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7 Apr 2015

In Defense of One Big, Fat, Happy Account

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by Jesse Mecham

From Podcast #162: Make It Joint, the one in which we outline why — if you’re following YNAB’s Four Rules — joining your finances is the only way to go.

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to take the plunge — you’ve tied the knot, you have joined in all sorts of ways — it’s important that you join finances.

There are tactical reasons for it. Some people say things like, “It’s not a joint venture,” you know, that you’re one and you’re combined — you are one unit now. I believe that you are one –totally unified.

The reason for the joining of finances, if you just want to do it purely from a pragmatic standpoint: it makes things simpler. If you’ve listened to the part two podcast, if you are each clear on your priorities and if you have laid it all on the table, and if you are following YNAB’s Four Rules, it is very, very easy to manage your money combined.

We have seen some crazy, crazy, CRAZY things people have done over the years: assigning someone to pay specific bills, like they’re a room-mate; making every single — I kid you not — making every single transaction a 50/50 split transaction between husband and wife, where each bears 50% of the burden. I mean, from a unity standpoint that rubs me wrong — but to each his own.

From a money management standpoint, just looking at the time involved and the mental overhead, it is pure insanity. So, whether you feel this moral drive to be one in that way, that… we don’t have to go there. I like that, but you may not — and that’s totally fine. What I’m trying to talk about here is just the tactical, nitty-gritty, day-to-day management of double the accounts you would normally manage because everything is separate, and doing this joint venture where so-and-so contributes X or Y or you cover this or I cover that… I mean, when you go out to eat, who pulls out the card? Do you fight over who’s paying? “Oh no, let me get this one.” “Oh no, no — I got it.” “Oh no, no — stop it. You got the last one.” That seems weird. That’s what I do with business lunches — it’s not what I would do with Julie.

So, just from an overhead standpoint, from a mental anguish standpoint, I think you should just join them all together into one big, fat, happy account, and then have each partner abide by the rule of spending based on category balances, not based on a bank balance.

This is a work in progress. I readily recognize that some of you deal with a spouse or significant other that flies off the handle. So, you have to proceed with caution — I respect that, I appreciate it, I hear you on it, I agree with you. Just push that direction, if only to save yourself loads of money management time in the future. Until next time, follow You Need A Budget’s Four Rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this.

This episode aired March 9, 2015.

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