Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason? - Page 3 - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #31 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 07:34 PM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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Originally Posted by Buddy400 View Post
If you're working and making $200,000 / year, she's a SAHM and works part-time making $20,000 / year and your house hold expenses add up to 90% of your combined income:

You get $20,000 a year to spend and she gets $2,000?

That doesn't sound right.

My wife and I have had a joint account since the day we got married. If either of us wants to makes a significant purchase, we talk it over together.
I clarified in my post below. Also, in my original post, that is why I mentioned it would depend on how much one person made over the other, being that if there was a huge disparity then this would not work.

For a while my W and I were making close to the same, and even when I started to move past her it wasn't big jumps initially, so each of us contributing our share worked perfect. To date we have never had a fight over money. I just don't like the idea of having everyone's money dumped into one joint account.


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No, reread what I posted. I said it depended on how much one makes over the other. The rationale being, once the amount made by one gets to be significantly over the other, then other arrangements should be made. However, when my W was working the pro rata method worked perfect for us.

My W is now a SAHM, she simply has an open checkbook


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post #32 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 10:06 PM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

I get what you are saying. Her fear is her problem, there is nothing you can really do but be supportive without getting sucked in. I think you are on the right path. And your strategy is worth a try. Either it will work or it won't....but it's not going to be devastating for the family either way, so it won't hurt to try.

My H is OCD. We talk about it. Sometimes he apologizes for being a pain in the neck, but even then I just tell him "it's ok. I understand. It's the way you are." He recognizes it and sometimes deals with things better than other times. It's never awful, but the bottom line is that it's his problem.

For example: He makes the bed every day. When we first got together I told him, good cuz I really really don't care about making the bed all tidy. Over time I do appreciate the tidy bed tho. But he thinks I can't make a bed, that I'll never get it right... I just tell him "So?" It's not a problem to me. Handle it or not...I don't care. He gets it....but it doesn't stop him from fussing over it. He even teases me about sleeping all wild and crazy and messing up the bed. I call him the bed Nazi. Sounds silly, but at least we can talk about it, and laugh about it.

Similar to what you already said... we like to "own our own sh*t".

Now that I think about it, my H is kind of OCD about the money too. He is very good about handling it, and keeping me apprised of where we stand. We share a few accounts, and have our own.... we also have access to each others accounts, tho we only use it to move money for bills. But he has to stay on top of it and it works for us. Not because I don't want to know....but because I do know, and don't have to do all that he does. He keeps 3 running calculators, spreadsheet/accounts book, etc.... I'd think overkill, but his systems work for him.
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post #33 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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Didn't you say that this "anxiety" didn't start until she found out how well you did financially? Be really careful.
I probably left out details that led to that conclusion.

I had developed a sense that she had anxiety about a lot of stuff...I had always been surprised at how much insurance she wanted...it seemed she could not say "no" to anybody offering insurance for any reason. For a while there, the percentage of our budget that went to insurance was quite high.

Also, I have always had a side business, reporting on Schedule C. She knew this, in fact it's how we met. But every year when doing taxes, or at times when I got a contract and was executing it, she seemed to come up with myriad ways that my clients could rip me off. "Did you run a credit check on them?" "How do you know they won't claim the work is unacceptable and use that as a reason to never pay you?". Mind you, contracts that I had were $500 to $2000 each, and given $200/hour rates, I have never felt it useful to spend any of those hours trying to detect if my clients were crooks. It was technical work, most folks smart enough to even list their requirements have spent a fair bit of time in tech.

So, I already saw stuff that I thought was fairly deep into "the world is a scary place" land. I asked her about it once and she said, "You must be mistaken. I think the world is fine, I have no fear of anything." That didn't change my opinion, except that I decided it was just one area where we viewed behaviors differently, and those will always exist.

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But why shouldn't you control your own money? That you earned and had starting investing long before you knew her.
First, it's not legally mine once we're married. Second, I do not place a value on control. Fear is what drives people to feel the need to control - anything - and I have little fear. I'm totally OK with someone else controlling my money as long as I have the ability to check in on it to make sure that grossly bad decisions aren't being made.

Frankly, the moment you've bought a share of stock or a mutual fund, you have handed control of your money to the company or fund manager, so our entire lives are spent letting others control our money.

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Again, it's wonderful that you share your money with her, and that you are generous, and you allowed her to "take over the family financials". You've been very reasonable and compromising.
Actually, if you read any books on marriage, the general advice is that not being willing to share this responsibility will lead to a lack of trust, a major deal-breaker in marriage. If I didn't feel I could trust her making financial decisions, I'd have not married her.

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I get a sense that your wife wants to know exactly how much you have, and have w-a-a-a-y more say over what you do with it.
"I" don't have anything, by law. She does know exactly how much "we" have and I wouldn't want it any other way. Now, this is a gradual thing - I would not have shared this info during the dating days, and never did. It was when we were getting serious about tying the knot that I gradually let her know approximately various levels and she seemed to think this was just plain normal for a guy working in high tech. I wasn't the first technical guy she'd dated, after all. The sudden shock I saw on her was when she saw the figures in print - even though by then I'd told her the figures.

She has acknowledged that I seem to be better with investing choices and specifically requests that I manage that and don't tell her what I"m doing becase it's scary. We're on the same page there.

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But, you have nothing to prove; you've shown excellent judgment in handling your money. You've had far more success with investing than she has with her fear and timidity.
In my entire life, I have never felt it necessary to prove anything to anybody, so the concept is kind of lost on me.

All I want is for her to spend the time it takes to assuage whatever her anxiety is on her own and not expect me to put in the hours she thinks it should take. That's all.

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I hate to see you living with her constantly harassing you with her fear and anxiety; over something that you haven't done wrong, basically.
I also don't have the values of "right" and "wrong" in my lexicon, except for minor details. 4+4=9 is "wrong", but human behavior is far too complex to lend itself to the black and white labels of "right" or "wrong". Real life is lived in the rainbow colors in between.

Reasonable behavior in marriage acknowledges the other person's feelings, even if you think they come from a lack of reason. However, I believe it's also reasonable to set some boundaries on how much time you spend supporting those emotions versus asking the person to take responsibility for their own emotions.

And that's all I'm trying to do here.

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Don't give up control of what's yours. I wonder if she will just keep at it and keep at it until she has complete control and access to all the money. Not unusual for miserly people. And it will get much worse as she gets older.
She expresses no desire to control the investments. She hasn't explicitly said she wants to control what I spend, either. It's more of an implied belief that if spending is "too high" (measured against a spending limit that she has yet to tell me what it is) it must be due to me spending more than whatever limit she never gave me.

By establishing a separate account, which she can fill with however much $ she wants, she will be essentially required to create that spending limit for me. If it's too low, I am comfortable engaging in that discussion. And if she pushes back, that's when I'll say no, I'm not going to accept that. But we're not there at this time.
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post #34 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-12-2016, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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I clarified in my post below. Also, in my original post, that is why I mentioned it would depend on how much one person made over the other, being that if there was a huge disparity then this would not work.
I think the worst way to determine who gets what is based on earning.

Rather, I think it should be based on the agreed-upon set of responsibilities. One of the two of you will be asked to write the mortgage check, pay the utility bills, and so on. That person's account gets that money. If one of you dislikes shopping (that would be me), then there's no need for the funds to be equalized. You do not want to distribute the entire paychecks anyway, you're both going to be holding back $16,000 each for the 401k if you want a fighting chance to retire at a reasonable age, and that amount doesn't depend on income, it's just the legal max.
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post #35 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 03:52 AM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

@DustyDog, have you tried actually saying "Wife, you need to cope with your fearfulness and I ask that you please stop XYZ."
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post #36 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 04:03 AM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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post #37 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 04:05 AM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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I think the worst way to determine who gets what is based on earning.

Rather, I think it should be based on the agreed-upon set of responsibilities. One of the two of you will be asked to write the mortgage check, pay the utility bills, and so on. That person's account gets that money. If one of you dislikes shopping (that would be me), then there's no need for the funds to be equalized. You do not want to distribute the entire paychecks anyway, you're both going to be holding back $16,000 each for the 401k if you want a fighting chance to retire at a reasonable age, and that amount doesn't depend on income, it's just the legal max.
Well, there really isn't a right or wrong way. All that is important is that a) both people in the relationship agree to whatever method is determined and b) both people actually stick to it. The way my W and I did it, it was easy to manage, crystal clear for both of us so each month we knew exactly what we had to allocate towards the house and what we had left for ourselves (and that was with both of us maxing out our 401ks each year).
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post #38 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 04:16 AM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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post #39 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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@DustyDog, have you tried actually saying "Wife, you need to cope with your fearfulness and I ask that you please stop XYZ."
Ever worked with a fear-driven person? That kind of direct approach - "you need to" doesn't get far. In fact, unless you're someone's boss "you need to" is a fairly inflammatory way to interact with an adult.

I have broached the subject that I think her belief that things are bad and there's more evil than good is preventing our marriage from making progress, can we engage a counselor about it? And she says "my fears have kept me alive and safe, I think the world would be better if everybody was more like me."

Nobody is going to fix something they believe is a benefit, and nobody will simply accept your view of them being broken.

However, I think (and I"ve been working with our counselor about the best way to convey this), I absolutely can and should control my response to her, as in, do something to take my time back.

I gave it a go last night, being super emotionally supportive and recognizing that all feelings are real. And then I said, "and I would like to encourage you to empower yourself to run your own reports in the software. You already enter all the information, so you're probably better at it than I am, because you know what's going to come out of a report." She said "you're trying to dump work on me". I said I am not intending on that. My real objective is for those reports to actually convey the information you want. And since you know what you want better than I do, I think you'd be better and faster at running those reports. With the freed up time, I could go to work on one of those outdoor projects you want me to do." She looked glum, but did not go into the stonewalling phase (classic for fear-driven people), which is a decent sign.

We'll see.
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post #40 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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Sounds like a rollicking good time . But you seem content with it. Hope it can be worked out for you guys.
No, I'm not content with it. If I were content, I wouldn't be trying to make changes!

However, I'm not an alpha male, women in general aren't drawn to me, so the prospect of divorce and the search for someone to share my life with is not pleasant. I'd rather make this one work.

Our first 3-4 years were a rollicking good time. A financial collapse caused us to "pull in" everything and act as if we were in a cave, which I accepted as a way to weather that storm. But we never got back out of the cave and she now claims that when we did that, it reminded her that was how she preferred to live.

One could claim she lured me on false pretenses, but that would be called "living in the past". You can only deal with what is now and today and work from there.

If we somehow work out an arrangement with the money where I'm not so darned involved, but her fears start getting her agitated about some other aspect of life and it's another struggle to get her to realize I'm not in charge of her feelings...well, I'm not inclined to want to live the rest of my life that way, and I may at that time choose to move on.

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post #41 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 01:26 PM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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post #42 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 12:00 PM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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Ever worked with a fear-driven person? That kind of direct approach - "you need to" doesn't get far. In fact, unless you're someone's boss "you need to" is a fairly inflammatory way to interact with an adult.

I have broached the subject that I think her belief that things are bad and there's more evil than good is preventing our marriage from making progress, can we engage a counselor about it? And she says "my fears have kept me alive and safe, I think the world would be better if everybody was more like me."

Nobody is going to fix something they believe is a benefit, and nobody will simply accept your view of them being broken.

However, I think (and I"ve been working with our counselor about the best way to convey this), I absolutely can and should control my response to her, as in, do something to take my time back.

I gave it a go last night, being super emotionally supportive and recognizing that all feelings are real. And then I said, "and I would like to encourage you to empower yourself to run your own reports in the software. You already enter all the information, so you're probably better at it than I am, because you know what's going to come out of a report." She said "you're trying to dump work on me". I said I am not intending on that. My real objective is for those reports to actually convey the information you want. And since you know what you want better than I do, I think you'd be better and faster at running those reports. With the freed up time, I could go to work on one of those outdoor projects you want me to do." She looked glum, but did not go into the stonewalling phase (classic for fear-driven people), which is a decent sign.

We'll see.
So now that that is out there....isn't the next thing to say (when it comes up again, because it WILL come up again): "I am ok with where our finances are. I KNOW you worry and I appreciate that, but I am not worried about them. If you want to stay more on top of them then knock yourself out. If you find something that I SHOULD worry about, let me know then. Until then, I will keep up in my own way."

That way, you are not knocking her tendency to worry, but you are letting her know that it is her deal and not yours.
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post #43 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 12:19 PM
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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The reason I asked is (I'm in the minority), it's mostly YOUR money.

That you lovingly share with her is wonderful.

But she doesn't need to help you---you're doing just fine.

She didn't earn it, you did. You didn't marry until 40 (so you don't have kids together???----what's the bit about private schools; the people in her family went to private schools?? )

When you marry someone much wealthier than you, that's a step up for you. But a marriage license doesn't entitle you to freak out and control someone else's money.

I wonder if this worrywart behavior is a way to get you to mix all your money with her??? Don't do it.

If I was you, I'd be tempted to tell her to butt out. I mean, did she work to put you through school? Did she work and contribute her paycheck to helping you start a business? It's no on both counts, right.

And, making more money does entitle you to having more spending money. That's how making more money works. She's not your mom.
Definitely agree with many things you said.

Just because it the law says that martial money belongs to both doesn't mean that it's right. There's lots of stupid laws out there and this is just another one of them. I believe that if you earn it, it's your's and whether or not you want to share should be your own business.

From personal experience, having separate accounts is the right way to go. If you have a joint account, expect that to be gone in short order. Having a joint account sounds good and looks good but it's quite impractical. It will be the cause of so many arguments it's not even worth it.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #44 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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Remember, the whole "alpha male" thing is pretty much hogwash. Don't buy into it.
Would you kindly go into that in more detail?

What aspects are hogwash? The existence of alpha vs beta? I always correlated them with Type A vs. Type B personalities.

Or are you claiming that women really aren't drawn to the Type A/alpha rather than the B?

What I had been told by a female counselor: Most men who are available either go into or are Type A. Pro-active, keenly aware of how they are seen versus other males, etc. Women who get approached by men are far more likely to be approached by a Type A, and therefore, this is the 'type' that they expect and understand rather automatically.

Therefore, being a Type B, non-competitive who has no concerns about how I'm viewed by others or where I sit in any comparison, I'm not a draw...not because I'm not likeable/desirable, but because I'm not like other guys and women don't think they understand me or how to communicate with me. Not necessarily a preference, but I end up outside their comfort zones.

I've often wondered how much difference it makes. One thing that's interesting - when I hear my nieces (25-35 years younger than me) talking about the dating world, I'm shocked to hear the message repeated that they are "waiting" for guys to ask them out. Maybe I was in the dating game during a different part of women's lib, but when I was 20-35, women asked men out...in fact, the vast majority of my relationships, long or short, started because the woman approached me.

One counselor suggested that, in order to help figure out how I'd make a decision, I should plan for path A and path B. So, I'm working to keep the marriage relevant and alive, although I have to say the more my wife "becomes who she thinks she should have been all along", the less interesting she is. Plan B is to split. So, as part of Plan B, I am considering what I'd add to my relatively sparse social activities to meet women. Thus, the contemplation of type A/B, etc.

I remember a few times in my mid-30s, when I would teach an adult ed class on something like "cash flow management for the newly single", it wasn't a bad way to meet people of both genders. Had a fair number of women approach me then...perhaps teaching again would be an option.
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post #45 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Splitting bank accounts for an unusual reason?

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Definitely agree with many things you said.

Just because it the law says that martial money belongs to both doesn't mean that it's right.
I think it's completely right. Before these laws went into effect, there was a HUGE tendency for the man to pretty much be forced to support the woman for the rest of his life. These new laws are intended to make each person more self-sufficient and reduce the gender bias.

Also, the whole point of marriage is to tell the world "we are one, we do everything together, we no longer think as two people but our union is more important than either of us". If you don't want to send that message, don't get married, IMO. So, since everybody makes it clear that's what it's all about, before you tie the knot, it makes total sense that the law treats you as if, during the marriage, you really believed what you said, and are willing to abide by it.
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