Thanks so much for all of your replies .... I think you ladies have enlightened me to an issue we might have
I was in a 'full-on' relationship very early in life. By 20 I had a mortgage and was pregnant with my first child, therefore I am so used to sharing money; and very little 'secrecy' when it comes to money ...
FH is now 31 and this is his first 'full-on' relationship, until now he has lived at home. He is struggling with the concept of joint accounts, and really wants a 'play money' account where he can keep $2000 just in case he wants a new toy. He also wants he personal account to have a float of $1000. He is struggling with the concept of everything being opened. In saying this he has major issues with privacy in general, as a teenager / adult living at home his parents went thru everything of his (ie. opened his mail and read bank statements, letters and phone bills)
If you add this all up this would mean that we would have $6K ($3k for each of us) just sitting in 'play accounts' ... that $6K could be sitting against one of our mortgages (we have 4) at present.
He has came around to agreeing that we need to pool of money, which I am happy about ... Now I just need to get my head around his idea of 'play money' as opposed to mine - I have only ever given myself $150 play money per week. The whole float things seems excessive to me.
Agape, I understand how you feel and can really see both sides.
DH was very uncomfortable with the idea of a joint account and joint budget when we first moved in together. He was 28 - had been on his own since 18 and never had a live-in relationship before. We only put just enough money in our joint account to cover rent and groceries for the first year. It took another 1.5 years of discussion and marriage to get to the point where our joint expense and savings account now hold 90% of all our monies. (I really had to ease him into it slowly.)
I think i'd feel too that $3k in play money and float for each person is too much - especially as you say when it could be sitting in an offset account and saving you more money - but I am fully in favour of a $1-1.5K float in each of our personal accounts. Reasons are:
- I feel that DH is too reliant on me to manage our money, and he needs to learn to save independently and budget his own pool of money.
- We think that that bit of independence and privacy is good for us, just lets us splurge every now and then without feeling guilty about affecting our joint money (and also, buy presents for each other!!)
- DH doesn't have a credit card and doesn't have an ATM card to our joint account (his choice). So he really needs to have a decent fund in his account in case of emergencies.
- Agape, you've also hit on something that made me feel so strongly about this: I grew up with my mum having access to my account and regularly taking money out whenever she needed, which made it impossible for me to save any money at all. It's very important to me now to feel in control of 'our' money as well as 'my' money.
BUT - this float comes from our individual play money, not from joint savings, if you spend it, it doesn't get replenished from the joint account. We also have an unspoken understanding to inform each other prior to personal purchases over, say, $200. And if one of us wanted to buy a really expensive toy/gadget, then (A) if the purchase only benefits one person, that person saves and pays for it out of their play money, but (B) if the purchase benefits both of us, we could both chip in for it from both personal accounts (if it's a luxury), or pay for it from our shared savings (if it is a justified household purchase, like a TV). I'm the one more inclined to buy expensive toys in our relationship, to be honest - but I bought an iPad last year and new laptop this year with DH's agreement and only using personal savings (some of which came from working a second casual job), without short-changing our agreed contributions to joint accounts. I think that's fair.
Whether or not you have completely joint or completely separate accounts it's still possible for a really deceitful partner to apply for secret credit cards and hide massive spendings/debt. We're 90% joint as it is, but honestly, I could still get a new credit card and rack up a $10k debt and DH wouldn't know a thing. We share the same financial goals, we both pull our weight working towards it, and we discuss our joint and individual money honestly - it works for us and we're happy with it.