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4 Reasons Every Mom Needs Her Own Bank Account

4 Reasons Every Mom Needs Her Own Bank Account

You may have adopted the “what’s yours is mine” attitude, which included finances, when you got married. But joint bank accounts don’t work for all moms, and may not last the life of your relationship. Circle of Moms member Tracy U. reports that when she first quit her job to stay at home, having a joint checking account “was a huge disaster." As she explains, "We never knew what money was coming or going." I, too, believe that it’s important for couples with children to maintain separate bank accounts — regardless of whether there are one or two wage-earners in the family. Here are four reasons why:

1. To Avoid Squabbles Over Money

Even if you and your spouse agree on a budget and on your family’s financial goals, it is not possible to agree on every expenditure. As many Circle of Moms conversations reveal, money is what married couples fight about the most. Keeping separate bank accounts can help to alleviate some of the arguments. Stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) in particular frequently find themselves in debates about money or can feel guilty about spending money when they’re not generating any income.

For example, although she’s not getting an “allowance” from her husband and she doesn’t see "why a SAHM can’t have something nice for herself, yes, even a Coach handbag,” Circle of Moms member Leslie admits that she nevertheless feels bad about buying something as inexpensive as hair dye. Leah E., too, admits she feels “embarrassed” and like “a bad person” for wanting an expensive camera.



2. To Ensure Your Financial Independence

Financial Advisor Suze Orman is a big proponent of individual bank accounts, saying, “it is the cornerstone of financial security, independence and empowerment.” After 31 years of marriage, Sandy R. regrets that she didn’t learn that lesson and assert her financial independence earlier in her relationship. “My husband and I have joint bank accounts, but whenever there was a big purchase to make it always took forever for him to okay that purchase,” she says. She adds that when she decided it was time to get her own account and begin a nest egg of her own, “This did not go over well, and ended up with a week of no talking, then talking of halving everything, which I did not want. . . . I have a wonderful husband; he has been great with our finances. But now that I have my own bank account, I have a sense of my own security for the future.”

3. To Pay for Gifts

It’s nice to have cash on hand to pay for things — like a gift for your spouse or child — without having to ruin the surprise or explain to your partner why you need the money, as Nicky L. says. Some moms, including Jennifer B., are building nest eggs by saving a little money from the family grocery budget and stashing it away to later afford gifts for her husband.

For moms uncomfortable with that tactic, however, keeping separate accounts into which a little personal spending money goes each month might be the trick.

Joanna G. says her family maintains one main bank account that her husband’s paycheck goes into to pay bills. “But with each paycheck … a certain amount is direct-deposited into my own personal account, which I use to buy groceries and things we need from Target and the like. ... That's also where I put any gifts of money I may get for holidays, so it's fun to save it up and get something I want.”


4. To Keep Better Track of Your Finances

Frequently, one spouse will be better at managing finances than the other, or spouses will have very different money management styles. As a Circle of Moms member named Sharon shares, her husband "likes to write checks" while she's "a debit card person." The two habits created "mayhem" in one checking account, so they now keep separate personal accounts, with a little money allotted to each spouse every month.

Keeping some money separate can help to prevent mishaps like overspending or an unbalanced checkbook. Elizabeth shares that her husband is better at saving and at long-term goals, while she's better about paying bills, so the two maintain separate accounts. Heather L. likes maintaining separate accounts to protect her credit history if her partner overspends.

Although her husband is “horrible with budgeting” and she maintains a separate bank account, Laura G. however, reminds Circle of Moms members that it’s important to examine finances jointly and to maintain trust. She and her spouse "still consider any income as family money."

Similarly, Sharon shares that while she and her husband maintain separate bank accounts, they are listed on each others’ accounts. This ensures that if something were to happen, the other spouse still could easily access the other's money.

Image Source: Courtesy of SeniorLiving

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
tracylist tracylist 5 years
Absolutely ridiculous article - not because I don't believe in separate accounts, but because it is completely one-sided. While separate accounts may be appropriate in some relationships, others who maintain joint accounts may work just fine and have no reason to make a change. If you think opening a separate account is going to avoid squabbles about money, that is ludicrous - separate accounts does not make money magically appear, and if a spouse disagrees with the other's purchase, having it come from a different account is not going to change their mind. Truly, if the world would just learn the difference between wants and needs, Dave Ramsay wouldn't be in business and people wouldn't be in debt up to their eyeballs.
MelanieCusumano MelanieCusumano 5 years
Me and my husband have always had separate checking accounts. It wasn't planned that way, but it worked, so we just keep it that way. He pays the mortgage and puts money into savings. My account pays for pretty much everything else...the credit cards (which includes food, clothes, etc) and all utilities. It's still our money, but it just seems more simple with each of us having specific bills to pay.
HelenLokar HelenLokar 5 years
I agree on seperate bank accounts and maybe a joint account for the bills. I was married for twenty years and we jointed everything efore we were married. He handled all the finances. We both worked fulltime. He eventually made more than I did and alway's reminded me that he made the most money he was in charge of all the decisions made using the money brought into the household. I barely had any money when we first got married and it remained that way for years after as well. He knew every dime I had and how it was spent. I had no idea he was this way. He paid bills according to how he saw fit and he caused us to file bankruptcy and after a while he took money out of the bank so when it was time to pay the court's their money for the bankruptcy their wasn't enough. He skipped paying the mortgage every once in a while and eventually they foreclosed on our home and we had to get out. Try finding a place to live when the owner or rental place know's you just were foreclosed upon. Not easy. He had to beg a man to finally rent to us on a 3 month trial basis and if we didn't pay out we went. He managed to keep that place and paid on time every month. My credit was ruined at that point. We later moved back home and moved into my family home and shortly after he died from an anurysm and I found out he had racked up many accounts jointed with me but I had no knowledge of his spending and charging. He had the bills sent to a post office box or his mom's address. I was left with close to 49,000.00 in debt I had to repay. I let all the account's take me to court to verify they were legit and according to the judge and my attorney they said this was the best way for them to research the account's. According to my attorney anyone can apply for credit cards or other things online and joint them with a spouse or other person if they have their information and the other person doesn't know about it and if something happened to the person creating and charging on these on-line non secured account's your left paying for the remaining bills. I think that anything you joint their needs to be a signature from the other person or some way to inform the other person listed as a joint owner that an account has been reguested with them as a joint owner. I will never joint anything with anyone with out having my own account's for saving money in case the same happen's to me again. I am recently engaged and we keep everything seperate because he has never had to manage finances and isn't that adverse with day to day expenses since he lived at home until meeting me. So I say yes women and men need their own accounts and be open and honest about them and what goes into them. Joint accounts require joint decisions.
Ellen10732 Ellen10732 5 years
I agree with this article. I opened a separate checking account 17 yrs ago to do independent sales. Prior to that my husband became anal about money that I had a budget for groceries and if I went over a $1 he had a fit. So instead of Hi how was your day, it was do you have any receipts for me? Separate accounts works for some and not other couples. For my marriage, 2 accounts works for us. I have some bills and he has others and it is my responsibility to pay them plus I have my own things I can get and spend. Such as family gifts, things for mys elf and this way we do not have issues about what each other spends. It works GREAT for us!!
AnitaBryantRay AnitaBryantRay 5 years
Wow, people that completely disagree with this article need to wake up. This is smart advice. It doesn't tell you to have a secret bank account and embezzle money. That would be dishonest. We don't have his and hers bank accounts but we do have two accounts. When I was working my check was deposited into one account and my husband's into another. When I stopped working, I use this account to pay certain bills or save for special things. It also has a savings account. It's not a secret, my husband knows about it. A lot of times I use the money for vacation. He's the only one bringing in a paycheck, but as a part of our budget we give ourselves a monthly allowance, its the same amount for both of us. We started doing this before I started staying at home. Having two accounts doesn't have to mean you don't trust your spouse and it doesn't mean you stop communicating about finances. In a marriage, the saying two becomes one doesn't mean you stop being an individual. You have joined your lives and you have to work towards common goals, but you are still two different people. Trying anything else would make you miserable, and THAT would definitely lead to divorce.
JamieKaisershot JamieKaisershot 5 years
Back in the '60s, Lady Bird Johnson said that she "wouldn't share a checking account with the angel Gabriel". I'm the same way--been happily married for 32 years and have had separate accounts for all but a couple of months. For us, sharing a checking account was a bookkeeping nightmare, and neither my husband or I wanted to have to ask the other for permission to spend money (although we do discuss large expenditures--usually anything over $200). We do have savings together (CDs, home equity, etc.)--but our day-to-day finances are managed separately. Bottom line: We almost NEVER argue about money!
MarthaDaggett MarthaDaggett 5 years
I disagree, how sad that this article was posted.
MonicaHultin MonicaHultin 5 years
We use joint. For one thing, with all the fees banks charge, having multiple accounts gets expensive. I coudl also see having a big joint account for most things, and maybe seperate accounts for saving for gifts, etc. But all other things, including paying for dinner, bills, etc should come from the joint account. Also, my husband is happy to have me handle the accounts because I'm the numbers person in the family. We do discuss the accounts, and he's been trained to give me al his receipts from stores and the bank so I can keep up on our account, and he has a good idea ho wmuch we can afford for him to take out for discretionary spending, and he checks with me before he makes a big purchase. But it is important with a joint account that you both have an idea on what's in there, and either partner shoudl have acces to the "books". I think some trouble happens when one partner handles the accounts and refuses (or convinces) their partner not to be aware of the accounts, that's where the trouble starts.
CherridonAkers CherridonAkers 5 years
Nope, I totally disagree. Marriage is about unity, about joining two lives...becoming one. To keep separate accounts is a prelude to divorce. To avoid squabbles over money a couple has to learn how to effectively communicate with one another. You don't learn how to do that unless you have to go through the process. Ensuring your financial independence is, again, like preparing for divorce. Learn how to communicate and allow each other an amount of freedom with a portion of the money. Paying for gifts is something that should be discussed and budgeted for...even gifts for each other! That doesn't mean you have to spill the beans about what you're purchasing, just acknowledge that there's an occasion coming up and money needs to be allowed for it. To keep track of your finances, learn how to create a budget and set aside time to sit down together to create a monthly budget. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course. It will teach you about personal finances, give you a forum for discussing your finances effectively with your spouse, educate you on what a budget is, give you practical tips for living within your means, and give you hope for your financial future...together as ONE! Check him out, seriously. Forget the advice in the above article and go to right now. :)
SaraLopezDeLeon SaraLopezDeLeon 5 years
Terrible advice
DeliaScales DeliaScales 5 years
I completely and totally disagree with this article. When you marry someone, you become one. You're in it together, not separately. It's almost as if you're advocating preparing for divorce. This is an absolutely awful suggestion.
KiaraWright KiaraWright 5 years
I don't agree. When you get married you join each other - heart, body and finances. I live with my boyfriend now and we have a joint bills account, but still maintain separate saving and checking accounts. However when we get married we plan on combining accounts and having an open discussion on our budget and major purchases. Its about good communication...if you don't have that in a relationship then what do you have.
Jo64953 Jo64953 5 years
My husband and I each had seperate accounts and investments before marriage, and other than adding the others name to each of our accounts in just in case we needed to join them , we still keep things seperate. We each owned a home at the beginning of our marriage, so still had to keep them both up until one of them sold. We married 3 1/2 years ago in a falling housing market, but sold both homes and found one to purchase that better fit our needs, but having to keep multiple homes in the beginning, just made sense to keep finances seperate until one of the homes sold, but we continued seprate accounts afterwards because it's worked for us. Another reason I prefer seperate accounts is because I was previously married (and married way too young) I had joint accounts with my former husband, who destroyed my credit and forced us into bankruptcy. I swore I would never have a joint account with anyone after I divorced him. It took quite awhile to rebuild my credit after that. My current husband is extremely trustworthy and although I'm an excellent saver, he's even better! But he's also very understanding of my fears due to my past. I swore I'd never live in fear of the gas or electric being shut off constantly again. We've made it work. Every couple is different, and I think each couple should explore the options of what would work best for them.
I agree 200%!
ElizabethGlantz ElizabethGlantz 5 years
When we got married, we had a joint account, and each of us had our separate accounts to which a certain amount of $$ could go to each pay check. This worked well for a while. Then I became disabled. Although I do bring in a paycheck, we just combine all our money into the joint account account. My husband uses his account as a saving account for our two children. I like the joint, and mine accounts in the begining. Of course over the course of a marriage things change. We have been married 12 years.
JuliaVanBuren JuliaVanBuren 5 years
When we started our marriage we had separate accounts. This never works for long....Marriage is about loving the person. We don't have problems with the bills. I work at a bank and my husband would rather I do the bills. We set an amount and don't spend over that amount without speaking to each other. We have a budget and go over it with each other.
JennaGirton JennaGirton 5 years
What ever happened to two becoming one in marriage? Today's standard if marriage has become so sad... Think about the divorce rates... We are in the midst of a society of many quitters. If your not happy, get out. If it's hard to manage money together, get separate accounts. It isn't how God intended it to be...
NakishaCantrell NakishaCantrell 5 years
My boyfriend and I have been seriously considering marriage lately. He was married before and his ex-wife spent all of their money, didn't pay bills, etc. Because of this, he's very leery of a joint bank account...which I fully understand. We have talked about keeping our separate bank accounts and "taking turns" paying bills. One month he'll pay the mortgage and I'll pay the utilities and the next month, he'll pay utilities and I'll pay the mortgage. Of course, we'd both still pay our own separate bills (credit cards, cars, etc.) that we had prior to getting married. I like this idea!! This way we can control things like we are use to doing and there's little reason to fight over what we are spending our money on as long as the bills are paid and our kids are taken care of.
ACS90672 ACS90672 5 years
My husband and I have the separate checking accounts we've each had all our adult lives. We simply divide the bills proportionate to our income, which is lopsided. We have different relationships with money (I'm a micromanager and he's more laissez faire), so this is the path of least stress for us. There is no secrecy - he occasionally opens my statement and vice versa, and $100 is the threshold where we usually consult before purchase. If the bills are covered and we're each putting 15% away, then the rest is the individual's to spend. We don't get fussy, like splitting the check at dinner. This has worked for us for 12 years of our marriage and 15 years together. YMMV, of course. The key is to be honest with yourself and your partner and find the strategy that works for you.
NicolinaCrowther NicolinaCrowther 5 years
I don't agree with separate accounts. Marriage is both an emotional and financial boial commitment. We have boundaries of course. Neither of us make large purchases without talking it over first. There are no secrests and it works.
JennyPillinger JennyPillinger 5 years
Easy, have both! We have a joint account for all household expenses eg mortgage, bills, food, childcare costs etc. We still have our own individual bank accounts that we had before we were married and get our wages paid into them. We contribute the majority of our monthly salary to the joint account and the rest is our own money that we can choose what to do with. Admittedly we are both working which i suppose makes it easier, but to be honest i hardly buy anything for myself anyway, the little money i have left over is usually put into savings. I'm coming to the end of my 2nd maternity leave so i haven't been able to contribute very much to the joint account recently, but as far as my husband is concerned he's happy to put in extra as i am looking after and bringing up our children. I wouldn't give up my bank account even if i became a SAHM, i've had it since i was 18 and it means if i want to buy something for me or as a gift for someone else it's my choice and my money. We are both individuals too and respect each other, this system works for us!
KathrynHarris KathrynHarris 5 years
Some of what is said sounds like it's a step to ensure if the marriage doesn't work we wives will be in an ok position financially. I don't have separate accounts. Sometimes I feel like my husband may be judging me. If so, I tell him to stop. We budget. I let him know the things that I will absolutely not do without. We work together to pay the bills down and delete our debt. It feels great to do this together. He has purchases I don't agree with. But, we cut each other a little slack. I agree with separating the 'blow' money. We do it with cash not accounts. We have a certain amount each month and split between us. No one knows what the other uses it for, necessarily. That works. Ultimately, do what you feel. Do what works. I believe there are great challenges in sharing all. There are great things learned by doing so.
JenniferDeMente JenniferDeMente 5 years
Avoided talking about money by having separate accounts is irresponsible.
AprilHooper AprilHooper 5 years
My husband and I have separate checking accounts, but not because we chose too. When we became engaged we opened a savings together to save for our wedding...We both had accounts before we go married and I am just too lazy to join our accounts. We do both have complete access to each other account. So I think what ever works better....Ours is fine and if I ever get off my lazy butt and open an joint that will be fine to. Don't know the couples who have separate, my sister has a separate account. She and her husband had a joint but she does not manage money well and it was for the best and there marriage is still strong. If you think a bank account separates a home...that is scary...If you have separate just give internet access to view the account and you will be fine...I pay all the bills out of my husbands with online banking...
MelissaTebow MelissaTebow 5 years
Wow, I must say me and my husband disagreed with every single one of these points! It's called communication, when proper mature communication is used it invalidates all of these points. I guess to each their own, but for us this will never be the way to go.
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