I was browsing Facebook the other day and stumbled across a post asking for advice on how married couples handle their money. Several women replied explaining that they split all their bills 50/50 with their husbands or significant other and keep all their own money in separate accounts. Others said they both keep separate accounts and pay for different things in whatever way seems fair, for example one pays the mortgage and the other buys the groceries, and they each pay on their own credit cards and debts. I don’t want to sound like I am condemning couples that split money this way, different things can work for different people, however a little red flag popped up in my head when I saw that so many couples live this way.
I think if you're married you agree to partner with each other in life, and to me that means you combine your finances and agree on all financial decisions. So, even though it's a pain in the ass you have to budget together as a couple every month. I think it's fine to have separate bank accounts along with your joint account and agree when you do your budget each month how much you want to set aside into your separate accounts so that you are able to have money stashed away for birthdays or surprise purchases, but that’s as far as I would go on separating finances.
The biggest reason women gave for keeping money separate was to avoid fighting about it, and while not fighting is better than having throw downs about spending every month, I think it’s better to work through those issues instead of avoiding them entirely. From an emotional perspective, I think you miss out on an opportunity to communicate, plan, and problem solve with your partner when you separate your accounts and don’t talk about money. Marriage is not just about living together and having sex and making babies, it’s about building and living your life as a team.
From a more logical perspective, if you have goals and plans for your life together, like buying a house or saving to have a baby, it seems like it would be really hard if you’re not combining efforts and agreeing on what you’re spending. There’s just something about seeing the total of all of your money in one place that makes it more realistic to set your budget and save for your goals.
It all comes down to trust and communication, which are both ESSENTIAL to a healthy marriage. We agree on how to spend money, but at the same time if I need something I buy it, and the same goes for PJ. We trust each other not to make unnecessary purchases because we communicate about our goals and expectations on a regular basis. WE ARE NOT PERFECT. Sometimes, okay may more than sometimes, I mess up. Sometimes PJ messes up (definitely less often than I do.) When that happens we give each other grace and talk about it more. I hope this encourages you to relax a little bit and partner with your significant other more often when it comes to finances. We love talking about money at the Upton house <3.