• Dividing the Financial Duties

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    This month’s Money magazine is up over at CNNMoney, and this month’s topic is something near and dear to our hearts: money and relationships. The articles cover how couples differ when it comes to dealing retirement, budgeting, day-to-day spending, and other money matters. There were a couple of good quotes that I thought came out of the first article:

    Across the divide, misunderstanding often rules. (The typical couple can’t even agree, other research shows, on how much they earn or owe.)

    …the typical husband says his household earns 5% more and is 10% wealthier than the wife says, while the wife reports that the family owes about $500 more than her husband says.

    “The only time we really talk about money is when there’s a problem.”

    “I roll my eyes and cooperate, but I find it comical.”

    The things that I believe are missing from those relationships? Honesty and full disclosure on topics that are important to the relationship. We believe that if couples can’t be honest with each other about finances, why should they be honest with each other on other topics? You should know each other’s financial situations before a commitment is made. I would have never proposed to Her if I didn’t know exactly how her finances would have an effect on my life. The first time we fully disclosed our failing finances to each other was really tough, but it only got easier from that day on.

    The second article gives advice on how to equalize some of the unbalance in couples financial relationships, giving advice for him and her and both (not to be confused with the authors of this blog, Him and Her). Here’s how we divvy up our financial duties:

    Retirement accounts
    She has a 401(k) and a Roth IRA, I have a SIMPLE IRA and a ROTH IRA. We both take care of the maintenance of our own accounts, and decide how much to contribute.

    Groceries
    She makes the list and clips the coupons. I complain that we have to go grocery shopping.

    Day-to-day spending
    It really depends on who is doing the spending, but on a day-to-day basis, we usually don’t spend any money. We have personal allowances that we can buy whatever we want with.

    Bill paying/saving/other liquid asset allocation
    We do this together on Saturday mornings. We pay bills, then we transfer money to savings and move other money around as we see fit. We do this so we know how much we can spend on crap that we don’t need.

    Sadly enough, we fight over household chores more than money. According to the first link in the series (which is a popup box that I can’t directly link to) we’re actually a part of the majority. I think that we fight about overflowing dishes in the sink more than money because we don’t have to fight about of our financial matters.

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