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When you get married it can be tempting merge your finances wholly and completely. What’s mine is yours. However, there are lots of reasons this isn’t a good idea. While of course both parties should contribute to the household finances and expenses, keeping your own bank account and having your own money is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your future and your marriage.
I personally think a joint account which both parties add funds to each month is the way to go. Do a household budget, figure out your expenses and either contribute 50/50 or a percentage of your earnings.
Add a little more than you need to cover emergencies and even add a direct debit to a joint savings account if you’d like to. Then keep the rest of your money in your own account.
More than anything, this opens up a dialogue about your finances and how you want to tackle them as a couple.
My advice is to think long and hard about completely merging your finances and closing your own personal bank accounts.
There are lots of good reasons not to do so some of which I’m going to explore in this post.
You Don’t Have To Justify Your Spending
One of the best things about keeping your finances separate is being able to spend your money on the things you love. It can be hard if you feel like your funding someone else’s expensive cycling hobby or you have to ask when you want to treat yourself to some fancy shoes.
As long as you’re not getting into to debt then your money should be yours to spend as you see fit.
Separate Finances Shows Trust
Allowing your partner to keep their own bank account shows a level a of trust which is a healthy part of a good marriage.
Someone wanting me to merge my finances with them completely and not retain any of my own money would be a huge red flag to me. I think the idea of having everything together is quite an old fashioned one as women often didn’t have their bank accounts or their own money.
Saver Vs Spender
Having your own money can also be great if you like to spend and your partner likes to save, or vice versa. If your joint account is used for bill, you should be able to relax knowing the money they are spending is their own rather than money that is needed for the household.
Of course there are times when spending habits can be an issue, such as when someone has a drug or gambling problem. This a time you need to really discuss these issue with your partner and maybe seek professional help.
Having Your Own Money Gives You An Escape Route
There are times we find ourselves in unexpected situations and domestic violence can be one of them. Often it can start with very small things that build and build until you’re not even really sure how things got so bad.
Keeping a separate bank account to your partner can give you an escape route should you ever need one. You can squirrel away money with or without there knowledge just incase the worst should happen and you find yourself wanting or needing to leave in a hurry.
If you are experience domestic violence there are places you can go for help – see this post for more details.
Eases The Pain of Divorce
So, I do hate to talk about divorce on a wedding blog, it does need to be mentioned in the context of this post. While no-one goes into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, the statistics say it all. One in two marriages end in divorce. If the worse should happen then you want to be able to survive financially through what might be a difficult and tumults period.
How We Split Our Money
I thought it was also worth mentioning how my husband and I split our finances.
We have a Joint account from which the majority of our bills are paid. We both pay into this, slightly different amounts as I earn on average around half of what my husband does. We also use this account to pay for car expenses for his car. Any money left at the end of the month gets rolled over so we have a nice pot to cover expected bills and emergencies.
My husband has his own personal account from which he pays his phone bill and has his own money for spending on clothes, nights out and so on.
I on the other hand have two current accounts, two savings accounts, and a credit card with one bank, a business account at another banks and a current account at a third bank.
I like having lots of pots for saving for different things whereas my husband likes his money all in one place. For big purchases, for example a new bed or a holiday we generally split the cost, one person will pay one their card and the other will pay half back to them. Online banking makes this super easy to do.
We don’t really discuss small purchases beyond ‘I bought some new shoes today’ because we trust each other not be silly with money or get into debt. Having my own accounts also means I don’t feel I need to ask permission whenever I want to buy something, which I think I might if it was coming out of ‘our’ money rather than ‘my money’.
It also helps me feel like I’m not funding my husbands hobbies and he’s to funding my second-hand clothes buying habit.
There may be times when you can’t afford to keep any of you wages in your own account. It’s all needed by the joint account for bills and emergencies and so on. And that’s fine. Just having it there is a step in the right direction and your future self may just end up thanking you for it.