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Advice on wife's idea for our finances

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    First, my wife and I want to thank everyone for the ongoing input, both pro and con. It has made us think about things we wouldn’t have otherwise and this is appreciated.

    The first thing my wife said to me when I came home was she really liked the input we were getting. The second thing she said was she was a bit happier that I had given up the credit cards this morning.

    Rather than try to quote all of the input, I will respond in order to everyone’s comments in one post.

    My wife understands the concerns, and thinks it is a reasonable idea, but she is unsure that the access to the joint account can be limited enough to suit her. This will be something we discuss at the bank when we go to put things in place. The research we have done indicated my access won’t be limited enough, but we will check.

    Another alternative, but sometimes a debit card is needed.

    My wife says she feels the same way, “soul sister”. She completely understands your thoughts! She doesn’t want me to have access to the main money, not at all. We have discussed this long and hard, especially in the last week, and we have discussed this, not this exact plan, in the past and done things that haven’t worked. For us it is not the major purchases, it is all the “nickel and diming” and not putting it in the ledger – I do things and even if I tell her I have messed up the budgeting. We have tried unsuccessfully to remedy in this in past; therefore, her insistence on this. My wife has been adamant and persuasive over the past week that we need to do things as described in my original post. I understand her point of view and that is why I am essentially willing to do this. She said she would revisit putting me back on the accounts after a year or maybe two, she needs that extra time.

    Please Gailete’s response to your first post. My wife agrees with what she posted.

    Thanks for the bluntness. My wife said when she read this, that we just need to do what she wants. As I mentioned this morning I gave up all but one CC, this will remain in place no matter where we end up with accounts and access. I realize that with an allowance and gas money, that once I spend what I have been given I will have to wait until the next time I get my allowance, I will have to be very disciplined. This will be good for me.

    At a different level my wife understand your frustrations. My wife really appreciated your response to Benderz.

    We appreciate your support of the plan. My wife actually does very well with the money when I don’t mess it up.

    Your suggestions will be very helpful when I am on limited funds.

    Bjl584 and Gailete’s response, both rounds.
    While our bigger picture finances are pretty good, saving plenty for retirement, etc. As I have stated it is mostly the routine things that I mess up (which of course but only occasionally impacts the bigger picture), so some of this is due to necessity, I often put her through hell trying to pay bills. We usually have the money in savings, but then that is depleted. Gailete is right we have tried various other approaches unsuccessfully, that is why we are here.

    We have discussed this at length, I was not real keen on the idea when she presented it, but as we have discussed I have seen how important this is to her and us. That is why I will very likely agree. The hard part is her taking over the major money and limiting my access, and as mentioned earlier it will be this way for a year or two, may be longer my wife just said depends on when she can trust me again.

    I/we may look into a financial course, more likely me, it looks like we will do this.

    If there is further input we encourage it, this has been very helpful. My wife would like for us to settle on a plan (preferably my agreement) by the end of the week.


      I want to update everyone since you have all been helpful with comments, thoughts and suggestions.

      Part of the reason I posted, is we wanted to determine if her plan for our finances, in particular, removing me from the main accounts was reasonable. While some thought that it wasn’t, many thought it was a very reasonable, many asked why we were even asking and some were very encouraging of the plan.

      My wife and I spent a long time discussing this last night. We looked over many of the posts several times and discussed the ideas behind them and how they related, or didn’t, to us. We discussed the details how she wants to do our finances. We modified some things based on the input we received.

      I, in particular, want to thank Gailete, msomnipotent and snafu for helping me better understand where my wife was coming from, why this was so important to her and how much damage could be caused by not embracing my wife’s plans. Gailete’s and msomnipotent’s personal stories, even though seemingly more severe than ours, hit home. My wife said while their financial issues seem to be worse, as far as she was concerned the impact on her was similar, she said reading those posts sounded like her thoughts. She pointed out Gailete’s statements: “What she needs for her own peace of mind is money in the bank and a husband that is on board with the finances.” and “In other words, she has had it and it sounds like this has been festering for a long time.” and “I suspect that many of these things could have been tried and none worked which has gotten them to this point.” as her thoughts. For me msomnipotent’s statement: “You say that trust is high, but she is telling you that she does not trust you with money at all and is taking your name off of the accounts.” hit home, helped me understand that I need to agree to my wife’s plan.

      Snafu’s and scfr’s directness was what I needed. Also, I appreciate msomni’ and scfr pointing out that this plan shouldn’t have to be permanent, my wife is on board with that. Though she couldn’t see it being shorter than a year and during the discussion she mentioned that she thought it should be for at least 2 years unless I demonstrate a much better handling of money.

      Obviously from the above, I have agreed with my wife’s plan. First, I will be using the restricted savings account as my only account. Initially, I will get a $20/week allowance and $15/week for gas (we looked over the last 6 months of my gas expenses and they averaged about $14.25/week). My allowance will be examined and discussed and possibly adjusted after 6 months.

      Second per Sblatner’s suggestion, when we go to the bank to implement this, we will find out if my access can be limited enough to satisfy my wife’s desires. If so we will do that. If not, we will take my name off the two main accounts, so that they are only in her name.

      This morning my wife made it clear that when we put this in place it has to be for at least 2 years, she has to have the peace of mind for that time and she thinks that after 2 years I may have figured out how to handle money better. She really needs the financial peace and quiet for the next 2 years – no surprises, no sudden lack of funds. She also mentioned ~bs’s statement, “you must let her take control and not attempt to pressure her into giving into your bad habits” and said after we start this, other than discussing my progress, that during the 2 years, it will her, not me, who will bring up changing the arrangement. She said if she saw remarkable improvement in me she has no problem putting me back on the main accounts sooner.

      We will be going to the bank tomorrow to put this in place, I will let you know how that goes and will update this chat periodically on how things are going.


        Originally posted by Gailete View Post
        Unfortunately in this sort of situation, your approach won't and doesn't work. Why, because everything becomes an emergency, or too good to pass up up, or whatever. Even something as silly as paying top dollar for a bottle of pop at work out of the vending machine a couple of times a day instead of buying 6-packs or 24 packs when on sale at the grocery store or WM. And since he doesn't have cash he goes to the ATM and takes out $20-40 so he can get a $1 can of pop and then the rest of the money trickles on out of his pocket. Instead of just drinking free water.

        I'm sure he is very aware of what he can and can't spend but that doesn't mean that he can stick to a budget. What his wife has suggested is to take the band-aid off. He needs to earn her trust again. That will, I'm sorry to say take some time.
        Making each other accountable and acting like adults doesn't work? I'm pretty sure its the only way to save a marriage, communication.


          If my wife treats me like a child, I'll resent her for it budget or no budget. It's pretty extreme that a wife has to demand this of the husband. Either way, both of you needs financial counseling first.

          Just my two cents.
          Got debt?


            The written budget has really helped my marriage. We write other things down too like future vacation plans. Its not real till its on paper. I finally wrote out a plan last year about my weight and I lost 65 pounds.


              I'm glad to see that you are going along with the plan. It would have meant so much to me if my ex would have been sensible about money for a week. If the misery I went through is of help to you and your wife then a I am glad to be of help. Please be sure to check back and give us updates, not only in how it is going but how you feel about it. I know you will hit rough spots.

              Before my current husband and I got married we went to marriage counseling. One of the things our pastor/counselor talked about making love deposits into each others account. How you have been behaving with the finances I'm sure has made many love withdrawals from your wife. Agreeing to this I'm sure has made a HUGE love deposit to your wife. Keeping this up and not whining about it all will continue to make love deposits. So if you think you are about to make a withdrawal come here for encouragement instead.

              Basically a married couple should always be thinking about it how to make love deposits and actively doing so, so that each others Love 'bank' remains full. A couple where each has a full love banks deposited by the other, makes for a stable loving relationship.


                I hope that she will be able to limit your access to the main accounts while leaving you on the accounts. If something happens to her, you might be totally locked out of all the money and will have to jump through hoops to get access to pay bills.

                I know trust is broken but you really need to think of all possibilities when giving up ownership. If she dies, yes, hopefully you have an estate plan in place but it takes some days to get everything in order so you have access to the money.


                  I agree that taking names off of an account is high risk and not something that I'd want to do. Sure, there are power of attorney forms, but as someone noted, in the event of something drastic it could take days (and that's being generous) to get access. So unless you're keeping a decent stash of cash on hand for true emergencies, you could be screwed.

                  But if that's no enough to sway the decision, then I would at least highly recommend that the 2 of you plan on sitting down once a month and going over the accounts so that OP knows what the financial situation is and where things stand. For 1, no one should ever be in the dark about what the finances look like. Second, it could do him some good to actually see the progress being made by him not spending willy nilly.

                  Frankly, I don't see how him just not keeping debit cards or other means of spending from those joint accounts is enough for him to not spend the money. If you don't have a card on you, how are you spending it? Seems to me like that would be enough unless the need to spend is so strong that in the moment you're willing to go out of your way to access funds that you know you shouldn't be spending. In which case I'd say you have a bigger problem and it's a behavioral issue that is just manifesting as spending. But my guess is that more likely it's not that since you said it was nickle and dime stuff. More than likely you've always had access to cards and easy means to spend the money, so you just didn't bother to stop and think about your spending before you did it. In which case, not having a card on hand, or if you need to keep something on hand then having it somewhere super inconvenient, like not in the wallet and locked up in a lock box in the trunk, would be enough to force you to stop and realize why you're not supposed to be spending in the first place.

                  I get the whole bit about just needing to establish some trust and the spouse just not having to stress about whether you're following the spending agreements or not, but removing someone's access so that you're screwed in an emergency and are totally in the dark about the financial picture is not the way to do it. And it's not building trust anyway, all it's doing is removing someone's means to break the agreement. It's forced action vs actually learning better behavior. Does it relieve stress? Sure. Does it relieve stress in a healthy/safe way? I don't think so.


                    and are totally in the dark about the financial picture is not the way to do it.
                    I don't think he ever said that.


                      Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
                      Marriage is a partnership.
                      I agree 1000% Maybe if trust has been broken many times there is a way to set the foundation of working together but still have some stop gap controls or limits. Like a savings account without a debit card that only the spouse knows the password to transfer the money online.
                      Last edited by Benderz; 01-24-2018, 03:37 PM.



                        and are totally in the dark about the financial picture is not the way to do it.

                        I don't think he ever said that."

                        No, I didn't.

                        "Second, it could do him some good to actually see the progress being made by him not spending willy nilly."
                        That is part of the plan, she wants me to understand what I was doing and how good things are going now.

                        "unless the need to spend is so strong that in the moment you're willing to go out of your way to access funds that you know you shouldn't be spending."
                        It's not like that! I would ever do that! I just buy what I want. As noted it is not large amounts, never over $100, and barely over $50, but I do it enough to mess things up.


                          We did go to the bank today. Of course, opening the joint savings account for my use was easy. Because of sblatner’s comment last night we brought along copies of our powers of attorney, just in case.

                          My wife explained to the banker what we were trying to do. The new savings being for me and the main accounts for her with me having very limited access to them, due my spending and messing up the budgeting. My wife asked various questions about limiting my access. They knew what we were trying to achieve and worked with us. It turns out the account could be reclassified from a true joint account. My name is still on it, but access is very limited (not impossible). My wife is fine with what they were able to do for us.

                          Once we were done and leaving I could sense a feeling of relief and calm from my wife that I hadn’t seen in a long, long time. At that moment, I was sure that I had done the right thing by agreeing to this.

                          Even with that, I have to admit that it was extremely strange and definitely jolting to go to online banking and just see the savings account with $35 in it and not seeing the other two accounts that had been there for 20 years, that was one of the things she wanted. That did make this hit home, seeing my wife so calm offset a lot my feelings. As mentioned in my just previous post, we will sitting down and going over things, I just won’t be able to see it easily and on a daily basis. Please remember the trust issue is her with me, not the other way around.

                          Gailete, thanks for first, providing another woman’s perspective (along with others) about what my money behavior was doing to my wife and our marriage and just how bad it was. That was evident immediately when we were done at the bank. Second, for encouraging me (again along with others) to along with this plan. Yes, there will be rough spots, just had a small one earlier.

                          As unusual as this may seem to some, it was something discussed in depth, that I agreed to on a temporary basis to regain trust. I think it will in the long run be very beneficial to our marriage.


                            You are very welcome. I hope all goes well and I'm sure your wife will sleep easier tonight and you will to


                              whatever arrangement works, works. marriage is a partnership, but if one person is lacking in an area, the other person is there to support where they're stronger. It doesn't make sense to pound square pegs into round holes, if the husband is good at XXXX and the wife is good at YYYY, make those their responsibilities. I can just see my mother attempting to wrench the car or my father trying to reconcile bank statements LOL (not really). In my immediate family, my father and brother is weak with the finances, while my mother is financially minded (like me). She makes the majority of the financial decisions and savings, while my father has an account to spend out of. Major spending decisions of course need to be discussed.

                              And one person taking care of all the finances isn't so farfetched.


                              In Japan, there's the salary you get from your company. And if you are a married man, there's the salary you get from your wife. It's called "okozukai" (お小遣い), which is sometimes translated as "pocket money".

                              Think of it as a husband salary. That's what it is.

                              Traditionally, Japanese women control a family's finances. Even if the wife works, she still is supposed to manage the household's money. As The Japan Times pointed out, in around half of Japanese households, the wife controls all the finances. (Note that the number is down from previous years in what could be a generational shift.) And in thirty percent of marriages, both the husband and wife control the finances together. And in only twenty percent of households do the husbands control the finances.


                                Glad you were able to work it out so that she feels better but that you still are on the account. I thought they would be able to work with you! Please keep us updated.