When we got married, we decided to keep separate credit cards. It's kept us from fighting about money for over 30 years.

Over 33 years of marriage, my husband and I have had our fair share of disagreements, but money has rarely been the cause. This is in part due to the advice my mother gave me when I got married: besides joint accounts, always maintain a separate credit card and bank account.

My upbringing in a middle-class family instilled a strong understanding of the value of money. I learned to dress in hand-me-downs and to be frugal. My parents worked hard to put all four kids through college, which I am grateful for as it kept me free from student debt.

In our marriage, my husband and I manage our daily spending individually. We've kept our finances separate, including credit cards, which has spared us from potential arguments over spending. My mom encouraged me to have my own "fun money," allowing me to indulge in small purchases without scrutiny, adding comfort and pleasure to my life.

We have separate credit cards, bank accounts, and retirement funds, and we share investment funds, as well as a joint account for transferring money between us. While I handle the household bills and my husband takes care of the insurance premiums, we consider our expenses equally shared without the need for tracking or reimbursing each other.

Having our individual accounts gives us the freedom to spend within reason while also being transparent about our assets. Our financial strategies are aligned, and we make major purchase decisions together.

Early influences, a conservative approach to money, and shared financial habits have shaped our views and overall approach to finances. We only charge what we can pay in full, prioritize savings and investment, and aim to make major financial decisions together.

When our daughter was born and later diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, our financial priorities became clear: invest in the best health coverage and save for the future to ensure she has the support she may need.

I am proud to follow in my mother's footsteps by emphasizing the importance of independence and control in managing finances, and as important as trust and respect are in my marriage, having agency in financial matters has also been crucial. It's a lesson I am proud to pass on to my daughter.  

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