Thursday, July 2, 2009

In one pot or seperate accounts?

I saw a little blurb about this is Redbook and I'm curious where you all stand on this, separate bank accounts and to take it one step further, secret bank accounts from your spouse.

I'm just going to put it out there. I don't get it. We have one checking and one savings, in both our names. Ok, well we have other accounts too, cripes, some I don't even pretend to care about. His job is to make the money and one of my jobs is to make the money go as far as it can.

But all in all, what's his is mine and whats mine is his.

Course, jokes on him, I don't bring a whole heck of a lot to the financial side of this relationship.

I am a SAHM, my paycheck mainly comes in the form of sloppy hugs and kisses, the occasional hand picked dandelion, or an "I love you mom". All of these I will take over a conventional paycheck. And none of this makes me nervous about my financial well being.

We really do firmly agree in this house that his money is not my money but OUR money. I don't stash money away so that if God forbid he left me I would have money of my own, I don't fear that he's going to "cut me off", I don't worry that I'm not an equal partner.

Even when I was working it all went into one pot. None of this, he pays the rent, I pay the household bills, that's too confusing to me. In it all went. And when I stopped working I didn't feel like I had to hoard some stash for safety.

Flyboy and I look at it this way, if we trust each other implicitly with our hearts and souls, if I trust him to provide for our family and likewise he trust me to raise his children (and given some of my post, really that's a full time job) then why would we need to keep our accounts separate?

Hey I trust you with our kids but I'd like to keep our money separate. That wasn't a message that we wanted to send to each other in our marriage.

I get that to each their own, I get that there are situations (ie abuse) where it is smart for women to have money set aside, I get that for some couples separate bank accounts work very well.

I don't make it a habit to poll my friends to ask them about their financial set ups, so who knows maybe I'm in the minority with my thinking. I've been told before that sometimes I can be a bit old school. I know that anything can happen, that even the best marriages go sour, I have faith in not just in my marriage but in my husband.

That and if he ever thinks he's getting out of this setup alive, I'll take the poor bastard to the cleaners.

So anyone care to give their 2 cents? Not that we have to open a joint account or anything.


  1. If you don't trust your spouse enough to share a bank account, you shouldn't be married. End of story.

    I will be making a LOT more than my husband here very shortly and the thought of it not being OUR money is just baffling.

    I don't know, maybe I am old fashioned, too. But I don't get it. Then again, I feel the same way about pre-nups. Why prepare for a divorce or separation when you should be focusing on preparing for marriage?

  2. Great Post, I was JUST thinking about this. My favorite local radio show was talking about this exact thing this morning. As of right now, my husband and I have seprate accounts. He pays the mortgage, car payments, insurance and I pay the rest.

    It can get messy / confusing at times doing it like this. But it has worked for us so far so Im not going to complain.

    But I think the reason that it works for us, is because we lived like that for a long time before we were married. However, we discussed that when we move it will all be merged. One savings, and one checking account.

    I do have a small credit union account that has minimal money in there. But that so I can save a little for presents (for him or myself) haha. But he does know about the account.

    And I agree... if he thinks he's gonna leave, I'll take him to the cleaners too ;-)

  3. Mr. and I have shared a bank account since we turned 18. We each get a set amount of "play money" each month, but thats because Mr. has a bad habit of never looking at the bank account because he trusts me to take care of it. but other than our own play money each month we have one checking and one savings.

    i can't imagine having a his and her accounts.

  4. I am on the same boat you are on. Totally agree with your points. We have all accounts together. Although I have often dreamed of having a secret one to sock away $ to take hubby on a kick a$$ vacation someday....or to buy him a classic car that he always wanted and have it be a total surprise.

  5. I've heard so many different approaches to money when married...when you solve the million dollar question let me know so I can try and do it right when I get there. :-)

    I envision most of the money in a joint account for all the bills and big stuff, with each of us having smaller accounts that get a small percentage of the pay as "mad money". Something for things we want to buy and the other person has no say over what we use that little mad money on.

  6. I don't know what I would say if my fiance ever said... I want to have seperate accounts. We aren't even married and we already have joint acounts. I mean I understand why some people keep it seperate but then again those people are usually the ones that shouldn't really be relying on one another anyways.

  7. Good post! I almost wrote one on this, too, because I'm curious about how other married couples handle their accounts.

    We only have joint accounts. I figure that we're a team, so it only makes sense that we share our money, like we do everything else.

  8. We have a joint account that the mortgage, utilities, etc. come out of, but we keep separate accounts (all of which the other knows about) too.

    Part of this is because I was 42 (read: set in my ways) when we got married. He and I can make the occasional wild personal purchase without feeling like we should check with the other person. Also, we have very different investing and saving styles, so I think having some separate accounts acts as a natural hedge. If I keel over it all goes to him anyway (and vice versa)!

    It works well for us, but I certainly don't think it's the best way. It's just our way.

  9. My husband and I have the same set up as you. We have a joint account and right now, since I'm a SAHM, his job is to bring home the money and mine is to make it stretch as far as possible.

    Having said that I do have a "secret" account. He knows I have a paypal account but not what I use it for or if it has money in it. I use primarily to buy gifts for him so he won't know what he's getting. When you're buying stuff from the "Doctor Who Mug Makers of London" it's hard to keep the present a secret.

  10. Lord, we have four accounts, but it works for us! Its not a "my money, your money" issue though. We have one savings account, one spending account for him and one for me, then we have a mustang account, HAHA! He wanted to do the whole joint account but I didn't like that idea. Not because I didn't want to share money but that it scared me NOT to have a budget...He didn't want to put me on a budget, but thats how I've lived my entire life and its all I know, so I'm not comfortable with having hundreds of dollers at the swipe of a card and him saying, "baby, if you need it, spend it" Lol...I know... I'm not a normal girl:p So I allot myself a certian amount every paycheck and so does he. His mustang fund is for his new car. There is a lot he wants to do with it and instead of him coming to me to ask if he can buy this new part or that, we set him up an account, agreed on a amount to put into it each month and thats his money to buy whatever he needs...No asking me, or feeling guilty because the money could be going into savings...Probably doesn't make sense, but it has worked great for us so far...Also, seeing as we hardly ever see each other, it would be hard to communicate "hey baby, I just spent 100.00 on a new battery" and it be five minutes too late because I'm left embarrassed at the register trying to buy groceries and do not have enough to make the purchase:p My worst fear, no joke!

  11. Whats the point in having seperate accounts? I don't see it.

    One thing that I do is put up 20 dollars out of each check and that goes to his bday/christmas.. ect.

    I tell him what I do and how I do it. So we aren't "hiding" anything from one another. I think having seperate accounts also brings in a big trust issue as well. If you can't trust the other person with "your" money then you don't need to be married to them in the first place.

  12. My husband and I have one account with both names. Thats it. I do have a paypal account with a debit card for any income from my Cafepress or Zazzle stores but he actually keeps the debit card and balances it. He does it all.

    I take the backseat. I never know how much money we have. Most would say we are crazy but I am a reformed shopaholic. I would spend like crazy

  13. We have joint accounts - for savings (one account) checking (2 accounts - we had one at BofA, and then opened a USAA one and just left the money in BofA - comes in handy because we tend to forget it's there, and it's always a bonus if we need it). Our major credit card is joint, although, to my hubby's credit, he insists that I keep one in my name only to keep my credit up to date.

    I will say this: when we were first married, we had separate accounts. My hubby, who is a saver/scrimper (read: TIGHTWAD), married me, who came with a lot of debt (attached from a previous marriage). I'd made some serious inroads by the time we were married, but I still had a mound of debt...neither of us wanted him to have to shoulder it, so until I was debt-free, we kept it separate. He paid the rent, his car payment and our insurance, and the major utility bills...I paid my car, my debt, and did the groceries out of "my" money. It took me the better part of 3 years (from the time we met) to pay off my debt, but after that, we combined our funds. My checking became our savings, and we kept putting my paycheck in there (until I became a SAHM).

    I will say, though...that when we combined our accounts, it was TOUGH. He has different spending and tracking habits than I do. I spend more, but track it carefully and keep receipts, and wrote it all down; he never did. He never used his debit card except to take money out of the bank; I used my debit card for EVERYTHING. I nagged at him a LOT for receipts; he nagged at me a LOT to stop using my debit card for everything.

    We've learned that we just have to deal with each other's foibles. I do what I do, he does what he does. I check whatever receipts he throws at me. I can tell, from our statements, if there's unusual activity, and keep tabs on our accounts online, daily, so I know what's happening.

    He doesn't question me about all my purchases anymore, either.

  14. We just have one main savings/checking account too. Always did, even when I worked as well. I manage the money though (balance the checkbook, pay all our bills, etc) so maybe that's not the norm, but it's only because J is miserable with money. He has no concept of it at all and debt doesn't bother him one bit. In fact, when we went car shopping a couple months ago he didn't even know how much he earned per year to fill out the credit application, lol! Fiances just aren't on his radar at all.

    He knows this about himself though and freely admits it, and my strengths are definitely in the realm of organization and scheduling and details- so it just makes sense for us that I'd be the one to handle that part of our lives. In the end it's all OURS anyway, even if he earns it and I manage it.

    I bet it's difficult though for people who get married later on in life after their careers are well established and they've been taking care of their own fiances independently for decades...

  15. The only account we have that is separate is my checking account I had before we were married which I use for my Mary Kay stuff because it makes things easier to track. But yeah I've never gotten the separate accounts thing either. It's like a pre-nup.

  16. Ha! My spell checker just turned "finances" into "fiances" up there. oops!

  17. always have been one account. like since we started dating.

    and for the record...all of our friends that have gotten divorced have had separate accounts.

    weird huh?

  18. I don't get this either. Although, I know as a newly wed I had concerns about making less money than my husband. I have come to terms with it. It's another part of becoming a team, I suppose.

    Not sure about those who do the separate thing. I guess it's about security for the person as an individual. Or the backup in case something happens.

  19. For my Marine and I it was absolutely no question at all...of COURSE it's OUR money. And he had no problem adding me to his account as soon as I got out to the island.

    One thing we do have though, is a bank account, just in my name...that we SAVE save SAVE in. My hubs isn't the best at saving...and I we stick money in that account (where he has no access to it) so we can just let it sit and save...He doesn't have a problem with it at all...after all it's money we both decide to put in there, whatever the amount may be, and he's *glad* that he doesn't have access to it...otherwise we'd be living paycheck to paycheck. and everyone knows thaaat's never fun.

    So yeah, there's my two cents :) :) :)

  20. Greg actually knows nothing about our accounts, and they're mostly joint accounts. He doesn't have access to one of them basically on a technicality (the bank would just need to link it to his card but because I opened it when he was deployed they couldn't and we never got around to it). I'm the custodian of the kiddo's money and they would only let us put one adult on it. Other than that, money stresses Greg out to the point where he just trusts me that it all gets done. Crazy, I know.

  21. I'm totally with you on this! We have a joint savings and a few other minor accounts, but they are all in both of our names. No secret accounts here...

    I also don't get the whole one spouse pays one type of bill and the other pays another type. Way to confusing.

  22. I'm all for separate accounts. My parents have always had them (and they've been together nearly 30 years), so it's what I've grown up with as normal. I guess if the wife doesn't really have a job or any real income then naturally it would make sense to only have one account, but in our case we just do things equally. We each have our own accounts, and we split the bills 50/50. He only makes about 30k more than I do so it's not a huge difference in salaries but that extra goes into paying for vacations, dinner out (he always pays), and his car expenses (i don't have a car...this is NY after all!)etc.

    We take turns paying for groceries and since the apartment was mine before he moved in, all the bills (apt., cable, utilities, etc) are all in my name and just get automatically deducted from my account each month. We do have one sort-of joint account, but it's really only for the ease of transferring funds between each of our accounts for bill paying. I tell him how much it came out to and he just transfers that amount into the joint account and then i transfer it into my main account.

    We also have two joint credit cards which were his to begin with (he added me as an authorized user) so whenever I use those, he just deducts what i spend from his portion of the bill money. It sounds way more complicated than it is, but it's really smooth for us. I prefer it because we each have different spending and budgeting habits so this way we can each do what feels best for us...without any nagging.

    I think it's important for BOTH partners to be aware of the finances and of how money is being spent, earned, etc. It might be easy to rely on him to take care of everything (or on her if your hubby doesn't like to deal with it) and expect that it will always be OK, but divorce or being abandoned isn't the only thing to worry about in terms of finances. What if one partner gets very ill? Or is injured or (God forbid) dies unexpectedly and suddenly? In a case like that you won't be able to ask what bills are due and to whom or what payments are set up or what the account and safety deposit box numbers are, and it could take a long time to sort everything out. It might be easy to leave it all up to one party, but it can also be dangerous.

  23. Mr. AF and I just talked about this subject last night, actually.

    We have one joint account. As of right now, I'm not working. We've both had to learn that what he makes is not "his" money. He doesn't need to get protective of it if I ask for some money, just like I don't need to feel guilty for taking it-- because it is OUR money. He pointed that out to me last night.
    He told me to stop feeling like I'm mooching or taking advantage of him when I ask for money to go eat with wives, or to by myself a new pair of jeans. Besides, I keep the house clean, do the laundry, and all that jazz anyways! But his point was exactly what you said: It's OUR money. Because we're married!

  24. Before I got married my friends and I had this discussion. A lot of them come from divorced homes, and they told me I should keep my own money in a separate account so in case our marriage ended I wouldn't be screwed. I was totally baffled at that attitude! I'm sorry but if you are hiding money from your spouse with a "just in case" attitude then you shouldn't be married in the first place.

    We have joint account everything! I am starting to learn more about finances, and I think I check the accounts more than he does. And we always think of it as "OUR" money even though I don't technically work right now.

    I just don't understand that are setting your marriage up for a disaster.

  25. I've had this discussion with a lot of people recently. I don't understand people who have secret accounts and don't do a joint account. I mean even if you both work and keep separate accounts, I don't understand why you wouldn't have a joint account for household needs and such...

  26. Our checking and savings accounts are joint accounts and I take care of all the money stuff. It's been that way (me taking care of it) since I started balancing his checkbook in highschool. John knows how to access the account, but he doesn't care too. He says that is my job. We do have separate checking accounts for our allowances. He because he wants to spend too much and if it's his account he doesn't have to ask me if he can buy stuff because he can use that money however he likes. I have my own because I'm really bad about buying stuff for myself, like new clothes. So he told me to set one up so I'd actually use it to buy things. I like to think of the whole situation as the only time I get to use my Master's degree (in personal financial planning) and why would he want to take that away from me?

  27. Look at you and all your chatty commenters. :)

    I have an extra account (still attached to the original) because I sell Silpada. I use it for my spending money. I can't imagine having entirely separate accounts or even a secret account. That's just not right. It's a partnership, and that applies to everything- money included.

  28. The day I met one of my friends here (before i moved here) she told me she takes money out of her paycheck and puts it into her underwear drawer incase something happens between her and her husband. Now I had just met her like 2 hours earlier she must have been super drunk telling this to someone she doesnt know. It totally blew me away. I cant even hide money from my husband to buy him a present. All our money is together. We have a saving and checking in USAA then a checking in HSBC. Our checking in HSBC was his when he joined the CG but as soon as we got married it became ours. We now use it bc we have an IRA with them and we cant close it. We also put extra money in it once a month to pay for birthday presents bc we have such large families. We both know what needs to be paid when it needs to be paid and we usually do it together. I use to do it alone but for some reason i kept messing it up so he took it over. Since we moved back in togehter (he had to be a geobachalor for awhile) we pay our bills together.
    My sister and her husband have seperate accounts and i never undestood it bc for awhile my sister didnt even work. I guess they both like to spend spend spend so its their way of not overspending

  29. We were in college when we got married - we were both working and had already set up our pay for our separate accounts. So we kept them that way. My account was in NY state where we lived and hubby's was in PA where he was from, so while hubby's bank gave us a better deal (better savings and a credit card already established), there were no banks locally. So it worked for us at the time to keep the accounts as they were. We soon learned that I wasn't good with money and that he was great. I overdrew my funds several times that year and he managed to save $4000. Wonders never cease. So now we have three accounts - one in NZ, two in the US and he deals with all of them. But I have access to two of them - one is a fluke, he set it up and forgot that it wasn't set up in both our names. It doesn't really bother me, since its a US account and I don't need to use the funds from that one anyways.

    My experience: Having separate accounts only served to drive us apart, not learn to work together. That's been a huge battle for us - we're used to doing everything on our own, and becoming a team is difficult when you have everything separated.

  30. We have joint accounts. When we lived in Germany, we had no kids, and I wasn't working and was just going to school and had an internship. I needed a new pair of shoes, but felt so guilty, so I mentioned it. He flipped and told me it was my money too and to go buy some shoes. Some days he thinks that was his biggest mistake, lol. He's kidding of course...I hope....

    But, I do have a MM in my name only. I opened it while he was deployed, to earn a lot more interest, but he wasn't there to sign the paperwork, and we just haven't done it. It doesn't bother him, and he has his own deployment account, but I think I am on that one.

  31. No way. It is our money and it all goes into the same account. I run the finances in the house, but we talk about where all of the money goes. Blah, no separate accounts!

  32. We share it all. I'm with you 100% on this one!!!

  33. I am SO with you! We share accounts. Period. Same savings. Same checking. and... unfortunately... same debt. But that's all part of marriage, for us.

    We still have our accounts from before we got married, but that's because it's where our car loans sit and that bank has better rates than USAA (believe it or not!). AND we each have 100% access to each others accounts, as well as our joint account, so nothing is hidden.

    I'm a saver, he's a spender... so it stinks for me sometimes, but it works. and we're slowly, btu surely, coming onto the same page with savings, etc. I think it's too stressful to split up bills and blah blah blah. What happens if the other gets sick? You don't know anything about their bills??

    Oy - it may work for some, but it's definitely not for McStudly and I!

  34. We share all the way... he brings in the paycheck and I handle all the finances. One account for both.

  35. Despite being married for a year, we're still in transition! Let me explain --

    We share bank accounts. I moved all of my savings into our joint savings account and we have a joint checking account. However, I still have the bank account that my parents set up for me (and hence they are signers (despite not being involved in it) and we must all be in the same place to get them off and me onto it). Because of the logistics in Matt being gone and me being a thousand miles from my parents, I still have my bank account.

    Once we all get in one place (during banking hours, mind you!), it will all be joined (like we were when we got married, cheesy I know) together!

  36. I agree... we had separate accounts for the first few years we were married, but it made things complicated. We each came to the marriage with debt, so that was the rule, you pay your car, I'll pay mine, you pay your credit card, I'll pay mine. My in-laws advised us to have one account, and do the bills together. About a year later, we started doing the 'Dave Ramsey' thing, and trying to get out of debt, and re-discovered, that together we could knock it out quicker. It also helps us keep each other accountable, knowing he is going to see the charge for XYZ clothing company, or ABC shoe store, makes me think a second before splurging, and buying something I don't really need.


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