At the end of each month’s financial review, I have a section with a few notes about my net worth. These notes reference things that I want to be clear body clear with my readers about. I feel it is important to point out that my net worth only tracks my personal assets and liabilities and not my husband’s finances. I don’t include his finances because we have not merged our finances. Even with our recent wedding, we don’t see a reason for us to merge them right now.
Treating each other’s financial pokémon teams like we do our battling pokémon teams has been working well for us these past five years. We discuss them often by talking about our problems, ideas and are open to making and listening to suggestions. We understand the basics of each other’s team, how they function and each other’s strategies behind them. When it comes to battling our finances, we do it individually and make the battling decisions ourselves.
This works for us for various reasons. We have different strategies and goals. Separate finances assist us when we are both freelancing. Our current system is equal, fair and we trust each other to control our own teams. Plus, we can always join forces for an occasional Multi Battle.
Our brains work differently, thus we strategize our financial pokémon teams differently. My financial pokémon team involves a network of bank accounts while he uses primarily one bank. I use a visual budget that tells me what to do with my paychecks while he knows how much his bills are and uses the leftovers however he decides in the moment. Although both strategies are different, they work well for each of us respectively.
As our relationship started to become more long-term, we started to talk about our life goals. As a part of those discussions, we also discussed our financial goals. Although we share our ultimate goals of getting out of debt and starting a family together, our smaller goals on how to accomplish that differ. Regarding our debt, for example, his goal is to eliminate his credit card debt before his student loans because its interest rate is higher. My goal is to eliminate my student loan debt first because it is not revolving debt and I know the finish line won’t move. We see the value of each other’s goals, but his goal does not inspire or encourage me in the same way mine does, and vice versa.
We both freelance in theatrical design. Since I have a day job at a company as my main source of income, I mostly freelance design during my off hours. My husband, on the other hand, freelances for his income and needs to track everything financial with all his projects. Our freelancing occasionally involves petty cash, cash advances, receipts, and other money flowing through our accounts. Keeping our accounts separate helps us track this moody flow of money in and out of my personal account or his business account. With separate accounts, I always know that what is in my account belongs to me and my projects and what he has in his accounts belongs to him and his projects.
An Equal and Fair System.
Our current system for paying bills we believe is equal and fair. I pay for the internet and TV, like Netflix and Hulu, and he pays for the gas, electric and storage. Since the bills I pay are less than those he pays, we keep it even by balancing our bills every three or four months. We total up the bills, split it in half and subtract that from the total of the bills he pays. Then each month I give him the difference for utilities. As for other bills, we pay individually for things that are our own responsibility. We buy our own food, write our own rent checks, have our own cellphone carriers and pay our own credit cards and student loans.
Trust and Control
We are both reasonable trainers and build strong teams. I trust him to make the right decisions for his team and he trusts me with mine. I think we would also trust each other if we swapped teams, but trust is not what I think prevents us from merging them. I think it’s our sense of control over our finances. We like training and being active participants with our finances. I like knowing what is happening with my finances and being able to make quick, midbattle decisions without needing confirmation. I like getting his input, but I like having the final say.
Although we prefer to battle most of our financial battles individually, we realize that there are some battles we cannot battle alone. We want to have two strong individual teams so we can also Multi Battle our bigger financial goals like having kids and paying off our wedding. We have a joint savings account that we started for our wedding. It has been a good practice field for us to learn how to battle finances together. We discuss a plan and strategy for the money in the account as a team instead of as individuals. We are learning to trust each other in a new way and share control.
When we got married, we did not feel that merging our personal finances was right for us. We both have our own financial pokémon teams and our own financial battle strategies. But, we also acknowledge that even though our teams work great apart, they will also need to eventually work well together. As we continue growing together, we will learn the best ways for our two individual teams to excel apart and together. That’s just a part of marriage.
Let’s chat: How do you and your partner battle finances together?
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