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Separate or Joint Bank Account Debate

Savvy Community: Married With Separate or Joint Accounts?

birdsflyinghigh recently asked a question that runs through most soon-to-be-brides minds in the Savvy Q and A group:

For those married woman out there, do you have separate or joint bank accounts? Getting married soon and curious what most do?

While 38 percent of SavvySugar readers say they wouldn't feel comfortable sharing joint checking with their boyfriends, many couples — married, or unmarried — do combine their finances. In my mind, talking about the benefits and consequences and setting shared goals are some of the most important factors of starting out an official union on the right foot. What's your take on the separate or joint after marriage debate?

Do you have a personal finance or professional question or concern you are dying to ask someone? Share it in the SavvySugar Community using our new super simple ask feature.

aukdh aukdh 7 years
Everything is joint. We make a budget each month. If one us uses the debit card then you just put it in the google doc sheet (so you can do it from a fancy phone) so we both know how much money has been spent. The budget making process is a very thoughtful process for us because it forces us to look at what we need to plan for in our lives and what we want to prioritize. At the beginning of the month we take out cash for walking money - for the coffee, the pedicure, beers with his buddies, etc. I am in charge of making sure everything gets paid and making the first draft of our budget - then we make adjustments together. I noticed no one else has went into a certain area with this here I go... It is harder to hide things from one another if all the money is marital money. Having the money separate allows you to hide things that you don't want your spouse to know about or to make decisions that aren't in line with goals the two of you have set. Marriage is hard and I have found the accountability that comes with a joint account builds trust (between us).
Lenay Lenay 7 years
Separate. Half of all marital disputes are over money. If he can't get his hands on your money he can't decide how to spend it. (And vice versa. Fair is fair.)
bbrimacombe bbrimacombe 7 years
The only bit of relationship advice my father has given me is to never completely merge your finances with a spouse. Do you think the people who were cleaned out by a spouse saw it coming? Of course not. My parents have been married for almost 34 years and have never had a joint bank account. And my husband and I have been married for almost 2 years and separate accounts works well for us. Having a joint account in addition to our separate accounts seems like a whole lot more work and possibly additional banking fees.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
I think separate accounts make it much easier to ensure you don't overdraw your account, as well. In our parents generation, before debit cards were the norm, it was easier to track what went in and out on a daily basis because you had to write a check for everything. Now, if you have a joint account, you (the general you) could make a purchase that you wouldn't need to consult your husband on but that could be pricey (let's say J. Crew has a big sale and there's $300 worth of deals you can't pass up) and your husband could make a big purchase on the same day (let's say he hits up the sale, too). Even if you tell each other about it that night, it might be too late to transfer money from your savings and you might wind up overdrawing your account. Having separate accounts eliminates this danger.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
think separate accounts shows a lack of trust, mismatched money values, or an unwillingness to communicat Judgmental much? We have seperate accounts because it works for us (with a joint account for mortgage/ big bills). I don't judge couples who merge all of their money into one account because that clearly works for them.
jadenirvana jadenirvana 7 years
I personally think joining accounts is just an essential part of getting married, because marriage is merging your lives. You don't hold part back. I think separate accounts shows a lack of trust, mismatched money values, or an unwillingness to communicate, all of which are red flags for a healthy marriage. I know this is a controversial topic, but I feel strongly about this one.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
my boyfriend and i live together now, and we have a joint Am/Ex for our house expenses/bills which we split at the end of the month, but if/when we get married, i'm pretty sure we will just get a joint account...i couldn't imagine nickle and diming my husband about the number of drinks we have while out for dinner...we don't even do that now or ever and we're not married...his money is my money and vice's just easier that way and i think it's nice to blend your lives in as many ways as possible
Kellanawida Kellanawida 7 years
I think if my boyfriend and I got married we'd still have our separate accounts. He has a lot more money than me and I feel comfortable not justifying every purchase that I make.
chequettex chequettex 7 years
We opened up a joint account the day after our wedding! Soon after the honeymoon we each closed our individual accounts. All of our combined income goes into our checking and savings accounts. But that's on a "macro" level. On a "micro" level we have a very closely controlled budget system: we keep track of our income and spending on monthly ledgers. Each month, we divide out our joint expenses evenly (rent, phone, electricity, groceries, etc.) Then we each pay our own way for anything and everything else. For example, when we go out, unless one of us decides to treat the other, one person will put the bill on our bank card and then we'll decide together how much each will subtract from their ledger - right down to how many BEERS each of us had! It's hilarious, and it's complicated sometimes, but keeps things fair and it works for us.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
I'm almost at my 2 yr anniversary and the hubs and I have separate accounts. We do plan on getting one joint account (along with our individual accts) but just haven't gotten around to doing it. It hasn't been a problem so we're just being lazy about it. :P
goddessru goddessru 7 years
We opened a joint account and a joint credit card. 50% of our paycheck goes into that joint account to pay for rent, groceries, household, eating out together, etc. The other 50% we keep in our personal seperate accounts, and that's our own money & discretion to use it. I also have a personal savings account where I'm saving for a car, my own vacations, etc. I think this really works, and it's important to combine funds but also to keep your own if you have two earners. I feel though you are joint in life, I don't want anyone telling me where I can spend my salary (the half I keep) and I certainly don't want to tell him either. As for who makes more money and how much, we don't make the same. I make significantly more than him but I am ok with my 50% being more than his, because it's only fair. It might not always be this way, so he would then contribute more than me in the future, so I don't think it's an issue at all.
heatherhas heatherhas 7 years
We have a joint account that our paychecks are deposited in and we use that for most of our expenses. We have two separate checking accounts for our "fun money" for clothes and lunches and that sort of thing. We have a strict budget (which is a good thing!), so having that separate account for discretionary spending is really helpful.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
We started off with separate accounts and it got to be a hassle so now we have a joint checking account and separate savings accounts.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
separate! We have a joint savings account where we kept all of our wedding money, but if he had access to my savings, there's no way we'd have gotten a house. He's not as bad with money as I'd say most people are, but there are few better at saving than me.
ewashi3 ewashi3 7 years
I'm not married, but I'm for having one joint account and maintaining separate accounts. As long as the bills are paid, it's all good!
runningesq runningesq 7 years
We are married (coming up on five years!) and we each have a seperate checking account and one joint account. We each put money into that to pay the mortgage, and we split our other billes (cable, gas/ electric, grocery, etc). It works for us!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
I'm not married, but I'm going to chime in anyway! I think it's best to keep separate accounts and also have a joint account. Household expenses (rent/mortgage, groceries, etc.) should come out of the joint account and extras (clothing, lunches out, etc.) should come out of each individual's account. This is how the majority of the married couples I know (with whom I'm close enough to talk about these kind of things) handle their accounts and expenses. I guess the tricky thing comes in when deciding how much each person should contribute to the joint account. I know some couples in which each person contributes the same percentage of his/her income (so, if you take home $3,000 a month and your husband takes home $2,000 a month, you would contribute $1,500 to the joint account and he would contribute $1,000). And I know other couples who each contribute the same amount, which I think only really works if you make close to the same amount anyway. Anyway, it obviously depends on each individual couple, but this is something I've thought about a lot (probably too much) for if/when I do get married, and I really think having both separate and joint accounts is the way to go.
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