When people get married, they typically open a joint bank account because it allows them to keep track of their finances more easily. Having a joint account is a tradition in many families, but not all married couples decide to follow it. Is it OK for a married couple to have separate bank accounts or is it wrong?
Money is a delicate issue, and finances play a big role in the life of any married couple. Financial issues can even ruin your marriage if handled wrong. Merging your money after getting married is not only a practical thing but a symbolic gesture which shows that two people have become one family. However, some couples don't care about symbolism and think that keeping two accounts is more reasonable and helps prevent many problems. Here what you need to know about having separate accounts.
They allow to maintain financial independence. If both spouses have successful careers and are used to dealing with their finances, they might want to have a sense of autonomy in managing their income and expenses. Of course, they will need to make important financial decisions as a couple, but it is good to be able to decide how to spend your own money.
They require responsibility. Although it's great to have a sense of financial independence, you need to remember that you and your spouse are both responsible for the family budget and have joint bills to pay. Keep in mind that being married is not so simple as being roommates.
They help deal with complicated financial history. If your or your spouse's financial history is complicated by student loans, previous marriage, credit card debt, etc., separate accounts will allow not to burden the other spouse with these financial issues.
They make you feel less guilty about buying things. Sometimes married people feel guilty about buying things for themselves even if they have enough money in their joint account. If you have separate accounts, you can purchase things without feeling guilty because you are buying them with your own money.
They require trust. Separate accounts allow people to get away with negative habits such as drinking, gambling, compulsive shopping, cheating, etc. It's easier to lie about the amount of income and how the money is spent if you don't have a joint account. So if you don't feel you can trust your spouse completely, having separate accounts might be not a good idea.
They allow you to surprise each other. It will be hard to surprise your spouse with a romantic trip or unexpected gift if you have a joint account.
They will make a divorce easier. Of course you hope you will stay together forever, but you should never rule out the possibility of divorce. If you have separate accounts, you will not have to go through separating the finances.
They will make inheritance harder. If one of you passes away, the other spouse will have to go through a number of legal procedures or refer to a will to claim the money from his late spouse's account.
Having separate bank account works for some couples but it doesn't work for others. At the end of the day it's up to you and your spouse to decide how to manage your budget. You should sit down together and weigh all the pros and cons to figure out whether you want to have a joint bank account or keep separate ones. Both options are completely legitimate. You can also open a joint account for family expenses and maintain separate accounts for personal expenses. Whichever option you choose, you need to work out a system to make sure your money is spent wisely.
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