Joint Accountable: How to manage money with someone who can't

Posted By: Matt in Saving on 09/28/2018 at 06:58:55

Are you pretty good at managing money·

Do you have a savings account with more than a few dollars in it·

Have you opted to set aside more money for retirement and have a 401K or IRA that is working at this very moment·

If you've answered "yes" to all of those questions, then you're well ahead of the masses as far as money saving goes. But what if you have a significant other who can't answer yes to those questions and perhaps he or she has a propensity for spending money, not budgeting and their idea of retirement is working till they simply can't·

Being with someone that isn't as adept at money as you are isn't anything new or shocking. The flip side of that is you are the person who just isn't good with money and will look to your significant other for help, assistance and guidance on how to be better.

In either instance, the two of you aren't equals, and that could be a problem.

The key word in that sentence is "could·"

You have to tackle the financial situation in the household as a team, despite arguments to the contrary that suggest you should just let the more experienced and success money manager take the reigns. While they can lead and dictate as far as staying organized and on point with budgeting, for example, it doesn't mean the "lesser" person shouldn't be involved in any part of that planning, either.

Experts go back and forth on joint accounts versus each individual having their own, but the trick is to find what works for you. The best practice clearly is having one person "in charge" of the finances but both individuals working collectively and not having a bill or dollar being paid out that both aren't aware of at the very least.

And if you or the person you are with can get a little spend happy, that isn't something you can't ignore. This is part of the explanation and communication phase when you reach a point in the relationship where money isn't about just each of you having a checking account, so the most important element is talking through how to find common ground on how much and the frequency of which spending occurs.

For the longest time, I had my money and she had hers, but our example just wasn't working for a number of reasons. I got paid once per month, and I'd cover the bigger expenses, like my car and the house. She'd get paid (self employed) weekly, and she'd do her car, insurance and mostly her stuff.

What works best for us is a joint account, so that her income can bridge the gap between my paychecks so we can better manage as a whole. Everything gets paid out of my account and all the money goes in there as well, and we both have access to it.

Finding what works for you has to be a plan and action that you both, however, completely agree on and are happy with in totality for it to truly work.


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