Dave Ramsey, who is my personal finance guru, argues strongly for a joint checking account. He explains that money becomes one when you enter a marriage and that you become fully a team. While I completely agree with being a team, sometimes it’s not always best to throw your money in one pot. This is such a taboo subject, but I find it so utterly important for women to know that they have options other than a joint checking account. A separate checking account may not be for everyone, because let’s face it, personal finance is personal, but let’s consider the pros.
Household Expenses Can Still Be Shared -- Go Teamwork!
How many times has someone paid all of the bills and then grown resentful towards the other carefree partner in the relationship? "No one knows how hard I work to budget! No one understands how stressful it is to pay all of the bills on time!"
With separate checking accounts, you can now delegate household expenses. Each one of you can be responsible for paying certain household expenses to lessen the burden financially and mentally. Each partner is contributing and no one feels like they are doing more work than the other one.
A Separate Checking Account Forces You to Be Responsible
It’s quite easy to slack off on personal money management when you have a joint checking account. Don’t feel like balancing the check book? Oh, let the other person do it. Running low on funds to spend? Oh, your partner is getting paid this Friday.
A lot of the time, we don’t communicate between our partners how we’re handling money -- which happens to be the number one reason couples divorce. How many times have you been upset because your partner has bought something without your consent, out of "your money?"
Well, when you have a combined checking account; it’s technically money belonging to the both of you. When you have a separate account, you have to take responsibility for your actions and spending. You are responsible for how your money is being spent on your behalf.
A Sense of Relief
With you being in charge of your money, it brings about a sense of relief. No longer do you have to worry about someone spending money on something you find of little to no value. You no longer have to worry if there is enough in your account to cover items you might need. Your partner does not always agree on what you’re going to spend your money on and vice versa.
This helps relieve some of that stress and analyzing of where every penny of their money is going. If bills are being paid and the financial goals you may have as a couple are being met, there is no reason to judge what the other person is spending their fun money on.
This can also be a relief if someone you love has a spending problem but you still want peace of mind that there will be money left over for you.
Separate Checking Accounts Are For Different Financial Pages
Sometimes, couples are not always on the same financial page. I was a spender and an impulse shopper, while my fiancée was a saver when we first met.
It was hard for me to fathom how he could have so much in his checking account and not help me for what I thought I needed, like money for tuition and a new car. To him, it was hard for him to fathom where all of my money was going while he paid living expenses for us and to help pay more for a nicer car when I already had enough to buy a decent one. We were on different financial pages. Now, we’re getting there but slow and steady does win the race.
Husband has a bad habit of spending money while you like to save? Separate checking accounts may be just the thing to help you guys out.
Fairy Tales Are Nice, But Let’s Consider The Reality
This is the most important reason I feel women need their own checking accounts, yet is probably the most negative. Although I would love to believe that everyone is going to have a fairy tale ending, that is often farther from the truth for a lot of us.
All women should be prepared and financially comfortable just in case something should happen to their partner via a death, separation or an emergency that perhaps leaves their partner unable to work. Financial security does wonders for the mind.
Also, being independent of your partner might be worth more than you realize it could be. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard of women staying in a situation because they felt that had nowhere else to go, or in some cases, no means. You should never allow yourself to be treated poorly, and if you stay because of not having the financial means to leave, it makes you more depressed. You should be able to get up and go.
I’m not saying separate accounts are for everyone but I’ve had a separate account for my entire relationship and I feel comfortable. Some might argue that having a separate account is preparing for the worst, but I can honestly say for me, it’s helped me grow as a person and become a financially responsible adult.
I know where my money is going, I know I’m contributing to our household and I’m still able to work on financial goals that pertain to me at this time. I would never rule out opening a joint account with my significant other, but I would still keep my separate account with some of my cash flow kept in there for me. No one is going to take care of you unless you take care of yourself first.