One of the toughest and most rewarding aspects of marriage and finance is being on the same page, meaning having the same goals and agreeing on a plan to work toward them. This is not my area of expertise at all. I am very independent-minded and, even though I’m not an only child, have trouble sharing what I consider ‘my stuff.’ That all changes with marriage.
When we first got married, we kept our separate checking accounts. Neither of us had much money, and we’d just split bills or take turns with bills depending on who had more in their account. It was a roommate financial style that worked for us at that time. Later, as we obtained better-paying jobs and the ability to save money, it seemed a combined account might work better, so I added my husband to my main checking account. Later, he added me to his main account, and all of our savings accounts are shared.
Yes, merging accounts takes trust, and it also takes communication. One person can’t spend $1,000 on a new television while the other spends $500 on a new wardrobe when there’s only $2,000 in the account and bills need to be paid.
We’re still working on this aspect of our finances. Since we aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck we have some flexibility with our checking account balance. However, in reading Dave Ramsey’s “More Than Enough,” I am learning that working even more closely on financial goals is important and will result in an even more blissfully happy marriage.
One obvious goal is tackling debt. Another is saving for a down payment on a home, and yet another is a comfortable retirement. But what about those goals that seem more like wishes than actual goals–things like endowing a scholarship or spending a summer in Japan? Someone who lives in our apartment really wants to own a convertible someday (not naming names to protect the innocent), and another person would love to open a cool café & coffee shop in the local college neighborhood. How can we make those dreams a reality?
Planning, planning, and–you guessed it–more planning. It doesn’t sound fun but when you think of the end product, it can be the most fun around.