I know of couples who don't know about each other's bank account. Basically total darkness. They don't know how much each other earns, how much they have saved, how much is insured, they don't know anything. Maybe they just contribute a fixed amount to a joint account every month for household expenses. Or they may split the bill very cleanly and everything is tracked very stringently.
Then there are also couples who share everything. They put all the money in the joint account regardless of who earns more. They go into their relationship wholeheartedly and believe that they will be together forever. The idea which was conferred to me is that if you keep things separate then there is an idea or fear that someday you will separate which is why you keep things apart so that it is easier to unwind. I was told that it was like going into the relationship with the mentality that someday there is a chance of splitting up.
Then there are couples like us. We know/knew how much each other earns(ed), how much is insured, how much is saved, we even have access to each other bank accounts. Every spend is planned together. We discuss how much ang pow to give during the lunar new year, or we discuss what gifts we would be giving our parents for their birthdays. We discuss who's card is most efficient to hit first before moving to the next card. And we don't really claim the amounts back from each other, cos eventually it evens out. Like sometimes I pay for her Starhub bill which is much more than my own bill. And sometimes she pays for the home internet, or the Town council, or the parking. The amounts move around, sometimes I pay it sometimes she pays it, depending on who needs the spending for the month. Essentially, we are trying to best optimize our efficiency together. And plan things together.
We always learn about economies of scale, where companies get cheaper things when they become bigger. Similarly, this can be done as a couple. By planning things together, a couple would be able to more efficiently allocate resources, usually money.
There was this story I read. I can't remember from where.
I've summarized it cos I can't find it online.
There was an old couple, they loved each other a lot. They always ordered a lemon pie when they ate at a restaurant.
The guy would eat the filling and the wife would eat the crust. And it was like this since they were young.
One day, the old man was dying, on his deathbed, he told his wife, "Dear, I've never liked eating the pie filling. But I know you like to eat the crust, so I always let you have it."
The wife was shocked and replied, "Dear, I have to confess something to you. I've never liked eating the crust, I prefer the filling, I always let you have it cos you always seemed to want to eat the filling."
So for their whole lives they both ate something they didn't like cos they thought the other party liked the other item, and they were both wrong. Super inefficient waste of resources. If only they had better communication between them, they would have better utilized the pie and both would be happier.
I highly doubt the story is true. But lets take it for it's learning point.
Some folks might think that the couple must have loved each other so much that they gave in to each other. Same as this story. I find that thinking flawed.
Cos if you love each other then you need to trust each other and discuss about the pie. You need to confidently tell each other your likes and dislikes so that you can better understand each other and make better decisions together.
Else if you're making decisions on your own, then why get married? There's no economies of scale. There's no mentality of growing and getting better together.
So to me, sharing your finances is a very clear way of showing trust, then again, only with trust will you be confident of sharing your financial situation. So it's very much dependent of your partner. If both of you trust each other then it's fair to share your financial details. But if your partner has issues with gambling or problem spending then I don't think it's a bright idea. And trust is hard to earn but easy to break. What happens if after sharing your finances, you realize that your partner has a private stash somewhere? Another $20,000 in another bank account? Where is the trust? Why is there another bank account? Are you afraid of something?
For us, both of us grew up in families where our parents didn't put too much weight on money. As in, they were frugal when needed, and generous when needed. Usually more generous and frivolous than frugal. But overall, we were taught not to count our pennies too much and not to be too calculative with each other. We're both planning on growing old together right? So she pays or I pay, it doesn't matter, in the end the resources are ours. If I don't do well, she won't do well in future, vice-versa.
I hear of couples that quibble over money and split things finely. The wife always like to make the husband spend money as though it were a punishment. It's like, "Oh he doesn't provide very much for the family cos he doesn't buy the diapers. So I'll purposely order expensive food at restaurants to make him pay more overall." This kind of situation is actually quite common, and definitely unhealthy. It's pretty obvious that the couple has issues, cos if the wife is unhappy that she is paying for the diapers, then she should voice it out and find a reasonable solution. Maybe the husband is buying stuff that she takes for granted, like the formula milk. But most of the time people look at what they themselves do for the family and may overlook what the other party contributes.
I know of couples who quarrel cos one party was brought up in a highly calculative household whereas the other was brought up in a generous household. They always clash when it comes to spending for stuff. One wants to buy something as a treat, expensive but maybe not be too expensive, the other would grumble and nag about it for the next 2 hours. Or maybe one would want to split the bill after dining even after marriage and the other party would be like "what the hell".
So it's really quite amazing how the financial environment of your youth influences your relationship and how you handle finances in future. And it's such a large portion of a relationship cos almost everything revolves around money decisions, can you imagine having discussions every 2 days cos of disagreements of how to allocate finances? It's quite sad really, and yet, it is so very real, cos it's happening all around you.
How about you? Do you share everything with your partner? Or do the both of you hide stuff? Do you both have different goals and different values? Maybe it was something from the past that influenced there behaviour. Can you both work it out? Can you both discuss things in a reasonable manner without slamming doors or storming out of the house? That kind of behaviour solves nothing. It just causes communication to break down. Sure, I think there should be some cool down time for the irrational anger to subside, maybe call a time out, go take a bath or eat some ice cream, then set 1 hour later to discuss it like rational adults.
"Ok so your position is this, and my position is this. No right no wrong, just different priorities.
How are we going to meet in the middle to find a more suitable solution, cos if neither of us is going to compromise, then there'll be no end to this."
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