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Who controls the money in your relationship?

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Indian culture is patriarchal in most ways. Yet interestingly, women control the money. Men come home from work and hand their paychecks to the mother of the house. And since multiple generations usually live in one house, the mother has impressive power and collects multiple paychecks, doling out money where appropriate.

That’s why I love this email I received from IWT reader Maria B.:

Hi Ramit,

As I was reading the Money Diaries, I noticed that in those authored by men in relationships, the women seemed to be in charge of the budget (even when money seemed to be a point of tension).

I know that this is the case in my family (my mother, my sister and I are all in charge of our respective family budgets), as well as with several of my friends (not supposition – I’ve seen the spreadsheets).

I admit that my sample is limited (and biased), but I am curious how this affects the highly-gendered anxiety/confidence levels that you reported in your email earlier this week. How much anxiety is a result of  knowing the actual numbers (i.e. creating the budget and tracking spending) vs. trusting that everything is being taken care of. I am also quite curious about finances in relationships – how is money handled, how perceptions shift, how to keep everyone on the same page, etc. I am doubt that there is a simple answer, but it would be interesting to study.

What do you think?

If you’re MARRIED, who handles the money — day-to-day finances and large purchases/investments?

If you’re UNMARRIED, how did your parents handle it? What worked and didn’t work?

Leave your comments below. As usual, I read every one.

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174 Comments on "Who controls the money in your relationship?"

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Shayna
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married, I control the money, and I definitely worry more about it. Part of this is cultural, though – I’m American, my husband’s Brazilian, and he has a “don’t worry, things will always work out” attitude about life in general. I think part of it is also because my income fluctuates from month to month (I freelance) while my husband’s stays the same.

John
John
4 years 2 months ago
In my marriage i manage the finances. I cover just about all aspects of it. From setting the budget to spending to planning for the future. I try and try and try to make it a more joint venture. We track our budgeting and spending through Mint so either of us can look at it at any time. My wife will, instead of looking, wait for me to get home to ask if we can afford to spend money on something. Even on smaller purchases. We plan some personal spending money every month and she will still wait to ask… Read more »
Tim
Tim
4 years 2 months ago

I handle the vast majority of our finances. My wife always complained that we didn’t eat out enough so I’ve made her start tracking her expenses and cover the eating out. I cover everything else and handle the investing and planning as well. I work in the financial industry though and our incomes are very skewed (140k/yr to 30k/yr).

Each of our parents are split. Her Dad manages their money. My mom handles most of the budgeting.

Meg
Meg
4 years 2 months ago
Married. I handle all the money. I recently discovered that my husband, while he knows his annual salary, has no idea what the bimonthly take-home is. He just hands me a pay stub in a closed envelope. It’s my “job” to manage the house, which includes figuring out what to spend in food, clothing, etc. He asks me if we have money to, say, go out to dinner and accepts my answer. We discuss general ideas like, “Right now we are trying to finish our 2012 Roth IRA contribution,” but execution is entirely up to me. The in-laws marriage works… Read more »
Matt
Matt
4 years 1 month ago
Wow Meg, you really inspired me. I am not married yet, but when I first read this article I got this sense of fear because the thought of trusting finances to my wife makes me very scared. Mostly I think because my mom is addicted to shopping and is always in debt so a part of me worries any girl I marry would be the same. But at the same time, while working full time it will be very difficult to plan the minutia of such things. It would be wonderful to have a wife with whom I can trust… Read more »
Elle
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married and I handle the day to day finances. We review all of our accounts each month and track our progress for our yearly goals, which we created together.

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married and I control the finances in our marriage. Growing up, my dad was in charge of all the finances. In my husband’s family, his mom is in charge of it. When we married, my husband expected that I would control the finances since he grew up with a woman controlling the finances. I had no issue with this because I like to know where everything goes and wouldn’t be comfortable with someone else handling it.

Y
Y
4 years 2 months ago
Married. Live in Australia. I handle the money 100% (I’m the male BTW). My father also always handled the money and so I think I naturally just expected that I too would handle it all. All our friends I’m 98% sure the males also handle the expenses. That said I’d be 100% happy to share the money handling with my wife 🙂 She has just as many Engineering degree’s as me (better in fact as she scored “first class honours” on hers) and I’m sure she’d do just as good a job. The thing is, she doesn’t care really and… Read more »
Eric S. Mueller
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married and I handle the finances. My wife handled them for several years, then passed them back to me (long story). I do all the day to day, planning, and major decisions.

Lisa
Lisa
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married. We basically both handle the finances. We do a yours/mine/ours system for bills. We each have our own accounts plus a joint account for joint expenses. We make just about the same amount so all the joint expenses are split down the middle. As to who physically pays the bills, it’s mostly done by my husband- because he’s likes to track all the minutiae of the credit card bill and such. I am happy to track expenses automatically in Mint, but he for some reason lives in fear that Kohl’s will overcharge him for the pants he just… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
4 years 2 months ago

I (wife) handle the day to day money in our house. For larger expenses (home improvements, cars, etc) we make decisions together. Also, we each have some monthly discretionary money of our own that we spend on whatever we want without consulting each other, which gives us flexibility without compromising our budget.

Bobby V. Berry, Jr.
Bobby V. Berry, Jr.
4 years 2 months ago

My wife and I discuss all the finances and major purchases.

Ray
Ray
4 years 2 months ago

Married. Live in Canada. And my husband and I discuss the expenses together. I manage the household and business expenses, but the budgets are set together after discussing what our priorities are. Investments as well are done jointly. I deal with the securities , but comodities and real estate are jointly managed.

Valerie
Valerie
4 years 2 months ago

My dad makes and handles all the money and I believe he sets the budget, also. Otherwise, my mother would spend money as soon as it got in her hands. For a time, she was employed and would do just that with her paycheck.

I think this system worked for them. Not so sure if it would work for me. I don’t like being completely in the dark about money.

Mark C
Mark C
4 years 2 months ago

My wife tracks the budget and income and together we make large purchases. I have a full time job and freelance work, my wife is a stay at home mom. So, she has the time to stay on top of income and expenses for our family of seven.

Travis
Travis
4 years 2 months ago
I (the husband) take care of 90% of the finances in the house including retirement, investments, and day-to-day bill paying and tracking. Once a month we sit down to talk about what we have coming in the next month and what we plan on spending, how our retirement/savings are doing and if we need to change anything. For the most part we talk about pretty much all non-essential purchases and trust each other’s judgement. However a large purchase for us is anything over $50 and we pretty much talk it out ahead of time. There was a time several years… Read more »
Karisma
Karisma
4 years 1 month ago
Travis, you just made a good point. My husband wouldn’t even know how to pay our rent if I suddenly died. I need to remedy this-most likely I’ll have to show a family member/close friend what to do because he still won’t care. I handle all of our finances, my husband obviously survived before me but I’m not sure how. He had no bank account, (He’s a bartender and makes most of his money in cash) cashed his checks at Wal-Mart, paid rent with money orders, I’m not sure how he paid electric/Cable/Internet etc. He has no debt or bills… Read more »
Jim
Jim
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married and I (husband) handle the finances by automating just about everything. My wife isn’t interested in our month-to-month finances because we live well below our means. She hasn’t gotten involved in our finances because I setup the automation (bill pays and transfers) without her. Now there’s a large barrier to entry for her to get involved. We have different banks for different accounts – checking/savings in one, mortgage at another, car loan at another, investments, IRA, 401Ks all in different places. Just starting to get involved is intimidating just figuring out each bank, account, website, user name, password,… Read more »
Karisma
Karisma
4 years 1 month ago

I would have to say finances can be intimidating when there are so many accounts involved. I make 25 different payments every month for our expenses. I’m scared to automate it all because I fear that I won’t have enough in the bank to cover a payment (even though I’ve never had a late bill before in my life). I’m trying to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck rut, we recently had our savings drained and are trying to get back on top.

Heath
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married. My wife is a stay at home mom, and she handles all the finances. My paycheck is direct-deposited into a shared account, and she divides it between savings, checking, college savings, and retirement. I don’t have a budget, but I only spend money on lunches and possibly one night out per month with friends, so I’m not worried about my spending habits.

Joshua Romero
4 years 2 months ago
Hi To all the Women handling there budget out there!!!!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY GRILFRIEND!?!?!?!?! She has terrible habits with finances. She never writes anything down and always does it in her head.She also constantly uses the fact that she has kids as an excuse that she is broke. I tried to explain to her that she is living outside her means. I took time and made her a spending plan for a whole year and she refuses to follow it. We just got into a huge fight about this. She gets mad at me and says that I… Read more »
Kristal
Kristal
4 years 2 months ago

Run. Run fast, and run far.

sleepyhead
sleepyhead
4 years 2 months ago
First of all, if she won’t change if she doesn’t want to. Second, it seems she has some serious personal things to work out. These are things that will seriously hurt the relationship and I’d be surprised if the control thing doesn’t show up other places for her. I can’t imagine she’s a great parent if she’s stuck in this pre-teen “control issues” stage. Sadly, there isn’t anything you can do about this. There are many ways for HER to acquire some maturity and health, but that is all up to HER. Are there substance or other abuse issues also… Read more »
CL
CL
4 years 2 months ago
Your email is not attached. I did click on your name to get your website, but my comment here would have been private if your email address WAS available. “I took time and made her a spending plan for a whole year and she refuses to follow it. We just got into a huge fight about this. She gets mad at me and says that I just want to control her.” 1) Take Ramit’s advice and read his scripts in the relationship part of his book. They are gentle and considerate ways to broach a delicate subject. 2) As a… Read more »
Christine Rhee
4 years 2 months ago
Hi Joshua, I handle the budget and my husband used to be similarly nutty about his finances. Just wanted to let you know that the experience of getting a nonsensical, emotionally out of scale response to a reasonable request based on reality (like living within your means) is indeed real and as “crazy” as it feels. Honestly, you can’t reason with her as she is right now because she probably has some unaddressed issues from her past that she is avoiding and/or she has a biological/nutritional deficiency that is interfering with her ability to cope with day to day life.… Read more »
Cathy0
Cathy0
4 years 1 month ago

This is working for her on some level. If she doesn’t see it as a big enough problem, she won’t change. At the moment it seems you are the only one (of the two of you) who sees a problem. Needless to say, she finds that very annoying. You need to find a reason that makes sense to her, for her to want to change. If there is one.

CL
CL
4 years 1 month ago

Ramit has drawn attention to the parallel between personal finance and dieting before. This is probably how your girlfriend feels. If she asked you for help in the first place, you definitely should have made a plan for her. You cannot help people who have no desire to help themselves and in this case the OP is more knowledgeable about his specific circumstances than the person trying to change his habits. http://www.askamanager.org/2012/06/my-company-has-hired-a-pushy-dietician-who-wont-leave-me-alone.html

Tobe
Tobe
6 months 26 days ago
This is my ex husband. He refused to have a joint account. But he had access to my account which he used for gas or fast food at times. He managed the bills money etc. My dad did so i didn’t think anything of it. But my ex put us in massive debt. We would borrow from my parents but he would go into more debt. Mostly expensive toys cars water craft etc. All to amuse himself. I never had money. I would pay for kids expenses food gas some bills etc. He would leave the kids and me alone… Read more »
James Jones
James Jones
4 years 2 months ago

I am single.

In my family it was a little complicated. On paper my father managed the money. However, because he didn’t manage it very well/attentively it was more realistically managed by my mother.

On a side note, when I think on this I believe this is why I have the script of being pretty fastidious about money and very focused on having separate finances when I am involved with someone.

shannon
shannon
4 years 2 months ago

Married. Husband and I handle finances/budget jointly…I’m responsible for long-range items (retirement, major targeted savings for house, car, emergency fund, annual goals, etc.) and he handles short-range items like monthly bills. We have a monthly “meeting” to go over budget and spending for the past month and priorities for the next month. We also have our own discretionary spending accounts that we deposit roughly 5% of our income into and spend however we wish throughout the month.

Lindsay
Lindsay
4 years 2 months ago
My parents have always had separate bank accounts and split the bills. My dad makes significantly more than my mom and is also the spender in the relationship, although I think he is a conscious spender. My parents have different priorities- my dad likes to eat out my mom and I would be happy with rice and beans every night. My dad isn’t a big traveler or vacationer but he loves living on the gulf coast and we have had a variety of boats my whole life to enjoy it. I don’t think this is a solution I would opt… Read more »
Tobe
Tobe
6 months 26 days ago

Wow your parents sound like my marriage. My ex did all this too..but used debt and we always were negative. Made money but spent 10x more than he made. He ended up leaving us because he couldn’t go into debt anymore after i lost my job.

Sanjay
Sanjay
4 years 2 months ago

We are married, we agree on savings targets and allocations, and make major purchase decisions together. We pool our income together, and take draws as needed.

I am the husband, a CPA and have managed Quicken, paying bills and making deposits since we have been together for several years. I give her quarterly Quicken financial statements and we review them together.

We have found it better for one person to manage the accounting aspects, and to decide together how to allocate our resources.

Peggy
Peggy
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married. For the first 15 years of our marriage I worked part time and took care of the house and all the finances. In the last 5 years I’ve gone back to work full time and somewhere along the way my dear husband took over the finances. He is doing a great job at it and I love the break. We still discuss all of our spending and saving plans but I don’t miss watching the bank balance and paying the bills.

Anthea
4 years 2 months ago
This is very similar to my history, except my husband (I’m female) took over the paperwork (well, electronic work, for the most part) when I decided to dedicate more time to becoming a professional writer. We both work full time. He’s been doing that part for several years now, but we discuss where our finances stand every time he does the bills, every time we decide how to allocate savings or bonuses, and every time we consider a large purchase. We also both let each other know any time we buy anything, and often check in with each other first… Read more »
Dizzy
Dizzy
4 years 2 months ago
I’m a woman married to a man, and like probably 99% of your commenters are going to say, I handle the money. By that I mean tracking, compilation of the paperwork, making sure things like taxes and retirement contributions are done on time, and renewing insurances and staying on top of returns and things. My husband is well aware of where we have our money though and (not to the dollar but closely) how much is in various categories of accounts and has the passwords socked away in case I’m hit by a bus tomorrow. We both have our own… Read more »
Dizzy
Dizzy
4 years 2 months ago

Oh, if we’re tracking the background thing, we’re both immigrants – I’m from Europe, he’s from South Asia.

Meg
Meg
4 years 2 months ago

I actually worry about this a LOT. My husband trusts me completely, which is charming, but he has no idea about the financial particulars of our life. I keep meaning to make an “In the event of my death…” letter, but he honestly doesn’t even know which bank account our money is in. I’m worried about what would happen to him if I got his by a bus this afternoon.

Dizzy
Dizzy
4 years 2 months ago
Even just having the list of accounts and passwords on a spreadsheet is a start I reckon, Meg, though it’s hard to figure out a secure place to keep them. I saw it when my a family member got seriously ill (when still quite strong and young) and his wife had to take over the money in their household. It was such a mess, she had his healthcare to worry about and other family members had to be drafted in to go through paperwork, we still didn’t know if we caught it all and at a minimum bills were definitely… Read more »
Jessica
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married, and I manage almost everything with the money. My husband and I each get personal spending money of $20 a month, which is good for him (as a spender) because it’s small enough for him to keep track of in his head, and it’s money he can spend on whatever he wants (usually Taco Bell). We use Mint.com and he will sometimes check it to make sure he will be under budget for buying groceries, since he does about half the grocery shopping. I check our credit reports, pay our credit card bill, track information for taxes… that… Read more »
Carla
Carla
4 years 2 months ago
Married. I handle reconciling accounts and paying bills. We both manage our credit cards (pay balance twice a month)… and we discuss major purchases. I’m hispanic, my husband is american. My parents have their own checking accounts. We have a joint account that I mostly manage, and my dad thought that was strange. His parents share a joint checking account, but his mom mostly manages it. With technology these days it is easier for both spouses to look at accounts daily. We each have access to all accounts, so we can both see whats going on. I guess you could… Read more »
Kirsten
Kirsten
4 years 2 months ago
It makes sense that whoever posts here will be the one who manages the money. 🙂 We split it according to our talents. I’m the big-picture, long-term thinker, and my interest goes in fits and spurts. I handle the investments and retirement funds. My husband is far more detail-oriented and can remember to check things daily, weekly, or monthly as necessary. He pays the bills and makes sure there is always money in the right accounts. Neither of us would have been happy with the other totally controlling the finances, but we didn’t want to keep separate finances either (a… Read more »
CR
CR
4 years 2 months ago
I’m the husband. We have separate finances, and each do whatever we want to with our money. Prenup ensures this holds if, God forbid, we divorce. We split shared expenses, plan vacations together, and deviate from equal expenses on a case-by-case basis and for gifts. She generally accepts my input on investing issues, because I have more interest there – but she is quite capable on her own. We both want control over our finances, and this gives us that control and–I think–keeps the incentives right and limits arguments. I think that we both have a good awareness of each… Read more »
Jim E.
Jim E.
4 years 2 months ago
Been married 8 years and basically my wife brought the spreadsheet to the relationship and we both fill it out. She physically pays most of the bills because she had billpay set up before I did. As we’ve moved and with new offers some of those have switched back and forth. We both know generally whats going on and we both talk about major purchases (basically anything over $100) at least in general before they are done. For example Hockey dues come up for the season they are $450. I know she knows how much it costs and that it… Read more »
Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago
My wife handles most of the finances. That is, she pays the bills. We usually get together about once every 6 months to set up a plan and try to automate everything we can. What we can’t automate, she takes care of. I’m usually in charge of filing info and some other things. I think it works pretty well. My wife is concerned that I wouldn’t know what to do if she gets sick/is in an accident, but I am sure I can figure it out (we only have about 5 bills that cannot be auto paid). I think having… Read more »
Tania
Tania
4 years 2 months ago
I am married, and my husband and I have separate accounts. He controls his personal bills and most of the major house bills, and I take care of the children and the groceries, plus any personal expenses such as the gas I use and my cell phone. We do often fight about money, but it seems that we both have very different ideas of how to budget. In my family, my mother controlled the finances and my dad was happy to oblige. We are hispanic. In his household, my FIL gives my MIL a certain amount to live off of… Read more »
Bob
Bob
4 years 2 months ago
I’ve been married less than a year and have lived with my wife for 3 years. My wife monitors the finances constantly (which are all automated anyway) and probably thinks she’s in charge of the finances. The truth is that we’ve set up a system, adapted from my single days, and stick to it. We each have our own checking, savings, and credit card accounts, and also a set of shared checking, savings, and credit card accounts. We are both automated to transfer a set amount of our paychecks (a ratio of each income) every month to our shared checking… Read more »
Ryan Lee Waldron
4 years 2 months ago
I’m noticing a trend here. It isn’t the always the man, and it isn’t always the woman. The person who controls the finances is the one who reads I Will Teach You to Be Rich. I control the vast bulk of the finances. My wife gets 30% of her paycheck deposited into a her personal bank account. the rest all goes into various accounts that either I control, or we have joint control over (She never even bother to look at those accounts). This is typical of most Uptown New Orleans families, where the women spend their time and effort… Read more »
Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hippo
4 years 2 months ago

That’s an interesting perspective–that handling the money entitles one to spend a bit more than budgeted. (Not saying that you are being unfair, it’s just something I hadn’t thought of.)

Nathalie Lussier
4 years 2 months ago
I’m engaged to be married this summer, and have been with my guy for many years. We each take care of our own finances, and we have agreements in place for joint things like rent, utilities, etc. Since I’m an entrepreneur I track everything I do in minute detail, and every time I’ve tried to get my guy to track his spending it lasts for a little while and then fizzles out. I’m also usually in charge of filing taxes, and setting a budget at the start of the year. I am interested to see how things might change once… Read more »
PA
PA
4 years 2 months ago

We are married and agree that he will tackle world hunger and I will take care of the household stuff. Done!

James
James
4 years 2 months ago

I’m not married anymore, but when I was, my wife handled finances at first. Midway through our marriage, she got a job that necessitated a lot of travel, making it less convenient for her to manage the finances; at that point, I started handling them entirely.

I never realized it until typing out this message now, but it was always the lower money earner who managed the joint finances. I wonder if that’s just coincidence, or if there is something more to it.

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 2 months ago

I think that’s a very interesting point. Several other commenters have pointed out that the spouse with the less time-consuming job (or less away-from home job) tracked the finances, however the decisions were made. Specialization of roles = leveraging time.

Karisma
Karisma
4 years 1 month ago

I have a much more time consuming job: 40+ hours-my husband only works part time.

lisa
lisa
4 years 2 months ago
Joshua, I don’t see your email. Off hand I see one problem at the outset. You made a plan for her. Ask her how she would like to solve her problem, offer to help her and be calm and non judgemental. If you are obviously frustrated by her behavior she will take it negatively and retreat. Maybe help her brainstorm or start with tracking. Some people like being victims though, men or women. You may have to decide if you wanna live with that behavior or not. Anyway, my dad handled the money because he was a single parent. when… Read more »
Oliver
Oliver
4 years 2 months ago
I am in a long term same sex relationship (10 years now), so essentially married. We handle our finances separately and love that arrangement. We can always talk out what the fair thing to do is. My partner owns a multi-family and I pay him market rent for my share of the apartment that we live in. As an indicator of how separately we handle money, my favorite money thing that we do is that when we are going to drive somewhere a reasonable distance away and we could take either of our cars we have an impromptu auction to… Read more »
Gordon Worley
4 years 2 months ago

That’s great! I love when micro economics can work cleanly even when it comes to “personal” matters.

Rachel
Rachel
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married and my husband and I have separate accounts so we basically each manage our own – except that I know my husband doesn’t pay any attention to his accounts so I check them. While discussing your book the other day I asked him what his take home pay is and he didn’t know (though I had an idea). He is against automating even his credit card payment because he wants to know how much it is even though he usually just puts gas on it. I am trying to get him to put into practice the stuff in… Read more »
Chris C
Chris C
4 years 2 months ago
I am “married” in a same-sex relationship. I handle all of the finances. I grew up in a single mother household and even after remarrying, my mom handles all the finances. My partner’s father handled the finances in her family until her parents divorce several years ago. I grew up in low income bracket and money has thus been a primary focus for my entire life while my girlfriend was raised with more and thinks about it less. Actually, she hates to talk about money so we have 5 minute weekly updates where I tell her where we are financially… Read more »
Bri
Bri
4 years 2 months ago
I was just about to say what Kirsten did… I’d imagine that most of the people reading personal finance sites would be managing the money in their relationship. My husband and I tend to our own worlds, financially speaking. I manage the household expenses and he manages the occasional large purchase (because he likes doing the research more than I do!) and the investing. Because we make about the same amount of money, it’s not a big deal to have our finances split a bit. There’s none of the animosity that could arise if one spouse made significantly more than… Read more »
Justin
Justin
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married. I make most of the money (twice as much as my wife). I watch and manage the money. We both control the money. We COMMUNICATE about what and when we are spending money and both agree on using money for a given purpose before spending it. Okay, sometimes I don’t… but I make more of it? What’s “funny” her income goes into her personal checking account that I don’t have access too (these are accounts she had before we were married). Most of my money goes into an account that was solely mine and setup before we were… Read more »
Justin
Justin
4 years 2 months ago

I should add, we both are “in charge” of certain bills/payments though. She covers childcare, car insurance, her student loans. My income covers (and I ensure payment of) just about everything else: mortgage, food, my student loans, car loans, etc.

Diane
Diane
4 years 2 months ago
29 and Married. I’ve handled our finances since we moved in together, about a year before we got married. We had just purchased a house, and during the process, we found out that my husband’s credit score wasn’t where he thought it was. Why was that? Oh, because he was notorious for paying things late, as in a day or two, but that still showed up on the credit reports because he made a habit of it. Right before we closed on the house, I made him change his direct deposit to “my account”, which is now “our account”. I… Read more »
moom
4 years 2 months ago

I manage the money. My wife has no interest in it. We live in Australia. I grew up in England, my father managed the money too. I actually thought it was odd when a Chinese girlfriend (from PRC) told me that if we got married she wanted to manage the money because women always did this in China (she claimed – not the case in my wife’s family also from PRC). This is certainly not the default setting in Jewish culture (my main cultural background).

Jan
Jan
4 years 2 months ago

Married, Female………keep our finances separate and independent.
That suits me very well.

Mel
Mel
4 years 2 months ago
Hi Ramit & blog community – firstly, Ramit, I have to say that I’m a long-time fan and that I’ve benefited from your advice in regards to automating my finances since 2009 (thanks!). I’m writing because I was struck by the structure of your question, namely about asking whether it’s the man or woman who is in charge of finances. It was notable to me because it seemed to not be as inclusive as it could be of learning possibilities that could be garnered from asking the question to be inclusive of same-sex couples. This isn’t an “omg, I’m so… Read more »
Greg
Greg
4 years 2 months ago

Married. I make $120,000 salary + variable independent consulting income. Wife makes $40,000.
I manage the long-term investments, retirement accounts, and planning (ie setting budgets, auto-transfers to various savings accounts, student loans, etc).
My wife handles the execution. I have no idea who we have to pay for power/water/rent/etc and prefer it that way. I only care about the numbers.
We have never had the slightest argument about money – probably because neither of us spends money on anything unless it is functional, necessary, and painfully important.

Eweaver
Eweaver
4 years 2 months ago

Thats awesome that you guys don’t argue about money. But you guys should try spending a bit on something fun- not just “functional, necessary, and painfully important”! Sounds like you guys are good at budgeting, so it could be fun to add in those things!

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 2 months ago

Married female….I handle paying the bills + shopping and will give general direction regarding retirement investments. BUT, we consult regarding larger purchases and in the end manage our own retirement accounts. It just seems I’m the one more comfortable handling the details (he also hates making phone calls for some reason so I make appointments for everyone in the house as well). We both review the credit card bills and other items as they come in so are aware of where the money is going.

Stacy McKenna
Stacy McKenna
4 years 2 months ago
When I was married, it was joint budgeting, but I usually handled the day-to-day payment of bills/recording of receipts/reconciling of statements. I hate dealing with insurance of any sort, though (real mental block) so he always handled management of homeowner’s/car insurance policies and I just paid the bill. Currently, I have a live in BF who makes much more than I do. We have separate accounts. To a degree we have separate finances and separate budgets. That said, he’s very concerned that the rent he pays me cover what I need it to cover for me/the kid. He also is… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
4 years 2 months ago
Interesting situation. I am married and control the finances. All aspects of it. Paying bills, investments, budget, etc. The interesting, or maybe not so interesting thing of it is, she makes twice as much money as i do. What may be even more interesting is that her line of work is accounting! I am not a control freak or anything. When we got married it just sort of worked out that way because i wanted to be proactive with our finances and it just stuck that way. She is curious and always asks me and we discuss it all the… Read more »
Jessica H
Jessica H
4 years 2 months ago

I’m in a relationship and a complete control freak about my money; I can’t imagine giving up complete control of my assets haha My boyfriend and I discuss money sometimes (we’re both fairly frugal), but I’m not going to give away all the details unless it gets more serious. I don’t think I’d stick too long with someone who wasn’t also mindful of their finances.

Jessie
Jessie
4 years 2 months ago
I’m a woman married to a man. We recently opened a joint account to be used for our rent cheques (Canadian giveaway!) and savings for our downpayment. We manage all other saving separately (he keeps it all in a savings account, I have retirement accounts, etc). We split all other bills equally, even though I outearn him because I pay for disability insurance, and also because we split everything equally when I was in grad school and he was working, as we weren’t married at that time… Basically to help me make up for lost saving time. However, this is… Read more »
Pat
Pat
4 years 2 months ago

I handle the tasks of the our finances yet any purchases over $100 my husband and I talk about first. We each are spenders in our own way depending on what it is we’re talking about buying. We just each get our play money toward those things and the rest goes to household and savings.

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married and I do the gruntwork on balancing the checkbook and recordkeeping, but I would say our financial decisions are made jointly. We consult at least once a month on setting priorities. We decided together how much of the income we want to allocate to different categories, and we each have taken over different aspects of spending that we gravitate towards – for example, I do the clothes shopping, and my husband buys the car maintenance and household/yard project purchases. He does ask me what we have saved up when he is ready to do a project because I… Read more »
Angelica
Angelica
4 years 2 months ago
I handle the money! I’m an Accountant and my husband is a musician. He is good at budgeting his money, but not so much with planning. The industry he’s in is pretty much famine or feast, so I get why he’s not much of a planner type. It would drive me crazy to be paid on commission which is why I’ve always had steady jobs – because I like to plan. We’ve set a budget for our fixed expenses with my steady income and we’ve deemed his income to fund our savings/spending account. At the moment it’s working great!
Juli
Juli
4 years 2 months ago
We got married a year and a half ago and have been living together for over 3 years and we both control the finances. He pays for the mortgage and utilities (But I see all of the bills) and I manage the household payments like groceries, veterinarian trips, household goods, gifts, as well as my car payment. When it comes to large purchases we discuss it and we have a budget that we’ve set out. We always put away for savings first. Both of us lived under our means and on our own for several years before we met so… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
4 years 2 months ago
We have been married for 13 years. For the past 15 years I have handled our finances after the first year of my husband trying and botching the job. I learned on the job, made some mistakes, but nothing large like he had done that first painful year. Slowly but surely I got us out of debt, paid off our large pool of credit card and student debt, and we are left now with just our mortgage. (And sadly, I recently agreed to a new car purchase, so we have car payments again for the first time in over 10… Read more »
Lincoln
Lincoln
4 years 2 months ago

In my marriage, I control the budget/expenses/etc. I usually set up everything and track it (with Mint) and my wife will ask how we’re doing or if we can spend money on something.

Bill
Bill
4 years 2 months ago

I’m unmarried, and my parents are in the “unusual” situation where mom makes a significant income and dad is the stay-at-home caretaker of 5. My mother doesn’t have anywhere near the time needed to keep up with our family’s finances so dad takes care of everything.

An interesting side note that I presume influenced how they came to this arrangement is that my father used to work for a bank and has a masters degree in international finance. I’ve never asked but I’m curious how they ultimately decided who’s career and life goals fit better into the roles they’ve taken.

Matt
Matt
4 years 2 months ago

Married. I had heard an NPR article describing how in eastern cultures women control the money, so I figure that if it worked for half the world, then it might work for us too. Long term and large purchases we plan together and my wife keeps me informed on the rest of our day to day finances. My wife wife likes doing it and I eliminated mint.com as a distraction during work. Win-win.

Marsha
Marsha
4 years 2 months ago
Married woman, but not for the first time, and money is handled VERY differently this time around! We’ve studied Dave Ramsey and tweaked his program a bit – enough to stay with the program and still get results, just not as strictly or quickly as he recommends. My husband is self employed and I’m not, so when we decided to get married we sat down and made a list of expenses, then decided who would pay what, and it was amazing how evenly it came out. We review that list from time to time but it hasn’t changed very much… Read more »
Alberto
Alberto
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married, my wife handles all the money, she takes the paycheck and give me some pocket money if i deserved it. When I was single obviously I handle my own money and I think I was prety good at it (as in tight) but she is better and is one thing less to worry about for me (selfish?) I think women are better are this kind of stuff providing they are not shopaholics. My mother used to be in charge of the finances also.

Marguerite
Marguerite
4 years 2 months ago

Wow. Glad to read the comments here. Married. Thought I was “saddled” with managing the finances and thought my husband ought to. Now I see that there are a variety of ways to handle finances in a family and I am glad to do it.

L
L
4 years 2 months ago

Unmarried: my dad handles the money and yells at my mom (but not me) whenever she or I spend anything over whatever his threshold is for getting irritated (it depends on how he feels). He also uses money/favor to try to ‘buy’ affection.

Carol
Carol
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married, and we do it by committee, really. We negotiated who would pick up each bill – gas, electric, insurance, etc. The one who makes the most spends the most. We make large purchases together and make sure we’re both pulling the boat in the same direction overall. The funny thing is, both of us came to this because of our parents’ horrible money relationships. His mother let his father control the money and resented him for doing a bad job, while my mother controlled the money and my father managed it. Basically this means we both came from… Read more »
Ben
Ben
4 years 2 months ago

I earn 80% or so of the household income, manage 100% although the vast majority is automated and I don’t spend much time on it. My wife is uninterested in how much money well make, our station in life etc yet she worries much more about money than I do. I on the other hand am more interested in both saving and earning clipping coupons and taking side jobs. Both of us spend money as we please but we don’t spend much.

Erin
4 years 2 months ago
I am single and I control my money. I was in a relationship for 3 years where we lived together, but he didn’t have income to speak of so I still controlled the money and paid the bills. I’m not 100% sure what happens with my parents, but this is what I suspect: My dad makes a lot more than my stepmother. I believe they keep separate checking accounts and have divided up bills accordingly. However, since he makes so much more, he is basically controlling the finances and her income pays for a few things plus her personal expenses.… Read more »
Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hippo
4 years 2 months ago
I am a married woman in my mid-20s; my hubby is in his early 30s. I have always controlled the money, as well as paperwork: taxes, immigration, health cards, etc. I handle everything from setting up bank accounts (“Just sign here, babe”), arranging auto-pays for savings, paying bills, reviewing budget and spending… everything! My husband doesn’t want to know the details: they stress him out, the system seems complicated to him (it’s not, he’s just never really used traditional banks), and he trusts and expects me to handle it. I’m happy to do it, but it would be nice if… Read more »
Michael Chermside
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married. For the first quite a few years, my wife and I kept separate budgets and handled our money separately (splitting bills mostly). Eventually, when we switched to having only one income, we kept a single set of finances. I (the husband) have handled it since then.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 2 months ago
Married. I am female, and I am the sole provider. We have always kept joint finances. My husband is responsible for the day-to-day bill-paying stuff and the vast majority of the shopping. I am responsible for the strategic oversight and long-term planning. Basically, we do what we are each good at. It has been a struggle of many years to get to this point; for a long time he excluded me from the finances with psychological tactics (passive-aggressiveness, anger, etc.). I will no longer stand for that, because when we are not both involved, our finances suffer. He really just… Read more »
Poor to Rich a Day at a Time
4 years 2 months ago
My husband works, I manage all aspects of finances from budgets, to bills to investments to increasing income streams to cutting expenses and self-reliant living skills. At the same time it is kind of a whole family affair as I discuss openly all aspects of finances in our day to day lives. As a homeschooling mom I even have the kids create different life scenario budgets along with our actual household budget. My 14 year old son now wants to start investing and learning about investing after I introduced him to it. For large purchases, I find quiet time to… Read more »
Priscilla
Priscilla
4 years 2 months ago
I am not MARRIED (by choice), but have been with my partner long enough that I feel like I can comment as a married women. Interestingly enough I was explaining our budget and finances to my boyfriend yesterday and he just about had a melt down… What’s the big deal! He say’s, “I don’t want to know about it, I just want to make the money.” So, I am the one who gets to manage our finances. Some women would think being in control of the money is great, but that also means dealing with the stress of managing a… Read more »
Poor to Rich a Day at a Time
4 years 2 months ago

I should add at times when things are tight, it puts a huge burden on me as my husbands motto is ” you will figure it out!” This comes from a history of me always figuring out yet the stress for me to do so is incredibly high at times.

Dan B
Dan B
4 years 2 months ago

Married, male

I make 3x what my wife does. When we moved in together, I made a spreadsheet with all of the bills. I moved bills around such that the ones I pay are the same percentage of my income as the ones she pays are of hers. IE I have the mortgage and she has groceries, etc.

I also take care of all the savings, investing, retirement management, and large purchases.

Baker
4 years 2 months ago

Ironically (or not so much so) my wife controls all our daily spending. I only really come into play in the largest of investment or purchases. 🙂

Chris Parsons
Chris Parsons
4 years 2 months ago

I handle the money in my wife & I’s marriage. My dad handles the money in his marriage. My wife’s mom handles the money in her parent’s marriage, but her Dad makes all the big money decisions.

In all of the cases, ‘handling the money’ just means keeping track of the bank account. The other person still spends freely out of the accounts. And both people pay bills – although the wife in each relationship handles 75% of bill paying.

Kreedos
Kreedos
4 years 2 months ago
Great topic to discuss Ramit. My wife’s family is pretty wealthy, whereas I come from a modest background and a single parent household. Because of this, I tend to be the more money conscious one. Unfortunately, her family thinks she is the more money conscious of the two of us, so they funnel money to her and tell her to keep it a secret from me. I took major offense to that, but there is nothing I can do. So while she has more money coming in from her job and family, I am the one planning and paying all… Read more »
CR
CR
4 years 2 months ago
I’ve been married for 20 years and I’ve been the one in charge of the money the whole time. When I first got married, I was working and my husband was still in school. In the space of a month, he finished school, I left work, we had our first child, and he started work, while I became a stay-at-home mom. But I still was in charge of the money. Over the years, I’ve worked to educate myself about finances, and have tried to get him interested too. But he really prefers that I handle it. We make the large… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
4 years 2 months ago

Married, male and I set and plan the spending. We both work full time but right now she is making more money. In my parent’s relationship, my mother controlled and kept the budget.

Tiffany
Tiffany
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married. We have each had our turns handling the money; usually when one or the other thinks they can do a better job, ha. That was the earlier years in our marriage. My husband has been in charge of the money for a couple years now and I must admit that I love it. Whenever I was “doing” the money I was so stressed out all the time. I had a tendency to cut us too close on discretionary spending money and no one was happy with that. I was a bit overzealous with paying bills, if there is… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 2 months ago
Woman married to a man here. Both in our mid-thirties, together 15+ years. I’m in charge of budgeting, automating, managing our long-term and “splurge” savings, and paying bills. We handle taxes together, and he deals with our investments / retirement funds. In practice, this means I do most of the work, which is part of our larger deal about household responsibilities. (He never has to pay a bill; I never have to clean a bathroom.) I am definitely the leader about finances – setting savings targets, deciding how much we’re putting into our investments, etc. I was the one who… Read more »
Paul
Paul
4 years 2 months ago
Married, Male, I control the finances. My wife doesn’t seem to care very much about the day to day, as long as our net worth is increasing (though she wouldn’t use the term net worth). Actually, sometimes I wish she wanted to be involved more, if only so it would feel more democratic, and so I would feel confident in her ability to take over if something happened to me. But that’s not actually the interesting thing I have to say. While I’m sure gender dynamics are at play, I think the fact that so many men and so many… Read more »
Jenny
Jenny
4 years 2 months ago
In our marriage I organize the money. I set up all the automatic savings payment withdrawals and I pay the bills. My husband’s paycheck is automatically deposited. Mine isn’t so I’m the one who does all the depositing as well if there are other checks to go in. We talk about where our money is going, he’s on all the accounts and any big purchasing decisions are handled by both of us. We have two credit cards that we use for day to day purchases, one that gives 6% rewards on groceries and one that gives 3% on gas. They’re… Read more »
Linden
Linden
4 years 2 months ago
In our marriage, I handle almost all of the financial operations, big and small. My husband takes care of the kids while I go to work. He does have his own savings and a monthly “paycheck” to spend as he pleases. Other than that, all of our bills are paid out of a joint account and joint credit cards which I fund with my paycheck. Before we married, my husband had a lot of stress around money, credit card debt, paying bills, etc. He says that he really appreciates the fact that I take care of it all and he… Read more »
Eweave
Eweave
4 years 2 months ago

love the ‘death files’ idea. Morbid, but awesome.

JohnE
JohnE
4 years 2 months ago
Are you keeping score? At a glance it looks like about 50/50 to me, which suggests gender doesn’t have a big role to play in determining whether you are good with money. I would say the existence of your blog is evidence that people who manage their finances well are in the minority. Which means in any relationship it is fairly likely that only one (or neither) of the two people is good at or enjoys managing the money. I guess the people from relationships were both of them suck aren’t commenting. I’m not seeing too many replies that say… Read more »
Pat Franklin
Pat Franklin
4 years 2 months ago

I am married and I handle the day to day finances. We used to trade back and forth but the last 20+ years I have done it. My husband has a consulting business and if he spends time on the finances a project suffers. I tell him how much I need each week to pay bills both personal and corporate. It seems to work.

Sarah S
Sarah S
4 years 2 months ago
I am married. Our money system is essentially Yours, Mine, Ours. We were together for seven years before marrying, so we have developed a unique system where we are both in charge of our “own” money and split joint ventures 50/50 (dining out, groceries, etc). When we married, we opened a joint chequing account that we each deposit into monthly and this covers any day-to-day shared expenses. Because I enjoy it, I control the budget for the joint expenses. We also have a joint savings account that we use for big purchases. We decide together when and how to use… Read more »
Eweave
Eweave
4 years 2 months ago
Engaged, female. My fiance and I have had several conversations about our joint finances (to try and avoid marital doom). Our conclusion is that I am better at spending the money and he is better at keeping everything organized. I am a champ at automation and retirement saving, but not so good with keeping track of my everyday spending habits (occasional Target runs, groceries, gas, etc.). So at first we said he would do finances… Then he started talking about the “allowance” I would get for our weekly spending. Hell no. So we decided that we would have to have… Read more »
Ellen
Ellen
4 years 2 months ago
I know some people do things differently, but to my mind, marriage means “mine” and “yours” becomes “ours”. Our home, our income, our checking, savings, etc. Our goals. This requires a high level of trust, communication, shared values, and willingness to be flexible/creative. One person may be the designated recordkeeper or check-writer, but the more you divide things up, the more you 1) keep score to see if things are really 50-50 2) can avoid communicating and 3) can avoid learning to compromise. Scorekeeping, division, avoiding communication, and refusing to compromise = bad mojo for marriage.
Todd
Todd
4 years 1 month ago
I have been married for 3+ years, but been in a relationship with my wife for 13. I handle nearly all financial matters, but anything major (which includes pretty much anything over $50 besides groceries) we discuss. My wife has no real interest in doing the day-to-day, but does want to be informed on what we are doing. I’m slightly OCD so the minutiae intrigures me, although I am starting to generalize a bit. I chose this one to respond to because both my wife and I agree that marred = yours, mine, ours. I understand that for many people,… Read more »
Chris Hess
4 years 2 months ago
I am married and my wife doesn’t like to budget so we came up with a compromise. Paychecks go into ING Direct and I’ve setup a bunch of automation to move into certain accounts. One of the automated transfers sends money to our credit union. This money is my wife’s. She uses it to buy anything she needs or wants. Food (including when we eat out), clothes, diapers, etc. I don’t even worry about the balance on that account. When we have larger purchases (something that doesn’t fit in our normal budgets) we save the money aside and make those… Read more »
Anon
Anon
4 years 2 months ago
This is a nightmare for us, well for me. My husband and I always kept our accounts separate after accidently bouncing our first joint account as newlyweds. Generally my husband pays for his personal expenses, the mortgage and utilities, mowing service, expensive repairs, and now, grudgingly, our two kids’ preschool tuition. I generally pay for my personal expenses, groceries, misc. household maintenance expenses, and the kids’ day to day expenses. I have a small 401K account; he has all of our other investments. Managing expenses is really tough because he makes a lot more than I do. He used to… Read more »
CL
CL
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t think that you are a burden at all! He makes you beg for the kids’ tuition AND makes you wait for it? That’s abusive. The tone of your post is so defeated that it’s obvious that something is wrong. If he thinks that you shouldn’t have “personal expenses” like GAS or car expenses, your husband is out of touch with reality.

Cristina
Cristina
4 years 2 months ago

You are far from a burden! You are raising his children and managing a household. If you can’t talk him into fully merging finances, can you set up an automatic transfer so that you don’t have to ask him for tuition money (and grocery money, etc.) every month? You should not have to be your husband to help support your (HIS) children.

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 2 months ago
The lack of unity and cooperation you describe is disturbing. When Ramit asked about who “controls” the money, I see that most people talk about “handling” or “managing” the money in a marriage. This is a serious case of one-sided control. Why are you trying NOT to feel frustrated and hurt? Where is the joint decisionmaking on how you rear your children and where/how you live? Why should a reduction in household income be a borne by YOU alone? You have to ASK him to spend HIS money to feed the family? The way you and your children are being… Read more »
Dizzy
Dizzy
4 years 2 months ago

This sounds insane. I’m all for separate accounts where the couple is both happy with it, but one partner under severe stress and one coasting is madness. The begging for tuition sounds abusive, quite apart from the fact that these are expenses for his kids. Assuming you have communicated your unhappiness to the guy and he hasn’t changed, I’d be watching my back if I were you. Good luck.

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 2 months ago
Wow – that sounds really odd to me. I make significantly more than my husband, and that’s one of the big reasons I think it’s so important that we have a joint account. The bills are ours, not mine or his. (we do have smaller personal checking accounts for the bills that are very clearly individual expenses – gifts for each other, things that one person values but the other doesn’t, etc). I think about how I would want him to treat me and the money if the situation were reversed, and then do that. It’s worked out well for… Read more »
Anon
Anon
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the helpful suggestions. My husband’s not an evil person, just quite stingy and so self-centered that he probably doesn’t fully realize how hard he makes life for me. Thanks to Ramit’s excellent earning advice, I’ve recently nearly tripled my consulting rates and replaced a demanding client who regularly took 90-120 days to pay with a more reasonable one who pays promptly on the first of the month. Perhaps this means the next year will be a little easier than the last two?

Tobe
Tobe
6 months 26 days ago

How is your situation. My spouse was the same. He didn’t save though he just spent his money. He had control issues. He lived for his lifestyle not the family. I think he has Adhd and from what i studied and some therapy for me, he is narcissistic. My only advise is get a job to support yourself and not have to ask for money. This will hopefully eliminate stress. Although I’m not sure if you would be paying the tuition too. Best wishes

Eweave
Eweave
4 years 2 months ago
And my parents… My mom handled day to day everything. My dad did all the investing. They saved like crazy. My dad has no clue how much my mom spends on groceries and my mom is completely oblivious to their retirement. My dad worked and my mom was a housewife for 25 years before going back to work. Now she keeps her ‘own money’ but still uses only my dads for their major/daily/monthly expenses. They taught me a lot of good habits (saving for the future). But because they made much more money than me I tend to have taste… Read more »
Ellie
Ellie
4 years 2 months ago
Well, I’m not single, but I’m not into the relationship enough to talk finances yet. Growing up, I lived with my grandparents. Until today, they handle their personal finances separately (they both use Quicken to do this–yes, my grandparents who are 70+ can use quicken like pros). They do put together part of their incomes for the household stuff though. My grandmother, who worked in finance most of her life, is in control of the accounts and bills related to the house, and way back in their earlier years of marriage, the tuition fees were also a part of the… Read more »
Cristina
Cristina
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married and handle our finances. We both pay bills out of a joint account, but I’m the one who keeps track of things and makes the long-term decisions. We discuss them, but he generally defers to me regarding investment-related decisions, etc.

Marsha
Marsha
4 years 2 months ago
To Ellen – tain’t necessarily so that “mine” and “yours” staying that way lead to a bad marriage. My husband has been self-employed the whole time we’ve known each other, while I’ve always brought home a biweekly paycheck. Merging those 2 income streams is a recipe for disaster, as he always has to keep operating capital on hand but it doesn’t matter if my checking account gets down to $1.29 on Thursday when I know I’ll get paid on Friday. If we had merged our money and I’d cleaned out his operating capital even once, our marriage wouldn’t have lasted… Read more »
Ellen
Ellen
4 years 1 month ago

Absolutely right, it’s communication and compromise that make it work. My point was that some people use separate finances to avoid communicating & compromising. That is what is bad for a marriage.

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 2 months ago
Married. We jointly manage our money, but only because I push my husband to be involved in the process. He’s not particularly interested, but I make twice what he does and feel it’s really important to have him involved in our financial decisions so that I don’t slip into , “I make the money, I make the decisions” mode. We both have money set aside each month for us to spend on US stuff (poker with the guys, mani/pedi date with the girls) but just about everything else gets dumped into the joint account. We review every month – because… Read more »
Kimberlyda
4 years 2 months ago
I am un-married but I witnessed the disaster having only one person in a couple take care of the finances. My parents were married for over 40 years and my father was an “entrepreneur” when they meet (I put that is quotations becasue he never made any money at it but he still thought of himself that way until he had to get a job when the kids started coming and he had o grow up). My mother was the daughter of a bank president so she was well versed in money and finances. When her parent died see was… Read more »
SK
SK
4 years 2 months ago
Married female and I control 100% of our finances. I do have a Death/Emergency file but I still worry because my husband has never really managed his own money. As far as he’s concerned the less responsibility the better – I literally hand him a cash budget every month and if he needs a credit card he asks me. I would welcome him being involved more but it’s not his style and I know I am better suited for it. Truth be told there are advantages to having all the power, but I keep him in the loop and happily… Read more »
Eleanor
Eleanor
4 years 2 months ago

Finances: I manage my own finances and am not married. With my last boyfriend, I was the main breadwinner & he just paid for the occasional dinner, one of the major reasons the shelf-life of the relationship was extremely short.
My parents:
My mother handles the day-to-day expenditures. She has free reign on credit card and spends as she pleases, but she’s tighter than a tick. My father handles the large purchases/investments and he’s also very careful and is interested in saving. He’s a good long-term investor.

Lan
Lan
4 years 2 months ago
I’m married and female. I’ve been handling 100% of our finances since the day we got married 4 years ago. Our money is completely combined. It’s never an issue for us, possibly because we’re DINK (dual income, no kids) engineers with equal paychecks, low expenses, and similar interests. When we make a large purchase (>~$150), we usually talk about it first. I deal with the 401k’s and IRA’s (we invest the max), pay all our bills, make insurance decisions, etc. The money stuff comes naturally to me, so our approach just makes sense for us. Once or twice a year,… Read more »
-Rob-
-Rob-
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married, and I control the money. That is to say, I manage the expenses, investments, large household purchases, etc. I seem to recall my mother handling things when I was a kid, but my wife is more of a “get a dollar, spend a dollar” kind of gal.

Brigitte
4 years 2 months ago

I’m married to a district manager at a large bank. Of course, everyone assumes he controls the money. Everyone also happens to be wrong. 🙂

I like to joke that I’m both the saver and the spender in our household, so I need to keep a close eye on our accounts.

Aqua
Aqua
4 years 2 months ago
Ramit, I’m about to be married and only just moved in with my fiance. I’ve been getting your informative emails for a while now and plan on buying your book. We are getting married in 4 weeks – your book is a 6 week program. With all the related expenses of wedding planning – do you think we will succeed if we start your program now, or will we have a better shot by starting after the wedding?? I’m not a money expert – I’m the creative type and I live pretty much at my means especially while planning this… Read more »
Erin
Erin
4 years 2 months ago

I manage the money in our marriage. My husband is great at being frugal, never goes out for lunch or buys a latte, but he’s not great at earning more or thinking bigger than a monthly budget. So I’m the one focused on getting big raises, planning our kids’ college savings and our retirement. I also set up our cash flow automation, and pay most bills, choose what credit card works best for us, etc. We make big purchase decisions together, but I’m usually the one who pulls the trigger at final decision time.

Tracy
4 years 2 months ago
I handle all aspects of our finances, including running retirement-savings scenarios and tracking our spending in Quicken, because I enjoy it more. My husband and I figure out our goals together, and I automate our savings to get us there. We’ve learned to live below our (remaining) means, so neither of us thinks much about spending on a day to day basis. In our mid-30s, we’ve paid off our mortgage and have healthy retirement accounts; we still get to travel and do the other things we value. So we have a good system. But I do worry that my husband… Read more »
Victoria
Victoria
4 years 2 months ago
Unmarried, but with shared control of my parents’ finances. Both my parents worked and both took turns in the responsibility of handling family finances. First my dad was in charge, but lost a lot of money in bad “investments” (ideas that went nowhere/possible scams), then my mom took charge and she was just as bad (buying stuff she can’t afford). They kept at this back and forth control until they separated when all the kids grew up. Money and a slew of other problems were reason behind the split. Strange thing is that they’re both well aware of how to… Read more »
Cole
Cole
4 years 2 months ago
I am married and my wife and I make all of the financial decisions mutually. Both of us know how much we owe, what we are bringing in, and what our bills for the month will be (note: we are both first born, type-A personalities). Interestingly, for both of us, our mothers are mainly in control of the finances. My mother (who is also very type-A) would always organize a discussion of finances with my father on their anniversary when they went away for a weekend every year. Then, they usually figured out their plan for the year ahead and… Read more »
Nick
Nick
4 years 2 months ago
My wife is a Type A personality in every aspect of her life except finances. While working through step one from IWT we discovered her student loans were 48k not the 26k that she told me. That was a real kick in the stomach. I have tried to handle our finances for the three years we have been married and I realized I don’t know what the hell I’m doing either that’s why I bought your book. It is helping thanks. What will be interesting though is in 15 mos when my wife graduates she will triple my salary so… Read more »
Charles Manuel
4 years 2 months ago

wife handles all the money.I get my allowance and so does she, but she does any day to day necessities. however, I set up our automated bill payments,and also I’m usually the one who “negotiates” lower interest rates on cards, lower cable bills etc. so a fair trade all in all.

Katherine
4 years 2 months ago
Thanks for blogging about this topic; it’s a very interesting one. Of my parents, my father is the money-savvy one and the breadwinner. My mother trusts him with investing their savings in various accounts and with saving enough for my and my brother’s college education. Though my parents’ financial situation is very patriarchal, both parents have made it clear that they do not expect my financial situation to be as tradition as theirs if I ever marry. Currently, my father is teaching me to invest (something that he isn’t teaching my brother, who hasn’t shown interest in investing, which shows… Read more »
Suzie
4 years 2 months ago

Married. We have separate accounts, but I handle the bills and he pays me toward them (or did, we currently live apart).

This was for a practical reason more than a gendered one – as an immigrant, he didn’t qualify for a decent bank account with a debit card / ability to set up standing orders. Plus he intially had to spend three months unable to work. However, we tend to work out our budget together, and we make joint decisions on things that we both contribute to.

Whatever he has left over is his though.

Connie
Connie
4 years 2 months ago
Married. I handle the money. My husband can do it, but he does not want to. When we get paid, we each take out a set amount of cash. That is the money that we can spend without discussing it with each other. Then I put money into savings for our various goals and I keep track of each goal with a spreadsheet. Then I pay the household bills. If there is any left over, I either put it in savings for misc future uses or we got out as a family for the evening. My husband has a pension… Read more »
Jana
Jana
4 years 1 month ago
Very simple answer. The couple (family, tribe, whatever the unit is) chooses the person who is trusted to be in charge of the budget. If it’s the woman, it’s her job to deal with her responsibility as wisely as possible, for the benefit of everyone. Same applies to the man, should he be the one. But… “should” is the wrong word, right Ramit? 🙂 In fact everyone IS in charge of handling their own money wisely, including small kids with their pocket money. The money-smartest person of the family is responsible not only for distributing the money but also for… Read more »
Dave
Dave
4 years 1 month ago

I handle the money in our relationship. My wife doesn’t have much interest in this area and doesn’t mind me just handling it. We talk about major purchases and as I’m working more toward automating everything – we both get the email from Mint about where the budget stands for the month. We both get an allowance of money we can just spend on whatever – and not worry about. Works well for us…

Suze
Suze
4 years 1 month ago
My mum has always been in charge of the money in my family. My parents have only had joint bank accounts since they moved in together at age 18. Both were working full-time and while Mum had savings Dad only had $1.37 in his bank account despite being in the Navy and therefore not having to pay for food or accommodation. I think it naturally fell to Mum to be in charge as she was more sensible with money at that stage. Over the years, Mum has worked less than Dad to take care of three children, but any money… Read more »
Stacey
Stacey
4 years 1 month ago
My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years and have made about the same salary as engineers that whole time, until last year. We moved across the country and I took a $5K pay cut while he got a $30K raise. We still share rent and water equally, but the power, internet, and Netflix are all him. We each paid cash for our cars a couple of years ago, and each have our own cell phone and credit cards for discretionary spending. We buy some groceries together but mostly separate as I eat Paleo and he eats a… Read more »
Ornella
4 years 1 month ago

Both my parents managed the finances. Since both parents worked, they each has as much to say as the other.

Cindy
4 years 1 month ago
For the first time this February my husband and I filed for our taxes together. That led to an argument of how the refund money would be split. Ultimately he had a great idea to put it all into a joint account used solely for bills. Previously I dealt with the bills asking him for his share whenever it was time to pay them. Besides groceries we have about $1000 shared bills each month. Now we each contribute only $250 to the shared account each month and the tax return takes care of the rest, until next year. I still… Read more »
Grumpy
Grumpy
4 years 1 month ago
I think the real point is that even if you make joint decisions about savings/investment and non-routine spending, one of you needs to take responsibility for day-to-day money management in the sense of checking that automated payments go through, there’s enough in the bank to pay off the credit cards in full each month, non-automated bills are paid, and that you don’t need to temporarily rein in discretionary spending because an unplanned expense has bitten deep into your balance, and so on. And to ensure that you’re living within your means! I used to play this role, but when my… Read more »
Stevie
Stevie
4 years 1 month ago

Married, Female, No one was in charge of the money, what ever money we got was spent, I tried to use an envelope system to pay bills but it was impossible. We use only cash because our credit was poor plus most of our money coming in was cash.

Now there is no money.

Susan
Susan
4 years 1 month ago
Married. We keep completely separate finances–checkbooks, savings, retirement, etc. We track all our expenses, but again, separately. He does his online, I do mine with paper, pencil, and simple brain power. I make decisions on all our large purchases, regardless of who is going to spend the money, because I can research and make a choice quickly. My husband would dither forever, and realizes he would, so he delegates choices to me (cars, investments, furniture, etc). We would pool our resources and do finances jointly, except our spending styles and decision making processes are so very different. What we value… Read more »
Financial Advice for Young Professionals

I’m not married yet but I will be controlling the money. I think it’s important to keep your significant other in the loop though. You may think you’re making all the right choices, but someone else could provide you an alternative view.

Andrew
Andrew
4 years 1 month ago

Married. I manage the savings, investments, and periodic bills (rent, utilities, loans, etc). Wife manages all the other purchases.

Simon @FinestFinances
4 years 1 month ago

In my relationship, my girlfriend is controlling all of the bills, etc. But regarding buying home realted stuff, and bigger investements my voice is more important – I’m simply making better decisions and she knows it.

P.S. Nice topic, really enjoying reading comments 🙂

Caitlin
Caitlin
4 years 1 month ago
Soooo… It sounds to me like if you read this blog, you manage most or all of the family’s finances regardless of whether you are man, woman, or wombat. Not really surprising, but it would be interesting to see what the responses would be from a wider sample of people. I currently live with my boyfriend but we each manage our own finances. I have no idea how much money he has, hopefully enough to cover his half of the rent. Part of this is because we have extremely variable income, he freelances as a web designer and is still… Read more »
Edgar
Edgar
4 years 1 month ago

Hello.

Married, I used to handle all of the expenses, but I thougth I would be a good Idea to share that responsability with my wife, I pay things like gas, electricity, mortage, she pays for mobile phones, retirement accounts, etc.

In the beggining it was kind of touch and go but now its all good. I feel really blessed for so many things, but my wife specially.

In my house hold my Mother used to handle all the expenses, in my wife’s home her mother also controlled the expenses.

Regards.

Samantha
Samantha
4 years 1 month ago
Married: husband and I manage finances together. We have monthly discussions about money and our budget, any upcoming things we can foresee or if there is a big purchase one of us is thinking about making. We have a joint household account + mortgage, and then we have separate personal checking accounts. I’d say we’re on the same page with money because of Dave Ramsey’s financial peace course. We’re working now on paying off the mortgage (our last debt) and we’ve got a healthy emergency fund. Everything else is automated, so there’s not really much else to “control”.
Crystal
4 years 1 month ago
I am married and as the wife, am definitely the CFO of our family. My husband did a decent job with his finances before we were married but since I have a Finance degree and work in Credit all day every day, and frankly, I just LOVE it, I handle our finances. My husband always knows about how much money is in our accounts and we go over the IRAs, savings accounts, etc. every couple months. For large purchases, we always discuss it first and then figure out which account it’s going to be paid from, so we are usually… Read more »
Phil
Phil
4 years 1 month ago

Happily married for eight years and I control the finances. My wife has little interest regarding finances but I make sure we discuss our budget and plans for our money.

Kate
Kate
4 years 1 month ago
I’m a woman in the US, married, we both work full time. I manage my personal finances, as well as our household finances, while my husband manages his personal finances. My parents both earned equally and my mother managed all of their money – this lead to a lot of angst over spending, so we use the ‘yours, mine, and ours’ spending model where we both contribute a set monthly amount to a group fund, and keep the rest. This works pretty well for us; all the spreadsheets are shared so he can see what we have at a given… Read more »
Austin
Austin
4 years 1 month ago
I’m married and I reluctantly took over the finances about 2.5 years ago. For 9 years, my wife “managed” all the bills. She had expensive taste and we were constantly broke. I was always aware of the problem, but didn’t know how to deal with it. As long as my debit card wasn’t declined at the pump or grocery store, I didn’t care enough to start a fight. We reached our low when I was forced to decide if it was worth another $35 overdraft just to buy my son a gift on his birthday. Then the credit card that… Read more »
Sam
Sam
4 years 1 month ago

I’m married and I have handled everything financial for the 32 years we’ve been together. My wife and I never fight over money, since we’re lucky enough to have both a good income *and* a lot of spending restraint; we haven’t had to budget in years. I use auto-pay for some bills, but managing investments and doing the taxes are major responsibilities

P
P
4 years 1 month ago
Single, 28 yr old, female… so I handle everything financially and otherwise. Having raised me as a single-parent for a long time, my mom was used to taking care of everything herself. After she got remarried to my step-dad, she continued the managing of the financials. Like others have mentioned, I’m not sure my step-dad would have known who to pay the mortgage to, when it was due and how much. He’s the type of person that if someone else is taking care of it… he’s not going to bother. (which drives me insane, btw) I’ve been instilled with “don’t… Read more »
juan david
4 years 1 month ago

here in my country colombia men control the money we are the workers.

Marvin
4 years 1 month ago

(Asian, Male)

I’m married and we both handle the finances. In the end, we don’t have a strict budget for spending, but we do check-in with each other if the purchase is above $75. All repetitive monthly expenditures are paid by whomever can get to them first.

Skye
Skye
4 years 1 month ago
Married 15 years. Two young kids. One earner (husband). Together we make major decisions, set the budget, and discuss issues as they arise (which is constant). My husband handles the online banking, mint, bill payment, and reconciliation. I handle the medical/insurance reconciliation, which is as big a task because I have several chronic diseases. I am probably the more strategic planner. We each have an allowance, from which all optional purchases come. We have fallen into the pattern of his buying dinner out with his allowance and my buying the kids’ clothes, but the allowances are fluid. We are far… Read more »
Martha
Martha
4 years 1 month ago
My Dad was the bigger earner, but Mom earned, as well. They decided $$ issues together, Dad paid the bills. Mom watched the spending, and when Dad took a job in another state and lived there a couple of months b4 the family moved, he spent in a week on groceries what Mom spent in a month for the 6 of us. In my marriage, b4 we married, my husband said it didn’t matter who paid, when I brought the subject up. A few years after marriage, in response to a conversation on where to spend the weekend, he said,… Read more »
Stephen
Stephen
4 years 1 month ago
My wife and I recently changed our spending habits in an effort to get out of debt. We have been trying for a few years to break into Real Estate investing, but our debt to income ratio has made it difficult to fund any opportunities. We used to split the bills. I make quite a bit more (although still a modest amount) for now as my wife is in grad school and doesn’t have many opportunities in her field of study with only a bachelor’s degree. For this reason, I was paying the majority of the bills and if one… Read more »
Janet
Janet
7 months 10 days ago

Married. Husband has his accounts and I have mine, both make about the same amount. Hey pays set household bills, I am no privy to the amounts, his income and account balances. I pay set household bills and all expenses relating to our two children. I am handling my retirement savings separate since I am not involved in his financial situation.

John
John
2 months 5 days ago
I must confess that over here in the United States it is very difficult to get a powerful spell caster that will be able to restore broken marriages or relationships, But through the help of the internet i was able to get in touch with this powerful spell caster called High priest tokubo after reading a lot of good reviews about him on the internet so i contact him through his details bellow And after i told him about my relationship stress then high priest tokubo told me to calm down that my lover will come back to apologies to… Read more »
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