When we were engaged we started moving to shared finances. About a month before got married I received a very large bonus. I logged into both my and her credit cards and paid everything off (about $10k) and the day we wed we had a clean slate. Everything has been shared since then, aside from the business ownership that caused by BK. When we became pregnant and had some issues that put her on bed rest the jont set up made it a lot easier for her to transition out of the workforce. That also made the decision easy post baby for her to stay home with the 2 kids. Our credit profles are pretty different but other than that 100% of our finances are shared. Our boys have been extremely blessed to have mon home, volunteering at their schools, sports, etc. Without shared finances I am not sure that would have been possible. Prior to marrieage I always made good money but working 14-16 hours a day in Corporate FInance meant that there were a lot of late fees because I would just plain forget to pay things. With everything joint she makes sure everything is paid on time every time.
For the first few years we had seperate accounts. My husband will admit he was terrible with money. When we set financial goals, then we combined finances. Both of us still have a seperate account but they are all linked so there is no wondering about balances. It's kind of comical because we do transfer money between eachother. However, it does keep the account for bills seperate and untouched.
At first, I made at least 2x's more than my husband and it didn't matter to either of us. As time went on, he began to make more than me and it still doesn't matter. I'm now retired and have my pension, he is still working and things have never changed. I think it only matters when one of the partners holds money over someone or one partner is not responsible.
My husband used to tell me all the time when he spent money as well. It bothered me too. Finally I told him just let me know if you spend over x amount. Big purchases, we discuss. A 500 dollar spur of the moment at Home Depot...please tell me.
This is about how we do it too. It doesn't hurt, however, that we both make appx the same money (let's say within about 10-15% at all times. Currently, she's making more; historically, it was me.) So if I got a raise, I would say, "hey, I have a little more. I'll take this bigger thing over and you take this one that's a little lower." She's done the same.
Our pre-exsisting debt is seperate. we have a joint savings we both contribute to (i contribute a bit more bit i also make a bit more). we both have auto loans and student loans. i owe about 30% more on mine than she does.
we both have our own checking and savings. we split rent and daycare. i take care of utilities. we kindof split food, its like whoever goes pays and it ends up being pretty even. vacations come out of our joint savings.
she has 25K in savings she brings pre-exsisting. i bring in 12k pre-exsisting
I have 15K in credit card debt. she has 0.
I pay all my CC debt. we both pay our own auto and school loans.
she has elite credit (800+ everywhere) i have good credit (700-750 everywhere).
The key is marrying someone who has similar goals in life as you. If you marry someone who has completely opposite financial goals, your marriage might work and you might live happily ever effort but it is going to be harder.
Prior to getting married my wife and I lived together, we did not have a joint bank account until we got married but she was AU on a few of my cards and would transfer me money monthly to cover portions of her expenses. I didn't really pay much attention to her own accounts or debts until we got married. She had over significant student loan debt when we married, we just looked at the accounts on Friday and it is around ~37K owed. We are working on a plan to get this paid off, maybe not as fast as Dave Ramsey would recommend.
There are occasional disagreements on spend for sure and I would say minor disagreements on tactics. I do make twice what she makes she the majority of the living expenses come out of my check, this has allowed us though to put larger portions of her paycheck into savings. Student loans come out of her account and she has a couple of Credit Cards that she has had since before we were married and she pays those out of her own account as well. We haven't bothered adding me to her account because zelle makes it really easy for us to transfer between accounts. We do share our main checking account.
From a how to spend, I am not big on the idea of buying new cars, I did it once but I don't want to do it again. My wife likes the idea of buying new cars, but we have agreed that when the student loans are gone having a new car would be okay, I will probably still buy used for myself. I don't want us to have more than a single car payment as a family at once and ideally we would be putting a significant amount down on a new vehicle so we could pay it off quickly and drive it for a long time.
Our system tends to work, big expenses we discuss. If we are going to be spending more than a hundred we usually chat about it. That doesn't mean she has to call me when she goes shopping to tell me everything in her basket if it is going to exceed $100, but for example when I was in NYC at B&H and was making an impulse buy on a pair of binoculars I texted her to run it by her. In general though our rule of thumb is are the bills paid, and are our savings goals met and if so it's fine to enjoy the money.