In honor of the nuptials of Him & Her, I thought I would harken back to, lo, those many months ago (October, 2007) when Jon and I tied the knot.
After our wedding and honeymoon, we immediately hunkered down and cut back on spending, so we could pay off our credit card bill. And we started discussing how we would max out our Individual Retirement Accounts for 2007, and contribute the full $4,000 each. That’s when Jon said, “If, at the end of the year, I still need an extra $2,000, you can give it to me.” Wait a minute, I thought. You want me to GIVE you $2,000? Just GIVE it to you? And you won’t even pay me back?
You see, Jon’s parents have always completely shared their finances. My parents, by contrast, don’t even have a joint checking account. That’s partly because Jon’s father was always the primary breadwinner, so a joint account was necessary. My parents, by contrast, have always made roughly the same amount of money, so there was no need to combine everything into one account. But the funny thing is, I grew up on a commune. You’d think I’d be the one advocating that we share money.
Of course, I knew I should give him the $2,000. I had made more progress putting money into my own IRA, thanks in part to a generous gift from my grandmother. And in the long run, it’s obviously better for me if we’ve saved as much as possible in BOTH of our retirement accounts. I just had a little trouble, the first month or so after the wedding, adjusting to this new mindset, in which “we” replaced “me” when it came to financial decisions. Unlike Him & Her, who have clearly been a financial team for a while, Jon and I didn’t start thinking about these issues until after our wedding. (That’s when I started our blog, Monogamoney.)
A few weeks after our initial discussion about the IRAs, the thought finally occurred to me: “You’re either in it for the long term, or you’re not. And if you’re in it for the long term, give him the money.” And since I’m in it for the long term, I gave him the money. We use our joint account to pay rent, but everything else is paid for out of our individual accounts. And we no longer keep track of every dollar we spend.
Do you share and your partner share all your finances? Why or why not?