Recently, I came across this thread on Reddit. Basically the poster found out his wife of 4 years has a secret savings account and they are getting a divorce.
I won’t comment who’s right or wrong. But I do feel that this is why it is important for married couples to have separate finances.
Why keep finances separate?
Less argument about money matters
I can attest on this matter.
In the beginning, we tried having joint investment account, and it was a mess. Because we have such different views on what and how to invest. Every investment we want to make, both of us need to agree on it, and sometimes this leads to argument and it can get exhausting over time.
So now, that account is just sitting there, both of us waiting for the investment to break even and get our money out.
I’m just glad we each have our own savings account since the beginning.
If I want to splurge on an expensive guitar, I can just go ahead and buy it. We don’t have to have a debate on what, why and how. It is my money and I can spend it.
I love the feeling of independence that you get with spending your own money. I don’t have to ask for permission every time I want to buy something.
And as a woman, it makes me feels more secure when I have my own stash of money.
What about shared expenses, how do we keep that separated?
Since both me and my spouse are working, we both share the common bills and expenses.
We do it in a very logical way, which is to open up a joint account. Both of us will contribute a % of our salary.
Example: we agreed on contributing 15% of our salary
If I take home $4,000 a month, then I will contribute $600 to the joint account.
If my spouse takes home $5,000 a month, then he will contribute $750 to the joint account.
We find that this is a fairer way of contributing rather than a fixed amount, so if you earn more, you contribute more.
Having a joint account for expenses works as we are also able to save any surplus that are not spent. These will build up as our emergency household funds.
Any other expenses outside of these, e.g. if we eat out, then we will usually take turns to pay individually.
Cons of having separate finances
Having separate finances is not without its cons.
In order for this to work, we both know each others spending habits. Cause when you have separate finances, you won’t get visibility into each others finances. So you won’t know if your other half has any racked up a debt.
Since you won’t know exactly how much your spouse makes, you just have to trust your spouse’s word for it.
It’s not an issue for us since we are very open with each other about how much income we make.
Is married with separate finances for you?
As with all relationship, having an honest and open communication with your other half is the best way to start.
This is even more important when you have separate finances. You have to trust that your spouse knows how to handle his/her own finances. You don’t want to be suddenly find out that he/she is ridden with debt because of their spending habits.
For me and my spouse, I think having separate finances just happened naturally. We each already have our own savings and investment account when we started. So it just made sense to continue with it, and at the same time open up a joint account to handle the recurring and shared bills and expenses.
Find out what works for you as a couple. There’s really no right or wrong in this.