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Should married people keep separate or joint accounts?
When deciding on having a separate or joint account, remember there is no right or wrong answer. - photo by Mayra Bitsko
Before saying I do, my husband and I had a thorough conversation on whether we would keep separate or joint accounts. It didnt take long before we decided separate accounts were best for us.

In our families, its tradition that the married couple has a joint account. But we do not believe in that tradition. We do not feel comfortable joining our money. As long as we are paying our share of household bills and have extra money aside for emergencies, we do not question what we do with the rest of our money. Besides the fact we leave our bank statements and receipts within reach, we trust each other.

However, there are concerns about keeping separate accounts:

  • Dishonesty. You can get away with certain negative habits. For example, you want to cheat, spend the money on alcohol or gamble all your earnings. It is easier to lie about where the money is going when you have a separate account than a joint account. There are fewer questions to answer.
  • Lack of commitment. You are not serious about the marriage. Either one of you can pack up your belongings and leave without a second thought, unless you have children. Then the decision to walk away is harder. Nevertheless, separate accounts can facilitate a speedy exit from the marriage.
Although these are great possibilities, it is also not necessarily true. All married couples are different. They play by different rules. More married couples choose separate accounts because of the following:

  • Comfortable. You feel at ease managing your own accounts. If you want to spend a little extra that month, you can without feeling guilty of spending money from a joint account.
  • Fairness. For example, you find it unfair to use joint money for a last-minute purchase such as a friends birthday gift or a pair of shoes. You believe that all personal expenses incurred are your responsibility, unless you and your spouse discuss otherwise.
  • Independence. Yes, you are married, but you do not want to lose your entire independence. You want some sense of control especially when it comes to your finances. Also, separate accounts can cut the amount of financial stress and disagreements within your marriage.
If you and your spouse decide on keeping separate accounts, it is highly recommended to set up a budget. My husband and I keep a functional monthly budget. Since most household bills such as oil and electric bills can fluctuate from month to month, it is not a bad idea to set a day and time to work up a budget. Divide each household bill equally. In addition, budget a certain amount of money for household emergency purposes only. Also, during this time, it is entirely up to you if you choose to elaborate on your personal expenses with your spouse out of courtesy.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to keeping a separate or joint account. Ultimately, the decision comes from your beliefs and how you both feel on the matter. The most important thing is that you and your spouse are happy with the final decision.
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