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Having separate bank accounts is pretty trendy at the moment, especially among millennials.
Many of them seem to be ditching the traditional route of having joint checking accounts and opting instead to keep their finances separate. But is this really a good idea?
While there are many arguments for it, my opinion is that couples are much better off with joint checking accounts. The following are five reasons why I believe that.
It’s easier to budget
My husband and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University when we were still dating. As we went through the class, it became obvious that if we ever got married, I would be the one taking care of the finances. It turns out budgeting and all things finances are my thing!
Unlike a lot of people I know, I find a lot of joy in managing that part of our marriage. My husband, on the other hand, not so much. It stresses him out to even think about. Dave Ramsey talks about how usually one of you in the relationship is the spender and the other is the nerd. I am definitely the nerd! And proud of it 🙂
When we got married, I couldn’t wait to join our checking accounts together and start budgeting for the both of us. It really made it so much easier for me.
It is difficult enough sometimes to find the time to manage the finances. I couldn’t imagine having to keep track of two separate bank accounts!
We do have a second joint checking account at a different bank, but that one is more for savings. We talked about closing it, but it is at a national bank, which is helpful when we travel and visit family. Rarely are there transactions on that account.
Related Post: How to Create Your Own Budget in 5 Easy Steps
There won’t be any secrets
If I was married to someone that asked for a separate checking account, a red flag would immediately pop up because I would wonder what they were trying to hide. (And after working at a bank, I know there are people that have secret accounts from their spouse.)
Now, let’s assume there are couples that have separate checking accounts and yet have full access to each other’s so they are not in the dark about their spouse’s money activity. While I understand how that seems like it could work and how it would be honest, I’m still not so sure it’s a good idea.
Whether the accounts are set up that way or not, and whether the circumstances were completely agreed upon together, it could make it seem as though one or both in the relationship are trying to hide something.
They might not be of course, and most of the time they probably aren’t, but it leaves the door open to losing trust among each other because there isn’t complete transparency. There’s just no reason for an unnecessary situation like that.
With a joint checking account, there can be no secrets.
I know exactly where my husband is spending money and he knows with me. There are no questions about it. Even if he were to make a cash withdrawal and spend money that way, I would be able to see he took out cash.
This isn’t a way to spy on each other of course. And it’s not an excuse to constantly come down hard on each other. It’s simply a way to be sure there is nothing but honesty in our marriage and that we’re each sticking to the budget.
A funny story: Not long after we got married, I was doing our finances and came across a transaction at a “Hotel Ruby.” For a very brief second some unpleasant thoughts started to go through my mind. And then I was so confused because I thought I was with my husband the night of the questionable transaction. Plus, I trust him. I knew there had to be a reasonable explanation.
After a little research, it turns out that Hotel Ruby is the name that shows up for this little bar in town where a favorite musician of ours plays!
The lesson learned I can share with you: Always do a little research before jumping to conclusions. And sometimes when you’re sharing finances, you are going to have to ask questions.
You can have better financial conversations
It is important for couples to have financial conversations with their spouse regularly (at least once a month, if not more). That way both in the relationship are on the same page when it comes to their finances.
My husband and I tend to be on the once, maybe twice a month route. I can respect that thinking too much about our finances stresses him out and so I don’t push him too much on it.
In turn, he respects that these conversations are important (so that we both know where we are with our budget and how our spending is going for the month), and so he still has them with me even if they’re not his favorite.
It would be so much more difficult for us to have those conversations if we were spending different money. In other words, if one person has some bank activity going on that the other person knows nothing about, those conversations can only go so far.
Related Post: How to Get Your Spouse on Board with Your Financial Plan
You can better hold each other accountable
Both of us having access to our checking account holds us each accountable when it comes to spending money. If we had separate accounts then we could easily sneak in purchases that are not within our budget.
But because we can both log in and take a look at our finances, it helps each of us want to be better at sticking to our budget. Sticking to our budget is important no matter what, but even more so right now as we’re working toward getting out of debt and building our savings.
Related Post: 5 Ways to Help You Stick to Your Budget
In marriage, two become one
Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
When we got married, our life became one, which means our finances became one. There is nothing separate about it. We agree on a budget and we hold each other accountable as best we can. And we usually make all purchasing decisions together.
Finances are such a big part of life and any relationship, that I couldn’t fathom not sharing that part of my life with my husband.
In fact, money is one of the biggest reasons couples fight. If our finances weren’t as transparent as they are, we would most likely have a lot more intense moments when discussing money because we would not be able to see them clearly.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you and your spouse have joint or separate checking accounts? What benefits do you see with it? Please share! 🙂
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