Money, Marriage and Finances…Do You Really Need To Share Everything?

money and marriageDo you and your spouse have everything in joint accounts?  Or do you have separate accounts?

Which way works best?

Back in February, I wrote about Five Marital Money Mistakes Couples Make. One of the mistakes was assuming the need to share everything financially.

My recent article addressed keeping financial secrets. Now I’m certainly not advocating keeping things from your spouse, but there are other ways to handle marital finances.

I’ve seen couples make all sorts of arrangements work. Some couples pay separate bills, while others pool everything and pay bills out of one account.

While joint accounts are the easiest from a bookkeeping standpoint, its one of the hardest on the relationship. It requires both you and your spouse to agree on every purchase. After being married 23 years, I know that it ain’t gonna happen! At least not on every purchase.

Here are a couple of ideas for not sharing finances and keeping the peace:

1. Allowances
If this sounds like the same thing you received as a kid for doing chores around your home, then you are right. Some couples that use this technique will have a joint account to pay all of the household bills like groceries, mortgage and utilities.

A the same time, both couples will allocate to their own separate accounts a monthly allowance. They can use this money for anything they want like shoes, clothes, basketball tickets or eating out. I’ve seen it work best when each spouse receives that same amount.

With this technique each spouse gets some “mad money” and the freedom to spend on what they want and at the same time limits spending.

2. Separate Accounts
I have a few clients that never combine finances. Sometimes the bill paying is 50/50 other times if one spouse earns more, that spouse may have a larger proportion of the monthly expenses.

I’ve seen the separate account for second marriages as well as couples that marry later in life. Some couples will think this separate account arrangement is strange. Remember, keeping separate accounts doesn’t do anything to decrease the intimacy of the marriage. In fact, it probably will keep you from fighting as much.

Don’t feel as though you have to have joint accounts because you share your lives together. The bottom line is find a system that works for you and your spouse.

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