Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Couples Who Don't Merge Finances

Yesterday I wrote about how I merged my finances with Y.  It was definitely not painless but I feel that it was worth it overall.  I have a definite opinion on married couples who don't merge money.

I think that couples who don't merge money hardly ever get to where they want to be in the long run.  From what I've seen, couples who don't merge finances usually don't make a plan to get out of debt and build savings for important big purchases in the future like a house.  We have friends who are in this predicament.  I will refer to them as A and B.  A had a lot of debt entering the marriage and B didn't have any debt.  A is still paying on her debt and B ends up paying for most of the things that come up.  If they go out to eat, the person who initiated the going out, pays for the meal or drinks.  A wrecked her car and didn't have the money to pay for a new car so B ends up paying for it.  B complains behind A's back about paying for her car while he drives an old car.  If they are going to visit family, the person whose family they are visiting ends up paying for the trip.  They aren't able to save jointly for big expenses because whose fun money should the savings come out of?  Should A pay as much into savings because she is paying her debt off?  Should A have worked more in college to avoid the huge debt that she is in?  If B would have helped pay off her debt, they would be debt-free by now and saved a boatload on interest. 

They are our good friends and we see this on a constant basis.  I think that if they had merged their finances when they got married and treated the entire debt as their debt, they would be in a far better place financially. 

Note--I don't share this opinion of couples who keep their own accounts for personal spending and have a joint account for bills and savings.  They are still working toward a common goal together.

1 comment:

  1. This is always a hot topic amongst PF bloggers...

    I would say the husband and I are a hybrid between the two examples you mention in your post. We maintain joint and seperate accounts. His paychecks pay certain bills, and mine pay the others. Our property, cars, and assets are jointly held. We have joint long term savings and individual long term retirement accounts.

    Our system works well for us, but for some people, it wouldn't. I think the key is communication: we talk a lot about our finances and although we don't always see eye to eye, we are on the same page for the majority of things.

    Merging finances is always subject to some debate, but I think the answer is: do what works for you. It sounds like your friends are in a hard place. :(