Separate Finances: A Recipe for Marital Disaster

Although keeping separate finances as a married couple may be trendy, we think it is an awful idea. It just may be a disaster waiting to happen.Seriously folks. Something is totally baffling me. Lately, I’ve heard a lot about married couples who keep their finances separate. I just don’t understand the logic of this. Call me old-fashioned, but I think marriage should be a partnership. Cray cray, I know. But, I think separating your finances is a bad idea. Here is why.

 

The Benefits of Marriage

Honestly, one of the best parts about getting married was combining our incomes. Romantic right? Of course, I love my wife and she loves me…most of the time. Still, one of the best byproducts of that love is that our income instantly increased. It was awesome having two paychecks to pay the bills. I was no longer responsible for paying for all of my grocery bills, utilities, rent payments, etc. We had two paychecks, and I felt freakin’ rich!

Before we got married the thought of keeping our finances separate didn’t even cross my mind. It didn’t make sense to me, and it still doesn’t. Everything we make is ours, just like everything we have is ours. It’s not like I’m the only person in the house that uses the lights. We both use everything in the house. It seems ludicrous that we would pay for those things separately from our different paychecks.

Although keeping separate finances as a married couple may be trendy, we think it is an awful idea. In fact, it may be a disaster waiting to happen.Reasons Married Couples Keep Their Finances Separate

Keeping finances separate seems to be a trendy thing to do these days. I can understand why retired widowers who remarry may decide to keep things separate. Afterall, these people are bringing a lifetime worth of savings to the marriage – a savings that they accumulated with another person. There are often adult children involved, and it is simpler to keep their finances separate so that those children receive their “proper” inheritance. OK, I’ll buy that.  However, there are plenty of reasons that I won’t buy.

1) My spouse/fiance has a lot of premarital debt.

So, your future spouse racked up a lot of premarital debt? Maybe they went on wild spending sprees with their credit cards. Perhaps they financed their medical schooling using student loans. Whatever the case, they are bringing a lot of financial baggage to the marriage.

If you find this so troublesome that you would prefer to keep separate finances, you should probably be reconsidering marriage in the first place. Before getting married, you should be trying to clean that debt up. In the case of a student loan, the education will be benefitting both of you financially, so why would only one of you pay the bill?

Furthermore – in almost every state – when you become married, you are now a legal partnership. Your debts are her debts and vice versa. Just because you keep your finances separate doesn’t mean that creditors won’t come after your money as well. You are now a legal partnership as well as an emotional one, so you may as well act like one. Instead of separating your finances, why not team up and knock that debt out together? You now have double the ammo to mow down your biggest of financial enemy, so take advantage of it before it becomes a problem for you both.

2) What happens if the marriage fails?

Several – if not most – of the married couples I know who keep separate finances have at least one member of the partnership who is divorced. I can understand that they may have gone through some traumatic times. Yet, nothing says “We are in this for the long haul” less than having a financial backup plan in case things don’t work out. Essentially, you are saying “I mostly trust you, but not with my money.” With this sort of attitude, how could you possibly fail??? *sarcasm drip, drip*

If you are this gun-shy about combining your finances, you’re probably not ready to get married again anyway. Why not live together and skip the vows? You’ll be better off in the long run.

3) We don’t want to fight about money.

Personally, I think people who use this excuse are fooling themselves. They think that if they keep their finances separate and don’t communicate about money, then they won’t have to fight about it. But what happens when one partner needs to borrow cash from the other in order to pay the cable bill? Is there an IOU system? It seems like this sort of arrangement is bound to cause one partner to be resentful of another, which usually means a big ‘ol fight.

In my experience, the exact opposite of this excuse has been true. A marriage is not unlike most sports teams. When the team is put before the self, the team prospers. When the team communicates with one another, the team wins. So too does the marriage team. When both partners are communicating about their shared finances, then the team becomes stronger – both financially and emotionally. When the team fails to communicate, the team becomes weaker. Whether you like it or not, when you are married your money is the team’s money. The faster you get on board with your teammate, the better off you’ll be.

The Real Reason Married Couples Don’t Combine Finances

Let me jump even higher onto my soapbox to spell the rest of this out for you. In most cases, the real reason that married couples separate their finances is because they don’t want to grow up. They don’t want to tell themselves “no” to anything – and they don’t want anybody else to tell them no either. They have no intention of being accountable to anybody for their bad spending habits, including their spouse.

With separate finances, it is easy for them to buy anything and everything they want without any consequences. Why? Because they can simply say, “It’s my money. I can do what I want.” If they had to be accountable to one another, they may actually have to change their habits to *gasp* benefit the team. They may have to stop selfishly spending on new shoes, purses, and clothing so that the family (team) could reach their common goal. They may not be able to buy the newest gadget, go to the big game, or go on that hunting trip because it didn’t benefit the family. Most of the married couples I know who keep separate finances are also some of the biggest overspenders I know for this very reason.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that married people should never be able buy what they want. Neither am I suggesting that having a small “slush” fund is detrimental. I am speaking explicitly about those who keep completely separate bank accounts. My point is that marriage is a partnership in every way. Why should finances be any different?

Financial problems in a marriage are one of the top causes of divorce in America.  Though I’m certainly not a marriage counselor, I believe that being on the same page about money is absolutely crucial to a healthy marriage.  If you are living separate financial lives, I believe you are headed down a dangerous slope. I would strongly encourage you to start talking to your fiance or spouse about how you are handling your money today.  I wish you luck!

For more of our thoughts on money and marriage, check out these sweet posts!

Comments

  1. says

    I totally agree with you. You know the old Alaskan saying: there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots. In the same way there are “separate” marriages and there are long marriages, but no separate, long marriages.

    We are planning to celebrate our 40th anniversary next month and our secret? You know this thing where the woman always has the last word? Well, not in our house! I do, make no mistake about it!

    That usually provokes a reaction… until they learn that last word is always “Yes, dear!”

    In all seriousness, we have two joint accounts, which each operates separately. She takes care of the bills and the day to day expenses. (I used to be a CFO for many years, but she just does a better job, what can I say?) The “slush” is my baby (everything left over and the few unusual things like trips, etc.). We both have signing power and online access to each other’s accounts (if I can’t trust you with money, what can I trust you with)? In practice, though, we never use our access unless there’s a frantic phone call when one is at the store. (“Honey, can you please take a quick look and see if I have enough money for this?” “Sure, dear, what’s your password again?” LOL)

    Regarding spending, our philosophy is simple: what Honey wants, Honey gets (both ways). We usually spend more on each other than on ourselves. Of course, it helps that we’re ancient, relatively frugal and by now pretty much have whatever we’ve always wanted. But the biggest help of all is that I lucked out and snagged the best woman ever made (no offense, Holly). That just solves a world of problems right there…

    • says

      Congratulations on your 40 year anniversary!!! That is awesome. I too always get the last word, and I always use the same words as yours:)

      As far as spending goes, at this point in our lives, neither one of us want much – luckily. What we do want, like going on trips and whatnot, we usually want do together. Each marriage is different and every couple needs to do what works for them. However, I think that keeping separate lives – in any form – tends to be bad news for a marriage.

      • Peggy says

        My husband and I have been married for 10 years this Oct. I had two kids age 11 and 13 coming into marriage he had a 2 yr old. we never not once have had anything with our name on it together except our marriage license. Ten years later he has a major savings account and me well I paid all the bills and am in debt not bad but do have some debt. He has zero debt, how is this fair? Its not and our marriage has been rocky from about the 2nd year,from my experience merge everything together it brings much more closeness in th emarriage because i feel like i have a had a roomate for past ten years.

        • Chrissy says

          Separate finances create mistrust and feeds the mine yours mentality…some husbands walk around with great credit and spending power and refuse to align finances out if selfishness. I make much less…have significant student loan debt and because our finances are separate..he benefits.

        • Silent Reign says

          Peggy, I completely agree. It helps everyone stay honest. My wife was bringing in nearly 50% of the household income, len get’s laid off. I took this as an opportunity to discuss combing accounts again (again? another story for another time:). She’s adamant about maintaining separate finances, as she aggrees that we need to cut out all non-essentials until we’re back on track.

          In the meantime, she ends up ordering a pair of earrings, a vintage wrought iron table lamp, and a new Dooney & Burcke purse, and a $426 grocery bill (for the two of us). An you may be thinking “What’s the big deal, if she has the extra money. Just after all of this self-pampering, she has me pick up and pay for her $287 doctor’ss prescription.

          Why couldn’t she have simply avoided those unnecessary purchases so she would be able to pay for her medicines to keep her alive. It ends ups hurting me twice. First of all, that’s money that I can no longer apply to my debts. And second, it lowers morale and build resentment toward her. This won’t end well.

    • says

      My wife and I have been married/lived together since 1992 — and from the git-go we established a separate/joint hybrid finance system that has kept us from adding money to the usual reasons we argue. And you’ll probably think our way of doing this is REALLY outrageous.

      She has her bank accounts and I have my bank accounts (all set up to “pay upon death”) AND we have joint accounts for household expenses and for home improvement & repair. And here is the “outrageous” part: the joint accounts get funded by each of us in proportion to our incomes. It works out to one of us defraying 1/3 of our joint costs while the other defrays 2/3s. Of course, the one putting in 2/3 also ends up with way more personal discretionary money than the other. And the other does do more chores.

      Does it work? Well, yes, it has. We’ve jointly purchased, maintained and improved several houses. And our trips and vacations are jointly planned and costed out 50/50. But otherwise… my wife drives the car she wanted to have and never had to ask me about it… I guiltlessly and hasslelessly plunk down 3-figure sums for video lecture courses she has absolutely no interest in… and so on. No fighting over money (unless we count the heavy discussions we always seem to have during our house buying).

  2. says

    I absolutely agree with you about combining finances. Regardless of who has more debt going into the marriage and who has the better/worse financial habits, you have to address it as a team. It’s not easy, but it is one of the most important issues to deal with as a couple.

  3. says

    Couldn’t agree with you more. If a couple can’t work together to manage their finances, I would imagine there will be a lot of other areas they will struggle with as well.

    • says

      It really is one of the most important parts of a marriage, in my opinion. The way that a couple handles money bleeds into every other area of their life together.

  4. says

    I tend to agree with you here Greg as my wife and I have combined finances, and it does create a ‘greater closeness’ as we grow together in how we manage these finances and life in general. I think that closeness can be missing if a couple decides to go with separate finances….

    That being said, I can support separate finances if both couples strongly desire it – it just means they need a high level of communication to stay close in this area of their lives. I also think you would desire some ground rules if you went this route. (like saving for retirement, no credit card debt, etc) Without any rules, then one person in the marriage can destroy another person’s finances without them knowing – which would be a big betrayal in my mind.

    • says

      That would be a huge betrayal. I’m sure that it has been successful for many couples. However, in the cases that I know of, I do not see that success. Instead, I see them use it as an excuse to spend on whatever their heart desires.

  5. says

    I think it just depends on the person. My parents have joined finances and my husbands parents don’t.. How you were raised has a big influence on how you approach your own marriage. My hubby and I manage our accounts together but we have individual accounts to our names. Works fine because we still act like a team.

    • says

      Fair enough. I would say that you are the exception to what I have witnessed, and I’m glad it works for you. I expect the reason that it does is because it sounds like you manage your finances as if they weren’t separate.

    • K says

      This is the same as my parents and in-laws… my parents have separate accounts and my in-laws have a joint account. Personally my husband and I haven’t joined accounts because I would feel bad taking down his credit score and making him pay for debt that I incurred on my own. He basically pays for everything and I pay for groceries. He makes a lot more than what I make and I’m at the poverty level of income, at least until I graduate from grad school. I’d like to join finances but I don’t feel like a team player yet in the financial part of our relationship (2 years into marriage).

  6. says

    We are combined all the way – it was just a natural progression of our marriage being a team. How can you be a team if you’ve got separate play books? Not saying it’s asking for trouble, but all the marriages that we know with separate finances have either been separated or divorced at some point… Food for thought anyhow.

    • says

      You don’t have to say it is asking for trouble, but I’ll do it for you:) In every situation I’ve seen with separate finances, it is either a) a brewing problem b) already a problem or c) a problem that has gone on to cause larger issues like divorce. This is in no way a scientific study, but it is simply what I’ve observed.

  7. says

    Everything of ours is combined, and it honestly works best this way. I think it all depends on the individual person/couple though. However, I don’t see us ever separating our financial lives.

    • says

      That is cool. It seems that you and the boy have a great relationship going. Just be careful not to take on too much together before you make it official:)

  8. says

    I am living with my partner, we have only been living together 3 months and everything is still separate. I am 60K in student debt, and he only has a small car loan and mortgage payment. I think we are years from combining finances, since it is going to take me a long time to pay off my student loans. I think eventually we will have joint accounts, but I would like to keep some degree of separation so that I don’t feel any sort of guilt if I decide to buy a shirt or pair of pants every few months. Perhaps we will have different spending money accounts, or maybe by then our circumstances will be totally different and who knows what we will do. I do think that combining finances is a good thing, but I don’t necessarily believe that keeping completely separate finances (even for married couples) is a bad thing.

    • says

      If I were in your shoes, there is no way that I’d be combining finances. In fact, I really wouldn’t do it before engagement. There is too much risk, too much that can happen. However, once you decide to make that leap into marriage, I really don’t see the point of keeping finances separate. It simply doesn’t do any good, and – in fact – I’m much more concerned that it could be a source of unnecessary conflict rather than a solution to it. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. says

    I think you’re on the right track, Greg, but after 16 years in the trenches with families, I think it’s a lot deeper situation than just not wanting to grow up and be accountable. There are some huge psychological factors at work, and sometimes it’s for reasons of “love”, not “immaturity.” It may be misplaced love, but it’s surprising to see what’s going on in people’s heads about money.

    Great piece. I enjoy this topic and your addition toward it!

    • says

      Fair enough. Obviously, I don’t have the insight into your client’s thoughts like you might. However, I while they may give surface reasons like “love” as a reason to keep finances separate, my gut tells me that they are using that as an excuse. In my experience, couples use it as a way to further their denial about what is really happening with their finances. It makes it easier for them to say, “well he’s not saving so why should I?”

      Of course, I have zero scientific data to back this up, so what I’m saying could be complete B.S. I’m just going off my own observations.

      Thanks for your addition to this conversation:)

  10. John S says

    Great post! I could not agree more. I agree that the older couple you described at the beginning has the best or most understandable out in the combining of finances once married.

    When you get married, you don’t stay as two separate individuals, or roommates or anything like that. You as the two become one. Very similar to the team analogy that you used. When finances are kept separate that can just breed problems.
    What do you do if one makes considerably more than the other? Does the “richer” one live like a king and the other like a pauper? Situations like this can easily cause resentment between the two or even cause the couple to keep secrets from each other, which over time could potentially be cancerous.

    Having a slush fund as you put it is a great idea, my wife and I do it. But, that is not keeping finances separate as some might argue. As you said, money is a leading cause to divorce in America, and by keeping things wholly separate, you’re just setting yourself up for potential failure.

    Thanks again for the post!

    • says

      “What do you do if one makes considerably more than the other? Does the “richer” one live like a king and the other like a pauper? Situations like this can easily cause resentment between the two or even cause the couple to keep secrets from each other, which over time could potentially be cancerous.”

      I couldn’t have said it better. Right on. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

    • says

      I totally agree! Greg makes about 2/3 of our take home pay. Does this mean that I should only enjoy and benefit from 1/3 of our income? Does this mean that he should pay the mortgage and I should just pay a few little bills? Does this mean that I am only making 1/3 contribution to this family? Hell no, it doesn’t. Everything is “ours” and that includes debts, bills, income, and random windfalls of money that come our way.

  11. says

    I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing lately. Although money was handled separately in my previous long term relationship, it did still create major issues. When we weren’t accountable to each other with spending we both ending up overspending. Now that I’m starting a new relationship I’m trying to be very upfront about money from the start. She does have a bunch of money owing on student loans, but if we can get on the same page I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem.

    • says

      The key is communication. I would definitely keep separate finances, meaning bank accounts, until we were at the very least engaged. There is just too much stuff that can happen. Separating that would be a nightmare. However, it is super important to get on the same page about money before you decide to marry. I think you are going about it the right way, my friend.

      And good luck with the new relationship! I’m not sure you mentioned this on your blog…or maybe I just missed it somehow!

  12. says

    I totally agree with your reasoning of why couples don’t want to combine their finances. At least that’s the reason I kept financial secrets and different accounts when I was married. And now I’m divorced…shocker! Going forward into future relationships I plan to combine finances, money talks, decisions – the whole nine yards. In my experience, it’s a bad idea to have separate finances, or at least not something like a “yours, mine and ours” deal.

    • says

      Thank you for volunteering to be our real life example Carrie:) I didn’t know that you had been married.

      I think you definitely got the point I was trying to make. The idea of “yours, mine, and ours” can definitely be toxic. Unfortunately, I see a lot of couples doing that these days.

  13. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says

    I can’t imagine being married and having separate accounts in which the husband or the wife doesn’t know what’s going on. I’m a firm believer in transparency and communication in relationships no matter what aspect of life they involve, thus this will be the path I take if the day ever comes :)

    • says

      Personals Alert!!! Single, financially savvy, female blogger seeking financially savvy male to settle down with. Must know how to balance a checkbook. If you like it, you must be willing to put a ring on it…and combine finances. Interested parties should leave a brief message at http://www.bluepelicanloans.com/blog/.

      :-) Hope that helps Veronica!!! j/k

  14. says

    I enjoy these types of polarizing financial discussions.

    I don’t think you’re right. But I don’t think you’re wrong, either. I simply think your position is biased. Just as all of our opinions about anything are created from our personal biases and filters.

    In a client situation where separate finances are a source of conflict- I find the addition of two little words makes a HUGE difference in the discussion. Instead of “my way is right, their way is wrong” – try this – “my way is right FOR ME, their way is wrong FOR ME”.

    The point is to understand, but you don’t have to agree.

    • says

      Of course I’m biased. Its my blog:)

      I think the whole “do what is right for you” can be valid. I also see it used as an excuse to not make substantial and relevant change.

      I’m not saying that keeping separate finances could never work. I’m sure that their are people out there that are shining examples of it working. However, I have not seen it. In fact, in every example that I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed the opposite effect. Keeping separate finances has either caused problems, is causing problems, or is about to cause problems. So I guess if my observations are a bias, then I’m biased.

      I also love these types of polarizing discussions. I think that they are a blast. I appreciate your counter point! Thanks for adding to the discusssion!!!!

  15. says

    These are some GREAT points and I’ve seen this problem a lot with the people I’ve coached over the years. I don’t know how a couple can really function and claim that they’re close if they don’t share the finances. Combining finances forces you to communicate and become a team. It forces you to grow up and sacrifice and be responsible to your family.

  16. says

    I have a different viewpoint to share. I work as a domestic violence counselor at a large non-profit in the Chicago-land area. I have a master’s degree in counseling and I run an Economic Empowerment class for women (budgeting basics, credit basics, etc). In my experience, money in relationships (marriage or otherwise) has a real potential to be used to control others (control being a major element in abusive relationships). The women I work with (who come from a wide range of backgrounds: from high to low socioeconomic status, African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Indo-Pak, etc.) tell me stories about how combining finances led to their being isolated, controlled, and in some cases stuck with no access to the money and no way to leave a toxic relationship! I think in the context of the possibility of abuse occurring, having separate finances could serve as a protective factor against a controlling partner. Not all partners are obviously controlling right away either so keeping separate finances from the beginning could help people who find out years later they are married to a Jeckyl-and-Hyde abusive person.

    I guess what I’m emphasizing is that there may be people in the world who NEED to keep their finances separate. Separate finances could help ensure both partners are skilled in money management (instead of one partner handling all money matters which can easily turn into control or exclusion of one partner from money decisions or one partner exiting a relationship clueless about money stuff). Keeping finances separate, especially for domestic violence survivors, often serves as a way to keep some independence which is so important since they’d been so hurt by lack of access to or control of “team” money in the past.

    I do like the idea of keeping finances together if possible. I see it as an ideal that I hope many of my DV clients one day reach with a trust-worthy partner. You are right about there being a parallel process between how you treat your finances and how healthy the marriage might be. I wanted to put a little reminder out there that not all people can make that choice to keep their money together; sometimes how money matters are handled is a matter of safety and keeping access to an exit strategy handy.

    I guess if nothing else, I tell the ladies I work with to keep at least ONE bank account separate from your partner… just in case 😉

    Thanks for the opportunity to add a new perspective.

    • says

      Hey Eryn! I appreciate your perspective. Also, I think you rock for working in such an noble profession!

      In response, I’d say that what I wrote doesn’t really pertain to people in an abusive relationship. The couples I’m talking about are the everyday, normal, loving couples who simply choose to separate their finances for no other reason than because they want to.

      Obviously, finances can be used as a weapon and often is in cases of abuse. Clearly, abuse victims are going to have some trust issues when they enter a new relationship. However, in my mind, if they are not ready to combine their finances, they really may not be ready to make another marriage committment. Until they are totally ready, I would think it best to simply live as partners. You can live in the same house and share your lives together. But if you aren’t ready to give your complete trust to another human being, no matter the circumstances, I don’t think you are probably ready to get married.

      That was an awesome comment, and I thank you so much for stopping by and adding a different view to this conversation!

    • Sue says

      my partner (the male) and I have separate accounts, the main income is in my partner’s account and he has full control with that account. We are about to separate and it has a lot to do with money issues. He is a control freak!!

      • says

        I’m sorry to hear about what you are going through. That must be very difficult.
        So do you feel like separate accounts are good because you are splitting, or do you think that had you joined accounts it would have helped you get on the same money page?

        • Sue says

          I think we should have had one joint account, one business account and maybe a separate account for each of us. My partner decided there should be various accounts where he has full control and an account for myself where he has full control. So when I need money I haveto ok it with him first and believe me it is always a battle to get any. I am sure there are not many relationships that work this way just ours. From the first day we have been together its seems that we have always been two separate people not a couple and I am just realizing what a fool I have been.

          • says

            Yikes. That doesn’t sound good at all. I would agree that he sounds like a control freak, and he was using those accounts to control you. As you said, when finances are being handled like that, you aren’t really operating as a healthy couple.

            On the bright side, you have realized the issue. I’m sure you’ll learn from the experience and won’t make the same mistakes again. Don’t beat yourself up about it though. Everybody makes mistakes, and you’ll get back on your feet and be better for it when all is said and done!

  17. says

    I find combining finances quite simple but I have read many blogs where couples say that they find it very difficult to combine their finances and be open about what debt they have and how much money they have saved.

    And you are correct about seniors having their reasons for not combining their debt. My father and his lady friend keep everything separate even though they live together 90% of the year. They even keep separate homes. But they can afford to.

    • says

      I think remarried seniors are a totally in a totally different ballgame than the rest of us. There is a lot more financial baggage there that they have to deal with when they combine finances. It is easier, and probably safer, to not do it.

      On the other hand, for couples who either are married or considering marriage, if they can’t be open about their debt and money, that should be a HUGE red flag. That is a big indicator of problems to come!

  18. says

    Yes, I completely agree with you! I see it all the time – couples with separate finances and it just confuses me! It just makes the most sense to keep them together. That way you have to be on the same page about your finances. It forces you to talk about finances, and where you want to cut back, where you want to be in a year, 3 years, or whatever. You have to be on the same page – it’s so important! Keeping separate finances makes it too easy to hide purchases, bad spending habits, or worse – a large amount of debt. These kind of things eat away at a marriage.

    I love how you say people don’t want to grow up. They don’t really want to be a true partner with someone else – because that means answering to someone else. They also want an easy escape plan if things go awry.

    Great post!

    • says

      Thanks Rebecca. Being on the same page financially is one of the most important things in a marriage. If you are not, you are almost destined to fail.

      I love how you say being a true partner with someone else means that you have to be accountable to them as well. Right on! It’s not like one person is holding the other down. It is quite the opposite. You should usually be building the other up! In fact, if it is important to Holly to spend money on buying or doing something, most of the time I have no problem with that. Part of it is because we don’t spend much on ourselves throughout the year, but part of it is because I want her to be happy. However, keeping money separate leads to sneakiness, which is not a good thing for building trust.

  19. says

    “If this is the case and you find it so troublesome that you would prefer to keep separate finances, you should probably be reconsidering marriage in the first place.” PREACH IT! If you aren’t ready to “be one” monetarily (because of student loans or anything else) why the heck are you getting married??

    I don’t know if the real reason is not wanting to say “no” to yourself. I think there could be a lot of reasons but they boil down to trust. Maybe you don’t want to say “no” to your partner because you think it may damage your relationship. Or maybe you don’t trust your partner to properly communicate with you around purchasing decisions.

    • says

      Just wanted to add that we are in the same boat, more or less. My husband is the only one with a steady paycheck. However, even when we both worked full-time, there was never an issue with sharing everything. Both of our checks went straight to the bank account that we’ve always shared.

      • says

        That is how our income is too. It is never taken into consideration who has earned the particular income. It all goes into our various accounts where “we” decide what to do with it!

  20. says

    I agree that combining your finances when married is the smartest move in the long run.

    We combined ours when we got engaged and haven’t regretted it once. We were able to team up and pay off debt, make financial goals together and spend money on what’s important to us.

    I’ve never really understood why people would want to keep their finances separate, but everybody is different and sometimes that might be the best move for them.

    • says

      We combined our finances when we got engaged as well. In fact, Holly is writing about that for tomorrow. We haven’t regretted it either!

      Hope the house is coming along for you:-)

  21. says

    I agree 100%. I feel like if I can’t trust you with my paycheck, there’s no way I’m trusting you with my heart! Jefferson and I trust each other fully, and money is a big part of it.

    • says

      Absolutely. Although it may be uncomfortable and a bit taboo to talk about, being on the same page about money is a huge part of any marriage. It can really make or break your relationship – pun intended!

  22. says

    My boyfriend and I are cohabitating, but we fully plan to combine finances when we have the legality of a marriage involved. Right now we pay for everything separately, but we do have a joint savings that we put money for trips and household necessities into. Surprisingly, you weren’t that “soapboxy” at all…hit the right balance I think :)

    • says

      Thanks LBee! I hope I wasn’t too soapboxy!

      In my opinion, you are doing it exactly right. Get your ducks in a row before you get married, and when you take the leap, you then become one team!

  23. says

    We have a hybrid system. Most of our money goes into joint accounts and she does the budget, pays the bills etc. I have a separate account that gets $100/week and whatever business income I generate that I use for paying down my pre-marital debt. That was originally paid from the joint accounts, but my wife hates it when payments don’t come out the same day every month, and some of my debtees aren’t very consistent about what day they take their pound of flesh.

    • says

      Fair enough. You guys seem to communicate about what is going on though – which is key.

      Also, I know it is none of my business, but why wouldn’t your creditors take their payment on a consistent basis? Is that even legal? I mean, people can’t just take money from you whenever the want, right? You have to know when it is coming out of your account.

      • says

        Creditor. That was the word I couldn’t think of! If I could have gotten Bank of America to make withdraws on a specific day, I could have saved myself a few hundred in over-draft fees when I moved. But they always insisted that their system was set up in a way that they had no control over which day in a 3 day period the money would actually come out.

  24. says

    A lot has been said here, but my only experience with this is my parents, and my own. My parents were HORRIBLE with money, and most of it stemmed from financial infidelity. They keep seperate accounts and have no idea what the other is doing, besides the bills that each is responsible for. They bring in over $100k a year and lost their house, cars, boat and went bankrupt because they weren’t in it together.

    My wife and I have combined from the beginning. We are both working toward the same goals and have barely ever fought about money. Like, ever. I could NEVER imagine seperating accounts, because it’s just so much more difficult, and I think is a detriment to reaching financial independence and building wealth. It reminds me of a fact I heard. Clydsdale (sp?) horses can tow up to 8,000 lbs. individually, but if you pair two together, they can tow over 25,000 lbs. I believe this to be true with marriage and finances as well.

  25. says

    I completely agree that everything should be combined. I just got married on Saturday and as soon as we get back from our honeymoon everything will be combined. We already discussed our budget and who’s closing what accounts. I personally think I am now one with my hubby and I think we should do everything money related together. Besides it will be especially good for me to get away from being so controlling with my money. Now I have someone else’s input that has to be considered.

    • says

      Congratulations!

      That is so awesome and I totally agree that you are now “one.” It sounds like you are off to a great start….and I wish you the very best!

  26. says

    I know several people who keep finances separate, and it works well for them (as much as let on, anyway). I used to think it was strange, but now not so much.

    • says

      I think the key word is “as much as let on, anyway.” :) I thought the same thing about a number of our friends over the years. They all make plenty of money and they projected that they were doing very well. Come to find out, they are all having money problems…which is starting to create marriage issues as well.

      I hope that people that choose to keep separate accounts succeed. I really do. I just haven’t seen very good outcomes…and those outcomes are really avoidable.

  27. says

    Awesome post. My parents have been nearly married for 35yrs, and have their finances combined. I dated someone once a few yrs ago, who wouldn’t budge on combining finances (something we talked about when in marriage), needless to say….I moved on…and I hope you’re not wondering why 😉

    • says

      Thanks Eddie!

      I’d agree, if you can’t get together on the financial front, things probably aren’t going to work out well in the long run. Finances are so important to a relationship. It isn’t the most romantic thing in the world, but it has to be a topic where you can find common ground with your partner. If not, it is best to move on.

  28. says

    As a financial coach who is face to face with people struggling with money problems, I agree with you. Those who have separate accounts and a “her debt” and “his debt” mentality have more underlying issues that just money. Money is a reflection of our values…how we spend money just are the bubbles of what is happening under the surface.

  29. Financial Penguin says

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more. I have a couple friends who’s finances are kept separate, they each pay some of the bills, and they are constantly overdrawing their accounts. This is obviously due to other financial problems they have with spending too much, but I think it would help if they combined their accounts, at least they could only overdraw on ONE account instead of two.

  30. Joel says

    Come on, folks. Just because merging your finances works for you, it doesn’t mean that having separate finances can’t work for other people. Nor does it necessarily mean that marriages with separate finances are disasters waiting to happen. In fact, I see the opposite happening. I see couples with joint finances struggling because they are in a constant tug of war.

    I have been with my husband for over ten years. We have a joint account and a credit card for the mortgage and other joint expenses, but the rest remains completely separate, and it works perfectly fine for us.

    Forget what everyone says and make up the rules that work for you.

    • says

      Actually, I don’t think that having seperate slush fund accounts is necessarily a bad thing. Yes, couples with joint finances need to learn to communicate about money. That is the point. Seperate finances means there is no communication, creating a much bigger chance of failure in either your personal life or your financial life. Frankly, completely seperate finances means no accountability to each other. Why get married in the first place?

  31. jim says

    Wow! Really? “you must have joint accounts or your marriage is doomed to fail?” Ha! Married 32 years to the love of my life and we have always kept seperate accounts. Know why” “cause we each want some independence from each other. And you know what? It works for us. Always has and always will.

    • says

      Congratulations on your 32 years of marraige! I hope we are able to make it that long:)

      I don’t think you are doomed to fail as a couple simply because you keep seperate finances. However, what I see over and over again is that couples who keep seperate finances tend to have poor communication about money. This usually leads to fights about money, arguments about who’s money is who’s, or a terrible plan for retirement. That is not to say that it won’t work. I just don’t see it work very often.

    • says

      I think that that is awesome- but that you are in the minority. What’s important is that it works for you…and I would say that after 32 years it is definitely working!!!!! =)

  32. Bella says

    My husband and I have been together 12 years and married for 6, we have two children. We have never combined our finances. Between the two of us I am the one with no debt and a paid off auto loan. I feel unworthy of his trust because he would not combine our incomes. We don’t own a house, I don’t even know how we are going to save money for a house. How does it work when I don’t even know how much he makes? Everyday I question if I should walk away from this.

  33. Vickie says

    Slow down there Mr. Romantic. I believe that I can love someone and keep their hands off my checkbook. A partnership does not mean I have to pay for things that I don’t want to. We split the bills according to the overall percentage of what each person makes and it works. We never fight about money and we don’t hold each other responsible for the other’s spending habits. With 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, why would you do it any other way?

    • says

      Ha! “Mr. Romantic” 😀

      I’m glad to hear that separate finances is working out for you. With that said, a lot of people who love each other fight about money. Furthermore, I don’t think I ever said that you had to combine finances in order to love your spouse. Even so, as I’m sure you know, there is more to making a marriage work than just love. I guess I’m old fashioned…if you are married it becomes “ours” and not “mine and yours.” When both partners aren’t committed to the financial well being of the unit, from what I’ve seen, resentment starts to build. Money is the number one cause of divorce. I’d venture to guess that many of those divorces are due to a lack of communication and accountability.

      Besides, why wouldn’t you combine your finances? If it is because you “might” get a divorce, it sounds like you’re already looking for an easy way out…not you specifically…but in general. If you don’t want to make the commitment to completely combine your lives, including your financial lives, why get married? Why not just date exclusively?

      Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the comment!

  34. Miranda says

    This is all very interesting to me. Im married 5 years and we have never combined our finances. I guess i never thought i would ge married and when i did, i didnt exactly jump in with both feet. It took me two years to change my last name and I never felt comfortable relinquishing control of my bank accounts. My husband makes about 75% of our household income and he is VERY good at spending it. I however am extremley frugal and although we have no joint accounts, i do oversee our finances and have access to all accounts, credit card statements, etc. I might make a comment here and there about his spending when i go over our statements, but that is as far as it goes because I figure its his money and he can afford it so he can do what he wants.
    We have no debt other than the morgage, and we each have plenty in savings and retirement accounts. We each have our own businesses and we do our own taxes which we file jointly. It is a nightmare of confusion every year, but once April 15th comes around its pretty much smooth sailing the rest of the year. I dont know if i agree or disagree with the article, but i would be very interested to hear what anyone has to say about my particular situation and any advice would also be appreciated.

    • says

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I’m assuming that since you found this article you are at least considering that you should combine finances.

      I guess, my question for you is are you both on the same page? Do you resent the other’s spending? Do you communicate about money? If you are feeling some strain due to finances, you may try and talk to him about your feelings/the situation. Also, you may both benefit from taking a money class together…something like Financial Peace University or an equivalent.

      Again, thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you again soon!

  35. Erick says

    It seems like ur damned if u do, ur damned if u don’t. As the major breadwinner for my family and my spouses spending out of control, I’m at my wits end. I have tried the calm communication route and its not working. My suggestion of separate bank accounts obviously caused problems because he doesn’t want my money to go away. But I’m not going to sit here why he spends thousands of dollars wastefully (pays for him and his friends to go to Whistler for the weekend – I didn’t go) while I’m at work. If I work and make a lot and you work a little and make a little then I think separate finances will keep your reaLity of money in check!

  36. chellegola says

    I definitely agree that sharing finances is a part of being married and united with your partner. I cohabitated with my husband for 4 years before we got married. All of our bills were split 50/50. There were times when he could meet his obligation because he spent his money on other things, and even when when met half way, there were things that I wanted to do, that he wasn’t able to financially capable of, like trips, movies, dining out. It was very frustrating and at times hopeless for our relationship. Still in love, we decided to marry. As soon as we did, I took over the finances. He was great about it, willing, and understanding that it was best for us and our marriage. 11 years later, we are in great financial shape, both with great credit scores. At the time we got married, he was surprised and upset that he was denied credit when purchasing furniture for our home. I was given the credit even though I.was unemployed at that time. :) We have a joint account that both of our paychecks go into. The bills get paid, and we both get an equal allowance for spending. At Christmas time and tax return time, we get a bonus! We decide together how we spend our money on trips, dates, and other major expenses.
    This has worked great for us. We have had heated discussions about some disputed purchases on non-neccesities, but the focus is always what’s best for the family. Love being married to a team player.

    • says

      We have joint accounts as well obviously. It’s a great thing to come together and make decisions as a team. In the end, I think everyone is happier that way!

  37. Megan says

    My fiance and I have kept separate finances for the duration of our co-habitation and throughout our engagement – approximately five years. We plan to maintain separate finances when we are married and divide all shared expenses – including the home we own together – equally in half. We are neither unwilling to grow up, nor are we over-spenders or unwilling to be held accountable for our spending habits – of which, we are quite similar and quite frugal.

    I think you have missed a margin of couples for which this system actually works quite well. I think you also have missed a glaring reality. While unfortunate, many marriages end in divorce. And many couples have different spending habits, different credit backgrounds and different debt. Some might make more or less than their spouse and want to protest the assets they earned before getting married. I don’t see anything wrong with that; in fact, I think it is smart.

    I don’t believe anyone goes into a marriage with the intent of getting divorced. But part of marriage is the merging of assets – it’s not all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. It’s a contract. Each person entering that contract should feel comfortable and be fully educated and aware of their marriage rights.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Megan! I appreciate your thoughtful response.

      I don’t deny that this works for some people, and I’m glad that it seems to be working for you. Also, I agree that marriage is a contract. While there is more to it than money, in the eyes of the law it is essentially a legal contract where two people combine their assets. I would love to hear your reasoning as to why you would enter into that contract and not actually combine those assets? Honestly, when people share the reason that it is “in order to protect their own assets,” it sounds like they are worried about a divorce at some point. If that is the case, shouldn’t people question whether they should be getting married in the first place?

      Again, no disrespect intended at all. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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  39. says

    Sorry, but I have to resespectfully disagree and add one more reason to the ones mentioned above.
    My husband and I just started separating our finances after 19 years of marriage. The reason? I am frugal and a planner for future, he is a big spender. Back when we met, we both were students and didn’t have much money. It took us years to build our life up. Later on in life we noticed that I never really changed my spending style with more money in hand, but my husband did.
    At this time of our life, I am a green minimalist. I love the nature and living naturally and frugal. I also am an anti consumerist.
    My husband on th other hand eats in expensive restaurants on his lunch breaks, bought the most expensive BMW motorcycle that ultimately cost us $35,000 , he is signed up at two different gyms and also spent tons of money on brand new expensive gym equipments for home. He is not even athletic. He own three bicycles, because he decided to take on that sport. He own more that twenty winter jackets while the temperature in our area never goes lower than 60 degrees. He also loves to go out with his friends and eat and drink like a milionair.
    Well, you get the picture.
    He agrees with what ever I say, but when it comes to action, he is having a hard time.
    So after 19 years and tons of fights later, we found the solution. We just opened separate bank accounts and he is also going to give me 30% of his income for taxes and another 30% for savings. This way he pays his own bills and spends everything that is remaining on what he wants. This will save me the frustration of looking at his expensive lifestyle while I am pinching pennies to save for our kids college and our retirement.
    We fight a lot less now and it is so much fun to see his shocked face when his account gets empty so fast. I love it. He is also finally learning to become responsible for his own money, something his parents failed to teach him years ago.
    On my side, I can happily watch how my savings are growing and enjoy this short life :)

    • ailetha says

      But wouldn’t you rather address the problem of why he wants to buy those things and overspend in the first place? Or shouldn’t you figure out what your mutual goals really are? Isn’t that the real issue? Separating accounts is just a band-aid and will not help either of you in the long run. If he admits he overspends, then he needs your iron fist and both of you need to come to agreement over that, not over just enabling him to do it more! You guys are supposed to be on the same team, presumably. He’s not a kid, he’s your equal, yet you’re treating him like he is not your equal and like he is a child.

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  41. DaVE says

    We know a lot of couples who combine finances, a lot of couples who don’t and some who do a combination. The couples we know who combine fight over finance far more often then the latter 2. A couple of points to consider and our thinking is backed up by our couples therapy friend. That each spouse has a sense of self worth when they have their own finances. A bit of control and say over the money they make. That the bills need to be divided into who takes care of what. We separate and I pay the mortgage and household bills as my wife , who makes considerably less, doesn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage, electric, cable, etc… She needs only to worry about her personal things and the household food bill. We don’t fight over finance EVER. She does not like it when we go on vacation and I foot the bill ( there is no need for her to pay), she feels like a beggar. So we have a cash drawer so she can save for vacation ( a month and half each year) and she can contribute to the vacation. She has a feeling of self worth and doesn’t have to feel like she is just mooching off her husband. Some woman love to mooch off their husbands, but mine doesn’t. We discuss finances, how savings are going, retirement, etc … There is no fighting over her spending lavishly, because she knows she’s going to get the bill. There is no fighting over me spending lavishly because she knows I’m thrifty and she would ask me if I did. She knows she’ll be taken care of if something happens to me, because we discussed it.
    Combining finances is just an old way of thinking, something you just did like having kids if you get married. Some people just like to hold onto the old ways because it gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling of what is expected of them. Do what makes you happy and causes the least amount of drama in your marriage.

  42. Laura says

    This is a great post!
    Thank you so much for you insight!
    I am struggling with my marriage because of that reason.
    Before I met my husband I bought my flat. I am still paying for the mortgage which is quite high. I wanted to pay it all on my own and I have been managing so far although there is not much left for fun and entertainment afterwards.
    My now husband also had his flat and pays for his mortgage and bills there. We live in my place during the week, and we go to his during the weekends.

    He earns at least double than me and keeps all his accounts separate and secret. He can afford to buy pretty much anything he wants. He sold another property he owned recently and he is fully loaded. Good on him. Sometimes he buys me little presents that I don’t need, when what I relly need is some money to fix the bedroom light casket.

    Now he has been trying to convince me many times of selling my flat and I don’t want to, because it means a lot to me emotionally. It is also my shelter and a legacy for our children.

    So as a result he calls me selfish and expects me to pay for all our expenses 50/50. Which of course I can’t afford. So he keeps saying that I’ve never got any money and why should he pay for things with his money.

    I am now pregnat and when I go on maternity leave I will have my salary slashed to less than half. I will not be able to afford the mortgage nor the baby on my own salary… unless I sell the flat…Or my husband contributes.
    But will he? he says I am the selfish one who wants to keep the flat as mine. Although he forgets the faxt that he actually lives there for free!
    Saying this I find myself having to find extra ways to earn some cash on the side and ask for help to my parents during maternty. Frankly a worry that doesn’t do very well to my pregnancy.

    I am contemplating divorce or legal arrangements to protect myself in this marriage.

  43. Arghya says

    I keep my finances separate from my wife’s because I do not want to take up her financial liabilities. I paid her credit card bills twice and now if she gets into debt, she better handle it herself. No more entitlement of a bailout. She must learn to grow up and take care of her bills. If she cannot then let her face bankruptcy.

  44. Syl Aranda says

    I’ve been married five yrs from day one I had no desire to change me last name. main reason I didn’t want to separate my self from my kids name who have my last name vs father. I already have twenty credit cards and two auto loans all prior to marriage . With great credit history one yr after paid auto loans. My husband had bad credit and child support responsibilities I thought would effect me. Everything down to water,cable electric and insurance is all in my name. I recently purchased a home on my own due to students loan issues my husband didn’t qualify. And yes sometimes I fell overwhelmed with making sure everything is paid on time . Sometimes my husband makes me fell like he is very dependant on me . I would love nothing more to share the stress. Yes he gives me money for half the bills and the rest we both place in my account. never have issues with our money spending together just wanting him to have joint accounts with me..

  45. ailetha says

    Married for eight years and i totally agree with you!

    Why would you trust someone with your heart and not your money??? Money is not nearly as important as your heart and, if either you or your SO is having money problems, that is an obstacle the marriage needs to overcome together, not leave it for one person. You can make money your whole life with people you don’t know, but you can’t do that with love.

    Guess what? It’s not my husband’s fault that i ran away from home at 17/18 (i’m 32 now) across the country and financed that with credit to which i eventually had problems with and et cetera.

    But you know what? Even if i say and do “i’m going to be the only one to pay this off so it doesn’t affect you”, it still affects him. He STILL has to wait for me or I for him to catch up. It is STILL getting in the way of our MUTUAL goals in life. That’s STILL money being displaced away from our goals. No matter what i do about it, just the fact that it happened, even if it was before i ever knew he existed, it is going to affect him and our marriage. And as it happens, if he’s great with money, why should he not be able to help? Why do we have to draw the line between whose problem is whose? It’s a community problem now, let the community help fix it (community of spouse + spouse).

    I don’t understand how anybody could say different, because anything i’ve read or heard to the contrary is just justification for not communicating and/or fear of being vulnerable/of communicating to your SO, to which i say, “Why did you even get married then?” Why do you both not want to help make your community better than each of you individually? Acknowledge your problems and deal with them with your SO and vice versa. Do you not know how rewarding that is? Sure, it’s hard but suck it up. Your SO is worth it or you shouldn’t be married to them.

    Do you know what happens when people refuse or stop communicating about things, ESPECIALLY things that are difficult for them? It is the end of your marriage, that’s what.

    And for note, i am the breadwinner of the family. i own my own business out of our home and he owns one as well, although mine is the one that pays every bill and allows us our lifestyle. Everything is merged between the two of us. His is still small but growing well and he is very, very successful with what he has to work with in terms of percentages. He is an immigrant. He manages every bit of our finances except for business expenses on my part and gets the final say and decision, which are largely on one cc and paid off every month.

    I mean, if you guys heard some of me and my husband’s conversations, you would probably throw up at how many (probably stupid to some) details we hash out before we do some things, but i wouldn’t trade it for the world. We absolutely do not ever judge what the other is worried about, just help the other person deal with the problem or concern they are expressing to both of your satisfaction and move on. Sometimes that means extremely long overly detailed discussions. Whatever it takes, don’t care. He’s worth it in spades.

    THAT is how you avoid drama and how you build happiness in your marriage, communicate about everything that bothers you or not, whatever it is, just don’t ever shut up until you are both happy. If you sacrifice anything at all, he must agree to your sacrifice before you do it, terms, conditions, and vice versa. You don’t get to decide by yourself and then blame everybody else later when conditions that you had but didn’t bring up ever aren’t met (i say this as a person who used to be that way).

  46. says

    I’m loving this topic, so thank you for posting your viewpoint on it. I will be getting married, but probably not for at least a couple years. I haven’t brought up this topic with my future husband because I don’t know how to approach it. I’m not even sure I have an opinion on it, really.

    But here’s a question that think of most often regarding this topic – When we get married, I will be the sole wage-earner for our family, so I’m wondering how to divvy up casual spending money for the two of us? I’m more than happy for us to have shared accounts. I’m just wondering how to make sure both of us have adequate and fair access to the funds, whether it be for gas, a mortgage, or a cup of coffee.

    • says

      I’m not sure that there is a hard and fast rule about doing that. It really is all about communication. For us, we sit down together every month and do a zero-sum budget. We talk about each penny that we are going to make and spend…and give it a purpose before we get it. As far as entertainment dollars, for the most part, we enjoy doing the same things – which we pretty much do together. For us, we always ask each other if we are going to spend more than $20. That limit can be higher or lower, but the key is having communication and mutual respect for each other.

  47. Jessica says

    My fiancé and I have been completely upfront and honest with one another and we will NOT be combining our finances after marriage. There is no benefit for us, it would actually negativity impact our finances. How is burdening him with my debts a positive? Combining finances would increase income which in turn would increase my monthly payments for student loans I took out on my own before we met. At 19 I started taking out loans to pay for college – both federal and private – and honestly had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t even have a credit card at the time so words like variable interest meant nothing to me. I just knew I had to pay them back, and that would be no problem because I would land a job in my career field after college making good money. Instead I was stuck working retail (the only full-time job I could find) making $17,000 per year. I was able to put my federal loan in forbearance because my income was so low but my private loan through Sallie Mae didn’t offer income-based options so I was expected to make payments of $800 per month. I pleaded with Sallie Mae to lower my payments to something I could afford but they wouldn’t budge – I had no clue private loans play by their own rules. I made whatever payment I could each month attempting to show good-faith but the loan sat delinquent accruing late fees and interest for 6 months. On the cusp of defaulting, Sallie Mae finally offered a rate reduction plan with reduced payments but the damage was done, my credit destroyed. I would never in a million years expect my fiancé to help pay back my mistake – dragging him into this mess is completely irresponsible. My credit has improved slightly, I’m now making $30,000 per year at a new job and keeping up with payments but my debt to income ratio is so high, I would be of absolutely no help on a mortgage application. My fiancé has zero student loan debt, little credit card debt and makes slightly more than me per year with a much better credit score. He knows exactly what he is getting into and understands my debts aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. We split rent and utilities monthly, pay our own credit cards and car payments and help each other out if needed. It’s not a matter of trust. People that expect their spouse to pick up the tab on a debt they acquired on their own make me sick. I know I screwed up my credit but that doesn’t mean we have to trash his. Marriage doesn’t mean you have to share everything, especially if there is no positive outcome.

    • says

      I think you are starting out on the right foot if you are honest with each other. Unfortunately, we just have a basic disagreement. Marriage actually is about sharing and combining lives. That is what marriage is…the good and the bad. Whether you like it or not, you are pulling him into your financial situation because when you get married you enter into both an emotional and legal partnership. If you really don’t want to pull him into your financial situation, you might want to consider either A) waiting to get married until you’ve cleaned up your mess or B) not getting married and staying together as a committed couple. Frankly, if you feel that marriage isn’t about sharing and sacrificing for each other, then you probably aren’t ready to get married in the first place.

      • MRS says

        Separating finances SAVED our marriage.

        Despite what people think, stepfamilies can be nothing like natural families. And we were having so many issues surrounding money. Now, peace.

        Our bills are paid. Everyone’s needs are met.

        No two marriages are alike do trying to set a hard and fast rule to apply to all is futile.

  48. LAX says

    Hey,

    If any of you have ever been stolen from by the one woman who should never betray you (your mother!), then you will probably be hard pressed to trust any other woman.

    As this has happened to me (my mum stole the money she saved up for me for expenses like education, first car, first flat etc. – and it’s not that she was broke and is paying me back or something…hell, saving up that money got her out of paying child support for me, too (and it was less than the child support!) because my dad agreed to it, in order for her not fight the family court ruling that granted him (as the more financially stable parent (he had finished university and was part of the german armed forces (airforce!) back then) who was not still in vocational training) custody of me!), I will probably NEVER trust another (even more fickle, as there is no blood relation in the play) woman with my money ever again (then there’s the other benefits: only woman who are truly interested in me will probably accept this, because I normally keep those reasons to myself, no one will try gold-dig here (not access to the money makes diggers leave!), divorce will not be so hard (yes, I think about that, too – after all: my parents divorced – my dad once, my bich of a mother twice and my stepmother was divorced once, too!) etc.

    So it’s probably how life has treated you that makes you decide on this issue – please don’t paint all with the same broad brush (call us unfit to be close to someone for example) etc. just because you probably didn’t have someone either steal from you directly or make you suffer financially otherwise (and it’s bad, if you suffer emotionally to have an empty bank account, too – makes the world look worse then you already think it is!)

    greetings LAX

  49. Baffled says

    I think you’ve hit everything right on the mark. As a wife to a husband who demands separate finances, and also a stay at home mom- I am curious what your input on persuading my other half into unity is, or even if I should bother. Of course it is my preference, but I would like to know your thoughts on the matter. I agree wholeheartidly with what you’ve said, but my husband is in disagreeance. To him, I make no money, I’m home rearing children, therefore I have no money to bring to the table, and should not have any say in how he spends his money. I’ve struggled in this marriage for some time now, and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it. What argument could I possibly have to making money my business? “I’m your wife”, does not work.

    • says

      Hi Baffled,
      Thanks so much for your candid comment. I obviously am not a therapist, so this opinion is worth exactly what you are paying for it…but from what you described, it sounds to me like you have some deeper issues that are manifesting themselves in a struggle over money. Frankly, what he’s saying is crap. In my opinion, when you enter into a marriage, everything becomes “ours” – not mine and yours. Both parties should be working for the benefit of the whole family. It sounds to me that there is – at the very least – a lack of respect for both your feelings and for you as an equal partner in the relationship. You may want to look into some marriage counseling to help you both with these issues.

  50. Michel says

    Marriage is a full time life commitment where 2 fragile hearts joins together as two bodies merged together in trust ” to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

    There is freedom in marriage where true love exist.., But when greediness and selfishness emerges and becomes cancerous,’ Get treated quickly before you start breathing black mold for to long… for there is only one kind of alliance between a man and a woman.

    It is written “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.., So then they are no longer two but one flesh…
    This means “Once joined together, all becomes together as one… This is unconditional love, You are mine and I am yours and what’s mine is yours as yours is mine…. Marriage is not a Certificate that is man made for you to divorce if things doesn’t work out.., it is a binding contract with the Creator who made it so, from the beginning…

  51. Thomas Miller says

    I agree 1000% with your idea that the reason people don’t combine accounts is they are not willing to grow up. Children want to keep their favorite toy and allow nobody else to have it. Children tend to be narcissistic and think only of what is good for them. My wife and I have been married for over 40 years and a long time ago we realized that a joint accounts works better than separate accounts. When the $3500 lawn tractor dies, with separate accounts who buys the new one? Joint account….no question.

    One step past separate accounts is inheritance and the ability to share. At her death my mother left an estate valued at over $2 million to me. Read on-line and you will see that today’s trend is to use all kinds of legal forms to try and NOT allow the spouse access to the inheritance. Ha! Most States are Equity States and not Community Property States and they have laws that at death you can not disinherit a spouse. So all your greed ends at death. Knowing the law of disinheritance why in the world would you choose to live a life with your spouse, a life of greed that will create an undercurrent of resentment?

    When I received my inheritance immediately there was not any thought of keeping the funds away from my wife. Not one! The dollars you get from work is green, the dollars you get from an inheritance is green, same debentures. The only difference between the two is where it came from. Why should what you get from your employer be considered different than the money you get from an inheritance. The only difference I can think of is emotional which can be whittled down to the word greed.

    So today we see a world of high divorce and a world where narcissism rules. Perhaps it is time people start thinking again that marriage means creating one and leaving your narcissism back in your parents basement.

  52. Sad says

    My husband and I share absolutely nothing – not a single account or bill. We were both married before. He earns around $100,000 a year, and because of a health problem that I’m healing from and a lack of work in my work-at-home business, I have nothing but a meager amount of child support for my daughter.

    I pay a utility bill in ‘his’ house, and the rest is spent on my daughter’s needs. If I want him to buy me something, I have to ask – and I never do. Everything that I came into the marriage with is mine, and everything else is his. Nothing is ‘ours’, and I don’t feel married. He says ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘mine’ when referring to material things. It’s never ‘ours’ or ‘we’. The only time that I hear the word ‘we’ is in reference to something in the past regarding his ex wife.

    I still feel like roommates. We’re not a team. The only time that we’re a team is when he needs something and asks. However, he just asked me to have ‘his’ new/used car emissions tested. I said NO. First of all, it isn’t mine, and it’s only covered for liability. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable driving it. I guess he’ll have to live with the inconvenience of keeping everything separate.

    I don’t care if he goes out and spends every dime he has. He can buy sports cars and all kinds of toys for himself. It doesn’t matter to me. That’s the only good thing that comes of this. I don’t have the mental burden of dealing with financial problems that might arise or surprise bills that come with his name on them. HE has to deal with them. You can’t worry about what you don’t have. I have nothing to lose. Thankfully, I have very few bills.

    However, when I’m back on my feet and working again, I’m going to save as much as possible for my daughter and I. What I have will be absolutely none of his business. I will never ask him for anything. I stopped asking ‘daddy’ for money when I was married the first time. My ex and I were a team in every way. I don’t know what this marriage is. He makes me feel like a loser.

      • Michel says

        Hi
        Yes it sad

        I have a similar problem, which is also financial. But even though we can not afford vacation, she left alone. She puts her family and friend as priority before marriage… If I were not Christian, I would not be able to bare the weight of this…
        So I wrote a letter to were she is vacationing. and this is what I wrote…

        Hi Janet

        I though that marriage had no secrets, and now I have never felt so alone. Know that I am not against your friend, it is just I ask myself ‘where do I fit in as a husband in all this. All I do is cry and cry and cry to the Father in Heaven so that I can understand.
        I am just a man who is wanting the attention your friends has that I don’t have, as a partner lovers and Best Friend.

        I love you and their are no high enough words to express what my Heart feels for you right now ‘but the God who knows all things, and I know that it is pleasing to Him for you are the closes thing to Jesus, for He gave me “you”.
        Take heart on who that I am the same way as to Christ for the reason He put us together.

        I love you and misses you so very much.., and I will bare the weight of love with patience in silence, till you come back next Monday.

        Again, ILOVEYOU!! And know that I do.

        I pray that you will have a wonderful time for the remainder of your vacation with blessings, Amen.

        Your Husband Michel EmojiEmojiOOOXXX’s

  53. Cheryl says

    Married 25 yrs. and maybe 1-2 fights over money. EVER. Asked if I could handle the money, he said sure. Never hid anything. All there in the file cabinet for him to see any time. We talked about saving, spending and debt. Made him sell some savings bonds to pay off his car. Then, we came into the marriage both debt free. I had been divorced & had a very large settlement. Put every penny in both names. In for a pound, in for a dollar. I handled our money wisely. Told him he could retire @ 55. Didn’t happen because of the economy. But @ 59 it did happen. We both worked together, were honest going in and saw a future together. Isn’t that what marriage is about anyway?

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