Dear Constance,

I’m getting married to a great guy this fall (our wedding was delayed due to the pandemic) and we’re getting ready to combine our finances. This honestly makes me uncomfortable. We’ve not really had “the money talk” and its because I’ve been holding back. I don’t really want to lay my financial life open. I make slightly more money than him (I think at least) and I have some credit card debt and I still have student loans. Everything gets paid and my credit is ok but not great. I don’t know that I want all our money going into one account and I don’t know that I want him to know about all the ins and outs of the money side of my life. He wants to go get bank accounts setup so we can get ready to buy a house in the next couple years. What do you think? Whats the best way to do this?

Financially Secretive in Austin, TX

Dear Secretive

It’s 2020; unlike the old days when women didn’t work, and men did, there’s no real reason to combine all money into the communal pot. You can keep your finances separate and contribute a common account that you both have together for household expenses and saving; if you aren’t comfortable combining everything, it’s important to understand why that is. Are you embarrassed about your spending habits or your debts? If so, why? You’re planning on sharing a life with this person; then, it means opening up all parts of your life and letting them know what is true about you. Money is the leading cause of divorce, mostly because people don’t talk about money. This conversation is important to have with him. You need to get on the same page regarding spending, saving goals, using credit cards, and so on. This will save you pain and heartache down the road, I promise. If there’s a compelling reason, he wants to combine finances, then talk about that. From the sounds of it, you haven’t really focused on your own financial life much. That doesn’t work so well when working with another person, so now is the time to take stock. Using apps like Mint, which help you keep track of bills and spending, can help keep your financial house in order. There are also helpful books for navigating finances together, and now it might be a good idea to identify a couple and give them a read. 

Working From Home Isn’t Working

Dear Constance,

I’m having a hard time navigating this new work from home paradigm we’ve all involved ourselves in. My home is my place to relax with my wife and kids. Now, the kids are home, I’m home, she’s home, and we’re trying to work, keep the kids doing school and keep the household going. I liked going to the office and having that separation between work and home. Now it seems like my whole life is a blur. There’s no time for anything fun or hobbies because everything outside is still canceled or closed, and I’m working into the evenings catching up on work after helping the kids during the day. It’s a mess. As I write this, I’m getting ready to switch some laundry after I come out from hiding in the bathroom for 20 minutes. I don’t even want to talk about utility bills skyrocketing from us being home all the time. Food bills too. I’m ready for this all to be over and go back to work. Help!
(Not) Working from Home in San Jose. 

Dear Not Working,

This is a challenge for everyone right now. Rouges Magazine has always been a distributed team, so those of us who are used to this have not had to make the adjustments during the pandemic that many people have had to make. If your home is large enough to carve out some dedicated workspace for you and your wife, that could be important to helping you have some of the separations that you seek. I’m glad to see that you’re helping out around the house, and I’m sure your wife appreciates an extra pair of hands during this time. The best way to help deal with the children is to take shifts. Perhaps you can take the mornings, and she can take the afternoons that way; no one person is saddled with the burden all day and you both can get work done while making sure your children get educated at the same time. Keep the housework burden shared as well, and you can keep navigating this time successfully. It’s a hard time, so please try to carve out time to take a break and rest, even if it means hiding in the bathroom for a while. Bathrooms are magical places for that sort of thing. 

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