Personal Finance

How to people 'share money' as a couple

  • Last Updated:
  • May 6th, 2020 8:39 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 28, 2013
2503 posts
1026 upvotes
Quebec

How to people 'share money' as a couple

Situation here. please don't judge our financial situation

Me 34 year old male got a 66k year job
GF 33 year old got a 32k year job (currently out of work as COVID-19 doesn't have kindergarten so she has 0 revenue and the Canadian emergency doesn't apply to us yet but it might soon)
Kid 10 months old

We have a house 3.49% Mortgage ends in November 2023 has about 180k left on the house.

We both have TFSA and I have a RRSP

So we stopped about 1 year ago putting money in the TFSA due to her losing some salary for the baby and we wanted to make sure we had enough to live. We mostly put money in the TFSA for future days

She has about 13k in it and I have about 35-40k in mine. (Please don'T laugh)

The situation now is that we have projects in the future, vacations house ameliorations and etc.

So my GF proposed that if we need money we should use TFSA money, which I refuse as it's suppose to be for our old days, and I know that life will cost more in the future and don't have much money yet

So i was wondering, would it be better to find a High Interest Saving account, that we both share the access, and just send a bit of money in that account that we use for big projects, like a Car, or house ameliorations etc?

That way we would each have

1) Chequing accounts for our normal money
2) TFSA for future days that we send some money
3) a High interest checquin account for either emergencies or big life projects

Thanks for your opinions
18 replies
Sr. Member
Sep 7, 2018
818 posts
844 upvotes
Keep your own account, she keeps her own account, then you set up a new joint account that adds up all of your mutual expenses, and add 10% to that, then contribute monthly to that account equally between the two of you or however you feel is fair, over time it will build up and then include your slush fund for things like home repairs and renos.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 28, 2013
2503 posts
1026 upvotes
Quebec
superscoots wrote: Keep your own account, she keeps her own account, then you set up a new joint account that adds up all of your mutual expenses, and add 10% to that, then contribute monthly to that account equally between the two of you or however you feel is fair, over time it will build up and then include your slush fund for things like home repairs and renos.
So a simple Joint checking account?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 3, 2009
1991 posts
448 upvotes
Nova Scotia
Sounds like you have a good plan. Some couples need a split. Others have a single manager. Whatever works for your relationship.
Deal Addict
Sep 21, 2011
1781 posts
504 upvotes
ratatapa wrote: So a simple Joint checking account?

Ya that’s what we have one joint account for the bill ands mortgage then separate accounts for everything else, if she’s a kindergarten teacher then she will be getting raises yearly.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jul 5, 2004
25354 posts
4473 upvotes
ratatapa wrote: So a simple Joint checking account?
That's what me and my wife do. We have a joint bank account and a shared Visa card. The mortgage and property tax comes out of the joint account, plus large renovations to the house (we over-contribute to this account). All other expenses come off the shared Visa. We then both pay off the Visa when it's due.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3775 posts
3206 upvotes
Seems like you both should sit down and talk about the future. You have a RRSP but you didn't mention whether you have any other retirement benefit like a company pension. You also didn't mention whether your wife has a pension or RRSP. You state that the TFSAs should be used for retirement, but it doesn't seem like your wife agrees with this. There appears to be some miscommunications here.

You need to talk about your financial needs now and in the future. Now is simply getting through in the foreseeable future. The future is talking about planned expenses in the near future like vacation home renos, setting up emergency funds, paying for your child's education, and funding your retirements. Once you have agreed on your goals, then you can agree what actions you need to take, like opening up joint HISAs, to meet those goals.
Sr. Member
Jun 26, 2019
821 posts
619 upvotes
ratatapa wrote: Situation here. please don't judge our financial situation

She has about 13k in it and I have about 35-40k in mine. (Please don'T laugh)

The situation now is that we have projects in the future, vacations house ameliorations and etc.

So my GF proposed that if we need money we should use TFSA money, which I refuse as it's suppose to be for our old days, and I know that life will cost more in the future and don't have much money yet

So i was wondering, would it be better to find a High Interest Saving account, that we both share the access, and just send a bit of money in that account that we use for big projects, like a Car, or house ameliorations etc?

That way we would each have

1) Chequing accounts for our normal money
2) TFSA for future days that we send some money
3) a High interest checquin account for either emergencies or big life projects

Thanks for your opinions
Sounds like you guys are doing well, no reason to laugh. I think I can speak for everyone (or at least almost everyone who's had kids), and say that when you have kids, your fiances are going to take a hit one way or another.

Lot's of people either go the full joint route or keep things separate, its just about finding something that works and keeping communication open.

In regards to your question, the one thing I would like to stress. Is you and your wife have LOTS of TFSA cap space to work with, and if you withdraw from it, the cap space returns the following year.

Therefore, I would encourage you to use your TFSA space as much as you can to gain the tax advantages and also expand your cap space upwards. Your wife will save >20% tax on the interest and you would save >30% tax on the interest, or really just look at your QC marginal rate for the exact amounts. Not only that, you will increase your cap space over time, even if you withdrawl the money to use for something.

If your concern is "I want my TFSA money to be for my retirement", then I would suggest opening up a second TFSA at your bank. You can have two separate TFSA's at the same bank, or at least I do at my bank, that way you can have your "retirement TFSA" and your "project/emergency TFSA" and keep the money totally separate. That way you get to take all the advantages of not paying tax on gains and increasing your cap space, and you can still have a "do not touch" account for retirement.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 29, 2013
1307 posts
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Spouse and I pool all our money. We have joint bank accounts. Max out both TFSA first. It has been that way from the beginning. Both have to be on the same page financially to make it work.
Congratulations on your baby! So exciting.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Nov 28, 2016
18890 posts
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Out west
ratatapa wrote: So a simple Joint checking account?
Probably be the best, thats the account the shared expenses that you decide on would go to. Depends, do you want to go into your own account expecting to take out $50 to go out to a movie and beer and wings and find it gone, because she took it for something else? or vice versa for her.

Each couple should have their own "play" account. That way that money after the bills are paid is used for whatever they deem fit. If its shared then they use your money to do fun things, short changing you.
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2015
1061 posts
432 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
We have joint checking account. My husband manages the finance and pays the bill, but we talk about what to do with money. We max out RESP, then max out TFSA, at the same time we do accelerated mortgage payment. We also have a TFSA account with our bank (the one that holds our chequing account) that my husband transfers leftover money into, for holidays, projects, etc.
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
10066 posts
1513 upvotes
We have our own accounts and joint account. But our own accounts are not for our own spending, it is just to maximize other things like free accounts or credit cards etc or pay cheques.

We share everything as one household and both respect purchases and discuss purchases in order to effectively maximize our dollars as a household.

Whether you do TFSA or joint checking or whatever, themes important thing is what works for you and communication of overall long term finances so you both are reaching towards the same goal and agree on the overall spending of household dollars.

If you both look at retirement individually or share everything 50/50 or percentage for fairness, you MAY not be the most efficient with your household money.

I do all the money management overall but we both talk about all accounts and decisions to get each other's perspective.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
6442 posts
2844 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
All joint bank accounts and moving non registered investments to be joint accounts as well [presently 1/3 is joint].

You are doing well, keep it up.

Don't compete with the Jones when it comes to material goods, spend within your means BUT do reward yourselves once in a while.
.......
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Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 23, 2017
1209 posts
716 upvotes
Toronto, ON
wife and i have no TFSA. but hopefully will be OK for retirement time.
she has her own chequing, HISA, RSP accounts and a Spousal RSP i'm giving her .. and her business checking and investment accounts.
i have my own chequing, HISA, RSP and some unsecured LOC's and a Home Equity LOC.
The only thing we have joint is a no-fee checking account with nothing in it.

we 'share money' by me paying some bills and her paying some bills. simple.
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2011
872 posts
389 upvotes
NEPEAN
Wife and I both keep our own money, but have a joint account that we contribute to equally bi-weekly. All of our mortgage, bills, and dog foot/vet bills get paid from this money. We then have another joint account that we both contribute to equally bi-weekly, for house renovations, purchases, etc.

We each have pensions through our jobs, and we both contribute bi-weekly to our own TFSAs. Anything left beyond that we use as we wish. Any big bills that come up we tend to split or pay back and forth. She takes home about 15% more than I do.
Deal Addict
Apr 19, 2010
2884 posts
1384 upvotes
Wife is a Chartered Accountant....all money goes into one account which she monitors!

She has two pay cheques...mine and hers.
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2018
1291 posts
1293 upvotes
haliwood wrote: Sounds like you have a good plan. Some couples need a split. Others have a single manager. Whatever works for your relationship.
This.

Everyone is different and what works for one couple won't work for another. My wife and I have been together for 17 years and all funds are combined into a single account. We are a partnership and treat our finances as such but our views and spendign and savign are very similar and our approach wouldn't necessarily work for others.
Deal Addict
Feb 14, 2004
1070 posts
198 upvotes
SCARBOROUGH
I think OP is doing really well with your TFSA. I m 36, wife is 32 and we are no where close to our TFSA limit...

We have a joint account for mortgage property tax and utility, where we each contribute 2K a month

She covers grocery and household items like tissues, and I cover car payment, fuel, car insurance, phone bills and internet.

It works for us, because we have very different spending habits....
Deal Fanatic
Jan 21, 2014
5318 posts
2907 upvotes
We have joint accounts wherever we could. My wife doesn't work and we got married when we both were very poor (almost penniless) so we decided to share everything. We maxed both of our TFSA and maxed my RRSP by buying spousal RRSP for her whatever I have left after my company RRSP/Top up. We always consult one another on purchasing of big ticket items and even though I manage all finances in the family, I constantly update her with our situation, asset, net worth, etc. It will be 30 year anniversary next year and through the entire time, we never once argue about money.

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