We Have Separate Bank Accounts; Don’t You?

BY: - 7 Nov '12 | Marriage

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“What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is ours.”

This is a popular phrase that many married women say when (playfully) explaining how they wish money would be divided in their marriage. When I got married five years ago, my husband and I made a brave decision in regards to money in our marriage. We decided that:

“What is mine is mine, what is his is his and what is ours is ours.”

That’s right; we decided in order to keep arguments in our marriage to a minimum we would keep separate bank accounts.  You see money is a funny topic to some married couples and brings unnecessary arguments into the marriage.

I like to shop; however, my husband is a “penny pincher”. To keep his blood pressure from going through the roof, he  doesn’t  have to see what I spend my money on. Instead,  if he sees too many new outfits in our closet, he will investigate. The only thing he cares about is if the bills are paid and if money is saved. Nothing else matters. If he wants to spend his money on season tickets to his favorite football’s team schedule, he can do that. The only thing I care about is if his bills are paid and if money is saved.

And in the 5 years  we’ve  been married  we’ve  never argued about money.

Before talking to other married couples, we assumed this was how ALL married couples handled their money. However, after playing spades one night with some friends of ours we realized that we were certainly in the minority. One of our friends ( a woman) said that they put ALL of their money together because that was what you are “˜supposed to do when you got married.’ Her husband just  couldn’t  understand why we  didn’t  just pool all of our money together. He reasoned that money made in the marriage should be communal property. We agreed but we felt like it’s more “˜adult like’ to give one another freedom in regards to how we spend our money.

You see, before we got married we lived together for nine years and there were times in the beginning, that we clashed over what one another spent our money on. After a few “˜blow ups’, we agreed that we would set goals and dates for bills. But after that, we were going to be adults and spend our money without the fear of being reprimanded by one another. We ultimately decided that money was something we did not want to fight about. Yes, we had a child together but that  didn’t  mean we had to merge EVERYTHING. We paid household bills out of one another’s account and if we needed to combine monies for what ever reason we did.

With this decision, there was no secrecy. We both have one another’s banking information and we’re both listed on one another’s accounts; however, we don’t feel the need to “˜police’ one another. We have the liberty to take money from one another’s account (the only rule is to let the other one know) if needed. When my husband was out of work after a layoff, he had complete access to my money. When I need some extra money, I have a card to go into his account and get what I need. This right here is REAL trust.

BMWK – In the end, we decided that money was not going to be an issue in our marriage. What about you how do you and your spouse handle money?


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  • Leah

    My husband and I have been sharing a bank account for close to 20 years with no issues.

    I have a question for you, suppose you *had* to live on one income for 10 years, how would you handle this situation? Would you still devide the money to keep the peace?

  • Leah

    ^^^ I meant divide, sorry!!

  • Antoinette

    We have several accounts that we share all of them. I believe once you’re married, you are one. I understand why some would keep it separate but really, if you’re communicating, should it be that big of a problem? If you set up a budget, talk about it on a regular basis, make sure that if there is a big purchase to be made, it is discussed and not all big purchases are one sided, it’s at least a start to getting the finances correct. It’s important that as individuals first, each person already can take good care of their own money. If that isn’t the case then of course, there will be issues. I honestly think that is part of some couples’ issues.

  • Melody

    My husband and I have all our money deposited into a joint account and from there we deposit an allowance for each of us to spend per week on our own personal wants. Our joint accounts are for savings, bills, and family needs. I didn’t like what he spent money on at one point, but with an allowance he is able to spend it on whatever he likes. Even though I have an allowance I usually don’t spend it and end up treating the family later or deposit to our savings.

  • Marianne

    We lived together for 2 years before we got married. And money was always an issue. My husband thought we should just have 1 bank account at first. But after we got married that quickly changed because we were always arguing over what the other spent. My husband and I now have 3 shared accounts. One for the bills where we divide the total bills for the month in 1/2 and each make an equal deposit to cover them. The other 2 accounts are our personal accounts. One for him and one for me. However, like the article above both our names are on all 3 accounts. And we are entitiled to withdraw funds from any of the 2 personal accounts so long as we let each other know ahead of time. For example… if I’ve spent all my extra cash on the kids (taekwondo, haircuts, field trips, etc.) I just let my husband know that I’ll be withdrawing from his account so I can get some gas for my car. I think it’s best that couples figure out what works best for them. To each his own!

  • http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist DNLee

    This sounds like the smart way to go. The quote in the opening was a common mantra I heard a lot, even from my own mom. It never set right to me..that one person had to share and the other wasn’t at all accountable. That’s not fair.

    And as I have gotten older, I have come to realize that fairness is a very important value to me in relationships.

  • ttjam

    May I suggest reading “Your money and Your man” written by Michelle Singletary. It changed my perspective on a lot of things and broke down the reason why having separate accounts in a marriage and dividing bills as if you are roommates and separate people instead of one unit can cause issues in a marriage. Although some may think it cuts down on the drama it may actually cause more drama in the long run and bring up the issue of trust.

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  • ylcthompson

    I loved this article. It proves that each marriage is just like the people that make it up…something special. As long as there is honesty, full disclosure and comfort on both sides it doesn’t matter how you do it. Cheers to you and your husband for finding a way to have one less reason to argue!

  • MrsRW

    My husband and I have joint and separate accounts. And it does ease the drama for us. Since I am the one that is control of paying the bills, he gives me his part and is free to do as he needs/wishes with the rest.

    Some may not agree, but aside from each of us having our own “fun” money, it gives me a better sense of calm. I honestly don’t feel it would be fair to use joint money to cover certain expenses for his child from a previous relationship. Just as I didn’t expect him to help pay for debts that I had prior to our marriage. Nor would I feel a gift was as special for either of us if part of it was paid for by the recipient.

  • Superwife

    Those who simply cannot imagine this arrangement – good for you…but for those of us who have our finances set up this way – it works and it works well. My husband and I NEVER fight or disagree about money – not ever. When either of us go shopping, the other doesn’t flinch. No one needs to check to see if there is enough money in the account and no fights emerge because there are no banking surprises. I love this arrangement and it doesn’t mean we are any less “one” than people who blend their money. Especially since money problems contribute to divorce…we won’t have that issue in our home.

  • Nyabzskn

    Agree with the article! And every woman should have a “go to hell” account too should he choose to leave you penniless!

  • Nyabzskn

    Wisdom for living! Love it!

  • Shica

    What?!! You took on that responsibility when you married him!! How dare you compare his child to your debt before the marriage? ?!! He needs to divorce you immediately and let you take your selfish behind on somewhere….