I will gladly give you my student loan

Are you sick and tired of me blogging about my relationship with Girl Ninja yet? If so, don’t worry there is a $100 giveaway included with this post and if you read on you can figure out how to enter. Anyways, I wanted to take a little time today to write about how Girl Ninja and I are going to operate, financially speaking that is.

First things first. There will no longer be a “my” debt or “my” savings. Nor will there be a “her” checking account or “her” credit card. By getting married we are committing our lives to each other. Yes, that sounds cheesy, but it is true. Remember the part in traditional wedding vows “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer” well guess what ya’ll; Girl Ninja is going to be in debt for the first time in her life beginning August 8th.

No she’s not taking out student loans, buying a new car, or charging up her credit card. She’s actually doing one of the stupidest things she could do…marry me (she’s way out my league). Which means she will also be marrying my student loan. It’s not all bad though, ’cause she will also get to marry my savings account, which thankfully is quite substantial.

While my debt will still legally be solely my responsibility, we are prepared to work through the “for richer or poorer” part together. It means there is no more “mine” or “hers” but everything becomes “ours”. In the matter of a 30 minute wedding ceremony, we will transform from TWO individuals to ONE team (a pretty sexy-licious team I might add).

The days of individual checking accounts will be a thing of the past. Once we’re hitched, we plan to open up joint checkings, savings, and credit card accounts. We wont have any accounts that the other person doesn’t have full access to. Both of our paychecks will go in to OUR checking account, so it can be transferred to OUR savings account, and eventually be used for OUR expenses. Did ya see what I did there? I emphasized “our” because that’s exactly what everything will be…ours.

I personally don’t understand how some married couples (or even couples who are practically married) can separate their financial lives. There are married couples out there in which the man and woman will literally split “mutual” expenses down the middle. Excuse me married couple, Do you and your wife really need to write separate $500 checks to cover your $1,000 rent?

Why must you keep separate accounts and divvy out who pays what bills? If you made the decision to completely and transparently share your lives with one another, why should your finances not follow suit? Is it because you don’t want your spouse to see how much you racked up on your credit card this month? If that’s the case you have bigger issues in your relationship than financial ones.

  • So married couples, do you and your S.O. have joint accounts? Was the process of combining your finances frustrating at all? Anything you regret or would have done differently?
  • If you don’t combine accounts, why not? Is it so both have financial responsibilities?
  • What’s one thing about money you wish you would have discussed prior to tying the proverbial knot?

p.s. Remember that $100 giveaway I mentioned at the beginning of my post. There isn’t one. I just needed a way to keep those of you who don’t care about my relationship involved. Sorry.

47 thoughts on “I will gladly give you my student loan

  1. Laziness is the biggest reason me and the Mr. have separate accounts.

    I couldn't be bothered to try to figure out how you'd balance your checkbook if both people were using the same account. What do you do, carry around 2 check registers and call each other every time the other one makes a purchase so you can keep your check register balanced? Or if I wanted to buy a birthday present online and didn't want the other to see the details of the purchase..how do you do that? Plus we both have slightly different techniques on how we keep financial house. (I like having a checking account balance in case I need to write an impromptu check. He likes to keep his balance at 0 and then transfer money from savings every time he writes a check.)

    It's also a way of splitting bill paying duties. I do the groceries, daycare and mortgage, he does everything else. I hear alot of people are resentful because they're stuck with doing all the bills.

    I also think that it's easier to change your routines when you're younger. We were 8-15 years older than you when we got married and by then you're much more set in your ways.

    Lastly, each of us has designated % for savings and fixed expenses, but we also have disposable income. We usually talk about the disposable bit the most. Planning vacations, house projects, etc. Neither of us care or want to know how much I spend on a haircut or how much he spends on a fishing reel as long as A) it comes from the "fun money" pile and B) it doesn't jeopardize our other financial goals that we set at the beginning of the year.

  2. Hubby and I have a joint account even before we were married. We both know what needs to be paid and what goes in and out of the account. We also take an "allowance" each week which we are both free to spend on whatever we choose without the other one complaining or asking questions.

  3. My husband is a spender…I am not. In order to make the finances work we agreed that we would each have 1 private account. Just 1. Every payday we each get the same amount that goes into those private accounts. This becomes our fun and clothing money. It is the no questions asked account. If husband wants to spend his at the bar…go ahead. If I want to buy new shoes…go ahead. It works really well because everything else is joint and it's not like this money is really a secret. Oh, it also allows us to buy each other gifts without the other one seeing the purchase online

  4. I do like the girl and boy ninja stories with or without the give a way. However, I would probably stop reading the rest if the drawings were not there. They set the tone for the post.

  5. DH actually suggested that everything be "ours" once we moved in together. I didn't feel right about it at first, as I wasn't contributing much to the pot, so to speak. I've long since gotten over that (we've been together over 12 years-married for 8, and I also make 1/3 more than he does at this point). It made sense practically too, as he traveled for work and I had to pay bills without his cheque if he wasn't around, which was pretty tough on my TA honorarium. I think this forced us to discuss a lot of things that could have gone by the wayside otherwise. The experience has been a net positive for sure, but there were absolutely bumps along the way.

    That said, it worked for us, but we were young, had really nothing of value before starting our lives together, and didn't have kids, divorce etc. in our histories. I think for many people having everything 100% together is not the right set up. I hope what you've decided upon works well for you and GN 🙂

  6. It's a bit naive to make broad statements that not combining all finances is somehow wrong. You're certainly entitled to that opinion, but as someone else who's planning to get married soon, I'm not completely jumping on the "woo hoo! let's combine all our finances" wagon… It's one thing to combine checking and/or savings accounts – that's fairly easy to manage and makes sense – we're both equally contributing to the household expenses, travel, fun, etc. We'd prefer to have "blow" money accounts and CC's in our own name. With a joint account, I can't buy him a gift without him knowing and vice versa. I like some surprise in my life. We trust each other that we know the "blow" money account isn't actually buying hookers 'n blow, so no worries there.

    The other concerns are loans, credit cards, credit histories and credit scores – mine are better, lower interest rates. Why should we combine at the current time when it will only bring down my score and bump up my loans and interest rates?

  7. Oh it is SO refreshing to hear someone with the husband and my points of view. We agree 100% – and I don't think it's solely a religious factor (we're Christian). You are totally right. A marriage is a UNION – of everything! We started combining our expenses when we got engaged – got the joint account, made sure we both knew of eachother's financial history…and my husband asked me to be the money person. So I handle all things financial (with his input, of course). He doesn't take too much interest (although I wish he would sometimes) as long as, he says, the bills are paid and he has a little bit of money every month to buy beer/car parts/car magazine or two.

    It works so well, and I firmly believe doing things TOGETHER (financially) eases stress. BRAVO!!!!

  8. I am < 1 month from being married, and while I 100% believe that everything of mine/his is ours (already really, although legally it isn't), we probably won't combine all our accounts immediately. Logistically it is going to be easier to continue the momentum we have (yeah, we live together and write 2 rent checks) in the short term until we gradually combine things. But if he needed $100 or $1000 or $10k, my money is his money, even if it lives in "my" account (which of course he'll have passwords and be added to, but historically, it will be my account)

  9. We keep separate accounts. It's just easier that way, for us at least. Soon, I plan to stay at home and be a stay-at-home mum and right now my job only pays for my student loan. But we have access to each others accounts in the event something happens. But it's still 'our' money even though we have separate accounts.

  10. Okay, dis on the giveaway! LOL.

    My husband was the one desiring to separate. I think he just didn't feel he has control on what is being paid, where his money was going, etc… Somehow our communication was working together even though I clearly mapped it out in front of him or hit the bill pay submit button in front of him.

    Well, I have to say that our snowball schedule IS slower. And I don't like it, but I am learning to deal with it. Working on my part with gazelle intensity as much as I can. I'm all for paying my Sallie Mae down quickly anyway.

  11. Hubby and myself have a joint chequing account, two joint saving's accounts and we each have a separate account of our own. Most of our paycheques go into our joint accounts. We decided how much money we wanted to have for spending and that goes into our separate accounts. It is usually about $100/pay.

    We keep our "spending" money separate because we don't want to have to justify our purchases to each other. If he blows $100 on video games I don't want to hear about it, and I don't want him asking if I really needed another pair of shoes.

    We started our joint account when we bought our first house (before we got hitched). It was a little hard at first but now our system runs quite smoothly.

  12. We keep one joint account. Once we're out of debt, though, I'd like to set up two separate accounts (one each) so that I can just transfer individual spending money into each. Once we're out of debt, Tim can finally do some spending for fun, but I want to keep it separate from other funds, so he doesn't overspend. In addition, it'll be useful for things like presents (as someone else pointed out).

    That said, we consider it "our" money. I am perfectly happy to give him a little more spending money than I get if he is earning more. Especially because his ADD makes him more of a spender. But everything goes into the joint account first, then small amounts are taken out for fun money.

    And, fyi, my husband brought a lot of debt to the relationship — $20,000 in defaulted student loans and lots of medical costs, including the need for oral surgery that cost us $8,000. But I don't regret it at all! We're almost done with his student loans (we were, but it turns out one had been assigned to someone else's SSN erroneously) and we're inching closer to being rid of our credit card debt.

  13. Congratulations, man. That's how we do it and it works for us fabulously. Communication becomes so constant and second-nature. Well done.

  14. We did the no more "mine" and "yours" and only "our" checking and savings accounts right after we got married. And our debt is "ours", regardless if it was my student loan or his previous credit card debt. It works, but it's not easy. There are still some debates that go on about spending, and when it's important to ask the other spouse for approval (like anything over $100). Communication is HUGE, and there have to be some ground rules set up in the beginning, so that you both know where your money goes, and how much to budget each month. You need to come to decisions on who handles what, if it's one person paying all the bills, or both, and if you each get allowances, etc. Just keep the discussions open and honest.

  15. We have joint checking and savings account and separate accounts. Whether I buy shoes is my business, and my student loans are my business as well.

  16. Before we got married we started the joint account. Every pay period, most of our pay goes into joint, leaving a bit in out individual checking accounts. When Jane has a larger expense that can't wait till next pay period, she'll leave me a note to move $$ back to her checking, but that's a rare event. The point of our own accounts is there's a risk when two people try to work from one check book, too easy to overdraw.
    It works for us both. Never a harsh word or bad feelings. For those who think it wrong, I'll repeat "how can a system that works for both people in the relationship, 15 years and no issue, be 'wrong' ?"
    Truth is, we use checks less and less, she goes through more than I do, with little school expenses and places that don't take a credit card.
    The one issue we actually had was for a piece of art. She wanted to surprise me, and I would have been, but it was well above an amount either of us could have hidden. Don't know how anybody gets around that.

    • I don't know where you buy, but I have a modest art collection myself, and I work out arrangements with galleries to buy in installments. I've taken as long as 8 months to buy a relaitvely costly piece. Art dealers who do this as a rule do not impose finance charges; on the other hand, you can't take possession of the piece until you've paid in full.

  17. Hey now, Ninja. It's ok for us to do things differently!

    When D and I marry, we plan to keep our accounts separate. Why? Well, that's the way my parents do it, and it makes sense. If my money was pooled with D's, I wouldn't feel comfortable spending money frivolously (not that I do…) without running it by him. Similarly, I would constantly wonder if he was frivolously spending. Should we get everything "approved" before we buy? Why should I have to get expenses "approved" if it's "my" money?

    Similarly, I wouldn't want him paying on my student loans, barring some real reason that I couldn't do it.

    I think it's better – for us – to maintain equality in our relationship. When it comes to big goals, like buying a house, we probably will open a joint savings account. Until then, I don't think it's necessary to do more than split our bills and tackle our own debt.

  18. My husband and I combined accounts shortly before the wedding. It was an excellent decision. My husband freely admits to "not being as good with money as you are," so it was a logical decision. However, we still make financial decisions as a couple. I'll make a budget, and then we'll discuss and edit it so that it meets both our needs.

    I took on his student loan responsibility, but when I lost my job, he was the breadwinner. It all balances out in the end. We frequently communicate the status of our finances. After payday, there's a call or note to him to say "Hey, all bills are paid, X in savings, X amount left in checking." Our rules: get a receipt for everything, know roughly how much money is in the account at all times, and add the receipts to the register as soon as possible. Using this method, we were able to pay for a $12,000 wedding, new furniture, new washer/dryer, etc. without going into debt, and also paid off over $10,000 in debt in our first year and a half of marriage on a very modest income. Good luck to you both!

  19. To the peeps that separate their accounts: You have given some pretty valid reasons and I think if that is what works for you, then you should it. Especially if it is what works best. This is why I love blogging, I get to learn different perspectives from people smarter than me 🙂

  20. Cosigning with MFO! That was just mean!!

    I'm not going to knock how a married couple puts together their financial home. I have my personal beliefs, part of which are just mine, and part of which are a function of my profession as a divorce attorney.

    So me and honey have a joint account, but we do maintain our separate accounts. We get the same amount of "blow" money per month, regardless of income, and we don't have to account for that money unless we run out before the month is over (at which point you better have a darn good reason for not having money). How can I surprise him if every purchase comes out of a joint account?

    And I'm sorry, but the student loans are separate. I have a separate checking account solely for the loans, and that will be maintained at marriage. Money is direct deposited into that account, money is direct deposited into honey's student loan account, and we're not messing with a PERFECTLY good system that works. Accelerated payments on the loans will come from the joint account, but not the standard payments. Not a chance in h e double hockey sticks.

  21. My husband and I have been married almost 4 years and we do not share any of the same accounts. He has a history of poor money management and neither one of us ever suggested combining accounts. I am the money manager in our family and all paychecks get deposited into my account. I then pay bills (both his, mine, and ours), budget, and divvy up cash until the following payday. It' been working just dandy so far!

  22. I am not married, so I don't even know if my opinion counts, but for now, I am envisioning keeping my money to myself. For me the main reasons are that I like to have my own money for personal expenses and because I want to be an investor. BF is currently learning how to day trade. I could imagine, in the future, that he'd like to do that with his money and not ours.

    I don't want to hide anything from him. Anytime I buy something, BF/Hubby will know. But I still want to have my own account to use at my discretion.

    I don't want to assume, so I'll ask, are you getting a pre-nuptial agreement?

  23. You write: "If you made the decision to completely and transparently share your lives with one another. . . " Does that mean you are both together 24/7, that you never can pursue separate interests or friendships?

    I'm not married, but I know my parents have always maintained both joint and separate accounts, for the same reasons given above. I agree also that GN should have no part of your student loan. That was contracted before your marriage and is solely your obligation.

    • In fact, see:
      http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/student-loan-de

      Q: My husband has approx. $350,000 of student loans to pay back. The loans are all in his name only. Some were taken out before we married, some after. What is my obligation as a spouse if we divorce? Will I be liable if he defaults? Does it depend on how long we've been married? And I suppose I should also think about…what if he dies; again, am I liable for those loans? Thank you!

      A: To put it plainly, the only person responsible for student loans are [sic] the parties who agreed to pay them back. If you did not sign any of the loan agreements, you are not responsible though you could be inadvertently effected [sic] if he should default if you all share a bank account and are dependent on both of your full salaries to make ends meet.

      • Larry, I did say that the loans would still be legally mine. I know she has no actual responsibility to them. But as long as we are married (aka forever) they will be our student loans. Seeing that she will be a Stay At Home Mom after only a couple years, it will be the income from my job that will primarily pay them off anyways. It's more of a mentality thing, then a legality thing.

  24. I can't believe I'm saying this, but you sound just like my mom! She doesn't understand how married people keep separate accounts. However, my mom is also extremely ignorant of my parents' finances, so I really don't recommend being like her financially. I think this is actually the major pitfall of keeping all the money in one pot – one person sort of takes the financial aspect of the relationship on as his or her responsibility and, over time, the other person falls out of the loop.

    I plan on keeping joint accounts with my future husband, but having some separate accounts (savings and checking) also. I've been burned in enough relationships to know that they don't all work out, no matter how rosy they appear in the beginning. And when marriages fail, it's usually the woman who ends up financially screwed. So I'm definitely keeping some separate savings. But I also want a separate checking account. When I buy my future husband a rockin anniversary gift, I want to know that I'm giving it to him…it would be weird if he was partially too.

  25. We keep mostly separate accounts with a joint checking account for joint expenses -which is most stuff these days, actually… rent, groceries, restaurants, furniture, travel, etc. Each month we transfer a set amount into the joint account to cover our expenses (we contribute proportional to our incomes). Even though our accounts (retirement, credit cards, investment, checking/savings) are separate, we keep each other updated on the general picture. For instance, I'm comfortable that we're both saving enough for retirement, and that between the two of us we have a significant emergency fund.

    My personal philosophy aside, I do think it's important that you each have your own credit cards for the sole purpose of establishing credit history. Think – if something were to happen to you and GN had no recent credit history of her own, what would she do?

  26. When I married my husband almost 4 years ago, I had no kids, a paid for condo, healthy retirement account, no car loan, some credit card debt at 0% interest. He had three wonderful daughters, substantial child support obligations, very little retirement, and a $30K loan he owed to some friends. I briefly considered a prenuptial but…..decided against it and threw it all in jointly. We are in a much better place financially now. We have joint accounts except for the blow money accounts. He doesn't like to deal with money and I love to. I am a freakishly compulsive saver so I need him to step in sometimes and say "Hey, we can afford to update the 80's half bathroom and we're doing it. Get off your wallet".

    So I say to each their own….a couple has to do whatever works best for them. I never EVER thought I'd share "my" money with someone else…proof that yes, miracles happen!

  27. I have to say that I love your drawings! lol I had to stifle myself from laughing out loud in my cube at work. I have to say that when I think of my Sallie Mae loans… that vision is what pops in my head. lol

  28. I am of your opinion Ninja. We got joint accounts as soon as we got married. I bought a house before marriage and DH would say it was my house, but I always said it was our house. Now I am the SAHM and if we had seperate accounts I would only have the money the Government gives me for the kids (Here in Australia the government has Family Tax Benefit, it is basically giving you money depending on your income and how many kids you have), so does that mean I don't get a say in how our money is spent. I would hate to go back to the days when wives were given the housekeeping and the husband did what he wanted with the rest.
    I am the budgeter and bill payer, much as I would like him to care DH just doesn't as long as he gets his "blow" money. As for the gift issue every one seems to bring up I suppose it depends on the couple. We aren't big on gift giving for each other so it isn't a real issue for us, but we do have a gift column in the budget and it can be used by withdrawing the money from the account and paying cash so no record on the statement so it's still a surprise.

  29. We keep a single separate account into which DH gets paid and from which he transfers money into OUR accounts (savings & checking) and from which the reason for the separation is withdrawn – a monthly payment to the IRS for a big debt he accrued before we met, dated, were married. While it is our debt that we'll tackle together with our snowball-efforts when it's next on the list, we do not want his past to disrupt our future (or our day-to-day lives) through an accounts seizure. So he's an authorized user, not an owner on our joint accounts (though he is the beneficiary in case something dreadful happens). We also file separate taxes, with me citing the innocent spouse provision so any refund I might be due is not seized. We're on a payment plan to the IRS, but I don't trust them not to lien anything with his name as an owner. So he's not on the mortgage or title to the house or my car.

  30. For the record our income is combined, an amount which covers all our bills is taken out and put into a joint account, and the balance is divided up and we each get half which we put into our own accounts to do with as we want. Hubby paid for the house we live in, and I have my flat which I bought before I was married, which rent and I are paying off. Our assets are roughly equal. Hubby is a stay at home dad. But in the big picture even though legally it is his house, it is our home. We were nearly 40 when we married, and I think that makes a difference, This works for us. I am a firm believer that you do what works for you.

  31. Part 2 However I am surprised no one has bought this up – and that may be because laws are different in the US than they are here in Australia. Should your partner die, and you have joint accounts, those accounts can be frozen – especially if the death is investigated by the coroner – and it doesn't have to be too suspisious to be investigated – a heart attack in a public place has to be investigated. I don't now how long the accounts can be frozen or all the legalities, which I imagine vary from case to case. I know of 2 people who had problems when a spouse died suddenly and found themselves temporarily with no access to money. For this reason, and this reason alone, I always recommend that people have an account of thier own.

  32. We still have the same accounts that we had before we were married. We keep meaning to get a joint one, but haven't yet. He makes way more money than me so it really would just be for convenience since he writes me a $700 check each month for debt repayment. Other than that he also pays all of the bills, but it would be nice to have access to his money when I buy groceries.

  33. My husband and I have a joint checking and savings account where are paycheques go. We also each have our own account for savings. Part of the reason for this is if someone were to happen to one of us, the joint accounts would be frozen. It's not like the "non-joint" accounts are license to go spend thousands of dollars wherever we want. We are still accountable, but just being safe.

  34. We joined all finances the day we said "I do," and I can't imagine doing it any differently. That said, we have "allowances" for our personal blow money. DH keeps his blow money account that is separate from our regular accounts. Legally, the account is in the name of our famil trust, and I can access it at any time (which I do to occasionally add money), but he likes to "save" his allowances to buy car stuff, and I like to spend mine on lunches out with the kids and friends. It works for us, and frankly, you and girl ninja sound a lot like DH and I 12 years ago when we tied the knot, so I'm sure it will work for you! God Bless you as you start your new life!

  35. We used a joint checking account. We were going to do an allowance (fun money divided by 2 each month) to transfer into our personal accounts but that was too complicated. He's unemployed now so all the income is from my job but it is still our money. He'll do the same when we are both working and when I'm unemployed. The key to this is working on a budget together.

  36. The S.O. and I have been together for four and a half years, living together for one and a half of those. We share a credit card, but no checking or savings accounts.

    Why?

    Well, first of all, because we're two women, and banks get all weirdy about that kind of thing.

    But mostly because -we spend money on different stuff.-

    We have the shared credit card to pay utilities, buy groceries, whatever. But S.O. LOVES clothes. Loves them. Has four times as many as I do, possibly five. I'm not paying for that. I love that she loves clothes – she's a great dresser – but I'm not paying for it.

    I, on the other hand, used to go out once every week with co-workers to happy hour. (Have left that job, but used to.) S.O. was working and couldn't go. Should I expect her to pay for half of it? No.

    Even if every single thing we bought was shared, we wouldn't have only shared accounts – because our income levels are so different. If everything was going into one account, and then bills, groceries, etc were being paid from that account, I'd be paying for 65%-75% of our bills, instead of 50%.

  37. We combined our finances when I moved to his town right before the wedding. I didn't see the point of opening my own accounts, especially since I got a job at the credit union where his accounts were anyways.

    My personal need to know everything about our finances had me taking over the household finances a mere 3 weeks after we combined our accounts. He is pretty laid back about it and just let my neurotic side win. It works really well for us most of the time, especially now that he is a pilot and isn't home to deal with the banking as often as I am.

    We had one major setback though this past year where we almost split our finances, instead, we worked through it and he started paying a bit more attention to where the money goes so that he could see why I tend to be so paranoid about debt.

    As to gifts, since he never looks at the bank accounts, I can buy whatever I like for him without a worry of him finding out. But when he wants to buy me something, he either tells me not to look at a certain credit card statement for a little while, or he takes the money out in cash.

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