Traditionally, when a couple gets married, they merge their money along with their lives. For many couples, combining finances is the ultimate symbolic gesture of their union. But that doesn’t mean it’s a system that works for all couples.
Having your own finances means:
- Financial Independence
Being financially independent is good for the relationship and giving your spouse their own financial freedom is the best way you can show them what they mean to you. This is particularly important if one of you earns significantly more than the other, or if one of you gives up their job (for whatever reason and have no income).
Autonomy also fosters self-confidence. That feeling of control over your own money is critical.
- Peace of Mind
Let’s face it having to explain yourself constantly becomes really tiresome- you need to be able to spend money without fear of judgement from your spouse. You need to be confident and be able to make your own money and money decisions. Like spend money on silly things without having to explain yourself to a spouse.
Arguments over ‘expensive’ hairdos, ‘business’ withdrawals, the occasional ‘donations’ for family events are avoided-giving you peace of mind.
- ‘Yours, mine, ours’
Each spouse has a separate account but contributes a portion of income to a shared household account for all household expenses. You don’t have to contribute equal amounts (and shouldn’t if one earns significantly more than the other), but the total each month should cover everything you agree to pay together, such as utilities, groceries and children’s needs.
This system is only possible if you have open conversations about your finances, spending and debt. And, a separate bank account doesn’t take away responsibility for either spouse. You still need to work through how bills will get paid, who is responsible, and have frequent discussions to reconcile your accounts and finances.
Maintaining separate accounts isn’t a sign of distrust. In fact, the opposite is true. Allowing your partner to maintain financial independence says that you trust that person to not keep secrets about finances and to contribute responsibly to your financial life together.
Although traditionalists claim that having a joint account is the “ultimate symbolic gesture of financial union” that proves you trust your partner with your money, actually, it’s the exact opposite: it means you want to and can track your partner’s every financial move.