Listen instead

There are lots of people taking sides on this issue. Should I have a separate bank account from my spouse and divide up the financial responsibilities?

This question is best answered on an individual basis, as each person’s needs and situation are different. For my simple financial picture, this comes down to an issue of trust. Do I trust my spouse with the family finances (and does she trust me)? If trust is present, its certainly easier to manage bills, income, and the overall financial picture with 1 account. Without that level of trust, then perhaps separate accounts make sense. From my perspective, having a joint account is somewhat of a comment on the health of a marriage.

Having a joint account also allows each partner to see where the money is going and can inquire if one person is spending more than what was agreed. Also – there are legal considerations if one of the joint account members die. If the account is not joint, the balance may be frozen until lawyers get through all the mumbo-jumbo of the will and survival rights.

There are some risks of course. Do I want to give someone unrestricted access to my money? If we get into an argument, or something in the relationship goes sour, will my spouse be reasonable with the money? Are there any business or legal reasons to have separate accounts?

I know lots of couples have a joint account which is the main account, but then each has separate accounts for their individual spending. As for my case, my wife and I have only 1 joint account – no separate accounts. We like to see the whole picture and are totally in sync with regards to our finances. Perhaps it’s too Utopian for some people. Most of our retirement savings are in her name – mostly for tax reasons.., but we happily manage with just the 1 bank account.

How do you manage your finances with your spouse and is it working for you?