Signs of Financial Relationship Trouble?

With my husband across the planet in Kuwait for most of the past two years, we don't fight a lot.

When we do fight, it's about three things: what I'm doing with the kids. What things are going to be like when he comes back (for leave, or for good). And money.

We started out so well?
At the beginning of our relationship, I had a great job I was leaving, along with my ex-boyfriend, to move back home to Portland and my to-be-husband. It was easy to find a new job (this was 2001), and we settled quickly into the financial structure that existed then. I made most of the family's money and paid all the bills. My husband and I, honestly, were thinking ahead only in general terms. “I want to save money for retirement,” we would say. “Let's have college savings funds for the boys,” we'd say.

We merged finances very soon in our young marriage; while I bought the house and had entered into the credit cards before we married, we shared equally in the choices about how to spend our money and control over the debit card. Most of our arguments about money were retroactive. (“Why did you buy drinks for your friends, again?” I might say. “How much did you spend on fabric?” he might say in return.)

Conventional roles work?
When I ended my relationship with full-time work for a salary in late 2008, my husband was supportive. At first, I was making quite a lot in my freelance job and he could make enough at the service-oriented jobs he was working at the time to balance the books. Eventually, we decided he should take advantage of a need for his talents and skills in the Army; it would provide plenty of income and benefits while we regained our financial footing. When he returned, he'd be more employable. He'd have a promotion or two, and those medals and honors do add up to respect in many lines of work.

Since we made that decision, but for one glorious month when I had a couple of great freelance jobs come together, he's made the majority of the income. He seemed excited about that, at first; his chance to “provide for his family!” He said things like, “it's my turn,” and “I'm proud I have the opportunity.” We kept our finances combined; the paycheck came into a joint USAA account, and I paid the bills, like always. It was easier; I had the bills coming into my mailbox, and I was the one with most of the expenses outside of bills, as the day-to-day costs of being a soldier overseas can be limited to phone cards, internet cards, cigarettes, and soda. (Well, they could be limited to almost nothing, but some allowances must be made for the difficult environment.)

That was great, until he came home for a few months and discovered I'd saved little money for an emergency fund. I thought he understood that we were paying off a lot of debt and I wouldn't be saving money until it was closer to a zero balance. We couldn't come to a good understanding, here; I thought I'd done a pretty good job of managing the money, he thought I'd spent too much on food. “Maybe I have spent a lot on food, but you spend way more!” I said, watching him load up on convenience foods that were “easier” than my organic, from-scratch options.

Perception is reality?
Fundamentally, we just have a very different approach to food; mine has changed as I've become more educated about agricultural techniques and the impact of chemicals on the body. I've also seen my health improve as I nearly eliminated refined sugar and many processed foods, including conventionally-farmed meats, and seen how severely my children's behavior can react to a great deal of chemicals and refined sugars in their diet. Not only does it seem worth it (especially as the primary caregiver) to me to spend a little more per pound for some of the things I buy, I really believe that my food schema is less expensive in total than his. It's certainly less expensive than our two competing food schemas, combined.

While he agrees in principle with most of my ideas about diet, he is impatient about waiting a long time for a meal (especially after coming home from a place where meals are served at exactly the same time each day) and seduced by the super saver deals on meat and prepared foods at Safeway. With both of us buying food, we waste a lot, making our total expense outrageous — plus we're spending way too much time either arguing over our spending or feeling resentful and angry over the other spouse's spending. I know enough to know that “perception is reality,” at least in this sort of dispute. It doesn't matter whether my food budget is $600 a month or $1200 a month. It mattered that I spent $45 on a box of organic nectarines. (Once! They're super good and I plan to buy that same box again this summer.)

A fix?
He came up with a plan to stop the fighting: he would start a separate account, get paid into that account, and he would pay all the bills, then put money in savings, and give me money for food, babysitting, and other household expenses if I needed it; after lots of argument I had said I would pay for food out of my freelance income.

While this worked in some ways; he was so proud he was paying the bills and saving money, and he thought he'd solved all our problems; it didn't work for me. Now if I didn't make enough to cover the month's expenses on the homefront I'd have to go ask him for money. If I was late sending him a bill I'd feel bad and want to pay it myself. Sometimes our communication was mixed up, causing late fees or overdrafts. The bank treats accounts that are getting direct deposit from the government very differently than those that are receiving direct deposits from private companies, so I was paying more fees for ATM withdrawals, among other things.

The worst part was — I thought — it set up a weird dynamic between us. When I came to him to ask for money, it gave him a lot of power to say “no” if he thought my use wasn't a good one. Because we don't talk every day, I would have to save up my money talk for when we did get a phone call, leading him to say (when he was feeling dramatic) that I only ever wanted to talk to him about money. The problem escalated as the months went on, until we came to a kind of agreement about a budget he'd give me, and not ask how I was using it.

A better solution?
It's still not perfect. He thinks I don't need as much money as he sends me, no matter that I beg him to ask his friends how much their wives spend on food, babysitting, transportation, clothes… (which is kind of cheating, as I spend virtually nothing on transportation and clothes); I think his structure is only going to continue to cause this unease between us. I can't deny that it's nice to have him paying the major household bills. And it's certainly my goal to make enough to pay for all the groceries and babysitting my little heart could desire; I do, some months, and those are so much easier between us.

Separate accounts can work
I really do believe that separate accounts can work; but only if either:

  • Both partners are making enough to meet their individual needs and one is making enough to save after the bills are paid; or
  • Both partners are almost perfectly aligned in their spending values.

I'm hoping I can manage to make #1 happen, because I'm fairly sure #2 is too far in the distant future to count on. How about you: Have you made a joint account work? Do you fit one of these two categories or do you have another one I should add to my list? If you've had separate accounts and it hasn't worked out, did you find a way to solve the problem?

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Eve
Eve
8 years ago

For us, a joint account works. We spent some time early in our marriage drawing up a rough budget, and this budget included a certain sum that we jointly decided we could afford to divert into savings/emergency fund every month. At the beginning of each month, I make that transfer from the joint checking account to savings (an account we both regard as untouchable without some kind of major mutual decision). We also have mutually-agreed-upon amounts that we put towards debt repayment, aid to indigent family members, etc. Since we do what we initially agreed upon regarding savings,debt, and giving…… Read more »

Romeo
Romeo
8 years ago
Reply to  Eve

Eve, I love to hear that you and your husband have a plan…that works well. I cover finances between couples in chapter 16 of my book, How We Prevent Wealth: A Personal Finance Reflection.

The truth of the matter is that there is no one right way to handle joint finances. However, all joint finance situations require a mutual understanding and agreement on how money will be spent.

bon
bon
8 years ago
Reply to  Eve

I really agree about goal-setting – Sarah, that seems to be the missing piece for you. If you were both working towards mutually agreed-upon goals I think it would increase trust and decrease tension.

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago
Reply to  bon

The problem seems to be FINDING mutual goals. They have very different priorities for money, especially when it comes to food, and it sounds like they’ve had a hard time coming up with goals they agree upon. I don’t have any solutions but have lots of empathy!

KWu
KWu
8 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

Yeah, it’s totally the part of finding unified goals that’s the sticky part, huh. I agree that it sounds like there are some more fundamental conversations to be had here but I would have faith that there are common goals in there somewhere. It seems like there’s a lot more in here about power imbalances and trust than it really is about the food budget. Sarah probably feels that her husband isn’t showing enough trust in her decision-making, while her husband probably feels a bit of fear from being so far away from his family often and a lack of… Read more »

AMW
AMW
8 years ago

I’ve been married for 24 years. We have always had joint accounts. They dynamics have changed several times over those years. I made more, then he made more. We went through unemployment, rediculous amounts of medical bills, and the recession. Our “system” evolves as our circumstances evolve. However, what seems to work best is 1)tracking our budget (the tighter the money the more detailed the tracking becomes), which keeps us accountable to each other and the financial commitments we’ve made together and 2) we each get a weekly allowance that we do not have to be accountable to each other.… Read more »

Eve
Eve
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

This is a very good point– we do this too (the small personal allowance). It is only $40/week apiece, but makes it so we don’t have to check in with one another or feel guilty if we want to buy an ice cream cone or a coffee. As long as this nickel-and-dime spending stays within a reasonable agreed-upon range (the allowance), we do not ask questions. 🙂

Maureen
Maureen
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

I have been married for 29 years. We have always had joined finances, when I worked 2 jobs to support us and pay for his graduate school, and later when I left the workforce to raise our children. We also set aside ‘mad money’ that was availble for discretionary spending. This has worked very well for us.

Loretta
Loretta
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last week and have had joint accounts for all of that time. However, the majority of the money management is done by one person…me. He doesn’t use a debit card so I don’t have to worry about unexpected withdrawals. HOWEVER, we both sit down and discuss the budget allocations when there is a need to make changes to them. We have used the envelope system for 24 years now, and both of us have access to those envelopes to buy food, clothing, and items for the home. We each also get an “allowance”… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

We use an allowance system too for day to day spending, $500 per half the month, this covers gas, groceries, eating out, entertainment, dry cleaning, dog expenses, personal care, etc. We have our own accounts for our allowance money, if you are good with your allowance you can save the money up for treats. Mr. Sam would spend as much money as was available to him (although I’m the spender in the relationship, I have more discipline) so we decided when we were paying down our debt to cut up the credit cards, use debit cards only and live by… Read more »

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago

While it is stressful his making you a beggar and shorting his children is not, IMHO, the way to go. Maybe the expectations are too high? The issue seems to be primarily food as explained, but in our house it was “household” and “for the kids” goods. I simply had no clue how much it took to feed, clothe, and supply stuff for us and the kids plus keep the household rolling. My experience was mostly from when I lived alone in a small apartment. So I bit my tongue more often than not and resented what I viewed as… Read more »

Kathy
Kathy
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

I moved to my husband’s country when I got married, but we did not and still do not have joint accounts. We agreed to meticulously track our household spending for the first three months. We then came up with an amount of how much we each needed to contribute towards the running of the house. We used the envelope system and tried as much as possible not run out before the month end. Clothes and other personal things, eg alcohol for my husband, were paid from our own separate money. This has worked well and we just adjust when we… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

Yeah, what solved most of our money arguments was that I went back to work full time and put all the shopping on him for a while. Amazingly, when a person has to do all that shopping and planning and at least half the cooking and cleaning, it becomes a more important priority. Also his unmeetable expectations (no more than $5 for jeans!) fell on him instead of me, which made him change them. Now i’m not working again and he just doesn’t argue about the groceries or basic kid stuff. We discuss big stuff (summer camp, vacations, entertaining costs)… Read more »

ShackleMeNot
ShackleMeNot
8 years ago

You both REALLY need to get on the same page.

Most importantly you need a budget you both agree to.

William
William
8 years ago

It sounds like his plan was to take the power into his hands and keep the author dependent on his fancy.

I’m all for separate finances, especially if there’s no kids. In this situation, it doesn’t seem to be working well.

If nothing else, the system is causing stress. That’s no good.

Sheryl
Sheryl
8 years ago
Reply to  William

It sounds to me (just by the article) that the financial disagreements here might partly be because of the long-distance with her husband on deployment.

It’s hard to stay on the same page when you can’t sit down every week or two and go over the budget & expesnses together.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Oh gee, that all sounds difficult. I totally agree with you on food, and I’m thinking some of the differences are that he hasn’t changed enough diapers to see (and *smell*) precisely the impact that good food vs. processed food has on outputs in small children. That was really eye-opening (nose-opening?) for us. We have a joint account, but my husband is really easy going. Over the years his eating habits have changed along with mine (mainly back when we were trying to get pregnant the first time and found out I had PCOS which started us on eating healthier… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago

I strongly believe in joint bank accounts for married couples. I think it’s important to consider all income to be “our” income, and all expenses to be “our” expenses. You’re not blowing wads of cash on expensive, frou-frou foods for YOU, you’re doing it for YOUR FAMILY. In our household, all paychecks go into one account, and all bills are paid out of that same account. We also do the $x/month “allowance” money so we can each have some money to spend on personal indulgences without any judgement from the other partner. It sounds like Sarah and her husband have… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

I agree w/ the discretionary “allowance” model. But they need to come to an agreement on a basic, bare-bones, “what the family actually needs” food budget. That way, her husband can get all the junk food he wants using his allowance, and she can buy her $45 nectarines with hers.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

except food for the kids then comes out of her allowance. How is that fair?

It’s not the joint or separate accounts thing – we have separate accounts even though I’m not working, my spending money just comes out of the joint account into mine instead of it being a share of my paycheck. It’s the not working out a shared-priorities budget and insisting on one person having all the power.

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

I guess I wasn’t very clear in my first reply… Food for the kids comes out of the basic family food budget – which both mom & dad must agree on. Specialty foods, or junk foods comes out of mom & dad’s personal allowances. If I get my kids Wendy’s frosty’s that is a special treat that comes out of my allowance, not the family food budget. (I hope that makes sense…)

The bigger issue with the writer and her spouse is that they cannot agree on what constitutes the basics.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

He shouldn’t just go along with whatever makes her happy if they don’t have the money for it – and that’s the disagreement – he’s not interested in risking his life and missing his boys childhood so she can snack on organic nectarines. If she were honest with herself that a lot of the the “I need better food” is just consumerism of the ‘approved’ kind. I mean would she even be making the argument if the item were chocolates? Oh wait I forgot this is Sarah Gilbert – rather than avoid chocolate because the industry is rife with slavery… Read more »

Jackie
Jackie
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I like your posts even more now that I’ve seen your reply to this comment. Thanks for the measured, honest and absolutely appropriate response. (FWIW, I’m a discount shopper, not an organic one)

Esme
Esme
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Bella’s post is a thinly-disguised troll post if I’ve ever seen one. Don’t let her bad attitude and callous disrespect for your life choices hurt you. She’s a complete stranger- its not worth the emotional energy.

Herah
Herah
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Love me or hate me, as long as you’re talking about me. Isn’t that the idea for those in the public eye? Asking readers to avoid your posts when they don’t like the content is not the answer you need for a site that makes it’s revenue from page clicks. As far as your dilemma though, have you and your husband discussed how much money he is expecting to have saved up realistically vs the debts? Is it possible to come to an agreed upon number and put it into a savings account after bills are paid but before organic… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

To all those hating on organic food – not really the financial issue – my hubby was once with you. Today we are members of two CSA’s – one for organic veggies and one for local, humane, (almost organic) meat. Doing the math at about $27/week for two large paper bags full of veggies – it’s both cheaper than most conventional produce at the supermarket and WAY tastier. As for the meat, it’s $8/lb (@ 2.5 lb/week this is $20). But we just don’t eat meat that isn’t raised to certain standards. This means beans. Lots of beans. And for… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago

My wife and I have made a joint account work, but I think that is really because “[b]oth partners are almost perfectly aligned in their spending values.” We are usually in agreement with each other about most expenses. We talk a lot and that helps; I’m sure the separation and unavoidable decrease in communication that goes with it does make it feel like all you ever do is argue about expenses. We budget about $100 a month ($50 each) for personal spending with no judging allowed. She may not like that I eat fast food every once in a while,… Read more »

KP
KP
8 years ago

Having spent time a continent away, paying bills and trying to stay connected with family, we had a few bumps. You need to agree on specific goals. You both also need to accept what each of you controls. When I was away I felt disconnected and we argued about what I knew about, because it was a way to feel connected. As for the food, I recommend two cookbooks that can help, Whole Foods for the Whole Family and The More With Less Cookbook. They both are good cookbooks with a frugal approach for fixing and eating real food. If… Read more »

Allison
Allison
8 years ago

Hi Sarah, I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband is deployed to Afghanistan right now. We have completely joint finances. I pay the bills and move money into savings. I try not to second-guess his spending (but a $400 knife? Really?), and he trusts me to make good financial decisions. I’m usually the more frugal one anyways. For you, a couple questions/tips: 1. What do you mean by you “send him the bills”? I would guess that most bills could be set up with auto-deduct or online payment. So why would he need to wait for you to send them?… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
8 years ago

There is clearly no “meeting of the minds” here in terms of the monthly budget. The LW’s husband does not agree with the wife’s spending plan. That is what needs to be reconciled. (He does not appear to be showing much respect for her daily struggle as a single mom while he’s away). Personally, I cannot imagine a dynamic where I had to “ask” my partner for money. It’s paternatlistic and unrealistic. This should be a partnership where both parties can agree on finances. If, after all this time, you cannot agree on how the monthly budget should be spent,… Read more »

Emily
Emily
8 years ago

Married for 9 years, joint accounts for that amount of time as well. For the most part, my husband leaves the money situation to me. But that’s because he knows I’m extremely debt averse and will not ruin us financially. When we first were married we had the retro active conversations about why the other spent x on y – they rarely helped. What did help was sitting down with each other and the list of bills & savings goals and having a rational discussion about what we could do if we limited our spending in different places. Now, being… Read more »

Allison
Allison
8 years ago
Reply to  Emily

It’s my understanding that Tricare will pay for counseling with a civilian psychologist or marriage counselor as well. Which is nice if the Soldier would feel more comfortable going somewhere off post/base.

Lance@MoneyLife&More
8 years ago

When my girlfriend and I get married we will be merging finances. However we are already on the same page with where our money goes. It sounds like you guys need to develop a budget you can both agree with and stick to it. I know my girlfriend and I wont agree on everything but we plan on having personal spending allowance to deal with that.

Buck
Buck
8 years ago

My fiancee and I merged finances about a year ago when we moved in together. We’ve always found it strange that people are willing to get married (and commit yourself to another person for life) BEFORE merging finances with them. Marriage seems like the bigger step: why do it first? We have a similar mentality regarding money, so it worked well for us. We also know married couples that never merged finances, which can definitely work for some people. One way we keep from arguing about money is having individual discretionary income (not very much, but enough) in addition to… Read more »

MOR
MOR
8 years ago
Reply to  Buck

You marry first because of the legal protections given to spouses in the case of divorce. I would not feel comfortable making career/financial sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without those protections.

Herah
Herah
8 years ago
Reply to  MOR

I realize many marriages end. I refuse to go into it expecting it will happen. I’m usually very logical, but some things should be handled by the heart. If you’ve honestly tested your compatibility first, and everything is on the table, holding things back from your partner just doesn’t feel right.

Lauren
Lauren
8 years ago

The book All Your Worth (which is mentioned on this site often) has a section on finances and how they affect your relationship. If you haven’t read it, it’s really worth it to help figure out what could work for you guys.

Janette
Janette
8 years ago

I hear no gracefulness in your post- only bitterness of being stuck. He seems to be reacting by pulling in the purse strings tighter, causing more bitterness. It is a death spiral that I have seen hundreds of times in military families. Be careful. Try to start with a reasonable budget so both people’s dreams are being fulfilled. He doesn’t want to be doing this just to end up in the same place and you do not want to spend money just to get even with him. You can get free babysitting on post. Believe me, when he is stuck… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Janette

I like this comment in general, but Sarah’s husband is in Kuwait, not in Somalia. And he’s a voluntary enlister with special skills, not a grunt.

So while $45 for a box of nectarines (and we don’t know how big a box that is) may seem excessive, we shouldn’t fixate on that as denoting some life of luxury that Sarah is supposedly leading while he suffers in a sand cave.

Janette
Janette
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

@@ I lived in Saudi. I know where Kuwait is. Most soldiers feel that anywhere without their family, in a limited area with a harsh climate, is a sh** hole- my family included- an Airman, a Marine and an Army soldier. ALL enlisted are specialized- as are officers. I see no “grunts”. If you do- then you have not looked at the modern volunteer military. The drawdown is real and happening as the war continues. Even if he could re enlist (He joined in 08 making a five year enlistment up next year)- the special money he gets for being… Read more »

Steve S
Steve S
8 years ago

Still waiting for the first Sarah Gilbert post where she doesn’t mention her organic, grass-fed, holistic food fetish. More on topic…been married 3 years and all of our finances are joint/merged (except for Individual retirement accounts, but we are primary beneficiaries on each other’s). I “pay the bills” but both of our paychecks are direct deposited to the same account. Neither of us has any debt except the mortgage. We decided jointly that we would split our surplus cash flow each month between investments, paying down mortgage, and long-term savings (vacations, car, etc.) No real fights about money, but to… Read more »

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

Have you tried the balanced money approach in Elizabeth Warren’s book? It might help ease things along between you &your dh, if you can keep your finances aligned within guidelines. It might help you both avoid fighting over details. My husband is as frugal as I, and we had joint accounts from the start. This has worked extremely well for us, possibly because he doesn’t like being bothered with the details. We are on the same page with big picture things: major purchases, funding retirement, education, paying down debt. I take care of the details. The one area we fight… Read more »

KSR
KSR
8 years ago

Everyone’s different but there is one constant for a successful relationship….equality. 50/50 regardless of where the money comes from and how much from whom. The hard part isn’t figuring out where the money went or how it should be spent. The hard part is figuring out what sacrifice is required in how it will be made and for what goals it will be ultimately saved. In your case, it is made the hard way. Separation, single parenting, and one accountable income. But, you’re on the same team and need to figure out a common goal and, perhaps, individual goals that… Read more »

MemeGRL
MemeGRL
8 years ago

When we married, I was a generalist (I knew generally how much money I had in the bank, generally how much I charged each month, and paid everything off every month but just eyeballed my account) and my husband was a to-the-penny balancer. To keep marital stress light, we kept separate accounts but had both names on all accounts so I knew what he had and vice versa. We separated bills and it went from there. Now we are both closer to generalists but it works for us and so we stuck with it. I am now part-time so I… Read more »

CRS
CRS
8 years ago

I’m sorry for your communication problems with your husband, but I’m not sure that GRS is the place to work out these issues. This post gives me the feeling that this is oversharing in the worst way.

Christy
Christy
8 years ago
Reply to  CRS

After reading this article it occurred to me that I was not really comfortable with the content. While I do appreciate the self disclosure of the writers on this blog about financial issues, the content of this article reflects more of the internal power struggles and communication issues in a marriage.

Becka
Becka
8 years ago
Reply to  CRS

Agreed. This was really uncomfortable to read, and while I agree that the basic material could be a good choice for a financial blog, the approach took it in a completely different direction. It kind of felt more like a personal livejournal entry.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  CRS

While I think I get where you’re coming from,I’m gonna have to respectfully disagree with this. We have two competing values here. One the one hand: 1) Talk of marital conflict can make people uncomfortable, we don’t argue in public, don’t wash your dirty laundry in public, etc. On the other hand: 2) A good financial partnership is essential for couples who want to prosper and not self-destruct in the process. See for example: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/money-fights-predict-divorce-rates/ 3) A couple that fights together stays together. Sweeping issues under the rug doesn’t make anybody any good. See for example: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/relationship/138166289.html — So, in… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Yes, some financial problems are really communication problems, and, as Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey emphasize, these may need to be fixed before real progress can be made in terms of budgeting etc. It’s an important part of personal finance with couples. However, not all married people argue. It is true that many do, but some do not(and still have perfectly happy loving and respectful long-running relationships, even with children). It’s not all “Facebook effect.” Not everybody who seems to be happily married without conflict is lying or omitting things. (Nor are they necessarily tiptoeing around each other or not… Read more »

Jamie
Jamie
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I absolutely think that this post was relevant for GRS, and I was happy to find it. I am fascinated by how other couples handle accounts and discuss money in general, just as I’m interested in how other people invest, save, etc– It’s all money.

Since money is the root of many couples’ big problems, I’m actually surprised that we don’t have more posts like this available on personal finance blogs. Thank you for the post, Sarah. It was good to re-evaluate the financial systems I have in place with my hubby, and think about how we communicate about money.

Clare
Clare
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I don’t know that it’s quite fair to imply that all of your communication issues are a result of your husband’s poor upbringing or dysfunctional family issues. The assumption underlying this entire piece seems to be that your choices are valid, while your husband’s are not. I know neither you nor your husband (though I have read and enjoyed your writing for many years), and I really, really try to avoid judging other people’s choices out loud (or in writing), but I can see where someone might think $45 for a box of nectaries is an unreasonable choice for a… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I don’t mean to pile on, as you’ve taken quite a bit in the comments already, but this jumped out at me: “Yes, of course [it] is something my husband can have a say in – if indeed he is here and we have time to chat about it.” In response to a comment that said it *is* his business, you replied with 3 conditions. (1. if he’s home, 2. if there’s time, 3. even if those are both true, he “can” have a say, not “does” have a say.) Maybe you didn’t mean anything by it, and I know… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I am with El Nerdo – I don’t see how talking about money is possible unless you talk about all the other things behind it, including your relationships. I am not really all that interested in antiseptic posts where all the real people have been taken out and you’re left with a column of numbers. Context is everything.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Me three. It’s well established around these parts that money is more about mind that it is about manner. Since that is true, money becomes more about politics and emotions than it does about balancing a checkbook. As someone who has been married for only two years, the stage that I’m at right now is working the money thing out with the wife. It’s one thing to allocate $X to her personal account (she’s job hunting right now) but it’s another to discuss *how* we come up with the amount. To say that marital discussions about PF don’t belong on… Read more »

skeptic
skeptic
8 years ago

ack, very sorry to hear about this difficult situation. I agree with Suzanne (#10) that there was never a “meeting of the minds” on the spending plan, and that that’s the fundamental issue.

Would love to hear more about the situation and relationship. Based solely on information in this post, your husband comes across as controlling. Do you feel you are an equal partner in the relationship?

skeptic
skeptic
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Thank you for expanding on this and good luck working it out. I certainly wasn’t implying that you consider pulling up stakes, just wanted to reflect back what I was hearing. All my best.

Kelly@thehungryegghead
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

There are unforgivable things such as physical or emotional abuse where a person must leave a marriage.

But money? Pretty much every couple disagrees on that issue.

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago

Money disagreements can add tremendous stress on an already difficult marriage. I can’t even begin to comprehend the stress of deployment on marriage. This article was really good and noted at least two ways that money causes stress in a marriage that I think apply here: Values and Control. http://www.divorce.com/article/top-five-ways-money-problems-cause-divorce

Steven
Steven
8 years ago

I wonder if this conflict about food spending doesn’t come from his experiences being in the military and living in a foreign land where people are surviving on much less than what you “need.” Comparing your spending to the daily situation he sees over there, it’s no wonder he’d think the amount of money you spend is outrageous…

Just a thought.

Steven
Steven
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Interesting. This is something I didn’t realize but I guess makes sense being an oil country. Hmmm…

Anon for this
Anon for this
8 years ago

I’m shocked by your “yes, I spent $45 on organic nectarines and will again” attitude. $45? Are you kidding? I’m with your husband. I suspect you’re spending way too much on organic food and need to get realistic (no, you don’t need to buy junk, but you don’t need 100% organic and certainly not $45 for some nectarines). I think your “education” on organics has a lot of basis in false science (which is so common these days that it makes me want to tear my hair out)! Try compromising. You sound like you want what you want and don’t… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Sarah, I think the cost of food is one of those topics we’ll always be split on here at GRS and in the personal finance world in general. I stopped convincing people why I eat the way I do. Why I don’t eat grains, sugars, root veggies, legumes and why I eat a lot of veggies, certain types of fruits, nuts/seeds, (many of them happen to be the big O), wild this, grass-fed that, pastured, etc. Having a health issue that’s almost entirely affected by diet (PCOS) and another chronic illness that’s exasperated by certain foods – at least in… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Boy it’s funny, $45 nectarines gets everyone up in a tizzy, but if you had said $2 a lb organic local nectarines from the beginning, I bet most people would not have blinked an eye.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I think panties got bunched up because not because it was $2 lbs (which is a deal), but it was $45 in ‘one fell swoop’.

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

This times a million. I think people would not be so concerned if she’d just written they were $2/pound. I mean, look at how many times people are harping on the cost of this stuff in the comments!

Marc
Marc
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I’m in a similar situation but it’s not nectarines, it’s make up, hair care, etc. For me it’s not that she’s spending money on that stuff it’s that I’m expected to give up some of my wants so she can have that stuff. For example, I wanted to go see the new Spider Man movie. I have no idea if it’s good or bad but I grew up with Spider Man and wanted to go watch it. Want yes, but technically so is her make up and hair. So I’m expected to give up something I want while she buys… Read more »

Angie
Angie
8 years ago
Reply to  Marc

Marc,

It seems that you think of your wife’s hair and makeup desires as wants but I’m sure she sees them as needs. The cost of personal care for women is much higher for women because there are so many more societal expectations for our appearance. I don’t know your wife so I don’t know if she could make more budget friendly choices with her personal care, but I hope you will consider the pressure she feels to have a certain appearance.

Jenne
Jenne
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Sarah, do you mean a $45 “case” of nectarines? If there were enough in there to can, it seems unlikely to have been just a ‘box’!

(My family get mad at me for buying a $3 case of tomatoes sometimes, because they believe we can’t eat all that.)

another anonymous dc
another anonymous dc
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I pride myself on being really frugal but I will not skimp on quality food. For us that means mostly organic, grass-fed, etc. I think it’s interesting that the “food IQ” in this country is slowly increasing but I also detect a lot of skepticism on the benefits of organic. So my friends, if you think organic is over-marketing, let me just suggest a few avenues for further research: – the overuse of antibiotics in our industrial food system and the increase of drug-resistant bacteria as a result – the health consequences to farm workers from handling massive quantities of… Read more »

Aubrey
Aubrey
8 years ago

My boyfriend and I have a joint account that works really well for us. We’ve had it for a little over two years – from the time we moved in together. We’ve agreed on an amount that we each contribute every month to cover our joint expenses (rent, groceries, dinners out, etc.), and maintain separate finances for everything else – that money is our own business. There have been times when one of us has not been able to meet the agreed amount due to some hardship, and the other has picked up the slack, but for the most part… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

My wife doesn’t work, she stays home with our daughter. I make all the money and pay all the bills and have an automated transfer of $250 (pretty sure that’s right) each week into her account that she can use for groceries and anything else, I never keep track of her account, or question what she spends that money on. Likewise she doesn’t really care what I buy as long as the bills keep getting paid and she keeps getting her grocery money.

It seems to work for us.

EMH
EMH
8 years ago

First, I want to thank your husband and you for your service. Second, here are my suggestions: I completely agree with the importance of quality food but buy organics from the “dirty dozen” and conventional for the other items. http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214 You may love the box of $45 nectarines but I bet you love your husband even more. Get some grapes, bananas, watermelon or something else as a compromise. Grow whatever food you can. Basil is easy and so are a lot of greens and you don’t need a lot of space. A window will work. Make chilis, soups, or other… Read more »

EMH
EMH
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

I understand your husband’s frustration with grocery shopping. I HATE IT. My recommendation, go grocery shopping either first thing in the morning, like 6:30 or 7am, or go late in the evening to avoid the crowds. It can also be a form of entertainment to watch the people that go grocery shopping late at night. My husband and I like to create backstories about the people based on what is in their shopping carts. You will see a lot of ice cream, tissues, cat food, and wine purchases. Another thing that gets me through grocery shopping is watching this video… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
8 years ago

My fiancé and I will be getting married here in less than 3 months. Our plan is a bit of a mix between combine and separate in a way that I think will work really well for us. We will combine all of our accounts together except for 2 separate PerkStreet Debit accounts. With these accounts, we’ll have $50 per month deposited into them. This is each of our “fun money” and can be spent on going out to eat with friends, getting a manicure/pedicure, buying expensive coffee, or whatever else we want to spend it on. Once the money… Read more »

GayleRN
GayleRN
8 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

Wow $12.50 a week each. Kids in middle school get a bigger allowance than that. I’m guessing you will end up with some overdrawn fees bigger than that unless it is some type of card that simply doesn’t allow that. This is pocket change and is unlikely to work for even the most minimalist lifestyle.

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  GayleRN

$50 a month per person is too little? It works for my family. Remember they may budget things they do for fun together separately, like eating out or going to the movies. I have a ‘family fun’ budget separate from my “allowance.” This couple can each spend $600 a year in frivolous purchases on whatever they like. In Nathan’s case, it probably works out to Starbucks twice a week. I think the idea is wonderful, and in previous comments, you see many people do this practice. I believe part of the reason this works is when you make the combined… Read more »

PawPrint
PawPrint
8 years ago
Reply to  GayleRN

Hhmm, my DH and I give ourselves $10 a week for “fun” money, and I almost never spend that much.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  GayleRN

I guess how much “fun” money a person gets each week/month depends on their lifestyle. If you have kids, don’t have much time for yourself by yourself, and/or don’t live in an area where there’s much to do, $12 or so may be just fine. I’m single so there’s no “joint” activities, kids to look after and take up my free time, and I live in a city where there’s a ton of stuff to do – $12 for me would be nothing.

Jenay
Jenay
8 years ago

DAVE RAMSEY FPU!! lol. We took the class and developed a budget together, and review it monthly to see if adjustments need to he made. We have always had a joint account. We don’t keep secrets from each other about anything, including our spending. We don’t judge each other, either. And if there’s something we want that costs more than $50, we ask the other person first to discuss pros & cons. I can’t imagine having separate accounts…that would be too weird!! LOL. We share everything.

Loretta
Loretta
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenay

We followed Dave’s plan 6 years ago and have been debt-free since 6/09! I highly recommend his program. If you can’t afford the FPU, just buy his Total Money Makeover book and follow his babysteps. That’s what we did.

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Most guys relate to Dave Ramsey. I personally prefer Mary Hunt (www.debtproofliving.com). Dave seems to focus on eventual wealth; Mary focused on day-to-day solutions. I read all the personal finance books and glean something from every one, but Mary is my favorite.

MelodyO
MelodyO
8 years ago

Yup, you both need to hammer out a budget, complete with livable compromises on both sides, and then stick to it. He likely won’t care what food you buy as long as you abide by the budget…and you shouldn’t be buying food your budget can’t afford, no matter HOW blissfully organic it is.

IMO you should have combined finances for needs, seperate finances for wants. Again, a budget will save you a lot of grief in that regard.

PS If you can indeed get free marriage couselling through the millitary – do it!

BC
BC
8 years ago

I suggest going back to having a joint account and come to agreement over your monthly budget and then begin really living by your budget by using a cash envelope system for things like groceries and pocket expenses. We started this 2 months ago and it has transformed everything: paying down debts faster, less arguing and stress… the budget is in charge now. After the first month we saw that we needed an unexpected line item and one for gifts. Our budget cut a lot of the fat but not to the extreme which I think is important. We keep… Read more »

Mike B.
Mike B.
8 years ago

I can understand the stress. I’m a believer in joint finances and a joint budget, because it forces you to come together on your priorities. And it may be that your priorities will never be quite the same, but that’s okay — marriage is always about two people, with two sets of priorities and interests, coming together and being partners. Finances are just one facet of that. In our house, the struggle is with savings. I want to set aside our savings first, and if that means the month is tight, so be it. My wife wants to pay for… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Mike B.

Off-topic from the regular post (but related to this comment)– Dave Ramsey has a really neat system for dealing with uncertain free-lance income. FPU could be a very useful class for you guys.

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago

I’ve been married for 24 years. From Day 1 we had a joint account. It was never really an issue, but several years ago my husband began using our debit card for occasional work items (he works for a very small, somewhat backward, purchasing company). We should have used a CC (we had no CC debt) and used the reimbursements to pay it, but in any event, we decided to set up a separate checking account, so I wouldn’t get caught off guard if I’d just paid a lot of bills and then he needed to buy work related things.… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago

I’ve been following GRS for years, and I have yet to hear a success story involving two-earner households where partner A pays ABC bills and partner B pays XYZ bills. It almost always leads to resentment in the party that feels like they are “paying more” than the other, or they perceive that their partner has “more” fun money than they do. The only excrutiatingly proportional way to do it (in my limited life experience) is by percentage of contribution to the kitty. If A brings in 60% of the income, then A contributes 60% to the basic bills &… Read more »

Jenn
Jenn
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

My husband and I still haven’t merged our accounts, but we did find a solution we agreed was fair to “You pay ABC, I’ll pay VWXYZ.” We assign bills to each so that the amount we’re left with at the end of the month is equal. So that means I bring in 2x as much as he does, but I pay something like 3x what he does, and we both have almost $1,000 left over for whatever we want. There’s not resentment because at the end of it, we have equal amounts of purchasing power.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenn

That’s essentially what we do, though we don’t much care if we have “equal” amounts left over at the end of the month. We are in a long-term-view mindset and what’s important is that the debt balances keep going steadily down while the savings balances keep going steadily up.

Who contributes what isn’t as important because we do plan to be together unto death, and we do share a vision for how to live together until then. 🙂

MOR
MOR
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

I hate the proportional system. You’re married; you’re part of a partnership and each of you contribute in different ways. Frequently, one partner makes career/financial sacrifices to support the other person’s career, especially when there are children involved. My career may be limited by my geographic location, but if a great opportunity comes up halfway across the country, I can’t very well pick up and move away from my spouse/family to up my earnings like I could as a single person. Should I be negotiating with my spouse for a lower contribution than my actual percentage based on lost opportunities?… Read more »

Alexandra
Alexandra
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

Married 7 years, separate accounts and we split some bills evenly and others I pay bill A and he pays bill B. Some months he may end up paying more, some I may end up paying more.

Whatever, it all comes out in the wash. I think the trick is that we make enough that a few hundred bucks here and there isn’t really going to make a difference in our lifetime wealth.

The time savings of not having to hash out each penny on expenditures that change from month to month is well worth the disparity in monthly payments.

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

This is basically what we do. Early in our relationship we tried to split things perfectly evenly, but that quickly became more trouble than it was worth. Instead we have some things he pays, some I pay, and some whoever has the money at the moment pays and it all works out in the end. We could never ever EVER have joint accounts, not because of goals but because of attitudes. He hates tracking and doesn’t mind scraping the bottom of his accounts, even paying an occasional NSF fee. I must know to the penny how much I have, and… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

Before we married that is what we did, we each put a chunk into the kitty for our joint bills based on income and we were responsible for our own personal bills. That worked well for us.

Post-marriage, all money that comes into the household is our money and I pay all the bills and put aside money for saving and we each get the same amount for day to day spending. I don’t get more money to spend because I earn more, how is that fair?

CandiO
CandiO
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

I don’t know, my husband and I do not share finances. He pays more since he earns more but what bills each of us pays is set. He pays mortgage, cell phones, his own car and it’s taxes, insurance for both cars and the heating oil bill in the winter. I pay cable, internet, phone, electric, groceries and my own car and it’s taxes. We each pay our own retirements and our own student loans. I tend to pay for vacations and other discretionary spending. We are happliy married 5 years next month and have no plan to start sharing… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

To be clear, I didn’t say it was “fair” (implying all amounts were equal), I said “proportional”. If someone earns more, they should – and actually do, if you do the math – pay more toward the bills. Like I said at the end of my post, if both partners agree to split the surplus 50-50, that is their choice. What I don’t think is “fair” is if someone only brings home $2,000 while the other partner brings home $1,000, yet the person who only brings home $1,000 is supposed to pay an equal amount of bills. What if their… Read more »

Terry
Terry
8 years ago

Managing finances between couples can be hazardous due to the emotional baggage we attach to it. There are tools out there that can help you automate your finances so everything is transparent and no one is hiding anything. Begin by starting a Mint.com account. This site will have all your financial information one one page. You can set up a monthly budget for all your expenses. I didn’t know that we were spending $1200 a month for 2 people on groceries. I just assumed it was around $600-800 a month. Mint.com can also send you alerts and weekly updates to… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

“While money cannot but happiness, a lack of money ensures unhappiness.” Someone wise, via my mom. – – – – – – – – – – – – – 1) Most of our arguments about money were retroactive. 2) Since [he joined the army] he’s made the majority of the income… I paid the bills, like always. 3) I was the one with most of the expenses outside of bills – – – – – – – – – – – – – I’m reading this as A) the two of you have never sat down and AGREED on a… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Thanks for the kind response. I’ve just seen similar in a friend’s military marriage , and in a large number of my parent’s peers (peer’s parents?) when they divorced. It’s about how differences can be amplified when there’s not “enough.” And how those differences can lead to a loss of respect. For a number of those peer’s parents – it seemed to me – that after fighting though college, career, etc. when a mom stayed home with a kid for a year (or 3 or 5) all of the respect disappeared. I came out of it determined to never be… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

“As I noted above, I’m (not unhappily or resentfully) resigned to the fact of the marriage. We have three boys and a house we love equally in the neighborhood where we both grew up and went to high school (and met).”

You’re “resigned” to accept a marriage for kids and a house.

How depressing.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

Our accounts have been joint since 1996 when we married. My husband is the primary provider right now and for the foreseeable future due to a layoff from my teaching position. We live in a small city and there is only one school district, so until we move, he makes more. There have been times when he was unemployed, I worked, but most of our marriage, we have both worked. He has always made more money than I. We have a pretty simple system: 1. I pay all the bills. 2. I budget (Excel spreadsheet.) 3. We both get a… Read more »

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
8 years ago

I don’t know you, but I feel for you. Get on the same page, whatever that means. You don’t want to be talking about money all the time, especially since you don’t get to talk every day. Either take back the reins of your household finances, or separate your accounts. This will drive you nuts if you don’t take action, and it’ll snowball into a much bigger fight if you’re not careful. Good luck!

Stacy
Stacy
8 years ago

We have both separate and joint accounts. When we get paid, we each deposit a set amount in the joint account to cover all our bills and savings. The amount deposited depends on how much each of us is earning (for example, if my husband brings in 70% of the income, he covers 70% of the bills & savings). Anything remaining from our respective paychecks goes in our respective personal checking accounts and can be spent however we want, no questions asked from the other spouse.

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Stacy

My husband and I use a similar system (after trying – and miserably failing – at most others). All of our money goes into the same checking account 1st, and I have a spreadsheet that tracks cash flow by month, based on our % contribution (because I get paid bi-weekly, sometimes I bring home more than he does in a given month). We even set up separate line items for major purchase savings, taxes/insurance (which gets pulled once a week into another account), and depreciation. We each contribute a % to these buckets, and all is subtracted from the inflow.… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Okay, I had a hard time summarizing this so I’m going to break my comment into 2 posts. This one is the general one. GENERAL MARRIAGE ISSUES I’ve been married for 8 years, plus a year and a half living together before that, so we had a progressive merging of finances. Since being married we have joint accounts and we have shared it all since then. In those 8 years we’ve had little money, but plenty of money fights, and I think we’ve eventually arrived to a harmonious arrangement, and it was worth the effort– it was a huge effort… Read more »

Romeo
Romeo
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo, I’ve read both of your postings. I congratulate both you and your wife for finding a financial connection. And as you have written, it wasn’t easy. Too many people just give up too early. I also love the triangulation comment–it’s so true. I agree that Ramsey’s plan can be quite stressful on couples. Seriously. My wife and I were always arguing because I was trying to pay down debts “Gazelle style”, even though she didn’t want to be so aggressive. Eventually, I caught on to the fact that a couple has to agree on whatever system is put… Read more »

Katie
Katie
8 years ago

Our joint account works fine. We use cash envelopes for food, gasoline, entertainment, gifts, clothing and child care (daily care + occasional babysitting). We replenish those on the first of the month with the allotted agreed-upon amount. We use electronic bill pay for everything else. We also have $2,500 cash in an emergency envelope. So first off, no one really “pays” most of our bills. It’s all automatic. For the envelope categories, once the money in an envelope is gone for the month, that’s it. By agreement, we can dip into the emergency envelope for gasoline (we can’t always reasonably… Read more »

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

I think I can appreciate where Sarah was going with this – money is the cause of a lot of stress in marriages – or maybe it’s something else – but money seems to expose it in the worst way. And I think that it’s really unfair to talk in generalities about something so specific – so the honesty is kinda required. Unfortunatly the post came accross to me as her looking for the GRS audience to lambast her husband for not letting her spend what she wants. So she can go back to him and say – “see, all… Read more »

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago

I don’t see finances as a problem in your relationship, I see them as a symptom. The real issue that I see is that: 1) There was a plan in place for the money while he was gone that he didn’t know about (or agree with). 2) Instead of making a joint plan, the issues from that have been buried by partially separating finances. I will ask this question–how is it that you paid down debt and your husband didn’t know about it? Did you both never talk about finances or give updates on money things? If that was your… Read more »

Michelle Nicolson
Michelle Nicolson
8 years ago

Lots of interesting comments on this one. I just wanted to chime in and say I fully support your choice to buy organic food for your family. I too have children and have seen how nutrition and behavior are linked (not to mention general health). $2/lb for delicious nectarines that they will eat is a bargain. In our country, processed food is cheap. Hence our obesity crisis and the related health issues. When you factor in the chemicals and other things used to grow our food — well, it explains a lot. I confess that I cannot always afford to… Read more »

TW
TW
8 years ago

The breadwinner role shifts back and forth. Someday soon, you may be the breadwinner again. The conflict arises when money is not seen as a tool which which to obtain necessities, but as power. The issue here isn’t organic groceries. It’s power. I’m not a therapist, but I implore you to find a way to be a team when it comes to finances. Whatever system ends up working best for you (joint or seperate accounts, envelope system, fun money allowances) is completely negotiable. And you will never completely agree on absolutely everything. But when financial arguments break out in our… Read more »

deb
deb
8 years ago

I’m no organic food purist, but I’m still going to have to side on you with this one. Your husband wants it both ways–he likes that his kids are eating organic, but he doesn’t want to spend the money on it. For the kids’ sake, he’s not going to stop you from buying that kind of food. But for his own sake, he’s going to berate you for spending the money on it. It’s one or the other. He can’t get the benefits (whatever they may be) of his kids eating organic and still feel superior from being the “smart”… Read more »

Cycleash
Cycleash
8 years ago

“The bank treats accounts that are getting direct deposit from the government very differently than those that are receiving direct deposits from private companies, so I was paying more fees for ATM withdrawals, among other things”

I bank with USAA too and they’ve always reimburse my ATM withdrawal fees. Doesn’t USAA reimburse you guys too?

Dave Hilton, Financial Conflict Coach
Dave Hilton, Financial Conflict Coach
8 years ago

Perhaps separate or joint accounts are not really the issue in this conflict. From your narrative- power, control and fear of the unknown seem to be a few of the underlying issues you should discuss. The grudges you mentioned- caused by continued financial and emotional stress- in a dispute like this can easily lie beneath the surface and grow at an alarming rate. What makes saving so much more important to him than paying off debt? Is it because he’s overseas and worried something might happen to him? Is this his way of giving himself peace of mind that if… Read more »

Mom
Mom
8 years ago

We have been a married for 16 years military couple. He has been deployed twice, for about 2 years total. I have this theory that deployment brings out the best and worst in relationships. Not often that you get a second and third honeymoon for your average couple, but the flip side is that anything that is lurking is going to rear its ugly head. Hang in there. Do the counseling when you can. I do think that paying bills from deployment is just not a workable solution. For us, joint accounts and money have not been our issue for… Read more »

Been There
Been There
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom

@ Mom, I understand your resentment towards the “tax” that he pays in the line of duty, but it is an umwritten obligation of leaders. Some units actually do put some thought into the planning of these activities and ask for a monthly donation that is scaled, an somewhat equitable. That said, many times there are events or multiple events that aren’t forseen or perhaps not communicated to the rest of the team (family members). It doesn’t sound like this is something that you cannot afford, but something that you dont’ understand and resent. If he has a problem with… Read more »

KC
KC
8 years ago

So, I just have to know: Where and when can I order these amazing nectarines?

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