The Benefits of Keeping Your Finances Separate

Spouse Separate Finances

I apologize for being out of touch since my last post…I have been in Scotland, marrying my girlfriend of nearly 10 years!

We’ve been there for the last few weeks spending time with her family (she’s Scottish), visiting our friends, and doing a lot of last-minute wedding planning.

Once my family and friends touched down in the UK for the wedding, things got even crazier so I have pretty much been offline since posting my interview with Mr. Money Mustache.

Because this is my first post after getting married, I figured I should make it about my wife (isn’t everything about her now?).

In my Mr. Money Mustache interview, we learned that he and Mrs. MM both set out together to achieve financial independence and retire early.

Hearing him describe their shared path to financial independence, it seemed like a great situation, since both husband and wife were working to achieve the same goals and were willing to make the same sacrifices.

Our situation is different.

She Loves Her Job?

My wife isn’t a fientist.

She actually loves her job and wouldn’t want to stop working even if she had millions of dollars in the bank.

Since she has many decades of wage-earning in front of her, it’s hard to convince her to make some of the same sacrifices I’m making in my effort to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible.

Doomed marriage? No!

Lucky for us, we have had separate finances from the very beginning.

We met when I was studying abroad in Scotland in 2002. Being a typical American, I insisted on paying for everything on our first few dates. She let me pay a few times but then told me that usually people in Scotland split everything 50/50. Since I’ve never liked spending money and had no intention of trying to impress her by throwing cash around, I was happy to comply!

Things soon became serious between us, I ended up moving back to Scotland after graduating, we bought a house together, and all the while we continued to maintain our own separate finances.

Joint Account

Being homeowners and living together, we had many joint expenses that we needed to take care of so we decided to open a joint checking account.

Every month, we would each transfer an equal amount into the joint account to cover our bills and then we were free to use whatever was left over in our personal accounts to do whatever we wanted.

This worked out great for us and continues to work well to this day.

Happy Coexistence

Since we are both contributing equally to the essentials, it doesn’t matter what we each like to do with what’s left over. She can buy or save as much as she wants and I can save as much towards early retirement as I want and it doesn’t cause any fights or disagreements.

Love and Marriage (and FI)

While it is probably better to have both people in a marriage on the same path to FI, if one partner is not up for it, it’s not the end of the world.

If you’re willing to keep some of your finances separate, one person can work to achieve financial independence while the other can pursue his or her own goals.

What Works For You?

How about you and your loved one? Are you both on the same path to FI or are you in a one-fientist family like I am? Do you keep your finances separate or have you found an alternative way to make it work?

AddendumMy wife is now a fientist!

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