I never intended to make a second post about this, but I got some strong feedback and thought this topic needs to be hashed through a bit more. I also realize, that the topic of money is different for women than men for several different reasons, most of all because we often lack access to, have barriers to, and make less than our loving partners, and male counterparts. This can generate significant feelings when entering into marriage and discussing how to use money as a couple.
Financial experts say many of women’s money problems come from their earning less over the course of their lives. Because of factors including their choice of professions and difficulty advancing in their careers — whether because of discrimination or because of taking on more unpaid work outside the home, including caring for children — women in the U.S. make about 80% what men do. Black and Hispanic women earn less than white women.
As I mentioned previously, I was born during the second wave of the women’s liberation movement. My mom was a single mother at different times during my childhood and gave me the sage advice to “always have my own money”. I didn’t have an example of how to share my money or how married couples figured out finances, together. This was not something I grew up with so when I got married, I naturally kept my money separate and we split costs based on % of income. For example, my husband owned a home so he paid for that while I paid for our vehicle. Since he made twice what I made, the cost difference between the house and vehicle made sense for our separate incomes.
As time rolled on, our dating /co-habitating years turned into years of marriage and the second baby was coming due, I started to have a shift in perspective. We were looking for a new house. We were expecting the arrival of our second baby, I saw us more and more as a team. It started to make sense to me to move toward a joint financial future.
Making that leap has taken time, mainly due to busy work schedules and banking hours that do not always coincide. However, we have managed to create joint checking and joint savings accounts. I do maintain a small separate savings account, but that will likely be defunct soon as we start our debt snowball and road to financial freedom. I am currently working on our joint budget and listing our debts. In fact, I can’t wait to kick debt in the ass!
So, after much hemming and hawing. maintaining separate accounts for almost a decade, and reevaluating my beliefs about money and marriage, I have discovered that I actually DO want to be ONE with my husband. A true team in every way (much to his relief… 🙂 ) We can do so much more TOGETHER. Ultimately, it isn’t his or mine. It’s OURS.