Survey: 31% Of Married People Commit Financial Infidelity

Not only do you have to worry about your significant other sneaking around behind your back with that hooker from the coffee shop, but a new survey says financial infidelity is a big problem for many Americans.

An online poll
commissioned by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and conducted by Harris Interactive, surveyed 2,019 U.S. adults from December 17 to 21 and found that 31% of those who combined finances had admitted to lying to spouses about money. Another third of those admitted they themselves had been deceived about money.

The leading crimes among the wronged and the perpetrators were hiding cash, minor purchases and bills. Others said they’d hid major purchases, kept secret bank accounts and lied about debt or income.

“A third of the population admits to not being honest with their spouse,” says NEFE chief executive Ted Beck. “That is a big number. These indiscretions cause significant damage to the relationship.”

For those couples experiencing financial infidelity, 67% said the deception led to an argument and 42% said it caused less trust in the relationship. A further 16% indicated the problem had led to divorce, and 11% reported a separation.

Time to fess up about that box of cash you hid behind the Sex and the City DVD collection where you thought he’d never look.

Is Your Partner Cheating On You Financially? [Forbes]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rebecca K-S says:

    My husband and I are married, but our bank accounts are not. Problem solved.

    • anchorworm is really sick of Minnesota weather says:

      Thank you, it is nice to know my wife and I are not the only ones. Separate checking accounts work wonderfully for us.

    • Sparty999 says:

      That sounds horrible… how can you actually be married?

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Sarcasm? My detector’s wonky today.

      • dyvfd says:

        I’m actually glad that my ex wife and I kept separate accounts and only had one joint for paying bills. My pay was substantially less than hers due to my disability, but I made up for it in doing the housework and such. The last three months of the marriage it always seemed that something would come up (mani/pedicures, massages, recreational drugs) so that she couldn’t cover any part of the bills or groceries. I ended up cutting my meds in 1/4s (so they would last four months), cancelling rehab, and basically sacrificing everything I needed so that I could cover the entire family budget.

        In the end I only made it through because my family was able to wire money directly to my sole account so that I could escape. Having the joint account was nice when it came to the the divorce; I was able to show that she didn’t contribute to the marriage and she ended up having to pay me.

    • ARP says:

      Yep- we have seperate accounts and each of us has responsibility for certain bills. We set it up so that each of us has roughly the same amount of money after paying everything.

    • thompson says:

      The problem is that I don’t think this works when two spouses have a vast disparity in income… think on the order of $30k vs $170k. In that type of situation (to be honest, the one that my wife and I will be in starting in a few months with a career change) i think there will always be some tension, but I don’t think the split finances idea works out very well.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        There really shouldn’t be tension. Married couples should realize that they are there for emotional support, not financial support. Pool the money and be happy together.

        • thompson says:

          That’s kind of what I’m getting at, I guess. There could be some minor tension, but we’ve pretty much gotten over it. But I think that tension would be hugely worse if we had the separate accounts. I don’t think two people can have such disparity in living conditions / quality of life / splurging without there being some tension. Why should one spouse be buying Armani and iPads while the other is shopping thrift stores with a 4 year old iPod.

          That’s just my opinion though. The wifey and I got married just out of college so we’ve always had joint finances. If you had two careers coming into a relationship I could see the dynamic being different.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            That’s how I feel. We’re married, so everything we own is owned by both of us.

            I earn significantly more than my wife but it really doesn’t matter since it all goes into the common pool. We’re partners — I’m not going to give her an allowance or dock her allowance because she made more career sacrifices than me for the sake of our family (moving for my job, taking additional time off for our kids, investing in my education, etc.).

            It wouldn’t feel right if she got anything less than me because was the one who made the career sacrifices.

            • obits3 says:

              I agree. I don’t like the idea of one spouse getting an allowance from the other. It is demeaning and creates a parent/child relationship.

              Also, I can see how it cost the stay at home spouse a lot in terms of career potential and earning power. This is a real cost that many breadwinner spouses forget about.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                I think it can also create the very problem the survey found, that people are hiding money or lying about where it’s going.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Agreed. We came into marriage at the start of our careers and with very little personal wealth so we built it together. It seems strange to have separate accounts in marriage unless you can’t trust the other person with money, or you have built your finances separately.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Well, I guess it depends on the people involved, but it works fine for us. Our disparity in income is basically infinite as he’s employed and I am not, but even once I’m done with school, we’ll continue having a joint account for household expenditures and joint splurges (vacations, entertainment, etc.), but we’ll keep the remainder separate.

        • bsh0544 says:

          So how does your individual account get replenished, then?

          • thompson says:

            I think that’s my problem with the joint account situation in a “disparity of income household”. IMHO, it makes it feel too much like one spouse is living on the generosity of the other. The spouse who makes less is, in many ways, always going to have a higher quality of life due to the higher earner’s paycheck… but I just can’t imagine writing my wife a check and saying “Here’s your spending money dear, don’t come asking for more. Maybe you should find a better job if you want to buy that necklace.”

            To be fair, I think the situation is very different if one spouse is a stay-at-home mom/dad and the other works, as that is itself a job that simply doesn’t get “quantified” in the same way as a pay check.

            • obits3 says:

              “I think the situation is very different if one spouse is a stay-at-home mom/dad”

              True. If one spouse stays at home doing most of the housework and taking care of the kids, then that spouse is doing their fair share. I think that both spouses should try to “work” the same amount of time each week. If one spouse works 50 hours week, then the other better be doing 50 hours worth of housework. If they have kids, then it becomes trickier.

            • myCatCracksMeUp says:

              “it makes it feel too much like one spouse is living on the generosity of the other. The spouse who makes less is, in many ways, always going to have a higher quality of life due to the higher earner’s paycheck”

              Both spouses should have the same quality of life; how good that quality of life depends on the total amount of contribution from both spouses. The idea of one spouse having a better quality of life then the other, just because he/she makes more is mind boggleing.

          • Rebecca K-S says:

            It doesn’t; I pay for my school and other nonsense out of savings. When that runs out, I’ll get loans.

            I’m absolutely living off my husband’s generosity in the meantime; I contribute the occasional dinner out or grocery shopping trip, but mostly I do a lot of dishes and laundry.

            • myCatCracksMeUp says:

              When I was in school full time and my husband worked, his income was our income; I was as free to spend it as he was.

              When he was in school full time, my income was our income; he was as free to spend it as I was.

              When I started working after college, he made 50% more than I did, but all our income was joint income, and we both were free to spend it.

              Now I make more than 50% more than him (and many times what I made when I started out), and it’s all our income.

              If I get laid off or disabled, and have no income, it means that OUR income has gone down, but it’s still just as much mine as it is his. What’s mine is ours and what’s his is ours.

      • ARP says:

        It works for us. Just set up bill responsibility in such a way that it leaves you both with roughly the same amount of spending money. I make more than my wife, so I pay the mortgage, and a few of the heftier bills and she’ll pay cable, phone, and food.

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          Yeah, if there’s a big disparity, I don’t think the partners should share equal burden in household expenses.

    • bsh0544 says:

      This doesn’t work nearly as well when only one person works.

      • Michaela says:

        I don’t know. My grandparents have always had separate accounts. After paying the bills, my grandfather gives me grandmother an allowance of sorts for her own pleasure, house-keeping, and entertainment of their friends. They never seem to have financial arguments and have been married for nearly 50 years.

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          barf-a-roni to the “allowance”.

          Basically since he earned the money he felt it was his money and he gave her an allowance as if she were a child. Triple barf.

          As a married couple, they should each have had equal say in how the money was spent. Anything else is a case of one person controlling and being “the boss”.

          • Michaela says:

            What? He did make the money. He gives her some to do her own thing (that she can keep in her own account) while setting aside another portion of the money to do his own thing.

            He gives her enough to get everything needed to run the home, plus extra to spend on herself.
            She isn’t treated like a child. She gets equal say (if not more) when they make big purchases (for example, she has picked their last two cars and all their appliances). If anything, I think her own account with a separate balance gives her more financial independence than she would have if she shared one large account with him.

            It isn’t like he takes most the money, gives her a small chunk, and spends the rest on beer, golf clubs and cigars. As far as I know (which, considering they raised me, I know them pretty well) he has never made any purchases that she was strongly against (he mainly just spends his share on his wife and grandchildren…and then some on beer and cigs :P ).

          • Baron Von Crogs says:

            It’s also his grandparents. Different times folks…

          • Hirayuki says:

            My friend’s husband gives her cash money in her Christmas stocking. Creeped me right the hell out when she told me.

    • shamowfski says:

      This is what works for my wife and I. Joint account for bills and food and vaca’s and such. Personal accounts for stuff we want for ourselves, and gifts and what not.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      If you live in a community property state does it matter if bank accounts are joint or not? Isn’t each spouse 1/2 owner of the other’s assets, so long as they were accrued after the wedding date?

      • thompson says:

        Yep, with the exception of gifts and inheritances. It’s all 50/50 otherwise.

      • obits3 says:

        Very true. This also applies to other things like autos. It does not matter who’s name it is in so long as it was purchased after the wedding date. I would still use some individual personal spending accounts to promote financial equality the marriage.

    • Rachacha says:

      Honest question for you or anyone in a similar situation…I simply would like to know the advantages you see to a separate account. I have been married for over 10 years. Both my wife and I work and we both contribute about the same financiall to the family. All of our accounts are joint. If we want to make a personal “luxury” purchase, we discuss it with the other partner and make sue this is a purchase we really want/need, and when necessary, discuss whether we should make the purchase now or delay it a little while (i.e. if the car broke down, the furnace died and the water heater is on the fritz this month, I might put off purchasing that bew big screen TV so that savings can replenish a bit).

      I have known many people who have seperate bank accounts and I guess I never really understood the advantages.

      • obits3 says:

        The advantage of some separate spending accounts is that it minimizes the free rider problem. Here is an oversimplified example (please excuse the stereotypes):

        After paying joint bills & savings, Dick and Jane have $2,000 left over.
        Dick and Jane each get $1,000.

        Over the course of the month:

        Dick buys a $1,000 gaming computer that Jane will never use.
        Jane buys extra clothing costing $700.

        Even though the spending is not equal, it will be fair because Jane still has $300 to spend.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          That’s pretty much what I was thinking too. It’s a way for couples to budget when they may not see eye-to-eye on extraneous purchases. It could potentially allow one partner to make purchases without conflict, snide comments, etc.

          My wife and I just have a joint account that our money is pooled in — we have a budget and know how much spending money we have. It’s really been a non-issue. However, I know many people who get in fights with their significant others when it comes to buying guns, shoes, clothes, etc. Having separate accounts could theoretically alleviate these problems.

          • Rebecca K-S says:

            “It could potentially allow one partner to make purchases without conflict, snide comments, etc.”

            Exactly. My husband just spent, oh, hell if I know, two grand? Probably more building his brewery. But it’s HIS money. He earned it, and it’s an important project for him, and he has every right to spend his own money without my judgment. [Okay, he’s watching me type this right now, but I really do feel that way.] I don’t know that it would be a real problem for us anyway, because we’re both pretty financially responsible people and would make sure that shared needs and savings are taken care of before undertaking luxury expenses, but non-judgment is a little more guaranteed that way.

            • Kate says:

              We just have an agreement that if whatever it is, is over a certain amount, we OK it with the other person first. 400 dollars I might spend without asking, but 2 grand? that would have to be agreed upon first.

          • obits3 says:

            Exactly, people don’t want to be controlled on everthing. To me, a joint account is like a government that took ALL of your money for the public good (you would then have to fill out forms, stand and line and plead your case everytime you wanted money for yourself). Also, by dividing extra money systematically, neither spouse can use other things to control the money:
            For some stereotypical examples:
            The wife can’t use the withhold sex because I want to buy this thing technique (ok, she could, but I would look eerily similar to prostitution).
            The husband has to VALUE the work his wife does (even if she stays at home) and can’t claim that she isn’t bringing in money.

      • Hoss says:

        There’s little advantage if you see yourselves married forever. Problem is, shit happens. You’re not doing your wife a favor if she’s not able to build a credit rating and walk away from a marriage independently. It’s financial hostaging

    • anchorworm is really sick of Minnesota weather says:

      One reason for separate accounts is when the two parties are forced apart due to work / military commitments. There were times when I was overseas and I would write a check at the PX for spending money believing that I had X amount of dollars in the bank. The problem is that in the time since I had last talked to her, she had written checks that I didn’t know about to pay bills. It never really bit us in the ass, but, there were several times where we got uncomfortably close to being overdrawn. This led us to the separate account route and has worked well for 20+ years. That being said, we are each on the other’s signature card just in case of emergency.

      • Elphaba says:

        Or you could discuss how much the deployed person can spend before hand… My husband is currently deployed, and before he left we both agreed on an amount he could withdraw each month on his Eagle Cash Card. He’s never gone anywhere near needing that much, but I like knowing he has access to enough so he never feels deprived, or feels that he has to skip a Whopper. I factor the full agreed amount into the budget which I take care of, and that excess has become easy savings. We are firm believers in “our” money. For many years I was the bread winner and now he is, and I am a SAHM.

        Before he left we also agreed on a “retail therapy” amount for me, and a “care package and shipping” amount I could spend on him. This way, I don’t feel deprived.

        Planning ahead has made the financial aspects of this deployment go very smoothly.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      I don’t get the idea of separate bank accounts. I can see them working if you both make about the same amount of money and continue forever to make the same amount of money. But if one person makes more, then even after contributing proportionally to the expenses, that person will have more money to save, spend, or whatever. And a marriage where one spouse has more spending money than the other does not sound like a real marriage to me. I actully knew a man who wanted his wife to “pay him back” for the money he’d “loaned” her by paying for her share of the household expenses while she was laid off work. WTF!? That’s not a marriage by any sane person’s definition of the word.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Well, given our career tracks, we’re fairly likely to earn pretty similar amounts throughout our lives, so it works.

        I don’t necessarily have a problem with two people in a couple who earn widely different salaries living different lifestyles, though. If I were a gas station attendant married to a doctor, I think it would be kind of fair that he has more money to spend, and I don’t think my being married to him would entitle me to level up to his lifestyle choice.

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          You have got to be kidding me.

          You think ” If I were a gas station attendant married to a doctor, I think it would be kind of fair that he has more money to spend, and I don’t think my being married to him would entitle me to level up to his lifestyle choice.”

          Where on earth did you get your ideas about what a marriage is? In a marriage, both partners are equal in every way. Married people share each others trial, tribulations, sorrows, joys, achievements, and living standards. What one has, good or bad, is shared by the other, to the extent it is possible.

          If you’re not going to share, why not just shack up?

          • Rebecca K-S says:

            None of that BS was in the contract I signed. I got my ideas about marriage from my marriage and past relationships. My marriage is exactly what I want, and our approach to finances works perfectly for us. If it ever stops working, we’ll change it. You don’t get to make the rules for my relationship.

            • Bativac says:

              Hey, that’s cool, but your “My husband and I are married, but our bank accounts are not. Problem solved.” comment seems to imply a smug sense of superiority to anybody who happens to be married and also sharing a bank account.

              • Rebecca K-S says:

                I really intended that as just “problem solved [for us].” I can see how it wouldn’t necessarily read that way, though.

                • NumberSix says:

                  Don’t appologize. You’re 100% correct. Except for the part where you got married, but hey no one is perfect.

                • AlphaLackey says:

                  Isn’t it nice when people read whatever they want into whatever you say and then attack you for it?

                  If it works for you, it works for you. I can see how people who covet the institution of “marrying up for fun and profit” might be upset that you’re happy, but that reflects on them, not you.

            • myCatCracksMeUp says:

              I don’t care a hoot about how you share your finances, but I feel sorry for anyone in a marriage that isn’t each person giving 100% of themselves and, by extension, everything they have to give, material and otherwise.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “…If I were a gas station attendant married to a doctor,…”

          In those situations, things can often get really tricky… If a husband worked as a gas station attendant to keep the household going while the wife as at medical school, or if he had to give up a career so she could take a job across the country, or the couple couldn’t afford for both partners to go back to school, or if he took the job so he’d be able to go to PTA meetings, stay home with a sick kid, etc. then it doesn’t seem like he should be financially penalized for it.

          I’m not a doctor but this scenario essentially happened in my relationship. We didn’t have the resources for both of us to go to grad school. My wife worked, kept the house up, and helped motivate me to get through school. She also moved four states away so I could get a better job and ultimately wound up taking a secretary position when we had kids. Her job is only 35 hours a week, with no over time or weekends and is very flexible — when she needs to take care of a sick baby, she can with no adverse career implications.

          I really can’t imagine her being penalized for making major sacrifices in order to help me and our kids.

          • Rebecca K-S says:

            I agree that it can be tricky, and it’s important to clarify that I’m talking about me and not prescribing the rules for anyone else. I also don’t really see it as a penalty though – in that scenario, I’d hope that the household contributions would scale to their incomes; if one person makes ten times as much money as the other, that person should also be paying a lot more to keep the house. So the person earning less would still have a significant chunk of their income left over.

            I don’t know, there’s no simple solution, and if people come up with a financial plan that works for them, the only thing that really matters is that it works.

      • Kate says:

        That’s easy, you make it up in bill paying. The person with the extra money pays more bills. I suppose if it were a big enough difference, one person would put spending money into the other’s checking account and perhaps be the person that socks away into the retirement accounts and savings.

        It’s easiest for us to have different checking accounts, that way we don’t mess each other up. Although at this time, we both tend to do all our purchasing on credit cards that pay us a percentage, rather than write checks anymore.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’d like to point out that sexual infidelity usually requires financial infidelity as well.

  3. Gandalf the Grey says:

    I have several married or long joined friends who are on the 85% joined banking theory. They have a joint account where each member deposits 85% of their paycheck, and the remaining 15% is put into a private account. They pay household expenses (mortgage, electric, groceries, cable, etc.) out of the joint account, and the remaining 15% is theirs to do with as they each see fit.

    Is seems to work quite well, If there is a greater percentage needed for household, they may go 90/10 or 95/5 as needed, but never below 85%, the excess at the end of each month went into their joint savings.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      The point at the end of the comment was suppose to be that this cuts the point of financial infidelity. The whole point of the system is that each of them knows that all of their bills and other joint expenses are taken care of, and that they have a little bit of money to get the things their partner might not value as much as they do.

      My friend recently bought a PS3, and his wife didn’t care, because they have a system where he can save up some money honestly and then get what he wants, even if she thinks it’s stupid (she does). If she went out tomorrow and spent all the money she had in her account on a library’s worth of books, he wouldn’t care, that was her money to do with as she pleased.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        What if her 15% is three times his 15%? Does she get to buy all the books, shoes, whatever she can afford, while he has to save and save to buy his game? Doesn’t sound very fair to me.

        • Michaela says:

          Yes. Unfortunately, his job doesn’t pay as much, so he has to wait.

          On the bright side, he is paying only a 3rd of what his spouse does into the joint account.

          • myCatCracksMeUp says:

            And that seems right to you? One spouse has more spending money than the other? It sounds incredibly sad to me. I can’t even begin to fathom a marriage where one person has more money to spend than the other.

        • Gandalf the Grey says:

          Well, I decided to ask him about that after work (he advocates the arrangement, so it was more about the situation than their personal finance). When she got laid off, they pooled, 90% of his salary and 90% of her unemployment went into the family pot, 5% of total income went into his account, and 5% went into hers. He admitted it can be tough if there is a large discrepancy in income levels, so the system isn’t prefect. He said that most people in that situation go with more of a split of the total income. The 85/15 split is easy for most couples who make about the same amount of money, because they can just set up direct deposit into their separate accounts.

          But, if you’re going to marry someone, I would hope you’re comfortable enough to speak with that person about something like money.

  4. energynotsaved says:

    My ex dearly beloved hid both money and expenses to keep the ho hidden. Over time, he realized how easy it was to hide assets, and he hid much. Alas, I couldn’t locate our assets that he hit by the time of the divorce. Wish I had hidden money. Oh well. I guess the problem is that cheaters cheat, and those of us who don’t, well, we don’t. But, I would urge all women to start a secret savings stash. Manapause really does exist. Be prepared. If you get caught, just say you were saving for a special gift for him. But, save for you.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      So your solution to combat hiding finances, is to…. hide your finances?

      Both moronic and self-destructive.

      I suppose the best way to combat cheating is to have extra-marital sex?

      • YokoOhNo says:

        i like your proposed solution much better :rolleyes:

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I’m sorry, were youm trying to contribute to the conversation? Or just copying and pasting nonsense?

          • YokoOhNo says:

            Oh, so sorry miss “i am so witty and self-absorbed i even talk about myself in the third person with my screenname”!!!

            Did I not have the requisite number of personal insults in my reply to garner your praise (you seem to set the number at 2) or will you simply argue that what you said wasn’t a personal
            attack on the OP but an attack only on his/her ideas?!

            My contribution is above, the one with the metaphor relating to bankers…and the one attempting to empathize with the OP (empathy:the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.)

            PS – I replied to your rambling before i replied to the lady above.

            • LadyTL says:

              Are you even reading the same article as the rest of us? The previous post was advocating cheating, lying and stealing from your spouse and the response called them on it. Get off your hypocritical high horse and look at your own comments.

              (Hey look, I can copy and paste too!)

              • YokoOhNo says:

                What about some sympathy for a lady who claims she was exploited and left with much less than she felt she deserved because her banker husband hid a lot of their assets and ran off with a younger woman?

                or, if you’d just admit to enjoying schadenfreude i’ll take that into account on your future posts.

                • LadyTL says:

                  Fine she was hurt. Does not change that she is advocating that women should preemptively lie, steal from and cheat on their spouse or partner because they might do it some day.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      So, you’re urging all women to financially cheat on their husbands by starting a secret savings stash. And then, if you get caught, lie about it.

      Seems like good strong marital advice.

      • YokoOhNo says:

        I like your advice much better :rolleyes:

        • leprechaunshawn says:

          Advice? I don’t recall offering any.

          Run along now, the adults are trying to converse.

          • YokoOhNo says:

            You are correct, ma’am! You gave no advice, you simply replied with a sarcasm and condescension. you should be proud of yourself to be such a fine example to the youth of this country! :rolleyes:

            I thought I’d call out your laziness or inability to contribute anything of substance to the OP’s point because I like knocking down the self-righteous.

            • leprechaunshawn says:

              Are you trying to say your post above is such a great contribution to the discussion? You know, the one about getting anally raped without lube? To me, that post sounds more like the fantasy of a 40 year old man who never moved out of his parents basement. But hey, who am I to judge what goes on in your bedroom when your parents are gone.

              The reason I offered no advice is because I have none. I don’t financially cheat on my spouse and to the best of my knowledge she does not either. I feel that offering advice is best left to those who have studied in a particular field or have real world experience. However, I am intelligent enough to know bad advice when I see it. Sneaking behind your spouse’s back and lying about it if caught IS NOT sound marital advice.

            • LadyTL says:

              Are you even reading the same article as the rest of us? The previous post was advocating cheating, lying and stealing from your spouse and the response called them on it. Get off your hypocritical high horse and look at your own comments.

              • leprechaunshawn says:

                Bravo! Well said.

              • YokoOhNo says:

                Or she’s advocating protecting oneself, depending on the view you take, from a worst case scenario. A rainy day fund, if you will, that will be there if the guys scerws her over or if they live to be 100 and she surprises him with something great on their 70th wedding anniversary.

                you should empathize with others who do not have as great of a relationship as yourself….though she may have felt her relationship was perfect too…until she found out about the cheating, lying and stealing.

                • leprechaunshawn says:

                  This is at least making a little sense. I agree that protecting yourself is a wise decision but hiding money and lying about it is not the healthy way to go about it.

                  • YokoOhNo says:

                    What about some sympathy for a lady who claims she was exploited and left with much less than she felt she deserved because her banker husband hid a lot of their assets and ran off with a younger woman?

                    or, if you’d just admit to enjoying schadenfreude i’ll take that into account on your future posts.

                    • leprechaunshawn says:

                      Do you even understand the meaning of schadenfreude? At no point did I take any joy in the misfortune of the original commenter. What her husband did to her was detestable. To suggest that a wife should hide money and lie about it as a preemptive strike is contemptible to say the least.

                      Now, should I take into account for your future posts that you’ll be using horrible written communication skills and big words that you don’t truly understand?

                • energynotsaved says:

                  Well said. Yes. After 28 years of what everyone–including me–thought to be a fantastic marriage, I learned about cheating hubbies, STD tests, medication, and how one man stashed money and economically screwed over the wife of his youth. It is had to start over when he left me with very little. So, I believe one needs to have a personal emergency fund. Create it the way you will, just make sure you have one.

    • YokoOhNo says:

      the problem is “cheaters tend to become bankers and successful business people” while the rest of us get anally raped without lube bu the cheaters…sounds like something you’ve been through, sorry.

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      My wife’s grandmother had a separate account that she called her “running away money”. She never had reason to run away (that we know of). However, she felt it was important to never be completely dependent on her husband to do the right thing should she decide she needed to go. I agree with this, for both parties. I think she told her husband about it, maybe it “kept him honest” or just reminded him that she wasn’t there for his money alone.

      They seemed happy when she died in her 80s…

      • obits3 says:

        When I get married, I hope to have a joint accounts for recurring expenses, retirement, and emergency funds. The left over money would be split 50/50 to two separate accounts. My hope is that this or a similar system would discourage free rider issues…

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          You are really worried about “free rider” issues? Don’t get married.

          • obits3 says:

            LOL, I know that in marriage there will be times that one spouse gets more than their fair share. I just want to avoid the situation where the SAME spouse is consistently taking more. What’s funny is that the “taking more” spouse tends to complain that they don’t get enough!

            I believe that the key to a good financial relationship in a marriage is transparency. If the “extra” money is split 50/50 into two personal accounts every month, then one spouse cannot reasonably start a fight saying “I don’t get enough/you always get to buy what you want.” The evidence will speak for itself as a neutral third party.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Did she work? Could it have been a cultural reason why she wanted to have a separate account? I mean, it seems to me that she was really just planning for a particular scenario that thankfully, she didn’t encounter, but to me it seems that it could have been that back then women were more dependent on their husbands for everything. Women nowadays work, and have a lot more control over their money and lives.

      • Intheknow says:

        That’s the best advice I never took. I was married for 20 years (to a lawyer no less) whom I believed would do the right thing for me and our children. Years down the road I discovered him to be a serial cheater – both physically and financially. I ended up leaving the marriage with less than I came in with. Trust and fidelity are ideal, but the reality is that you can NEVER EVER put your well-being in the hands of another.

        • LadyTL says:

          So your children should expect you to put all your wants and such ahead of theirs and never ever take care of them?

    • LadyTL says:

      You know it’s that kind of attitude from women that encourages cheating in the first place. If no one is honest in a relationship how can it ever work?

  5. dragonfire81 says:

    My wife and I don’t make enough money to have separate finances. We keep everything in the shared accounts (checking and savings) to keep on going.

    • Spöönmann says:

      I am in the same boat as you for the moment. Gandalf’s 85% joined banking theory sounds nice though.

  6. Kuchen says:

    A few weeks ago there was an anonymous note taped to the mirror in our locker room at work asking for advice because the author had found out that her significant other (didn’t say if they were married) had wired $500 to someone she didn’t know and he (or she, I guess, I don’t really know) had not informed the author of the note.

    My first thought was, “When did our locker room turn into Dear Abby?” I didn’t contribute any advice because I didn’t feel like I had enough info. Was this a shared account? If not, why were you snooping?

  7. paisleypaint says:

    I work for a payday loan company, and I see this kind of thing all the time. One person is getting the loan and the other person has no clue. It is really hard for people to be honest even with themselves about money. Let alone someone else. As a country with $14 Trillion worth of national debt we all need to start living with in our means and be satisfied with quality of life and not quantity of stuff. We also need to be held accountable for dishonesty it needs to start at the highest level of government. Honesty and hard work will save our country from ruin. That is my soap box I will step off of it now.

  8. leprechaunshawn says:

    It’s not cheating because it’s your dog.

  9. FatLynn says:

    “A third of the population admits to not being honest with their spouse,” says NEFE chief executive Ted Beck. “That is a big number. These indiscretions cause significant damage to the relationship.”

    Wow! This guy is also a relationship expert!

    Can we please get over the idea that arguments in relationships are necessarily bad? Lies, too, are good at times.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      What are your favorite topics to lie to your partner about?

      • FatLynn says:

        Moneywise? I don’t tell him about the emergency cash in the house because his definition of an emergency would be “I was really hungry and ordered a pizza.”

        Everything elsewise? I really like your family! Those shoes look fine. My friend so-and-so thinks you are great.

        Seriously, anyone who relates to other people in polite society lies from time to time, and it works to everyone’s benefit.

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          Interesting. My relationship is not like that, and I’m glad for it.

          • Jubes says:

            Different strokes for different folks. Your comment seems a bit haughty. I see nothing wrong with her situation. If anything, it shows that she knows her husband well and is being responsible.

            • thompson says:

              I think all relationships will involve some element of lying. You should never lie about the big stuff, that I agree with. But relationships always involve compromises. Maybe I don’t particularly want to go to the movies today, but if my wife does and it’s not going to kill me to go then sure, I’d love to go to the movies.

              • LadyTL says:

                Compromises do not mean lying in all cases. You can lie as part of a compromise but it is not an integral part. I compromise all the time with my husband and don’t have to lie once doing it.

                • myCatCracksMeUp says:

                  I think it’s nice to let the spouse think you’re more enthusiastic about going to the movies than you really are. The spouse feels bad if you’re going grudgingly. Telling a little lie, like “sure, going to the movies sounds fun” is a good lie. And there are good lies and they’re very, very, very normal and acceptable. People who don’t ever lie are un-failing rude and difficult to be around.

            • Rebecca K-S says:

              I could’ve sworn I clicked on the right ‘reply’ link, but maybe not. Copied:

              Well, yeah, I feel a little bit superior to people who rely on lies to sustain their relationships, even little ones. There are certainly things we don’t talk about (namely religion), and we compromise, but we’re not really, um, ‘polite’ towards each other. If I ask my husband if something looks good and it doesn’t, he’s going to say no. If he makes dinner and it tastes off, I’m going to tell him. He knows how I feel about certain of his friends that I don’t care for, and the same is true of my friends. If it works for other people, then, well, okay – it works for them. But it doesn’t work for me.

              • Jubes says:

                I sort of get the feeling that you’re the type of person who doesn’t hang out with people unless they share your view on everything. Sounds delightful.

                • Rebecca K-S says:

                  Nah, I’m totally okay with differing approaches and opinions as long as they aren’t harmful or grossly offensive. If I weren’t, I’d be the type of person who requires my friends to lie to me about anything they disagree on to sustain our friendship, and that doesn’t sound like much fun to me at all.

                  • YokoOhNo says:

                    Once you have children you will relish the lies your friends tell you about your spawn!

                    Or, if you insist on them being honest, your total number of friends will diminish.

          • Rebecca K-S says:

            Well, yeah, I feel a little bit superior to people who rely on lies to sustain their relationships, even little ones. There are certainly things we don’t talk about (namely religion), and we compromise, but we’re not really, um, ‘polite’ towards each other. If I ask my husband if something looks good and it doesn’t, he’s going to say no. If he makes dinner and it tastes off, I’m going to tell him. He knows how I feel about certain of his friends that I don’t care for, and the same is true of my friends. If it works for other people, then, well, okay – it works for them. But it doesn’t work for me.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          I tend to think of it in terms of positive financial infidelity and negative. Your’s is positive. You are saving money for an emergency that your spouse would otherwise spend on crap. This would force you into debt should an emergency arise. Negative would be if you were spending money without the spouses knowledge, or had a secret credit card, etc…

  10. RickN says:

    If wifey commits financial infidelity I don’t care. What she’s doing with the money is what’s important to me. Using some cash to buy a pair of “fab-u-lous black flats that were to die for” is much different than running to Aruba with our mailman for a long weekend.

    We’ve had joint finances for our entire 25-year marriage and have never accounted (nor felt the need to account) for all of our spending to the other. Now, if $1000 disappeared from checking then I’d ask questions, but $50? Nah.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I’m not saying you should watch your finances to watch your wife, but you SHOULD manage your finances better than not being able to keep track of $50. If nothing else, to finding areas you overspend. The way I manage mine, I would see that $50 and reconcile it.

      • FatLynn says:

        If you make enough that it’s small change, maybe not. Being too stingy and never having fun is as much of a sin as going the other way.

      • obits3 says:

        I am the same way. I would want to reconcile all spending. I would do this because it is important to know where your money is going.

        “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          reconsiling it to the point of knowing your spouse spent it should be enough. No different than if you had separate accounts. Expecting a spouse to account for every nickle and dime (or $50) is very controlling and not condusive to a happy marriage.

          • obits3 says:

            The personal spending accounts would not need to be reconciled. Everthing in the joint accounts needs to be explained. Why? Because to me, joint account = joint decision.

            • Bsamm09 says:

              I hear you. I keep it all in quickbooks. Shows what we can cut back on easily.

            • Bativac says:

              So my wife has to explain to me that she decided to go to Subway for lunch? And I have to explain to her that I spent ten bucks on comic books?

              Sheesh. I guess everybody’s marriage is different.

              • obits3 says:

                You have missed my point. Comic books would come out of a personal spending account. This account would NOT need to be reconciled. Eating outside of the home could be accounted for as part of the food budget (joint) or as part of personal spending (separate). Only joint funds need to be explained. Why? Because the money if for both people.

      • RickN says:

        If my wife takes $50 out of the ATM I have no need to press her for what she spent it on.

        “So that was $10 on cokes, $15 on bagels, and $20 on 4 Subway tuna sandwiches this week. That leaves $5 unaccounted for. Stop hiding things from me!!!!”

        I’ll pass. Honey, enjoy your $50.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          “Food” would suffice for me.

          • myCatCracksMeUp says:

            Point is that she shouldn’t even have to say “food”. There should be no question about what she did with the $50. In different marriages and especially at different income levels the amount is different, but in general (happily, successfully) married couples have a dollar amount under which each person can spend without needing to have any discussion with the other spouse.

            When I got married (32 years ago) we didn’t spend more than $5 or $10 without letting the other know. Our income was so low then that spending anything more than that without coordinating could be catestrophic to our finances. Now we spend hundreds at a time, per pay period without any need to discuss or disclose.

            • obits3 says:

              “but in general (happily, successfully) married couples have a dollar amount under which each person can spend without needing to have any discussion with the other spouse.”

              While this may work, the problem I see is that only naming the dollar amount does not account for different spending habits:

              Spouse 1: Spends $200 extra once in four weeks.
              Spouse 2: Spends $50 a week extra each week.

              If the “explanation needed” amount was $100, then Spouse 1 is penalized for having a different spending habit. To make it more interesting:

              Spouse 1: Spends $200 extra once in four weeks.
              Spouse 2: Spends $90 a week extra each week.

              In this scenario, only Spouse 1 has to explain his/her spending even though Spouse 2 is spending more! =)

    • Bativac says:

      I’m the same way. If my wife spends fifty bucks on something, I’m assuming she’s smart enough to know what she’s spending it on. If she wasn’t, I wouldn’t have married her. As long as she doesn’t go crazy.

      You’ve been married for 25 years which is 24 years longer than me, so you obviously know what you’re doing!

    • Alexander says:

      You put it better than I ever could. We discuss big expenditures but anything else after bills is whatever.

  11. LadyTL says:

    You know dishonesty over a long time about anything can hurt a marriage. It doesn’t have to be money.

  12. RandomHookup says:

    Unless the hooker’s name is Charity, I think sneaking around with her is both financial and marital infidelity.

  13. Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

    That hooker at the coffee shop is a nice lady who understands me.

  14. Jubes says:

    My boyfriend and I prefer to keep things separately. We’d get a joint account but we see that as more of a hassle because our bills and mortgages are all set to his account. It’s easier to transfer him money then to change everything. We know each others passwords and pins, we know general amounts in each bank account. We contribute equally to the mortgage, which is in his name alone. That way if things go sour then I have an easy out (lol). For us it works because we’re not big spenders, and even if its a purchase of something over $100 we consider each other’s opinion before buying. It took us 6 months to finally agree on getting an LCD!

  15. wackydan says:

    Been married 7 years. We still don’t have a joint account though that may change now that we have a newborn at home. I write a check to my wife each month to cover household expenses, etc and give her spending money now that she isn’t working at all. I was still writing her checks previously as she didn’t make enough to cover everything. It works for us.

    Now… Keep in mind that I’m the one that essentially paid off her $22k in CC debt, and carried the mortgage and vehicles these past several years.

    She had proven that she didn’t know how to manage money before we met, and I’m not about to let her try her hand at it now… Especially when just the other day she didn’t want to commit to filling in a monthly spreadsheet I’d made up to track our expenses month to month now that she isn’t working and we have a kid.

    People act very surprised when they find out we do not have a joint account. The final reason is quite simple. If we are to head down the path to divorce at my choosing, I can start the sequence of “scorched earth” with the finances early enough that there won’t be anything for her to take legally other than part of the house value, and that is if I’m not bitter enough to let it fall into foreclosure just to screw her. :)

    So… yeah. Bottom line is I make good money, work hard for it, support my family, and if I want something for myself, I buy it and I don’t check with the Mrs first, and she is fine with that.

    • obits3 says:

      I can see where you are coming from. I will feel the same way about my house. If she pays into the mortgage with her separate money equal to the principal I have paid by that time, then she will get her name on the house. If not, then I will set it up so she gets the house if I die. Have you at least set her as POD on your accounts?

      • wackydan says:

        Yes… POD is set up and now that we have our daughter we are going to get the wills and everything polished up.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:


      After 32 years of marriage I’ve never once considered a “what if we divorce” situation.

      I think if I had any reason to even think the thought then I’d probably go ahead and get divorced. I see no reason to be married to someone if you don’t feel that it’s forever.

      • wackydan says:

        Sad indeed. My parents have been married over 50 years… that is a benchmark I had hoped to get near.

        I’d rather not think like that, but unfortunately those thoughts have been forced upon me by her and no other. Life is too short to not try and make it work, but also too short to stay with something that only is going to make you die quicker and unhappy. I love her… But I resent what she became after the vows. Bait and switch my friend.

  16. JulesNoctambule says:

    Eh. The spouse gets to make major medical decision for me if I’m incapable, so what’s a shared bank account? We know how much comes in every month and how much will go out for bills, and then I can buy another lipstick when I feel like it and he can add another early Reggae album to his collection with neither of us being beholden to the other. The only time either of us have tried to conceal a purchase has been if it’s a gift for the other that we want to be a surprise.

  17. Bsamm09 says:

    I believe you should keep things separate but create a budget and then sut up different funds to pool some money. Operate it like a not-for-profit and do the accounting as such. Decide how much money each should contribute to the general fund and then move it to different funds.

    I did this when I was studying for the CPA exam as it taught me about this type of accounting in terms that are easier to understand.

    • obits3 says:

      I love fund accounting for budgets! That is where I get a lot of my ideas for marriage accounting.

      All paychecks/income goes into the “General fund”
      The GF pays to all joint bills, retirement. and savings.
      The rest is split 50/50 to separate spending accounts.*

      *I would leave some permanent buffer cash in the GF to avoid overdrafting.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        It makes the most sense. I almost punted on this section on FAR but a friend showed it like this to me and it made more sense for the basic stuff and works very well for simple budgets.

        But I would never go as far as saying “love” in reference to fund accounting. GAAP on the other hand….

      • Gandalf the Grey says:

        That’s the basis of the 85/15 plan some of my friends use. It works out almost exactly because they make similar amounts. The one that I know of where one partner makes more than the other, he doesn’t mind that she gets more spending money. He feels that at her job (she’s an RN) she deals with crap he couldn’t handle, so she deserves to have a bit more for relaxation and fun stuff.

  18. oldtaku says:

    So if 31% admit it, the actual number is much higher.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Just like marital infidelity…
      Statistics cite about a 25% infidelity rate amongst men, but only 17% amongst women.
      That’s a ratio of about 1 to 1.5, So, who are these men cheating with? Those cheating women must be cheating with multiple men, or all the adulterous men are with a lot of single women. Neither scenario seems to make sense to me.

      My own theory is that men lie (exaggerate) about such things, while women hide and deny to the bitter end, even if the survey is anonyomous.

      • LadyTL says:

        It’s because some women lie to themselves and try to tell themselves that it isn’t really cheating if they or their spouse do X.

  19. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    My fiance and I have been together for a little over 3 years — We just recently created a joint account. It works wonderfully for paying bills. No more running to my bank for my half of the rent, or weighing who should pay which bill, thanking the other for buying lunch — no.

    It’s *our* money. We both earn it, and we both want each other to have it. If you’re not a selfish bastard, it’s not hard to live this way.

  20. valthun says:

    When we got married we created one account for all bills and daily needs. We then setup a set amount to be deposited to that account from each of our paychecks. The rest goes to our own accounts that we can do whatever we want with.

    It took a few months to get stuff off our personal accounts to our shared account. But its nice to know that her makeup comes from her own personal account and my video games come from my own personal account.

    No lying is necessary. If I have the cash in my personal account I can get it. The bills are taken care of as well.

  21. Aquaria says:

    One of our couple friends divide all bills on the same ratio as their pay – say he makes $150K and she makes $50K, she pays 1/4 of all bills and he pays the rest. Seems like a lot of extra work to me, but whatever works for them.

    We’ve always had shared accounts, but our joint savings as a little earmarked specifically for each of us to spend as we choose. That being said, we went through a period of some serious marital discord, and I did start my own savings account without his knowledge, “just in case.” He eventually found out about it, and he knows I still have it, but it hasn’t been a problem so far. In our case, the marital problems caused the financial infidelity, not the other way around.

    • thompson says:

      That definitely makes more sense, but I agree that it seems like a LOT of work. Say you go to Target, and you buy toilet paper, a new coffee table (that the Mrs. wanted a lot more than the Mr.), a few sweaters for her, some grilling equipment for him, an Xbox (for him), and a PS3 (for her, hey–I’m not going to assume that the Mrs. just wants makeup and pretty things).

      That’s not an unreasonable shopping trip, yet it involves breaking down group expenses (TP), expenses that might be group (coffee table enjoyed by all, but desired by one), individual expenses, etc. For every shopping trip. Way too complicated for me.

      I think the better solution is for couples to set up a sort of monthly “slush fund”. Each partner gets, say, $200 that they can spend that month without having to feel guilty or consult the other. Anything over that involves consultation, as do purchases “for the house”. No one is living off charity, you still get to splurge on some things, but major purchases are a group effort.

      • obits3 says:

        I like the “slush fund” so long as unspent “slush” can rollover and add up. So, if I want a $500 toy, I just save up for 2.5 months and buy, no questions asked.

      • Kate says:

        Wow, that’s a much more complicated shopping trip than I ever make at Walmarts, but it’s easy – you just make two purchases. What she will pay for, goes in one cart and what he will goes in the other.

        You are really making this a lot harder than it is.

    • Hoss says:

      It’s not that complicated if she pays utility bills and he pays the mortgage. That’s what happens in my home

  22. lucky13 says:

    How else are you going to pay the hooker from the coffee shop? Doesn’t sound like the kind of expense the wife would approve of if asked…just saying.

  23. Jane_Gage says:

    Coffee shop hooker? That seems like Phil’s pithy and under-appreciated humor.

  24. jbandsma says:

    I wish I had back every late fee we ended up paying because of my husband’s attitude about paying bills. We’re ok now that I’ve taken over the bank accounts and yes, I lie to him about how much we have. If I didn’t, he’s spend every penny and we’d be out on the street. I’ve brought his credit rating up from a “you’ve got to be kidding if you think I’m going to lend you enough for a latte” to good enough to purchase a new car 2 years ago. But it wouldn’t have happened if I told him the truth about the state of our finances.

  25. Armand1880 says:

    I pay all the bills, have all the passwords to the bank accounts, I update the checkbook…my wife just asks if there is enough money for her to go shopping when she wants to. She never goes wanting when she wants to go out shopping or something (as an RN, she does make more than I do) I let her know when it’s getting low and we need to be careful until we get paid next, but beyond that she knows nothing…like when I pre-order a computer game that I want, or buy something during a Steam sale.

    That is kind of why I feel bad about it – she knows about 95% of my spending, and I know 100% of hers. Since I deal with the check book, I’m the one who sees that during a Steam sale, I spent $20, or pre-ordered a video game (I buy a game maybe 3-4 times a year). Should I feel bad that I know all she spends, while she doesn’t know if I do things like this?

    • 12345678nine says:

      I don’t think so. Are you TRYING to be shady about it? I know everything he spends, but he most certainly does not know about everything I spend money on. Nor does he care, so long as we can pay bills.

    • armchair lactivist says:

      I don’t see a problem with how you handle it at all. You’re not hiding the spending from her. If she asked, you’d tell her how you spent the money.

      In my house, it’s the opposite. I know about 100% of my husband’s spending since I keep track of the budget. He knows about 90% of mine, I’d guess. I also do all the grocery shopping, clothes shopping for the kids, buy all the miscellany that runs the household, etc. I don’t really know how much he chooses to know about my spending in those areas, but he knows he could look at all my spending if he ever cared to know. I think the willingness to account 100% is the key. That means you have nothing to hide.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      My parents are pretty much the same way. My Dad keeps track of the finances, because my Mom doesn’t want to deal with it. She has a list of all the accounts, the passwords, the PINs, but she just wants to know if there is money there or not. He knows what she spends, but only because he is the one that reconciles the checkbook. If she wants money, she just has to say “Oh I took $200 from checking”, She would rather just tell him and let him deal with it than keep track herself.

  26. majortom1981 says:

    Seperate accounts does work. I make a lot more then my wife. So I am paying MOST of the bills. she pays 2 electric and her credit cards. By the time we are both done after bills we have the same amount to sped for ourselves.

    Tell me how that does not work ?

    • obits3 says:

      Tell me how that does not work ?

      What if your incomes reverse in the future? After 10 years of you paying most of the bills and her paying a smaller amount, it would be an interesting transition. I could see fights if the small bill spouse doesn’t get how money works.

      My idea is to put all monies into a general fund first regardless of income differences.
      Pay all joint things.
      The rest is split 50/50 every month.

      Even if the incomes flipped, the system would be unchanged.

      • Kate says:

        What makes you think they couldn’t just rearrange who pays what bill? That’s what we do when someone gets a raise or new bills pop up. It’s really not that hard to do.

  27. halo969 says:

    My husband and I pool all our money into a shared account and we use our joint credit cards for most purchases, which we pay off in full every month. I handle paying the bills just because he’d forget, but he’s free to look at the finances whenever he wants. We don’t consult each other on every little purchase (like getting lunch at work or whatever) but we do most of our shopping together so we know what’s being spent. Neither one of us would dream about making a big purchase without discussing it first. We never agreed to any of this, it’s just how things ended up naturally.

  28. cozynite says:

    All of these comments are really enlightening. I always assumed that most couples have joint checking accounts. My parents have always had joint accounts for everything. My mom was mostly stay-at-home with a part time job here and there and my dad work(s) full time. My mom took care of the finances, but my dad knew what went in and what went out.

    My boyfriend and I will be moving in together in a month. We are splitting up all the bills (including food) and rent 50/50. Bigger purchases, depending on what they are, will either be bought by one person or shared. For example, he’s buying the TV, but I am buying the new sofa. I think it will work out that way.

    But I worry about when we marry. My credit rating is excellent, but I still have student loans and a credit card that I am paying off. His credit rating is just ok, no student loan debt and two credit cards he’s paying off. We have talked about joint accounts and such and while we are both for it, neither of us wants to add on our debt to the other. So it will be interesting to see the compromises that follow.

  29. pjstevens77 says:

    you can add my wife and I to the list of the 85/15 rule. We share 85% in a joint account and keep the rest in our respective private accounts. She gets all the shopping and nail spa’s she wants, I get to buy all the tools and car parts I want, no questions asked. If married couples aren’t doing this and they have arguments over “minor purchases” then its their own fault, I have no sympathy.

  30. Caswell says:

    It all depends on what each person’s views of money are. I could see having a joint account with my current girlfriend because we’re both savers. My previous long-term relationship was with a spender and it was misery (for both of us) having a joint account.

    From what I’ve seen, in modern America it’s simply less of a strain on the relationship if both participants keep at least some of their finances separate. It’s also a much more conservative approach to finances if both people have to evaluate whether they could live with a financial decision (purchase of a house, car, etc) on their own.

  31. stottpie says:

    only two systems work –

    1. each month each spouse donates $X to the kitty fund. this is really the only way, but you have to decide if:

    a. you each donate the same to the kitty, and whoever makes more income will obviously have more expendable income afterwards.

    b. you each “keep” the same in disposable income for your use only, and the kitty fund is funded proportionately to income.

  32. NumberSix says:

    “of those who combined finances…”

    Well there’s your problem!

  33. Red Cat Linux says:

    There are pluses and minuses to how people do it, but the important thing is that it works for the parties involved.

    Let’s talk about the dark side of joint accounts.

    My ex and I made about the same, he had about $150 more each paycheck. We had a joint checking and savings account, separate credit cards. He would make large expenditures on his credit cards, then pay off the cards from the bank account.

    His debt was $28,000, and after we got it down to $20,000 he ran a different credit card up to $15,000. I had a $5,000 balance. He drained the joint savings account. The only account that was not left a vacuum was a separate account into which the tax refund was deposited. The refund was always sizable, but it was the only way to stop cash from disappearing from checking or savings in $1,000 chunks.

    I am thankful to never have had a joint credit card with the man. There were issues beyond financial ones, but once you go down the joint account path, it’s a slippery slope to undo that arrangement.