Blog Post - Why We Keep Our Accounts Separate

I just finished reading a YNAB Blog post titled Why We Keep Our Accounts Separate. The author, Charlene (ckennebeck ?), discusses how she and her husband have separate bank accounts and split the mortgage, bills, activities, etc. Maybe I missed the larger point of the post, but one major point of YNAB - and budgeting in general - is that it doesn't matter where the money is stored, but how it's allocated in the budget (Rule 1). If all income goes in To Be Budgeted, then it won't matter if it comes from his account or her account. All of their money goes into the budget to be allocated as how they see fit.

If they each manage a separate budget, then I can understand the need for splitting responsibility. But YNAB makes account allocation a moot point.

Did anyone else have similar thoughts?

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  • I keep budgets for my BF and myself, an we have separate bank accounts. I would not want to run one budget for us because that would make it really difficult for me to keep up with what money is where, and when it needs to be moved from one place to another in order to keep things covered.

    You are right - it doesn't matter where the money is stored. But, it matters where the money is coming from and where it is going. And YNAB is just a picture of what's happening when with all the dollars that you choose to put into each "bucket" (i.e. budget).

    If I had one budget for us, it would be very easy for me to have funds available and put it into the category for my health insurance, and then accidentally over draw my account because I forgot that those funds were actually from his checking account and not mine. I can see how that would end up in a big mess for myself.

    So I run 3 budgets, and don't worry about it. I have a budget for my personal money, a budget for my business, and a budget for my boyfriend. I could conceivably combine my business and my personal budget, but I like the clarity of having it all separate. Makes it SO much easier at tax time :)

    I hope that makes some sense.

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  • We have always had separate bank accounts but used to maintain a joint budget. Ultimately we changed that because it just wasn't working for us. We were just arguing too much for a multitude of reasons. We split our joint financial commitments 50:50 but arranged it so that he paid all the regular monthly payments and I was responsible for most of the true expenses. The rest of our money is our own which is potentially more difficult for me as I don't earn as much but then sometimes I could choose to work an extra day of the week and don't. 

    The initial idea when we agreed this was that I would continue with YNAB and he could do what he liked, returning to just using the balance on his bank account if he wanted. It's been brilliant. It's a bit more complicated for me as I maintain joint category groups and my own categories within a single budget but it's really not that complicated. I use emojis to make things really clear. Occasionally, I have to transfer him money if he pays for things I'm saving the money for but that's the only downside. The massive upside is that he started to use YNAB and is now totally engaged with his budget. We still consider ourselves to have joint finances and make joint decisions but we both now have more agency. Oh, and we have better funded joint true expense categories too :-).

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