Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: British Columbia
Merging money with some baggage
So...BF and I moved in together in December. He would like to have one joint checking account where we both spend household and personal money and have agreement on the dollar limit we can each spend without checking in. In other words, if something costs $200 or more, we check in with the other person first, but after bills and household things are paid for, discretionary spending under $200 is okay. He has said that one of the reasons he'd like to have a joint account is that he had that with his ex wife and it worked until she started cheating on him and all of a sudden wanted her own account. So, to some extent, I think he is worried that separate accounts would foster (or demonstrate) distrust.
Probably factored into that is that he was the primary breadwinner in his marriage, making significantly more than his ex-wife ever did and was okay with how the ex-wife spent money until, again, their relationship soured.
I want to be sensitive to BF's past issues. At the same time, I would like for us to have one joint checking account for household expenses, a joint savings account for household emergencies and "project" savings (like trips, furniture replacement,etc) and for each of us to have our own checking accounts. The reason I want separate, discretionary spending accounts is that we each have a set amount of discretionary money we know we can spend without asking.
In this relationship, I make almost as much money as my BF so money won't be nearly as tight as he experienced with his ex. Our household discretionary money will be more than he's seen in the past. In my mind, if we have one account that we're both spending freely from, there's a chance that we will overspend, not taking into consideration the multiple purchases under $200. But there's also an element there of me wanting to remain my own person. In past relationships I have not used my voice loudly enough when it came to financial decisions. I let my partners convince me to make stupid financial decisions and so now I'm pretty rabid about retaining my voice and sense of self and I see keeping at least some money separate as one way to do that.
An aspect of this, also, is that I actually like to have multiple accounts to keep my allocated money separated into different categories. Makes it easier to save and make sure I have enough for expenses. I also want to be able to spend a certain amount of my hard-earned money without considering how it will affect someone else or the numbers in our joint account. May be selfish, but there it is.
I think the real conflict here is that BF sees the joining of our money as something that couples who trust each other do. I want to maintain some autonomy over some of the money I earn, and I think he sees my desire to do this as sort of having one foot out of the relationship. I, on the other hand, am worried that if we completely merge our finances that my voice in financial decisions will get lost.
DoL: Bones are for dogs. Meat is for men.