Budget Weddings

First Joint Account

Hello, all! 

Today, my FI and I are opening a joint bank account (both contributing the same amount as an ACH directly from our employer, and only used for shared expenses). We will be keeping our own personal checking/savings as well, for our own individual expenses, and a joint savings for the wedding.

I am very excited, because it makes being engaged feel so real! (I proposed to him, so most things this far have been very non-traditional). Any tips/tricks/advice from other knotties? 

Thank you xx
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Re: First Joint Account

  • Hello, all! 

    Today, my FI and I are opening a joint bank account (both contributing the same amount as an ACH directly from our employer, and only used for shared expenses). We will be keeping our own personal checking/savings as well, for our own individual expenses, and a joint savings for the wedding.

    I am very excited, because it makes being engaged feel so real! (I proposed to him, so most things this far have been very non-traditional). Any tips/tricks/advice from other knotties? 

    Thank you xx
    We converted all of our accounts to shared ones (we got married right out of grad school so we didn't have much savings/investments on our own), so we never kept individual accounts, just individual credit cards. 

    One tip though is be clear about what bills/payments/debits are coming from the joint account and what are coming from your own accounts. I know it may seem simple (individual expenses come out of individual accounts), but getting down to it, what are shared v. individual expenses can be more confusing and less clear. What can joint money be spent on (dinners together, but not nights out with friends? Grocery shopping for home? What about to take to an event?) and what should be individual. 

    I'm not saying you have to think through every potential hypothetical, but talk about a general sense of what's coming out of joint money, what level of spending needs to be jointly decided, do you both contribute the same dollar amount, or a percentage if someone makes more than the other? 
    STARMOON44[Deleted User]ahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • Fantastic advice, thank you. What I might think is obvious, mortagage/groceries/utilities, might have more add-ins on his side. xx
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    This is what we do, and it's worked great for us. Our joint is only for "bills", e.g. mortgage/utilities/medical/student loans. We don't ever use the debit cards for the joint account. We use our individual accounts to take turns with groceries/entertainment, as well as for individual expenses.
    [Deleted User]eileenrob
  • @MyNameIsNot - a great plan. We used to do a monthly reconciliation but after 2+ years, it has gotten to be tedious. Thanks for the suggestion! :smile:
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  • ernursejernursej
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    My H and I have never (and will never) have joint accounts. We just do a monthly redistribution for regular bills and take turns buying dinner out etc.

    For joint accounts, also have a plan for what money is not used for joint expenses. Are you saving it for something, what is the threshold?

    Certainly, good idea to keep your own accounts including credit cards.

    MesmrEwecharlotte989875
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    Our joint account is for joint bills. It's also used for joint funding for things like groceries, dinners out, and vacations. We maintain our own checking accounts for individual expenses- lunch at work, new clothes, nights out with friends, etc. We also keep our own savings accounts and retirement accounts. 
    When we need to do anything new and big (like our new car) we split the costs from our own savings and move the money to the joint account as needed. 

    It's worth mentioning that we were both "established" coming into the relationship. We're financially comfortable. Neither of us needs permission from the other to spend our own money but we do tend to check in with each other anyway. It's more so we're generally aware of how we're handling our money and there're no surprises, and we're both equally responsible for our household and our financial future. Some couples do better with one person managing the budget for a variety of reasons, but this method works for us. 

    ________________________________


    ernursejshort+sassyeileenrob
  • One other thing to think about is debts/bills that either of you may bring to the marriage. For example, are car loans considered a joint expense even though you each have an individual car and car payment? What about student loans or medical bills from before the engagement? 

    Another thing to discuss is how much each of you will contribute to joint vs. individual. For example, I make more than my husband so I contribute more to our joint account but I also end up with more individual “fun” money to spend each month. 

    It it all comes down to having an open, honest conversation, as do so many things in relationships. What works for one couple may not work for you. Heck, what works for you today may not work for you 10 years from now. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy[Deleted User]
  • One other thing to think about is debts/bills that either of you may bring to the marriage. For example, are car loans considered a joint expense even though you each have an individual car and car payment? What about student loans or medical bills from before the engagement? 

    Another thing to discuss is how much each of you will contribute to joint vs. individual. For example, I make more than my husband so I contribute more to our joint account but I also end up with more individual “fun” money to spend each month. 

    It it all comes down to having an open, honest conversation, as do so many things in relationships. What works for one couple may not work for you. Heck, what works for you today may not work for you 10 years from now. 

    It's a great idea to listen to how other people handle things, because it can give you and your FI ideas on things to consider.  So kudos to you for starting this thread!

    But the most important aspect is that you and your FI are happy with whatever method/process/distribution is decided and you both think its fair.

    And revisit the discussion periodically.  Especially when anything new/major happens to one or both of you.

    My H and I are more unusual than most couples in that we've always kept things pretty separate.  We lived together for over a decade and got married later in life.  I'm the one with all the assets and the income.  It's all mine and I handle all the finances.  Some people would find that attitude harsh.  But my H understands, agrees, and it works for us.  With that said, he does have access to two of my accounts and one credit card.  I don't micromanage what he spends because he's careful with money like I am.

    I do discuss major financial decisions with him.  We also regularly discuss different investment strategies for our retirement and future.  However, the ultimate decisions are mine, though I'd be very unlikely to move forward on anything he strongly opposed.

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    ernursejShesSoCold[Deleted User]charlotte989875
  • Establishing a joint account was the best decision we could have made.  I am a saver and he is a spender/shopaholic.  Instead of having to nag him every month for money for bills, money automatically goes into our joint account that I use to pay rent, utilities, cable, and groceries.  Every once in a while we will use it for dinner out.  We also have separate bank accounts that we manage independently.  

    Also - I have a wedding bank account that is only in my name.  I transfer funds every paycheck automatically from my check into the account.  He puts more money into the joint account automatically that I then transfer into the wedding fund.  Because he is so bad with money (and acknowledges this), he has no access to these funds, at least not for now (there's no reason to right now).

    Overall, very best decision.  I also don't feel the need to question every one of his excessive purchases because I know we are putting money in the bank and saving.  If he wants to spend every last discretionary penny he has, so be it.  If I want to save every last discretionary penny I have, so be it. 

    Only other thing I would say, is to always have open, pro-active communication, and always be respectful.  If I wanted to buy a couple things out of the ordinary for the home using the joint account, even though I sort of officially manage those funds, I ALWAYS ask him if it's okay.  Even though I manage it, it's his money too.

    Good luck!
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