Monday, March 29, 2010

Splitting Pay Between Accounts

I recently started a new job with a smallish company. After taking the job, one of the questions I asked the human resources person who showed me around on the first day was whether I could split my pay between two different banks accounts. I thought that maybe a small company might not be set up to handle this, but they can. I noticed I felt relieved. Such a small thing makes a difference in my marriage.

My wife and I have had various periods of time when both of use earned an income, only one of us did, and times when neither of us earned income. One constant we maintained through all this is that all money belongs to both of us. Just because at a given time only one of us had an income didn’t mean that spouse controlled the money.

We prefer to maintain separate bank accounts. Neither one of us wants misunderstandings or mistakes to lead to bounced cheques and other headaches. This means that I need to send some of my pay over to my wife’s bank account.

One solution to this problem would be for her to ask me for money whenever she runs low. But in the past, this has been a problem for us. It just feels too much like begging. It’s much better to have the money just arrive automatically. This approach actually makes a tangible difference in our happiness.

6 comments:

  1. I don't need to split pay between accounts. Mine all goes to my wife's account!

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  2. This is an interesting topic, and one that is almost taboo. I find the money dynamic in marriage is quite complex, even when there is no shortage of money. I imagine it would be very emotionally charged if a family is low on money.

    One spouse may think the other wastes money or is too tight with it. Balancing consumption and saving is tough enough with one person, and is trickier within a family environment. I like how you and your wife have largely automated the sharing of resources.

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  3. Patrick: I guess that's one solution. I find I need a few dollars to buy lunch and a round of golf once in a while.

    Gene: A big plus of the automation is that my wife has certainty about what money will be avaiable. She doesn't have to rely on me to remember to fill her account. She also doesn't have to contend with me deciding I'm a little short and cheating her account.

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  4. Nice solution to prevent awkward moments

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  5. Seems like if "all money belongs to both of us" then the simple solution is a joint account.

    We share your philosophy...it's not his or hers. It's ours. Not only helps the budget, but more importantly, helps the marriage too. For us, it's not 50-50, its all in!!

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  6. Andy R: Joint accounts work for some people, but for me its like sharing a toothbrush. I want to be in control of what happens in my account. I've never bounced a cheque, and I wouldn't want to start now because of some simple misunderstanding with my wife. But, to each his own. If you and your wife have made joint accounts work and you like it, then that's great.

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