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I just got married last week. Yay!

I've been using Microsoft Money for 15 years. I have one gigantic file that has all of my transactions since early 1996 in it. I can use it to generate all kinds of useful reports about my finances. I'm currently using through a virtual Windows 2000 machine, so I'm fairly future-proof with it, and have even found a solution to the recent cutoff of online quotes.

My wife and I discussed it and came to an agreement about our finances: Half of all income goes into a joint account to pay for common expenses, and half stays in our separate accounts, to be used for whatever purpose we want. We expect the joint account to grow much faster than its expenses, and it will be used to fund joint savings and retirement accounts.

My main concern at this point is continuing to reflect this setup in my Microsoft Money account, and having an accurate assessment of both my and our finances.

A few solutions I've thought up:

1) Create a new expense category in my personal Money file called "marriage", and charge each transfer into the joint account to that. This would rapidly become my largest expense. Meanwhile, have a separate Money file for the marriage, which has two income categories: "Husband" and "Wife". This would accurately depict the marriage's expenses and assets, but income - and taxes taken from it - would be opaque.

2) Create a fully-consolidated Money file that has all of my and her accounts in it, as well as 'ours'. Advantages: Gives a full accounting of our financial position, expenses, and spending, at the cost of not accurately representing my personal financial situation and having no continuity with the last 15 years.

3) Enter all income fully into the marriage account, with large payments to a "Husband Withdrawal" and "Wife Withdrawal" expense, and then enter the same expenses into my personal file. Disadvantage is that it requires dual-entry.

My goals are to:

1) Maintain continuity with my past 15 years of records through, well, the rest of our lives.

2) Minimize dual entry (I enter everything manually, I don't use any kind of transaction importing)

3) Accurately represent both my and our financial positions, including income, expenses, and net worth.

Has anyone dealt with this? Any thoughts?

  • Huh. After 14 hours, this post is the number one Google result for 'marriage "continuity of records"'. – Shawaron Jun 21 '11 at 14:03
2

Proposed solutions 1 and 3 sound like extra work. Is a dual-file system something that you and your wife will be willing to maintain? Having separate files may better reflect your financial structure, but be sure that the expense of added time and overhead is worth it to you in the long run.

You could track your own accounts, your wife's accounts, and your joint accounts in the same Money file (solution 2). Getting married can be a simple matter of adding the wife's accounts and recording transfers as money flows into joint accounts. This would make transfers between accounts easy to record and would afford easy reporting of overall income and spending. To maintain a degree of continuity for your own accounts, customize some reports to exclude your wife's accounts and joint accounts.

A note about Microsoft Money
I think Microsoft Money is fantastic and I have no plans to stop using it despite the fact that Microsoft killed the product line. All Money users should be made aware of the free Sunset version that requires no online activation. Also check out PocketSense, a collection of free Python scripts that can download transactions from some banks directly into Money. I use and highly recommend both.

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