it’s starting out equal.

    It seems like you have compromised your life to be with him but it seems like he is not compromising anything but your situation. You should keep an account that is exclusively yours because you already said that his children and mother is a priority over you. It sounds like he believes he is entitled to the money you so diligently saved and sacrificed for.

    Think very carefully before you go any further. Ask yourself now: Why are you doing this? What are you getting into? What are you getting out of this arrangement?

    If you really want to go through this after you examine his credit report, again, make sure you keep a savings account for yourself. Good luck to you.

    • Deirdra says:

      Thanks “Divine Intervention”. The conversations continue but sadly we are having difficulty closing the gap and moving forward. Not sure how things will end up but thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      • Divine Intervention says:

        Hi Deirdra,
        I recently read that it’s better to keep your accounts separate because your credit will definitely suffer if you combine with joint accounts because creditors will include his credit history with yours if you comingle accounts.

        If he truly loves you, he will understand and not try to make you feel guilty for staying separate. Remember your history and his stay separate as long as you keep separate accounts. Stay well. D.I.

  24. wheels2heels says:

    Seriously, dump this loser!1
    DO NOT LET HIM MANIPULATE YOU!
    Do not be a sucker!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Does he have a right to demand my bank statement ?while I we equally share responsibilities,GE doe not expect me do hav money in my pocket as a woman.monthends are always a nightmare to me…he only shows me his payslip with Al depts being paid.do u think we shud combine finances.be wants me to be transparent whir he’got hidden agendas…please help…


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