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Jean Chatzky Recommends Lazy Man and Money

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The title of this post is a bold face lie - she is probably not even aware Lazy Man and Money exists. Perhaps she should start reading though. In her book, Make Money, Not Excuses, she recommends using a method remarkably similar to the one that Energi Gal and I use to manage our income and expenses. In the latest Money Magazine, there's an excerpt from the book. The advice:

How much to put into the joint account: The total going into the account should be enough to a) pay your monthly expenses, and b) reach for your family goals. But don't just split these household costs down the middle. Ideally, you each should chip in the same percentage of income so that the spouse who earns more contributes more.

Compare that to the method outlined here last October, How Do Independent Couples Divide Up Expenses?. Specifically, "I came up the idea using each of contributions of our total net income to figure out how we should divide up our expenses. She brings home 57.6% of the income, so I suggested she paid 57.6% of the expenses. After doing the math, she'll still take home a good deal more than me each month. After all, she makes more money, she should enjoy it."

Posted on April 3, 2007.

This post deals with: ... and focuses on:

Couples and Money

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6 Responses to “Jean Chatzky Recommends Lazy Man and Money”

  1. dong says:

    It’s amazing the number of arguments I’ve gotten into with many of my married friends or soon to be married about the role of a joint checking account. One or tow have closed their individual accounts at the point of marriage and funneled everything into the joint. I’ve never understood why couple feels like their finances need to be tied at the hip even when one couple makes signficantly more. Everyone should have some degree of autonomity with the money they earn – helps keep the fights about spending down.

  2. limeade says:

    I respectfully disagree. One system of managing your money doesn’t work for all couples. My wife and I use one checking account. We view ourselves as a team and communicate very well with each other.

    Since I make about twice what she makes, should I contribute a higher amount towards bills and then still get to spend more? I’m not in a competition with her; I think we work quite well together.

    You’ve got to choose what works for you and realize that it may not work for the next guy. It’s a great topic though, because so many couples just avoid the subject altogether because it’s difficult.


  3. tanyetta says:

    I love your blog :)

  4. dong says:

    limeade, I think you’re right that everyone need to pick their own system. Communicating and coming to an agreement is critical to making things work. But what I don’t understand is why make this sunday change at marriage? I think it can be quite jarring.

    It’s not about making more and being able to spend more, but rather having some amount of money to spend that is purely at the discretion of the invidiviaul even if one person makes no income. It’s about the level independece. But, you’re right the need for that is going to be different with every couple.

  5. plonkee says:

    I also think that this is a good system, although if one person earns nothing, it breaks down as they then have nothing to spend on themselves.

    limeade is of course, right, everyone needs to find the solution that works for them but I also agree with dong, I find it hard to imagine a two individuals who would work best by not having any money held individually.

  6. Tim says:

    limeade i’m with you on this one. i simply do not understand all this mumbo jumbo about level of independence and percentage of pay towards communal bills. makes no sense to me. my wife and i are both independent, have lived apart in different states and countries, and still have a joint account. it seems to me that you talk about percentages etc, you have just created an unnecessary fissure in your relationship. i just don’t get it.

    we have joint savings and checking account as well as separate accounts. separate accounts b/c ira’s are of course individual and therefore separate. also separate accounts in order to maintain credit history in case something happens to either one of us. we max out ira’s and 401k’s for each. whatever is left and not towards our savings and retirement goals is discretionary spending. if she wants a soy latte every day out of the discretionary funds, so be it, because that is the purpose of discretionary spending. we also have joint accts, b/c you get benefits for having higher deposits with banks.

    couples must find something that works for them, but let’s not kid ourselves that it’s about independence and all that. if you wanted independence than why’d you get married in the first place? seems odd to me. but there are plenty of people out there that abide by the what is his is his and what is her’s is her’s philosophy. for me, i just don’t get it.

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