Sunday, November 7, 2010

Joint Checking

Last weekend, Prof and I opened a joint checking account.

This should seem like big huge news, since it seems like quite a bit commitment to actually, you know, co-mingle cash. Not to mention the co-mingling of credit reports, which may now forever be bound together, whether Prof and I live happily ever after or not.

I thought I would be freaked out about it, but I'm not. Though, when I found out (re-found out?) that several of my married friends don't have joint checking accounts with their husbands, it gave me pause.

The thing is, I trust Prof. 100%. With his money, and my money. Well, ok, 95% with my money, but you get the picture. He doesn't make outrageous purchases, he pays bills on time, he gets this little text message anytime his checking account gets low, and "low" for him is like 400 dollars. Hello? For me, 400 bucks is flush with cash. 20 is low. Ok, so he could be a little more careful about what he throws in his cart at the grocery store (our last trip to Trader Joe's nearly bankrupted me), but other than that, he's very cautious with money.

Plus, even though he doesn't own a home right now, that fucker has a better credit score than I do. Suck it Verizon! I hate you. I can't pay my bill if you transfer my account and delete the account number I wrote the check for. I also can't pay my bill when your support staff tell me that the account no longer exists and there is nothing they can do to help me.

I still don't really know how this "joint" thing is going to work. For now, I was thinking that we would each put a set amount of money in each month or each paycheck and pay household bills from that. But what's a household bill? Electric, cable and gas clearly qualify. And groceries. But what about my now weekly trips to Target where I spend 100 bucks on cat litter, cleaning supplies and random household junk? What about going out to dinner? Bottles of wine that only I drink? What about a new kayak? It will be in the house, doesn't that make it a household expense?

I still need to have my own account. And I need my paycheck to go there first, so that I can dole money into the joint account rather than the other way. For some reason, this makes me feel like I am still autonomous and independent. Even if I'm really not.

So, tell me, internet friends... How do you pay the bills with your partner?


Just Sayin... said...

First lesson my parents taught me and the first lesson I observed of my siblings and friends sharing accounts with a loved one... Don't.

Never bank together.

I've only ever seen one healthy arrangement. The joint account was solely for emergancy funds only. Never touched unless the furnace or water pipes went etc..

The arrangement they had was, one spouse paid the other (whom ever the name of the bills came in).

Now that they are married, they still have that joint emergancy account, but have split the bills so some come in both names etc. The mortage comes out of the one who needs to build credit, and the car payments come out of the other... YOu still have control over your own money.

I've seen it way too many times what a couple with a joint account and a break up can do. It's not pretty.

But again, what works for couple may not be the same for another.

Neither is wrong, it's just a personal perferance.

Elena said...

We have a joint account for house bills, other joint bills and groceries which we both contribute a percentage of our paychecks into. We still have our own personal accounts though.

Anonymous said...

Married for 30 years. In my experience, one joint account is all you need. Both put all money in it. Both see and know and discuss what goes out. Communicate communicate communicate. Then talk some more. If someone becomes a spendthrift and buys kayaks, for example, at random intervals, communicate, communicate, communicate. No doubt money and spending habits can be difficult and hard on relationships, but go "all in" and work at it daily. And did I mention communicate, communicate, communicate? Best wishes!

Susan said...

Ah, a tie! One vote each for don't do it; kinda do it and go all in. I think i tend to agree somewhat with the go all in, but only when there is some sort of legal agreement, or wedding. At this point, I'm feeling pretty good about an account for household stuff as a good start. Though, I still haven't put any money in it...