doctors combine bank accounts bad for student loans, file taxes jointly or separate for student debt

Why You Need to Have Joint Accounts

 

Catherine Alford, a family finance expert at CatherineAlford.com and wife of a second-year resident, met with me to discuss the pros and cons of combining finances with your partner. From opening a joint savings account to having a shared monthly budget, we give our thoughts on why we believe it is an option worth considering.

Catherine shares some tips on how to start the process, and her own strategy for sticking to a monthly budget while combining finances with your partner. After all, you don’t just marry the individual, you also marry their financial behaviors, philosophies and often times, debt.

What better way to work together than combining finances with your partner?

Combining finances with your partner integrates a solid look of where you are.

On the busy floor of FinCon in Dallas, Texas, Catherine and I discuss everyday, real-world finance-life with our spouses. Need to know why you need joint accounts, this is your episode.

What you will learn:

  • The benefits of savings buckets
  • The difference between budgeting and cash flow planning
  • What does combining finances with your partner looks like
  • Budgeting strategies for couples
  • What to do if one partner does not want to combine finances
  • How to max out your IRA and have it auto-invested the way you want
  • What the $50 rule is and how it can help your joint financial relationship

Don’t Forget to Add to Your Toolbox, Get Involved and Help. Here’s how:

If you enjoyed this episode on combining finances with your partner, I’m sure you would enjoy reading this: Marriage and Money Dates: How to Improve Your Finance Drive

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Full Transcript: Why You Need to Have Joint Accounts

Ryan

Welcome to the Financial Residency podcast, I’m your host Ryan Inman and we are live from FinCon 2017 in Dallas, Texas.

Cat

Whoop whoop.

Ryan

Yeah. I’ve got a good friend of mine today, Cat Alford.

Cat

Hey.

Ryan

How are you doing, Cat?

Cat

I’m doing great, how are you?

Ryan

I’m good. A little bit cold.

Cat

Yeah, we’re kinda freezing right now. We’re huddling in the Sheraton Hotel, where FinCon’s hosted.

Ryan

Yeah …

Cat

We’re not dressed appropriately for this southern weather.

Ryan

I know, it’s kinda crazy, it got cold when the bodies started coming out of this conference.

Cat

What?

Ryan

Yeah, it is what it is. Awesome. Well, today I wanna talk with you about combining finances as a newlywed couple.

Cat

Okay.

Ryan

This is something that I actually deal with a lot, working with younger physicians and I’m curious to get your take on it as a Family Finance Expert, say that three times fast.

Cat

I’d like to see you try. It’s intentionally difficult …

Ryan

… I really don’t want to actually. But I wanna talk with you today on combining finances and kinda see what your thoughts are as someone who deals in family finance all the time, all day, every day and so yeah, if you’d like to just introduce yourself and then.

Why you need to think about combining finances with your partner

Catherine Alford is a Family Finance Expert.

Cat

Yeah sure. Sure, well as Ryan said my name is Catherine Alford and I am a Family Finance Expert. I have been a financial writer and blogger for seven years now and over the course of those seven years, I have partnered with a lot of really great companies, had my work appear on, you know, great websites and have been on national TV talking about a lot of these issues, so I’m really passionate about helping young families become good with their finances.

And so, yeah, combining finances, like I’m so glad you asked me ’cause that’s kind of a juicy topic. Like I just feel like people have very strong opinions about this topic and there are a lot of leading financial experts, especially female financial experts, who are very against combining finances, but I’m actually for it. Of course, I always say it was very easy to combine our finances, my husband and I, because when we got married, I was only 22, it’s like a little baby and we always joked that like I had 200 bucks, he had 200 bucks and so after we got married, we just you know, went and opened our joint banking account and then we had 400 bucks, you know, so it wasn’t …

I think people now who get married later, they have a lot more wealth, they’ve been in their careers a lot longer, they have their own personal investments. I mean, we were so young that you know, we were just getting started, but that allowed us to work together and work through issues and you know, deal with things along the way. I was asking the other day … We’ve been married eight years, I thought it was gonna be nine, I’m just adding a year to myself, I think it’s eight, so I think that yeah, we’ve learned along the way. So as far as like my general opinion of joining them, like I’m for it.

A joint bank account can be a big leap for some.

Ryan

That’s good, I mean that’s …

Cat

… You are too, right?

Ryan

I am as well. And when I come across this a lot, it’s like you said, it’s … People are pretty opinionated and they’re either for it or against it.

Cat

I mean it’s not politics, it’s just a joint bank account, like simmer down.

Ryan

But it’s big deal …

Cat

… Yeah, no, it is …

Ryan

… to people. And so, one of the things I think is interesting, so you are married to a physician.

Cat

I am.

Ryan

And this was pre him having six-figure debt.

Cat

Yeah.

Ryan

So it could be a little bit different, but I’m curious, like if the debt was an issue, would you have still wanted to combine the way you did?

Cat

I think so, because I … His parents have been married 35 years, my parents have been married 35 years and I think it’s just been a part of both of our upbringing that when you get married, you’re a team and you join your finances together and whether it’s you know, plus 300 000 or in our case, negative a couple 100 thousand, it’s you know, we’re a team. We agree to it together and honestly, I mean I had a big role in making the decision for him to go to med school and incur that debt. And my husband went to a Caribbean med school, which as you know and as a lot of these listeners know, it’s more expensive than an American Medical school. And I hope you guys hear all the fun noise ’cause we are recording live at FinCon, so there’s a lot of awesome background noise.

When you get married, you’re a team.

Ryan

Definitely.

Cat

But we actually sat down together and he had a great job, he worked in organ donation, he worked for … In Richmond, Virginia where like the Head of organ donation is and so he was working in the medical field and he enjoyed it. And you know, it’s kinda one of those career tracks, you know, each year you get a 5% raise and we actually sat down together you know, he nerded out with his Excel spreadsheet and said, “If I stayed in my job, lets be very conservative, let’s do like traditional raises over time, this is what I would have at retirement.” And then we said, “Okay, well what if you stopped saving for retirement, what if you went to medical school, what if you incurred the debt and let’s say family practice, let’s say $120 000,00 a year.”

So everything we did, we really like low balled everything and it still came out where he’d be ahead financially if he went to medical school.

Ryan

Interesting.

Cat

So I mean, it wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, but it was one that we made together, because it was not his choice, it was our choice as a family, that was a large debt burden to take on. And so, consciously going into it we knew, even in like a worse case scenario, we’re still gonna be better off than we would be if you stayed at this corporate whatever job and worked your way up.

Ryan

And what I kinda take away from that is the first thing that I wanted to kinda get into was, understanding what you guys life goals are and understanding where you are at as people, what would give you a truly fulfilled life.

Cat

Right.

Ryan

And so, as you went through and did the math, which is amazing.

Cat

Which is just math by the way, I mean we’re not taking into account like … We’re like, “Oh, we’ll be better off financially.” But its not like, “Oh, we gotta like move to the Caribbean and like be apart and go through residency.” Like, we didn’t factor in all the emotions, this is purely math by the way.

Ryan

Yeah, so you went through the math piece, which is …

Cat

… We chose the hard path, even though it was the financially better path.

Ryan

Definitely, but he’s achieving and he’s accomplishing something that is truly important to him and that … You can’t quantify that.

combining finances with your partner, joint bank accounts, catherine alford, personal finance

You can’t quantify something of true importance.

Cat

I agree.

Ryan

You can’t quantify that.

Cat

No regrets right …

Ryan

… So that’s pretty…

Cat

… If that’s what you wanna do, let’s go for it. Again, this is like before even applying, like before we put all the effort, I mean, ’cause we all know this is effort.

Ryan

Yep.

Cat

You know, filling out all the applications, it’s a lot of money, spending it, whatever. Before we go through all of that, let’s decide and yeah.

Ryan

Yeah, I mean that the same thing Taylor and I did …

Cat Alford

You gotta do what you love, right?

Ryan

You know, we had been dating since freshman year college and when she decided …

Cat

That’s like us.

Ryan

She would go to Med school … I know, it’s been a long time, but it took me apparently 10 years to marry a doctor. And I’m reminded by all of my friends, including my wife, that it took me 10 years.

It’s a calling to go into medicine.

Cat

Yeah.

Ryan

But you know, we’ve been married now four. But when we were in college, it was a big decision, it was you know, are we gonna make this work? Go long distance. Is she gonna do it? Is she gonna …

Cat

… All those things …

Ryan

… Do some other type of research position or not and ultimately obviously we decided that she’d go back to KU and all that, but …

Cat

‘Cause doctors are brilliant people and you know, obviously they’re very intelligent so you can make a great income, plenty of money at many different jobs with their skill set and their brains, but this is a choice to go this path.

Ryan

It’s a calling.

Cat

Yeah, it is. It is a calling.

Ryan

And I’m very thankful that you know, her and I made the decision and obviously thankful we’re still happy together.

Cat

Everyone’s still hanging in there …

Ryan

We’re still in one piece.

Cat

And that’s the important part.

Ryan

After three years of residency and [inaudible 00:08:04] fellowship.

Cat

Right, I was about to say we’re still together too, just in the depths of residency, so probably not as happy as you guys.

Ryan

You see him every four days for an hour.

Cat

I mean he’s there, but we’ll get there.

The process of budgeting includes possibly combining finances with your partner.

Ryan

That makes sense.

Cat

That’s why we’re friends with people like you, so that we know that there is an end of the road, so …

Ryan

Definitely. So, there’s something you say about you know, looking at your life goals and your finance goals and everything. And then there’s the concept of, “Okay, now we’ve kinda of decided we’re all going in the right path.”

Cat

Right.

Ryan

Now, let’s talk about that process of budgeting and actually combining the finances, so I know you’re a fan of budgeting.

Cat

I am.

Ryan

I’m a fan of like cashflow planning, so looking forward, but I’d love to have your opinion on budgeting and the buckets and things that we’ve talked about offline a lot, so if you can kind of go into …

Cat

Sure.

Ryan

What do you guys do and how you do it and what works for your physician family?

Cat

Sure. And you know, I think it takes a long time … I always say like budgeting is a skill, it’s not like you’re gonna pick up a violin and play it perfectly the first time, right? It’s something that you have to learn and you have to practice and especially, if you’re doing a duet with someone else, with your budget … I mean, these are two different personalities, two different spending styles, two different saving styles and more importantly, two different upbringings. And all of those things affect how we view money and how we spend money.

Why you need to think about combining finances with your partner

It is a few step process to have the perfect budget.

And the way I do a budget today, almost eight years into marriage, after trial and error, it’s extremely focused on being a month ahead. Obviously, having a step one, emergency fund, but step two, at the beginning of every month, my budget is a $7000 budget, the beginning of every month and the first of the month, $7000 has to be in there, like that’s just how it goes. I don’t like to use a credit card the whole month and then wait to get paid and then you know, then pay it off. Like that makes me uncomfortable. I like to be just that one step ahead.

And as part of the budget, this $7000 budget, inside of it are categories and also savings buckets, so a category might be a student loan repayment, it might be the electric bill, it’s my children’s you know, fancy private preschool tuition, it’s our groceries, it’s everything, right? My mortgage, everything. But then at the bottom or at the top, however you like to view it, savings first, I am automatically saving for longterm goals. Now, this can be as simple as Christmas, you know, you save 50 bucks a month for Christmas and then you don’t feel like so crazy around the holidays, like your spending is out of control.

I mean, we moved to Detroit and again, talking about spending habits, my husband you know, really loves like really high quality items, so he wants one of those Canadian goose down coats for going to the hospital at five in the morning, they’re like 800 bucks, right? So ..

Ryan

That’s amazing.

Cat

I’m like … But I’m the kinda …

Ryan

I’m picturing him wearing it right now.

Cat

I … Yeah, me too.

Automating your payments every month can take the stress out of budgeting.

But like that’s the kinda things that we negotiate, like he thinks I’m like magical, like I can just make this coat happen out of nowhere, but … Which is great that he thinks I have these skills, but that’s what I do for him, I’m like, “Okay, you want this coat, whatever, I got my coat on sale, at like Macy’s, but this is what you want, so let’s make a plan. I’m gonna save for it for a year, you wear this coat this winter that’s not really adequate, but the entire year I’m gonna put money in the bucket.” Now this year we can go and buy his Canadian goose down coat or whatever he wants.

But this is kind of our play because my husband before marriage would have gone out and bought it, but now he knows that anything over $50 we have to discuss, so at any given time, I have four to five savings buckets going. And it’s just … Things are automated as much as possible, I honestly, the only bill that is not automated is my daughter’s ballet tuition, where it’s the first of the month I have to send myself a note to remind myself to put the check in the box.

Ryan

Interesting.

Cat

Yeah, I don’t like to stress about it, like in my brain I know when things are coming out, well I check my accounts every day to make sure things are going, but it’s all automated and I feel comfortable with that because the money is there before it starts.

Ryan

So a couple of points I’d like to kinda chat on here, one is for the listeners to know that you’re self-employed, you …

Cat

I am.

Ryan

You run your own business and …

Cat

… I’ve been self-employed for years.

Ryan

… You have a 1099 income and it’s not always stable.

Being self-employed has its perks and downsides.

Cat

No.

Ryan

It’s flexible, let’s just use the word flexible.

Cat

And sometimes it’s terrifying, it’s flexible and terrifying.

Ryan

Yeah, so one thing is as you going through, it’s really great to know that this is what you guys spend.

Cat

Yes.

Ryan

And it’s not necessarily like …

Cat

… That’s the number …

Ryan

… “We spend this amount to go to dinner and this amount to …” You don’t micro-budget.

Cat

No, no, no ,no ,no.

Ryan

You have it macroed to buckets.

Cat

Correct.

Ryan

And then the buckets have a hierarchy, so you know that it’s about $7000.

Cat

Yeah.

Ryan

Every month, give or take very little. You know, that that’s what’s gonna cost you, so I like that concept. And then I like the idea that as you guys went through your process … Now, $50 is low, is really low to like have a threshold to talk to each other.

Cat

It is.

Ryan

And I’m assuming there’s a little story behind there on why that is, ’cause most couple it’s …

Cat

… 100 …

Ryan Inman

… 100, 200, 500 or something like that.

Have a threshold number to keep you from overspending.

Cat

Yeah, I think it’s definitely [inaudible 00:13:28] … 50 is our threshold, actually 50 was our threshold from day one, so like maybe someday we’ll up it, but just for some reason, it all like happened one day with like a really expensive haircut my husband got, not me guys, this is not me, this is my husband’s hair. My husband like literally has hair like McDreamy, like in Grey’s Anatomy …

Ryan

… It’s flowing.

Cat

It is flowing. Ryan has seen it flow.

Ryan

Flowing.

Cat

It’s very beautiful and you know, he’d go and get these haircuts, you know, if you have long hair apparently, I don’t know, ’cause … A man’s long hair. My long hair I get cut once a year, right? You know, every six weeks he’s going and it’s like 60 bucks ’cause it’s like this super nice salon that I would never go to. Again, different spending habits. And I just remember getting the bill for one day, and it was like $100, right? So it was like the hair, but then they sold him some shampoo and then some like texture in a jar or something like that. And we had this like big argument about it and I’m like, “We’re supposed to have this $50 thing.” But you know, over time you kinda forget the rule, so that after that, the ‘hair incident’ I call it. After the hair incident of whatever it was, 2014, may it go down in history, he’s gotta ask.

And you know the funny thing is that his mom was like … Our yard is like a hot mess right now. I’ve been out of town, he’s been working nights. I know people listening to this can relate. His mom is helping with our kids while I’m here at FinCon. She was like, “God, you guys really need like a leaf blower, like your yard’s a mess, like your life’s a disaster.” And they went and looked at them and the cheapest one was 60 bucks and she’s like, “You know, you need to clean the yard, your dad will help you.” He’s like, “I can’t buy it.” He’s like, “Catherine will kill me, it’s $60, like she’s not answering her phone, I can’t buy it, it’s over the $50 threshold.”

You and your spouse should be on the same page with your finances.

Ryan

That is amazing.

Cat

It’s structure right there, man.

Ryan

That’s amazing. I wouldn’t buy it ’cause I don’t think I would wanna do the yard work.

Cat

I know, right? I am actually …

Ryan

… Maybe that’s what it is and he just doesn’t have the heart to tell his mom that.

Cat

Well, he hasn’t been cutting the grass and all I had to do was go get a quote from someone online, I’m like, “This nice, strapping gentleman will cut our grass for $25 a week.” He’s like, “I’ll do it.” The next day it’s done.

Ryan

He’s only, you know, going through residency and ….

Cat

Yeah, I mean …

Ryan

… Barely sleeping.

Cat

You know, he … that quote-unquote, wink wink, 80 hours, you know.

Ryan

Yeah.

Cat

He can cut the grass.

combining finances with your partner, joint bank accounts, catherine alford, personal finance

Budgeting looks backward and cashflow planning looks forward.

Ryan

Oh poor guy. So, as we’re looking … So now we’re talking a little bit about budgeting and I do something that’s a little different. So I look at cashflow planning, which budgeting looks backward and cashflow planning, to me, looks forward, so I look at the amount of income that’s coming home from your take-home pay. I look at what your fixed expenses are and this is some of what you have done and you’ve just got the number, but I think of it a little bit differently. I take all of our fixed expenses and that’s where I get pretty detailed because I know what’s recurring and what is a necessity. And I actually include food in there.

But I included food from a grocery store as if we ate every meal from a grocery store, which we don’t.

Cat Alford

No.

Ryan

But I include that as our baseline you know, cost and food and then I look at our savings as the next kind of bucket, if you will, and so you know, $458 a month goes in our IRA’s and you know, wherever we’re saving for trips and other big goals. And then what’s left over from that, after I’ve pushed all of our savings, which we try to save more than 50% if that’s possible, then you know, is the variable spending and that’s what’s left over.

And so, all I do is I look at our credit card at the end of the month and make sure that it’s less than that variable number or it’s plus or minus 5%. And if it is, we’re good. I don’t care what bucket it went into, I don’t care if it was all eating out, it doesn’t matter.

When we first got married though, we had something different and I do wanna talk about this.

Cat

That’s what I was about to say too, like we’re talking about this like down the line, you know, a lot of people listening to this, maybe they’re in medical school and maybe they’re in residency or maybe one’s in residency and they have a stay at home wife and three kids or you know, the concept of like having extra money like … I’ve been in business seven years so things are a little bit better now than like me being in the Caribbean like, “We have this many eastern Caribbean dollars to take to the grocery store.”

So I definitely think we should … I like how we both kind of have different styles, same vibe, but maybe you could give some advice, you know, like the people who don’t have the extra, they’re like, “Wow, that’d be nice to have extra.” You know.

Ryan

Yeah, and I remember being there with my wife in training, but one of the things I was gonna mention was … And it’s a common theme when dealing with newlywed married physicians, is they feel like they don’t wanna buy something out of a joint account, to give to their spouse ’cause they don’t know necessarily if the spouse is gonna see or how it’ll be and be like, “Don’t look at our account this week, because I bought …” That’s just kind of a weird thing and that’s always been the argument going back and forth of joint versus separate accounts.

Joint checking accounts can help keep your finances in perspective.

Cat

Well, that’s an easy fix.

Ryan

Well, what I did when we first got married was is we had our main joint account that all of our bills were paid out of and then I had two separate checking accounts, one was Ryan and one was Taylor. And every month when we had done our cashflow planning and said this is you know … In residency, it was like $150 or $200 or something, but it would auto transfer in at the beginning of the month.

And then I told Taylor, I was like, “Look, I don’t care what you do with your money, go get your hair cut, go buy a handbag, go buy a watch, go liquidate and give it to a homeless man on the street. Like it doesn’t matter, whatever you want, it’s your money.” And that was the money that we used not only to do fun things for ourselves, but also to buy gifts for each other.

Cat

Yeah, we did something similar, it wasn’t like separate checking accounts, but just prepaid debit cards. That way we still just have one checking account, instead of three, but you know, it can be whatever and it’s like we had at one point we were each given 200 bucks a month you know, again after the hair incident, you know, dude clearly needs a little bit more money for his grooming. And you know, if I wanted to buy something it’s guilt free, if you wanna give each other a gift, it’s guilt free. Or you don’t have to say, you know, “Don’t look at the Amazon account.” Or whatever. Same thing, same concept, auto debits on the first.

Why you need to think about combining finances with your partner

Take baby steps as you combine your finances.

And again, if your budget planning, you’re like, “I have $7000 budget,” But you know that, that six months that’s your car insurance, you know that that’s gonna be big, well then you each get 30 bucks that month to spend on something, instead of 100 or whatever it is.

So, that can be a part of your plan and then you each have your little prepaid card and you feel like a child with an allowance, you know, you get to do what you want.

Ryan

But these are the baby steps to take.

Cat

They are.

Ryan

Right? These are the baby steps to take when you’re just starting to combine finances and you know we both have said …

Cat

… ‘Cause you need to have your thing.

Ryan

You need to have your thing, but the other side of this is that combining finances … like if something were to happen to Taylor and she were to get into some kind of financial trouble. I don’t know what that might be at this point, but let’s just say it was, there’s no way I would let her fail.

Cat

No.

Ryan

There’s no way.

Cat

Of course not.

Ryan

And …

Cat

… She’s your person.

Ryan

And so, I’m all about simplifying the finances, so if I look at … I mean, many clients come to me and they have three, four, five different banks, not just bank accounts, it’s banks.

Cat

Yeah.

Ryan

So when we look at all the different accounts and all the different banks, it’s just it’s too much and people can’t really understand and grasp what they’re spending, so I like to look at it as, even the first idea that I had where it was like my main account and then the other two, that’s still three accounts, it’s very easy to manage, it’s very easy to understand.

You have to keep eye-balling your payment automation.

Cat

All the same bank.

Ryan

Exactly.

Cat

Moving around, they have your name on it, like it’s perfect.

Ryan

And so, then we look at automation, right? And you’re transferring, you’re talking about transferring between buckets.

Cat

Like I said everything’s automated, yeah.

Ryan

And it makes things easy, it also kinda puts stuff on autopilot. You don’t want everything on autopilot, you wanna make sure …

Cat

You have to keep checking on it, you have to keep eyeballing it, but …

Ryan

Exactly, you wanna make sure that you know, you canceled this subscriptions or something that …  and things like that, but the auto transfers between accounts, like I know $458 for me and $458 for Taylor goes out every month into an IRA. And once that money hits the IRA, it’s auto invested in. Like I already know what I’m doing, it’s already put in … It’s just a system that I’ve set up for us.

And so, automation is not only good and bad right? Good with this concept, but bad if you don’t know what you’re spending. So I like how you automate things and you’ve got things in different buckets and visualize it all …

Cat

I like my buckets.

Money buckets are high-yield savings accounts.

Ryan

I know you like your buckets. I know you like your buckets.

Cat Alford

Who doesn’t?

And I should say my buckets are in high yield savings accounts, they’re not like in six different accounts with six different banks, they’re all in Ally ’cause Ally have one of the highest … They actually just upped it again, I don’t even know what it is now …

Ryan

1.2 …

Cat

… 1.2%, which you know, is not horrible but it’s not .01 like your checking account, and that way it just gives you a little bit of distance from … You know, it’s for me, and I’ve always felt this way, I can’t have all of my savings in one savings account. Like I’m very goal based when it comes to my savings, that’s why I like Ally because it lets you rename the accounts, you can see them all in one page. You know you’re getting that high yield interest rate and you know, you name ’em and it’s like your little pets, like your little Christmas pet bucket, your little …

Name your buckets like you would pets.

Ryan

Never heard bank accounts being called pets before, Cat.

Cat

I mean, well first time for everything.

Ryan

That’s amazing.

Well, and one thing is like let’s be real though, like 1.2% isn’t anything to write home.

Cat

Is not that great. But I mean it’s better than nothing, right?

Ryan

It is. It’s better than nothing, but at the same time like as you have plans and you’ve got emergency savings and different things like that does end up mattering that if it’s sitting at .001.

Cat

Right. If it’s like … Right, it does. And of course, the more senior physicians listening to this, like the people who have been out of residency you know, five, six, seven years, they should have a lot of excess money, I don’t think in like tiny little … I mean once I get to that point, it’s going to be invested, invested, invested.

Ryan

Yep.

Cat

Once you reach all the max you know …

Ryan

And now it’s time for the Curbside Consult.

Ryan

The question that I want to ask you is what if one of spouse, it doesn’t matter which one, what if one of the spouses wants to combine finances and the other one doesn’t, for whatever reason. What would be your recommendation, conversation to have, whatever it is, for those two to get aligned.

Cat

That’s a really great question. And for me, like this is not a money issue, this is like a behavioral finance issue, this is … There is some reason why someone doesn’t want to join accounts and this can go deep. I mean, maybe they had a single mom and they watched her struggle or maybe they had divorced parents and they feel like they have to have something of their own. And I think, it’s kind of … Because when you get married, you’re getting married to the person you trust more than anyone in the world, this is your partner for life.

If you’re marrying someone who’s been burned with joint accounts, try to get to the root of the issue.

Maybe someone had been married before and they got really burned the joint account or whatever it is or maybe you know, they’re just getting married at 30 instead of 22 like me and they’ve worked so hard and they have a sense of ownership over their money. And maybe they don’t wanna share all of it.

So whatever it is, I would try to get like to the core of what the issue is, like what is the … How does it make the other person feel. Does the other person feel like, “Well, why are you married to me if you don’t wanna join accounts? Like aren’t we a partnership?”

And I think once you kinda get to the root of the issue, then we can solve some things. So maybe the root of the issue is like, “Well, I don’t want you to see everything I spend. I wanna have some independence. Like, right? I’m a grown person.” And so maybe in that instance, that would be a good candidate for Ryan’s three bank accounts suggestion, where jointly together you’re each putting in a percentage of your income to main account that’s paying your family bills, but the other person you know, each person can then spend what they want and not feel like somebody’s micromanaging every purchase.

So I would say kinda get to the root cause of that and know that it might not be you, or anything against you, but just … Money’s complicated, right?

Ryan

Yeah, it usually is, unfortunately. And so, to kinda just add a little bit onto that first question here is, you know, as they’re looking at their finances and they maybe set in their ways, maybe they were like Taylor and I, when they were together for such a long time and things were separate. And now the concept of joining and they’re like, “Why? This has been working.”

Money can be a complicated issue.

Cat

Right.

Ryan

Even if it’s a little more difficult and a little more complicated to understand exactly what you’re spending, would you recommend that if it’s been working, to join them at that point, say they’ve been not asking a physician to marry them for 10 years.

Cat

Pointing the figure at you. No, like I stand firm with what I said at the beginning of this. You know, this is an issue that people have very firm stances on, you’re either for the joint account or you’re not. I am for joint accounts for a variety of reasons, being dating somebody and even if it’s working, even if you have separate accounts, maybe you’re living together and everything is going swimmingly and you’re all paying your bills, everyone’s getting along, but like marriage is a serious commitment and it’s not the same as dating and living together. There’s always an out in that situation.

Marriage is like a very different commitment and joining your finances is like another step, you know, this is a different partnership, like this is a lifetime commitment. And that’s again, that’s just my very strong opinion. I just … It kinda marks the difference between before and after, right?

Ryan

Yeah and …

Cat

… We always worked well before, but you know, now we have to really talk about things, this is marriage.

Ryan

Yeah and for the guys listening, gals listening, like you are very opinionated and very strong ’cause your hands are moving 100 miles an hour.

Cat

Too bad we’re not on video, he’ll be like flapping in the …

Ryan

We might be doing video next time, how this works.

But it’s always been fun, so Cat thank you so much for being on.

Cat

Thanks for having me.

Ryan

Can you tell everyone where they can hear about you, read about you and all that.

Cat

Of course. So you can find me at catherineolford.com, Catherine with a C and Alford with an A, you can find me on Twitter @CatCAlford, on Instagram @catherinecalford and yeah, I have little three-year old twins, I’m always posting pictures of them and sharing different articles and places that I’ve been and places I’m writing and featured. And so yeah, I’d be happy to connect with anybody who wants to talk money.

Ryan

Amazing and the books.

Cat

And I do have two children’s books out, unrelated to finance, but a fun side project.

Ryan

Yeah.

Cat

It’s called ‘The Twins Go,’ I wrote it for my kids, just because they love books and I’m a writer and I wanted to create something nice for them, it’s my side hustle.

Ryan

I love it, they’re amazing.

Cat

Thank you.

Ryan

Thank you, Cat, for being on.

Cat

Thanks for having me.

 

Ryan Inman