- Encourages regular communication about finances
- Built-in accountability partner on spending matters
- Fosters unity in money matters
- Strong sense of working together to meet financial goals
- Clear that all household income is treated as "our" money
- No conflict or administrative work in "splitting up the bills"
- Dave Ramsey says this is best, and we all love Dave, right?
Reasons Why Separate or "Yours, Mine and Ours" Bank Accounts Rule
- Duties of financial bookkeeping not solely on one person
- Clear boundaries set up-front for individual spending
- May be easier to track specific savings goals
- Easy to surprise your spouse with gifts
- No need to talk about finances regularly
- Each spouse can keep "their proportionate amount" of household income
- Ability to maintain privacy about what you spend money on
- More independence and autonomy to spend as desired without seeking concurrence
So, who is really right? After reading a lot about this issue and reflecting upon it, I have divined the one, true and infallible answer to this age-old question: It depends.
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You will notice that the reasons I listed in support of separate accounts are broken into two groups. In my opinion, the "[unitalicized]" group are legitimate and healthy reasons for having multiple accounts. However, the "[italicized]" group spells trouble. The reasons listed in [italics] are centered in a mentality of not just separate accounts, but separate finances within the marriage. I feel strongly that this is a dangerous and unhealthy foundation for money management for a married couple. These reasons come from a spirit of selfishness, and they do not reflect the fact that marriage is a partnership. And they certainly do not support open communication and trust.
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Personally, Bethany and I use a single, joint checking account and feel that is absolutely perfect for us. And before I gave this much thought, I would have prescribed this same arrangement for every married couple. Actually, I still think this is the way to go, but I can see where other approaches can work fine, too. The main reason that we choose to keep a joint bank account is our belief in unity. We believe that when you get married, you become one, and money is a key area where this is lived out. There is no "yours, mine and ours" but only "ours." When you handle your money together, you are agreeing on your hopes, dreams and goals together. The use of a single joint account also encourages (requires, really) open communication about your finances, which is absolutely critical to a successful marriage.