My wife and I currently have almost completely separate finances. We each have our own share of bills that we pay every month, and our own share of savings that we’re “expected” to contribute, but beyond that, we don’t really have any other financial expectations about each other.
We’ve been together for about 8 years now, and this is how our financial situation has worked, and will probably work for the foreseeable future. We don’t really have any shared expenses – I think if we had kids or a dog, or something shared beyond actual bills, it would be more useful to have something like shared accounts or pooled finances.
Retirement will necessarily force a change our finances, moving from our almost completely separate financial lives, to almost fully integrated in about 10 years when we’ll start tapping into our savings and investments. This shift will change things significantly.
At this point, I’m not all that sure how our accounts will look when we retire, but there will be a bit of a change in the way that our finances are run. Right now, we have an “allowance” for ourselves, which I tend to spend on beer and golf (paying to walk around and get frustrated), and my wife spends on wine and semi-disposable “girl clothes”.
From discussions with friends, my wife and I will be about 20 or so years behind mixing our finances together. I’m not too sure how much of a shift this will actually cause, as the combined finances will mainly be used to pay bills, which will happen automatically. It will be how we equitably deal with the remaining funds that will be the major shift in our financial life. I’ll have to get used to “our” money being used for what I would think is a frivolous purchase, while my wife will probably roll her eyes at me paying to wander around and sweat for an afternoon.
This kind of thing is what we’ll have to discuss quite a bit before our salaries stop and start drawing on our combined savings. A “wait and see” approach seems like it wouldn’t be a good idea – we might have different ideas on how our end retirement would work, which would cause some issues in our early retirement years.
How significantly do you think your financial relationship would change with your partner on retirement?