Family Finances for Independent People

My wife and I met after we were established in our careers. We were both working well paying jobs, and in fact she made more than I did at the time.  We had our own various savings and retirement accounts, and our own approach to money.

The solution to the potential issue here that we came to rather quickly after our engagement was to not join all our accounts together.  I opened a joint checking and savings account in both of our names that we continue to periodically fund whenever the balance gets low.

Since then, we have both had changes in our income, and now I make more than her.  Since day one, we have funded that account in a ratio to our own earnings.  This way, neither of us was taken advantage of.  This was a big deal when we met since her family was concerned, in spite of knowing me, that I might take advantage of her.  My wife is frugal and a great saver.

As a side note while she was frugal and a great saver, she did not put any attention to what she should be invested in.  This meant that she was in the default for all her retirement accounts. Fortunately, we got together not long before the 2008 crash, and I was able to re-balance her from the very conservative and safe investments to a more balanced approach. She never was one to spend time with retirement planing, and I opened her up to doing that.

So at the end of the day, that’s our way.  We fund our joint account to our income ratio, and everything we pay for is from there. Will we do this forever, probably not, but as I said, we are strong independent people, and having that definition is what helps keep us from fighting about money, even when every expenditure above trivial levels is a shared decision.

What do you do?

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