His and her bank accounts

United States
December 18, 2007 12:26pm CST
I just got done reading an article on MSN Money about how accountants and money people are suggesting that having separate accounts when you are married is actually a good idea. The article also mentions that marriage counselors think that separate accounts are a bad idea. Now for me and the wife, having separate accounts came about because A) we are still not technically married (never filed for a license), B) convenience and laziness, and C) we both have businesses. We are married by common law, and not federal law, something that involves the fact that both of us are in college (I am working an my Associates, Toni is working on a second Bachelors). Considering the fact that Colorado is 49th in terms of college funding, we need all the help that we can get. And it has always been easier to have accounts near our respective jobs. Considering that we tend to work in different parts of the city, we just end up with accounts in different parts of town. There is also the fact that I do public transportation and walk everywhere I go, and she drives. We do have one joint account downtown for the mortage. For some reason, making house payments is important. Due to its location, and the fact that I am the one that goes downtown, I end up taking all the deposits there now days. Of course, both of us having businesses resulted automatically in having separate accounts--if the IRS likes it, you tend to do it. So what about you, do you and your spouse have separate accounts, or do you lump everything into the same account? And do you feel it is good to have separate accounts, or is it a marriage endangering idea?
6 people like this
12 responses
@laura4qt (27)
19 Dec 07
I find this can be quite a tough one. My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years and live together. We have a joint bank account, which came about when we went travelling together for a year. The main bonus I have found with this is that we pool our money together and don't have to concern ourselves with who owes who money, or who pays which bills. I find it really odd when I hear other long-term couples I know discussing how they had to 'borrow' money off their partner who they live with, or that they 'owe' their other half money. For me personally, part of our committment is to show each other that there is trust and sharing in our relationship. The main drawback I have found is birthday and Christmas presents for each other. I don't feel that I can spoil my boyfriend with some outlandish or expensive gift, as it means a sacrifice not just for me but for him also, as it is coming out of his earnings too! When we had separate accounts giving him an expensive gift showed that I was willing to go without just to spoil him. Oh, and I also feel guilty when I go clothes shopping now, as I know it affects him too - this is both a drawback and a bonus, as it actually means we save more money with less of my impulse buying!
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Dec 07
We used to keep tabs like that. I actually started to loan her money before we got engaged and brought the house together; at the time, she was renting a pottery studio and the business was struggling. That played into us buying the house; between two apartments and the studio, the house payment was cheaper. After I started to go to college, we quit doing that accounting. I think that the wife quit doing it because money concerns can trigger my panic attacks (several of them rotated around me thinking that I should drop out of college and go back to flipping burgers). And on my end, I quit doing it because when I do get money in, I do my best to catch us up on everything.
@vanities (11385)
• Davao, Philippines
19 Dec 07
i dont think having a joint or separate accounts endanger or whatsoever the marriage..its the trust and love for each other i guess...in my case my husband got separate account but he let me keep it.. and i have one account on my name intended for spending and budgeting on family expenses..
• United States
19 Dec 07
The reason counselors are against separate accounts is the trust issue. Traditionally, when one has decided that enough is enough, and that they are leaving, one starts to hide money and assets. They are jumping to the conclusion that having everything in one pot makes it more likely that one is NOT going to bail out of the relationship. I seriously doubt that they are correct in their logic.
@palonghorn (5486)
• United States
19 Dec 07
We have seperate accounts, for one reason, like you we are not married, at least we don't have a piece of paper that says that lol. And we both work full time, and although we share in the bills, if I want to go shopping, I can, I don't feel the need to ask him about every little thing I want to buy, and likewise, he doesn't have to ask me either, although when it comes to a big item purchase he always does ask me for my opinion. I think it's a good ideas to have seperate accounts, after all we never argue about money issues, like I have when I was married to my ex.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Dec 07
With the state of our budget (we are both in college), big ticket items have to be brought jointly, or at least discussed before buying. We just don't have enough cash to do it any other way. Of course, due to my living off of student loans, even a 230 dollar word processor has became a big ticket item for me. *sigh*
@imadriscoll (2230)
• United States
18 Dec 07
While I understand why you have separate bank accounts, when my husband and I got married we both had very definate ideas of what our marriage would look like. We determined before we got married that this is for life, there is no "D" word. We also believed that when we got married that we became one flesh. I am him and he is me. So it would make no sense in the context of our marriage and our ideas of what marriage is and is not to have separate bank accounts.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Dec 07
We have two separate accounts. He has his and I have mine. We do pay our bills together. Either he will give me his half of the money or I'll give him my half of the money. We don't combine money and we take turns going out on each other's money. But he's free to purchase what he wants and I am free to do the same IF the bills are paid every month. We know what we make, so it's not secret.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Dec 07
I was so red-faced when the wife first found out the true state of my income. To say that I was poor was an understatement. The habit of concealing how poor I am came out of my childhood--it was considered a skeleton in the closet in my family. Everyone in town knew we were poor, but mom treated it as a state secret. Bad habits die hard.
@chrislotz (8203)
• Canada
18 Dec 07
Funny you should say tha councillors think its a bad thing. We are seeing a marriage counceler right now to work out a couple problems and one of them is this exact thing. I want to have a joint account with my hubby and two seperate accounts, one for each of us. Right now we don't have a joint account and my hubby doesn't want to have one. He wants full control over the finances in our family. And I don't like it because he waits till the last minute to pay bills and lots of times they don't get paid on time and then we get charged late payment charges and it costs us more. The councillor thinks we should have a joint account and let me pay the bills. He can have his own account for his spending money and I can have my own account for my spending money. The problem is I don't work anymore. So I don't have my own money. He has to give me money. I can't work because I have health issues right now, but when I get healthy I will get a job again. Our councillor says most marriages break up because of money issues and she gives her clients advice about this subject. But most, just like my hubby, don't and won't follow her advice and they usually end up breaking up. I hope we don't.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Dec 07
Back home, Dad made all the money, and mom handed writing all the checks. And when he started his produce business, she ended up being the bookkeeper. There are good things to be said about joint accounts, and the person who is best at figuring out a budget and writing checks on time should cope with that end of things. Most of our accounts are in Toni's name, and she figures out who gets what. The closest I come to many of the house bills is I say that I have X amount of dollars to spare, and hands me the bills that it needs to be written out to. Both of us having wrecked our credit (individually before we met) are big on getting the bills out on time. I hope that things work out between you and your husband.
@subha12 (18453)
• India
19 Dec 07
i am not married yet. But i think it is always good to have salary accounts as separate acoou t. you may have some acount where you can deposit gift cheques etc as joint account. No body can say what can happen to the relationship later. so it is safer.
@nkhanna (925)
• India
19 Dec 07
well for me and my partner we both have different bank accounts.we work in diifrenet companies and the bank account has been provided by them.i thinkhaving a joint bank account has its own beneifits for both.however the ides of having a separate bank account is also not bad.atleast if any time a couple breaks their relation,they will probably not blame each other ofr spending thier hard earned money.well for my ohuse its my partner who takes care of all finaces.we are thinking of having a joint account but i dont know when we will do it.
1 person likes this
@gloria777 (1678)
• India
19 Dec 07
My wife and I have separate accounts. I think its easy to handle and gives each one some bit of freedom. I plan to open an joint account too in addition to both these separate accounts. Its all depends upon the situation and suitability. lol..
1 person likes this
@tiffiny (872)
• United States
18 Dec 07
We just started to seperate the money only because he will leave to diffrent states and stuff with his job. For me it puts me on edge becuase I just don't know exactly what he's doing lol. I know that sounds crazy but it's little control issues.
1 person likes this
@nicolecab (923)
• United States
18 Dec 07
Well, My Husband and I have a joint checking and saving account and I also have my own checking and saving account. This works out better for us because all of our bills are paid from our joint account and my checking account is used for fun money or toys for our son. I know when there is no money left in my account then we have no money to go out to eat or to the movies. It works for us because I dont have to ask if we can afford to go get our son a new toy or for emergecy doc visits and it also helps us to put or bills first. I really just believe it is to you as a couple. For us this really works and we like it this way because we dont have to keep up with two people writing checks from the same check book.
• United States
18 Dec 07
We have a joint account for paying bills and spending money, I have a personal account for my business money and my husband has a personal account that he deposits 100 bucks into from his paycheck every two weeks. If we are running out of money in our joint account, we always transfer money out of one of the personal accounts into it.