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April 11, 2011 · 52 comments

I’ll never understand why some married couples keep their finances separate (yes, that is me quasi-judging some of you). Maybe it’s the traditionalist in me, but when I asked Girl Ninja to marry me, I asked her to marry ALL of me. This includes (but is not limited to) my sense of style, my obsessive compulsive behaviors, my smelly farts, my sucky artwork, and of course my finances.

A little over a year ago, I wrote a about how Girl Ninja was not only marrying me, but also my student loan (I think at the time I still owed about $10,000 to Sallie Mae). Whether she liked it or not, my debt was now her debt. A handful of commenters, however, disagreed. They felt that since I had acquired my student loans before I even knew Girl Ninja existed, they were solely my responsibility to pay back. One comment read, “I agree also that GN should have no part of your student loan. That was contracted before your marriage and is solely your obligation.”

Alright commenter, I’ll play your game. Going in to the marriage I was making $63,000/year. Girl Ninja was hovering around the poverty line bringing in about $20,000/year. My income was about three times Girl Ninja’s. It seems that if I followed the logic of the commenter above, I would then have three times as much influence in our financial decisions, or at the very least, should be allowed to spend three times as much on entertainment related expenses. After all, my income was larger than hers prior to the marriage, she has no rights to my pre-marriage income achievements…right?

I get it, Girl Ninja had no legal obligation to my debt, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a marital obligation to it. The second she said “I do“, my debts became her debts. My income, became her income. And my love for California burritos, became her love for California burritos…oh wait…not so much on that last one, but you get the point. I don’t even know how separating finances in a marriage would work. Do you literally say “Alright honey, you need to transfer $50 in to my checking account ’cause I just paid our cell phone bill”?

Married Peeps: Do you combine finances? Do you keep them separate? Did you or your significant other have debt? If so did you work together, or keep the debts separate?

p.s. if you weren’t aware, I actually ended up paying off my student loans about a month before our wedding, so Girl Ninja never had to worry about Sallie Mae :)