Marriage and Finances

We recently went and put my new wife’s name on my primary bank account.  While we both have several accounts at various institutions, this was the first step in the actual merging of our financial lives.

And why do I feel like everyone is looking at us funny?

The guy at the accounts desk of Wells Fargo seriously looked at us like we’d just landed from the 18th century.

Are joint finances that out of vogue?  What’s the deal with everyone trying to encourage us to have our “own” accounts. What is the deal with “my” money and “your” money?

Seriously… I’m asking.  I don’t understand the logic behind it.  Maybe someone can explain in the comments…

In my mind, having joint finances is definitely harder.  It requires more communication and demonstrates that your wife and you are ‘equally yoked’ – pooling your resources to pull the load of the family together.  I don’t see how people can more quickly make themselves less equal than to cordon off their finances into “mine” and “yours.”

Maybe giving each person a “mad money” allowance isn’t so bad… but…

I just see it like this… you share everything with your spouse: good times, bad times, spit and bodily fluids.  And you can’t share finances?  You are accountable to your spouse for everything: what you do, where you are, who you hang with, but not what you spend money on?

Transparency in a marriage is important, and there’s nothing more repugnant than hiding money or purchases from a spouse.  Even if we were to maintain joint and separate accounts (which is our current status…) there are great tools out there (, Quicken Online, etc) that allow you to at least have a transparent view into your complete financial picture – viewing balances and activity from multiple accounts in multiple institutions.

So that’s our logic, at least.  We are in this together.  We are going to live or die by each other’s successes and failures, and that counts financially as well – at least for now.

(and P.S. hearing myself championing this viewpoint on my blog is surprising me.  In our relationship, I am the most selfish, for sure.  She must have really convinced me here… however… I reserve the right to change this opinion after more time being married.)

But the purpose of this post is not here to convince anyone of this… to each his own… live and let live… fail and let fail… etc..

I am here, though, (back to the original premise of the post) to complain about how all these supposed “financial professionals” pretend to know anything about our financial situation, and make recommendations to just blindly open more accounts and raise our credit limits.

They must be compensated or evaluated in some way on how many new accounts they open, because every time I go in, those yahoos at Wells Fargo recommend that I open a new account.  How can I trust these people as a piece of my financial puzzle when they make recommendations based on what is best for THEM rather than what is best for me?!?!

Then, I read this article, which totally confirms my suspicions.  These financial ‘counselors’ or ‘consultants’ or whatever are really only giving you the advice that is best for them… Ha!  Just as I suspected!  (Long article, but worth the read.  Some hilarious references to Mormons in the last two sections.)

So who am I supposed to trust in making financial decisions?  Or do I just need to go find a bigger mattress?


8 thoughts on “Marriage and Finances”

  1. I absolutely LOVE that picture! It’s perfect.

    … but since I’m single, I can’t really comment on the rest. 🙂

  2. I was going to post a lengthy response to this talking about how hubby and I do things, my opinion etc. but I am too tired.

    There you go.

  3. I feel the exact same way. A little lost puppy when it comes to investments, life insurance, yada yada yada. Please figure it out and then teach me!

  4. Love the post! I think the concept of having a completely open, transparent relationship with anyone, including a spouse, is a dying art. John and I have a shared account and keep track of it on our computer using Microsoft Money. It is a user friendly program thatt enables us to keep track of our checking and savings account as well as our loan info, stocks and mutual funds. I think John must have been a a financial wiz in his last life. Most of it leaves me dizzy but I can tell you exactly how much we have and how much we owe with just a glance.
    Several people told me it is good for each spouse to have a discressionary fund of fun money for which they aren’t held accountable. We have a fun budget that we dip into. We find it works better when communicating about everything openly.
    Good luck working everything out!

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