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Doesn't having three checking accounts, one joint and two individual make things very complex?

No, not so far. I balance my own accounts and the joint ones, and DH takes care of his own in his own way. It might give our tax accountant a headache, but that's what he gets paid for :-)

And does it not ever create tension?

Not at all, not for us. It might for some people, which is why I say both partners should be totally happy and comfortable with whatever setup they decide on. We're totally on the same page when it comes to money, so that may be a factor why this works for us.

How do you decide who buys what for the "house" and out of what account?

House payment, bills, groceries, house stuff, yard stuff, etc. all comes out of the joint account. Personal stuff--clothes, CDs, books, etc.--comes out of personal account. There's no debt other than the mortgage, so that isn't a factor.

And do you each contribute a set percent of your income to the joint to make it fair, or is it a flat rate or what?

Right now we both earn about the same income, so we're each contributing a set, equal amount each month to the joint accounts. But as I said in a previous post, this is going to be changing in a few months, so we'll have to revisit this issue. I'd prefer each of us to contribute based on income (so if I make more I'd contribute more) but he'd rather keep to the equal amounts, which doesn't really seem fair to me. Something we'll have to discuss soon.

This seems like a difficult setup. Perhaps i do not see it clearly.

Well, it works for us. We'd both been on our own for years before getting married, used to doing things our own way, and had built up our own assets, so that's a big part of the reason we keep our own accounts. Also, we both do some investing, hence the individual investing accounts. And as I said earlier, we're both very much of one mind when it comes to finances--we both know the other will save/invest/spend his/her own money responsibly and not get into debt.

I'm not saying everyone should, or even can, do this--I can think of many cases where it simply wouldn't work (for instance, if one partner has no interest whatsoever in investing). Hope this clears things up somewhat.

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