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A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal asked me to write an essay about whether married couples should combine their finances. And of course, I was all about it. In fact, I was downright giddy because I love writing about controversial stuff. Seriously, it’s my fave. Anyway, I wrote a 600-word essay about why I think married couples should combine their finances, and another woman wrote an essay taking the opposite stance. If you want to check it out, you can read it all right here:
In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, here are a few of my thoughts on the topic:
- Combining finances builds teamwork and forces you to work together toward common goals
- Having separate finances creates two separate scorecards in your marriage= not good
- Spouses who keep separate accounts to prevent arguments about money aren’t really solving anything. They’re just refusing to deal with, or compromise on, the fundamental disagreements they’re having. Simply put: It’s a Band-Aid.
- Having separate accounts makes it easy for spouses to keep things from one another= not good
- Having separate accounts makes it easier to get a divorce= not good (or good, depending on how you look at it)
The other chick basically said this:
- Having separate accounts allows people to keep their own identity
- Separate accounts ensure that both spouses know what’s going on with the family funds
- Separate accounts are based on trust and honesty
- People end up single all the time- either due to death or divorce- and separate accounts make sure that all parties are prepared when that happens
Should Married Couples Combine Their Finances?
Honestly, I don’t disagree with her on any of that. Actually, I know several people who have separate accounts and don’t have issues. On the other hand, I know people with separate accounts who constantly struggle with, and argue about, how money should be saved and spent. I really do think it can work either way, but I do feel that joint finances are best for the reasons I’ve mentioned. And as long as people keep asking for my opinion, I’m going to keep giving it.
The truth: I think that separate finances are lame. I mean, get married or don’t. Don’t do it half-ass. That’s my .02- take it or leave it.
Whether or not to combine finances with your spouse is such a polarizing issue. Greg wrote an article about why we have joint finances over a year ago (Separate Finances: a Recipe for Marital Disaster), and people still comment on that post to this day. If you ever feel like punishing yourself, try reading them all. Quite a few of them are rather…..interesting. Ahem.
Anyway, on the day my Wall Street Journal essay ran, Fox Business called and asked me to be on the Willis Report, and I was terrified. I mean, I used to talk in front of people at my old job, but I rarely talk to real, live humans anymore since I work from home. Furthermore, I wasn’t sure I wanted to change out of my yoga pants, or put on a bra. Is that sad? I seriously took a few minutes to weigh the pros and cons of putting socks on. Fortunately, I came to my senses and went for it. I was afraid, but I love new experiences…even if they’re scary!
Overall, I’m happy with how I did. She did trip me up with one question, but it’s really hard to snap back under all of that pressure. I’m just glad I didn’t sound like a complete idiot, and I can add that to the growing list of cool things I’ve done.
Being on television was really neat, but I can’t say that I’m dying to do it again. I like writing better than talking anyway, and I’m not really into lights, cameras, and whore makeup. Oh, and I like wearing yoga pants.
For more of our thoughts on money and marriage, check out these badass posts!
- Separate Finances: A Recipe for Marital Disaster
- Marriage and Money: How We Make It Work
- Who Wears the Financial Pants in Your Family?
- Combining Finances: Holly’s Perspective