First Person: I Would Never Have Separate Checking Accounts From My Spouse

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Admittedly, money can be a divisive issue for couples. One person wants to buy certain vital things for the house while the other person can't fathom the idea of spending money on such items. As a person who has been married for many years, I can attest to the challenge of balancing money priorities with my spouse. That said, I am sad when I read articles like this that talk about couples that have separate checking accounts. In my mind, this makes marriage more of a financial partnership than a committed relationship. I would never have a separate checking account from my spouse, or any financial account for that matter.

Partnership?

Isn't this supposed to be a relational partnership rather than just a business relationship? I realize that people sign an official marriage contract and I also realize that there are really no "rules" about how people are supposed to behave once they actually get married. However, this type of separate arrangement seems to be a recipe for as much or perhaps even more conflict in the future. Obviously people are free to create this sort of understanding, and apparently this works for some couples. Still, it seems like a risky relational and financial venture.

Mine, yours and ours?

I find one quote from the article particularly telling. The author wrote, " I don't want another joint account mostly because I don't want to have to justify how I spend (or save) my own money. For the most part I make more, but I also pay for more (usually), and the rest of my share I want to have control over." Control. Such a wonderful world in a marriage relationship. Again, I would be lying if I said that my spouse and I never struggled over control. I think every marriage has that element. However, this mentality again seems like a financial strategy where the spouse is as much competitor as they are a partner.

Strategy for making it work

If couples are going to embark on this strategy, I would think they should be very cautious. Again, I would never go down this road. We are going to make our marriage work, for better or worse, and for richer or poorer. If we are going to be poorer, then we are going to be poorer with a joint checking account. Couples should realize that separate accounts is part of a larger attitude of "we'll see how this goes." Marriage is about compromise and commonality. It is not about dividing up assets and splitting territory. That is called divorce.

Our finances are together. Does it still cause conflict? Absolutely. However, I believe that the end product is far better than building financial walls.

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