The hardest part of married life so far has been consolidating our financial lives from two separate spheres into one. I know this isn’t the kind of thing that happens overnight, and the fact that I chose not to change my name makes it approximately 1000 times easier (one of many reasons I chose to keep my name, if I may be so selfish), but still — this shit is hard.
We are both relatively good with money —we know how much we need to save to meet our various goals, and our most frivolous expenses amount to a night of fancy cocktails or a nice dinner out now and then. But to get our lives on one financial page? So far, it’s involved: three checking accounts. Half a dozen or more savings accounts. 6 (7?) credit cards. About 4 banks. Easily 6 or 7 retirement accounts. Several student loan administrators. One heavily color-coded spreadsheet that goes through more iterations than I care to divulge. And a partridge in a pear tree. Not to mention the whole employer-provided benefits piece. I had the good fortune of starting a new job, signing up for my benefits, getting married, adding J. onto said benefits, and now I have to go through and start the whole process over again for the upcoming 2012 open enrollment season (my company has an unduly generous, yet ridiculously complicated, benefits structure).
I am ashamed to admit that during this period of fiscal cacophony, between the two of us, we collectively overdrew various checking accounts 3 (THREE) times, due mostly to shuffling money around as we move all of our bills from our old separate accounts to our new joint account. As a personal finance geek, this shames me to no end.
Without getting into the contentious arguments around whether combining money after marriage is a good thing or a stupid thing (personally, I think keeping finances separate is more trouble than it’s worth in the long run), I’ll just say this: It’s nice to have everything on one spreadsheet.