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September 22, 2013

Set up separate checking account for travel

I’m getting married soon, and we plan to open a joint checking account. Keeping a register accurately will be difficult because I travel two weeks out of every month. Do you have any suggestions for keeping track of things, or should we just rely on online access to the account?

I would set up a second checking account, one to which you both have access, that’s only for travel. Giving you both access allows you to track what you do and her to see what’s going on and act as your backup when it comes time to balance the register.

Here’s an example. A few years ago we were remodeling our home. My wife and I opened a separate checking account and put all of our remodeling money in there. It was easier to keep the money separate, but we both had access and were involved in the account.

Understand, this wasn’t a “his” and “hers” arrangement. It was merely for the purposes of keeping our everyday activities separate from the remodeling budget. When you get married the preacher proclaims you as one. That means throughout life and everything involved, including your finances.

What’s your opinion on buying a house on a land contract?

I would never, under any circumstances, ever buy a property on a land contract.

In some places this kind of thing is called a “contract for deed,” but the problem is you don’t have the deed. The property is not in your name. You could easily run into a situation where you’ve paid the balance down for 10 years, then the guy you’re paying gets into a car wreck or another kind of financial trouble and someone slaps a $500,000 lien against the property that’s supposed to be yours.

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