Do any of you separate your finances with your spouse?
I'm curious to get others views on the pros/cons of having separate finances with your spouse. In our family I earn most of the income (probably 90-95%). I take care of all of the financial matters for the family (banking, taxes, investments, RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, etc.). This isn't because I don't want my wife to share this responsibility, she just doesn't really have any interest at all. The issue that has come to a head for us is that she has 3 separate credit cards - she receives the statements electronically and three times a month I see the money come out to pay the credit cards (usually $500 - $2000) and quite frankly it bugs me. Not because I want to control all the money and keep my thumb on her, but because I'm careful with the finances (I check the accounts several times a day) and I don't like this hole in the family finances that I know very little about. I've made comments about how I'd like to see the statements for these credit cards over the last while and this evening sat down with my wife to explain that this was bothering me and I'd like to talk about how we resolve it. Her reaction was very negative to say the least - I think from her perspective she is sensitive to the fact that I earn most of the money and she doesn't want to feel like she has to "ask" for money or that I am controling her spending. For what it's worth, she does not have to ask at all and has a lot of freedom about how and when she spends money. I tried to explain this to her in a reasonable, calm way that it is important to me to know where we are spending our money and I don't like the current arrangement, but it just turned into an argument.
So, thoughts from others on the forum? Am I being unreasonable? Would it be better to have completely separate accounts (I really think this complicates things and probably leads to more marital strife!)
My wife certainly doesn't understand how money should be spent but at the same time cares about it. She would rather have a 52 inch LED TV then a diamond ring because she can enjoy the TV every day and the ring does nothing.
Still we have had to fight for our entire married life about money and she has been right when she wanted me to buy a house in 1991. It is very hard to fight about it but you have to find a way to get through and keep your money together as one. You may need her to buy stuff go into credit card debt and then show her the money wasted on interest charges.
Sorry that I am all over the place on this one but this is a very hard unresolved issue for me as well.
I believe you have the right to see the credit card statements regardless who is paying for it ,I mean maybe it is all hotel bills meeting her lover lol.In our house My husband gets the mail and we sit and go through it together mainly to make sure the bills are correct .In a year that is $6000 -$24,000 so definitely you should be informed what she is buying.
I am an outsider looking in and never been married. But the first thought that came to me was, why is it a big deal to let your SO see your CC statement? It doesn't take away freedom and should've been shared to begin with. Unless... there's a huge pile of debt that I am ashamed of, then I wouldn't want my SO to see.
My wife and I married later in life. We were both financially secure. To this day we maintain separate accounts and credit cards.
We don't hide credit card statements from each other. I can't imagine spending over $500 without my wife knowing what i spent it on and I can't imagine her spending that much without me knowing. I think your position is fair. You have the right to know where 6,000 to 24,000 of your family money is going every year.
Good luck. Marriage takes work and you have to compromise. When it comes to money, you have to try to cooperate too.
My SO and I maintain separate accounts. Our incomes are about 60/40 so we also split our expenses that way. I pay the mortgage out of my account, and he pays for all other bills out of his account and it's a pretty fair split. We pay into savings accounts/investments first with each paycheque, and then whatever is left over after expenses each month is our spending money. Usually around $300 each.
We meet once a month or so to pull up all our accounts and have a money talk. We talk about any upcoming big expenses, where our investments are at, how we are coming along with our goals for the year.
It was hard when we first moved in together to get our system down, but now that we are in a routine I couldn't imagine not having these talks. We keep our finances separate at this point in our life since we are still younger, and who knows if we will be together 10-20 years from now. I hope so, but things happen. It will be easier to divvy things up if we do ever split.
CadMan, I think the last few responses have confirmed what you are looking for - they agree that you are not being unreasonable in your request. On the other hand, telling your wife that "everybody on my online finance forum agrees with me" is not going to make your wife agree with you any more. I think the solution you are looking for is not to convince yourself that you are right, but to convince your wife that this is the right thing to do.
We should help CadMan come up with an approach to resolve the problem, instead of just confirming that that he is in the right. Unfortunately I don't have any good ideas for this at this moment.
Reminds of me of the TTDUP ('Til Debt Do Us Part) TV show. Money is a sensitive subject for a majority of couples. My common-law spouse and I have been together for 7 years, and have in been in several debates, and arguments about money, mainly due to her bad spending habits initially. My income versus hers is about 66% versus 33%. We split all fixed and variable expenses at pro-rata. We have each of our common HELOC accounts (co-owners of our house), but separate credit cards. We've set up an automatic debit to direct the funds to one of the accounts every pay day, to cover all our expenses. What is left over is used for our individual spending money, which we use to pay off our fee-less credit card balances in full each month. We dont question each other on the credit card transactions, but we typically discuss upcoming "individual" expenses over $100 or so.
In summary, we share all the common expenses, yet keep our freedom with the individual credit cards.
It has worked for us, and we rarely argue about money anymore.
Not sure if this method will be applicable to CadMan though, due to the vastly different income ratio between spouses.
Every couple is different unfortunately you'll have to figure out what works for you.
Since my spouse stopped working 3 years ago (which kind of irks me) I make 100% of the income. We keep our accounts separate but I know her balance which is basically a few thousand since she has no income. I pay everything so I see all the receipts that's our arrangement until she finds a job. Then she can buy whatever she wants with "her" money, but since she is not working and has no desire to she lives with my rules. It works for us, some people think its crazy. But she asks me if she can buy stuff, even small stuff if it's a want not a need. If she decides she doesn't like asking for money anymore she just has to find a job to pay for the stuff.
Sounds like you are in a similar situation with 95% of the income, if she is spending that much extra and it's not necessities I'd be very concerned.
I think you should try a counselor and not just one that deals with finances. Tell your wife that we aren't getting anywhere when we argue and that you need the help of an outside source. It sounds like you won't be able to live together forever with this problem unresolved, so now it is time to deal with all your issues as well as the money side of it.
Its funny but I think of the dog whisperer here. He comes to a house and after meeting everyone and the dog he will go straight after the owner first before he deals with the dog. Or on shows where a restaurant is failing the expert will end up fixing the owners family issues before he can resolve the restaurant issues. So you may need to fix the issues you guys have before you can fix your money issues in the now and the longer term.