Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Consolidating bank accounts...

Every time I go to the bank, I become very aware of the fact that my name is on way too many accounts.  Part of it is not my fault.  After my father died, my mom added me as a joint account holder on three of her accounts.  I have savings and checking accounts in my name only.  I also have joint checking and savings accounts with my husband.  Keep in mind, this is all at a bank that I don't even like.  It was the bank my parents went to and my first savings account was there, so I never bothered to change.  This bank has messed up my accounts SO MANY TIMES.

 (Quick story: so a few years back I wrote a $400 check to my credit card.  For some reason, the check was drawn twice from my checking account, but only on my bank's end.  So $400 went to the credit card and $400 disappeared.  However, I didn't have an extra $400 in my checking account so it went into overdraft protection and was taken from my savings account.  I discovered the mistake when I went to an ATM and saw my balance was 0.  The manager of the bank was perplexed and fought with me about putting the money back into my account.  I was able to show her that it was the same check that cashed twice, but she still was trying to blame me.  When I demanded that she reimburse my account for their error she basically laughed at me.  The next day, I received a letter from the corporate offices and they told me about the error and fixed it and waived the fees.  I went into my branch with the letter to tell them that the problem was solved, and the manager tried to take credit for fixing the problem. Um. No.  Unfortunately, stupid things like this happen at this bank every few years, but I stupidly remain a customer.)

So anyway, in addition to the 4 accounts at the stupid bank, my husband and I also have an ING savings account.  On his own, he has at least 3 accounts. (I think?)

Last year, we divided the bills and split the rent, writing two checks each month.  Our system was *okay* but I really had no idea how much he was spending and he didn't know how much I was spending.  However, in the new apartment we have the rent taken directly from his checking account.  That is the only way they accept rent.  It had to be from his account because he gets paid more regularly than I do: every two weeks vs twice a month.  With August being a 3 paycheck month for him, it made it easier to take it from his account to make sure we would be okay.

However, that means basically all of the bills fall into my lap now, since 3/4 of his monthly take home pay is going to rent.  So I'm pretty nervous and I'm wishing that we would have been able to consolidate our finances better instead of being so separate.  I know some of these accounts definitely need to go.  We're most likely going to close the joint checking and savings accounts at the stupid bank because we kind of forgot about them anyway.  Most of the money in those accounts will go to paying off the car.  

Then I don't know what to do.  I like having my own accounts, but is that sloppy and confusing in a marriage?  Would it be easier to just throw all of our money together?

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