Thursday, April 15, 2010

Money, Money, Money

One of the stranger aspects of being in a Real Grownup Relationship is that my financial decisions are no longer really... my own.  JD and I have separate bank accounts, but that still doesn't mean that my financial actions don't impact him.  One of the big decisions now is that  need to take out a bar loan, to be able to pay for the bar application, pay for the bar course, pay rent, eat, and if need be even buy some more business clothes so that if I get a job any time soon, I have something other than jeans and my interview suit to wear.

There are a few options for bar loans, with different interest rates, and different payment and deferment schedules, and I can determine the amount I need to take out, up to a set limit.  Except... I'm not deciding any of this.  At least, not me alone.  JD and I are going to go chat with an associate of the bank that seems to have one of the best rate/deferment options, and we're going to discuss our options, and then make the decision together.

And yes, this loan will be in my name alone, and technically my debt alone.  But we're starting a family!  A two person family, sure, but my financial decisions now impact him, because they impact my overall ability to do things, and the standard of life I'll be capable of-- and that's relevant, when you have someone who is your equal partner, and who gets a say in all important life decisions.

And this loan thing is one of the first things to really make it sink in that, WOW, this time next year I'l going to be a lawyer and married and a REAL ADULT!!!

Some days, I still feel like a 12 year old.

But then...  I think about the problems that I spend all day thinking about, and I think about the law, and I realize, hey!  I'm capable of complex legal thought an analysis, and I'm responsible, and I actually have life goals and I'm totally going to be married!  And I figure, well, if I managed to make it this far--  I can totally manage the rest of being a grown up ok.

Even when it means talking about how to spend "my" money.  Because we're going to be talking about how to spend "his" money too.  Because really?  We're in this together.  Marriage is about making a partnership, and making it work.  And everyone works on how to balance things differently-- especially in money-- but making sure the conversation is had, and that we're on the same page?  We'll, we're doing pretty good on that, even if it is mildly terrifying.  Money is one of the top three things couples fight about-- the other two being sex and childrearing-- and relinquishing independence in this area, and entering into a partnership regarding money puts me in a place of vulnerability.  I'm not giving up my independence-- but I'm joining it to this relationship.  And JD is too.  And from now on, all the important decisions either of us makes about our lives?  Well, they'll be joint decisions.  And that... is really, in the end, kind of cool.


Jilly said...

Exciting times and I know how you feel about the adult thing and I'm a lot older! In my head I'm about 18!

April said...

Oh man, as a newly-married person, I am just getting started into the huge world of managing joint finances. We did the joint checking thing for a few months, and now we're separate again, but probably going to go back to joint. It's tough. I don't know when, exactly, I became a grownup, but being married and figuring out finances with my spouse is certainly speeding things along in that regard...