May 27, 2008

Joint or Separate Accounts?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:27 pm by bitsypieces

A recent post at Clever Dude inspired me to think about the financial situation in our marriage.

Before we tied the knot 6 years ago, Hubby and I disagreed about joint versus separate bank accounts. He wanted separate accounts (as his parents had). I wanted a joint account (as my parents had).

His reasons for separate accounts:

  • I tended to be a bit of a spendthrift, and had a history of being irresponsible with my money.
  • It made it easier to buy gifts for one another.

My reasons for a joint account:

  • I believed marriage was a partnership in ALL things, including money.
  • I knew the logistical hassle of evenly dividing our money (especially since there were significant differences in the amount we earned) would be a nightmare.

Ultimately, we went with joint accounts. I felt quite strongly about the issue, and I think Hubby just didn’t feel like arguing about it. And, at the time we were married and the decision was made, I was the only earner in our family (he was attending school full-time). I was also the one who handled all of our finances, from investing to budgeting. As a result, it was all in my hands anyway.

Now that 6 years has passed, he agrees that we made the right decision.

Initially, I felt that–as the only bread winner–our finances should be joint so that Hubby didn’t feel like I was giving him an “allowance.” (For some reason, many men feel their masculinity is tied to their income.) Now that the tables have turned and he’s the primary earner (my income is very small), I’m glad I don’t feel like he’s “giving” me money every month.

We have arguments about money. Often. And we have heated discussions about spending, saving and budgeting. But overall, I feel that handling these issues together–and having open talks about them–is better for our marriage than a “yours and mine” approach.

I realize our way isn’t the way for every marriage. We all have different emotional baggage when it comes to finances. But for us, a 100% shared financial picture is the best way to do it.

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