How do you handle finances with your "significant other"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    my girlfriend and i are looking for a new home next year. obviously that means finances will now come into play.

    i'm curious as to whether you all have a special system or method to handle your finances?

    any comments and suggestions welcome!

    thx,

    ted
     
  2. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    Before buying a home, I'd upgrade that girlfriend into a wife. [​IMG]
    After that, have a joint account where most of the money goes, and then perhaps private accounts where each of you has a smaller amount you can do what you want with.
     
  3. Sebastian

    Sebastian Second Unit

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  4. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    I never really discussed in detail this with my wife (we got married two months ago). in practice, this is what happened: when buying our flat, which we signed up for in March, we split everything 50-50. still do on the mortgage payments. we also have a joint account which we contribute to equally, which we use for all the shared expenses, but otherwise we keep separate accounts.

    BTW, there's no "community of property" concept here, unlike many US states, e.g. California. so keeping separate accounts makes some difference, whereas in a community property jurisdiction, it wouldn't if the worst happens and you split.
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    We have a joint accounts. After the bills are paid, I spend some on the things I want, and she spends some on the things she wants. The concept of separate accounts was always an odd one to me for couples. I mean, it's not like you're NOT spending the money (or paying the bills, or funding retirement accounts and college funds, etc.), just because it's in separate accounts.
    Are these the same sort of people that can't stand when their food touches on the plate?[​IMG]
    Todd
    P.S. This generalization is meant for married/life partners.
     
  6. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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  7. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    My wife and I share all our money. We trust each other enough to know that no one is going to abuse the money. Occasionally it causes minor problems such as when I want to surprise her with something that costs more than a few bucks, because she balances the checkbook. In those cases I just use cash.

    Ted, if you're going to buy a house, the biggest investment most people make in their lives, you may seriously want to consider marriage. No, you don't have to be married to buy a house with another person. Although it might increase the amount of money you can borrow.
     
  8. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    My wife and I each have a separate checking and savings accounts as well as a joint accounts. All of the family expenses are paid out of the joint checking account and the savings goes into the joint savings account. The personal accounts are the 'toy' funds for each of us.
    Each pay day we both deposit a fixed amount into the joint accounts and the rest goes into the personal accounts. She handles all of the bills, finances, savings, retirement, etc., which is my choice. If I handled it we'd have a ton of Krell equipment and a cardboard box to live in. Well, not really but you get my point. I'm far more likely to buy toys than she is and I want to retire in comfort. I let her handle it and get monthly updates about the state of our accounts.
    The nice thing about this setup is that my 'toy' budget is isolated from any family finances. I don't have to worry about spending the college savings [​IMG]
    BTW, I have a couple of friends that bought houses without being married. Both couples were on the marriage path but wanted to buy the house first (why I don't know). I don't know if it will affect how much you can borrow but it certainly won't hinder your overall chances.
     
  9. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Supporting Actor

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    My wife is an accountant so she takes care of all the finances. This may sound bad, but I have no idea how much money I have. For all I know, she can be sending all the money to a bank account in the Cayman Islands. All I know is that if I want something, I just charge it and it gets paid at the end of the month. We never carry any credit over from month to month. And at the end of this month, I'm probably going to buy a new archtop guitar, perhaps the gibson es 175, which will cost a few grand. But that will get paid off too. I guess I'm pretty lucky as I never have to worry about money or finances. [​IMG]
     
  10. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    My husband and I have joint accounts on everything. He handles all the bills and I'll occasionally ask where we stand. I might actually check the accounts online or look at the checkbook, but most of the time I just ask him.
    I've personally never understood the seperate accounts thing for married couples either. Maybe we don't need seperate "toy" accounts because we like the same things so if he wants to buy something I'm usually egging him on [​IMG]
     
  11. Bill_D

    Bill_D Supporting Actor

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    My wife and I are joint everything when comes to finances and we have a finance meeting every other week to make sure everybody is on the same page.
     
  12. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    We do the joint and individual thing. The contributions to the joint account are in proportion to our salaries and cover all monthly expenses plus savings.

    Yes, I understand it's all "our" money, but this arrangement eliminates any resentment when one of us buys something that the other considers frivolous. We have seen so many couples bicker about this and we didn't even want to allow the possibility.

    I tend to pay for going out more often and she often pays for gifts for family and friends.

    And all the common bills are paid thru Paytrust (most automatically) so managing finances is very low overhead for us.
     
  13. Frederick

    Frederick Second Unit

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    My wife and I have our own accounts and are responsible for certain bills at our place. Bills include savings, stocks and insurance, and a certain amount is put in to each by the both of us. It's worked out very well so far. Rent is divided, in her favor because I make a lot more than she does. We'll be getting a joint account soon, just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I think as long as there's an understanding about what in the house needs to be done, and how it's taken care of, money doesn't become a huge issue. But then I've only been married for 5 months, so maybe it hasn't been enough time yet [​IMG] ...
    Freddy C.
     
  14. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    My fiancee and I bought a house together last year. There were no problems getting the loan, ask for a joint trust loan (I think that's what it's called). The mortgate is in both of our names, and we each technically own 50% of the house. I suppose we'll have to get that changed when we get married next year.

    Anyway, we've got a joint checking account that we each put a percentage of our salaries into. I make a good deal more than her (she's a graduate student), but it actually works out that if we each put in 30% of our income, we've got enough to cover the bills plus a little bit more. Bills for the house are paid out of the joint account (mortgage, insurance, phone, etc.), while we each take care of our own personal finances (credit cards, auto payments, etc.). I'm generally the person doing the actual bill paying, but that's because I don't mind doing the paperwork. Because I make more, I generally end up paying when we go out somewhere, but I don't mind.

    We've talked about changing the way this all works once we get married, but I doubt we will, as it's pretty easy as is.
     
  15. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Joint accounts all the way around.
     
  16. ChrisPi

    ChrisPi Auditioning

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    I make it, she spends it [​IMG]
    nah, just kidding.
    we do the same as many others...we have one joint account where the bills are paid out of, with some left over for "play". I think I transfer 85-90% of what I make to the joint account, and keep the rest in my personal savings.
    it's worked out so far, and we've been married since october.
     
  17. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    great tips and suggestions all. thx! [​IMG]
    i really like the idea of an individual account for toys and personal purchases plus a joint account for the monthly stuff.
    i think the idea of having a monthly 'state of the union' meeting is also a good idea.
    thx again!
     
  18. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Talk to any marriage and family counsellor and you'll find out that most family arguments are about money, then kids, with the "relationship" (and sex) a distant third. More divorces probably arise out of money issues than out of adultery. (I have two M&FCs in my social circle, so I hear this stuff a lot, even though I'm single. [​IMG])
    The biggest problems tend to lie in different attitudes towards money, and different spending habits. If you can never resist that impulse buy in the checkout counter, while you're S.O. collects the cat hair and weaves it into a comforter rather than let it go to waste, you're on the road to disaster now matter how much you love each other. [​IMG] Even if you're "money styles" don't contrast quite that much, odds are there will be differences. The time to sit down and have a talk about this is probably now.
    Also pay attention to how she spends her money. Are there things she is buying that you think are frivolous or silly? Are her priorities different than yours? (Will she pass up that new pair of shoes to put a little extra into the IRA when you think she should "live a little" or vice versa?) How irritating would you find the way she spends if everything were coming out of your joint account? How much of it can you live with. (I'd suggest that she take a similar inventory of your spending habits, except that she probably already is. [​IMG])
    If you're both pretty much on the same page you can probably do joint accounts. If you think she has a shoe fetish and she thinks you have an electronics addiction, then negotiate what portion of each of your incomes will be "yours" and what portion will go into the joint account for common expenses and savings. Also put one of you in charge of paying the bills each month, even if you alternate months. That avoids the "but I thought you paid it" problem.
    Separate accounts have a lot of practical benefits, even if you do agree on finances. It makes it much easier to keep the checkbook register straight as you only have to record your own checks and ATM withdrawals. Your credit card bills (the ones from Best Buy and Circuit City) get paid out of your checking account, while the joint Home Depot bill gets paid out of the shared CC account. Same with hers.
    This can avoid many arguments down the road.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    sagely advice joe...i'll take a lot of that to heart.
    i feel that i'm a little more savings oriented than her, but she doesn't save because she can't. after all her bills are paid she just about breaks even. she's a single mom with twin boys who have a father that (more often than not) doesn't pay his share. daycare just about kills her.
    so, i am in a position to help out, but i don't want to feel like i'm "trapped in her finances" either. i don't mind bearing a larger part of the finances (i make a bit more than she does) but i also want to ensure that we keep our savings up, etc.
    most importantly is we don't neglect our monthly bills. i'm the kind of guy who pays my bills the same day i get them and i know i'll freak out (and stress out) if that changes.
    oh well...such is the excitement of life i suppose. [​IMG]
     
  20. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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