Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?

Do you and your spouse use a single, joint checking account?  Or do you choose to keep separate bank accounts?

Have you considered the alternatives?

I was frankly surprised at the responses I’ve heard to these questions over the past week or so.  And I was really shocked at the emotional reaction that many have in defending the structure of their family finances.

It started in the responses I received where everyone seemingly ignored my main points in the “7 Simple Steps to Financial Success in Your Marriage” and focused in on my statement that a joint checking account was the way to go.

Curious, I then posed the question on the Engaged Marriage Facebook page and received some incredible responses.

For instance, the pro joint account crowd provided comments like this:

Mary: We have a joint checking account. Always have and always will. We’re married and share everything – nothing is his and nothing is mine. We agree on finances and how we spend OUR money.

Erica: We have joint everything…we discuss all major purchases/goals/bills, but gas, food, etc. just comes out of our joint account as needed. It works very well for us and I couldn’t imagine having it separate. All the figuring out who has paid for which thing and how much and trying to make it “even” etc. has never made sense to me. It’s US, and OURS. :)

And some readers love their separate checking accounts:

Sam: We have separate accounts. I cover most of the bills and the majority of his money is used for discretionary costs (gas, food, etc). We both have access to each others accounts, so it’s not like my money is strictly my money (and vice-versa). Works for us!  Honestly, I think a joint account would cause some stress for us.

Jennifer: We have separate accounts. I pay mortgage and living costs (groceries, fun, etc.) and he pays all other bills and savings. We find it much easier to manage money that way.

Don’t Tread on My Financial Life

I don’t think my suggestion of trying a single joint checking account was too radical or really all that forceful in the way it was presented.

Nevertheless, pretty much every comment on my Couple’s Financial Success post was related to that issue.  I was even accused of making broad generalizations, and it was clear that I offended some folks with my recommendation.

It turns out that people can be pretty passionate about their choice of bank accounts!  I loved the conversations, and as I have taken some time to think about the issue a little more, I’ve even opened my mind a bit.

I thought it would be useful to outline the main reasons why a married couple may choose a single joint account vs. separate accounts.  And then, for the really important part of this exercise, we’ll take a look at why this decision should matter to you and your spouse.

Reasons Why a Joint Bank Account is Best

  • 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.

You will notice that the reasons I listed in support of separate accounts are broken into two groups.  In my opinion, the “black” group are legitimate and healthy reasons for having multiple accounts.  However, the “red” group spells trouble.

The reasons listed in red 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.

The Key is Intent

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.

As long as the right intent is there, I think you also operate in full unity with multiple accounts.  I don’t think it provides as accommodating of environment for unity and open communication, but I fully believe many couples lead happy, healthy and successful financial lives together under this arrangement.

Plus, we feel it is just easier to manage when everything goes into one account and out of the same account.  For us, it’s the simpler solution to maintain a single checking account.

I realize that some couples find the simplicity of their money management to actually be enhanced by using multiple accounts.  And, while that’s not our deal, I can certainly understand and respect that.  In fact, we have several different savings accounts for this same reason.

The Bottom Line

In my opinion, the real question to ask here is not how many accounts you have, the types of savings accounts, or what you call them.  The key is to operate your finances in a unified way with open communication at all times.

You can do that with one account or twenty. However, if you do operate with multiple accounts, they should all be “joint” accounts that you both can access, and there should be absolutely no secrets about how money is being earned or spent.

And remember that your motivation should be one of unity.  That will keep you in the black and out of the red in more ways than one.

So, I just have to know:

Do you and your spouse use a single joint checking account or do you choose to keep separate accounts?  Why?

If you are new to Engaged Marriage, I’d encourage you to sign up for our popular Marriage Time newsletter.  And please check out all of the great resources we’ve compiled for you in our Get Debt Free & Enjoy Your Money tutorial.

Photo by alancleaver_2000
Opt In Image
Reignite the Passion in Your Marriage…No Matter How Busy You Are!
See what you can do in just 15 minutes a day...

Discover how you can refresh your marriage and rock your communication, romance, sex life and finances in just 15 minutes a day.

It's time to enjoy each other the way you did before your busy life got in the way.

About Dustin

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.


  1. A couple should have both joint accounts and personal separate accounts.
    If both spouses work, both paychecks should be deposited into the joint checkings account.
    The common bills, like mortgage, electricity, etc, should be deducted from the joint checking account.
    A specific amount that you both agree on should be deposited into the joint savings account.
    The rest of the money for that pay period, should be divided into equal parts and deposited into each one’s personal checking account.
    With each personal checking account, each spouse does whatever he/she wants.
    Neither spouse can take money from the joint checking without consulting with the other and agreeing on it.
    Neither spouse can take money from the joint savings for any reason other than the one they both agreed to save money for.
    If both follow these simple rules, financial disagreements are going to be minimal and easy to solve.

    • My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we still have separate bank accounts. We paid our house off 9 years ago by selling the house I had before we got married that we had kept as an investment property as I decided I wanted to have a baby and new I couldnt afford to pay the mortgage if I had a baby. For the first 7 years of our marriage I had always paid the morgtage and he the utility and food bills. Now that we dont have a mortgage he still pays for the bills out of his account and deposits an amount of money in my account each fortnight for the grocery shopping. I am a nurse and only work a couple of shifts a week. This is mainly because it is impossible for me to drop and pick up my son from school doing nursing shifts and also because I know that even if I was to work full time he wouldnt do any more work around the house and I would be working full time and doing everything at home and I dont believe that would be fair for me or my child. Out of the small income I do get I would say 90% of it is used up on my sons private school fees, a loan for a camper trailer I bought so we could go on family vacations, clothes for my son, outings and presents for my son, petrol for my car and home improvements. We do go on some nice overseas holidays that my husband pays for but once we are there I use my own money for spending. I am quite nosy and a while ago I opened my husbands bank statement and discovered that he had spent $4000.00 on paypal purchases over several months on items that I never even saw or new what they were. I have bought up having joint bank accounts to my husband before and he always says it would be to much trouble reorganising the direct debits that come out of the account. I also worry that if anything were to happen to my husband I wouldnt have any money to pay the bills ect or even for his funeral as I dont have any access to his accounts. I really want to have a joint account where both our pays are deposited and money for bills, food, outings, my sons school feels and clothes come out, another account for savings for holidays and home improvements and then maybe our own separate accounts where an agreed set amount each pay is deposited into for pesonal spending. I am feeling a bit resentful about this and recently have decided that I am worthy of more. Now I just have to figure out how to force the issue with my husband so he understands that this is something that is really important to me.

    • Great idea Query! We are happy to have joint accounts, but I like the idea of each of us having a personal account as well. We wouldn’t have a lot to put in the personal accounts, but I like the idea!

  2. I love your website, and wish this sort of information would have been here when I was a young married couple. 30 years later, and a widow, I have forwarded this website to my two adult children in hopes that they can glean some good advice. thanks for all you do.

  3. Lissahakala hakala says:

    My husband and I have separate but linked main checking/savings accounts. Basically, the same as a joint account, we have access to one another’s accounts, they are just individual. We each have our own separate savings accounts as well simply because we never closed them when we married. We have one another’s account info as a precaution should one of us become incapacitated or simply need access. My husband is in the military and primary wage earner, often deployed or on travel so joint access is necessary. When we married we simply joined accounts as neither of us wanted to change financial info, direct deposit, etc. We both contribute to the finances, have an ongoing spreadsheet for monthly bills. Bills are usually paid online through my husbands account. Who physically performs the payment depends on wether or not he’s home. We discuss any unusual spending that comes up (birthdays/holidays) and decide on vacation spending together. Kind of a hybrid of joint-individual accounts which works well for us. I would agree the most important part of financial health is communication.

  4. Adding this link to our community board :). Thanks!

  5. me and my husband maried for almost a year but he never put my name on his account.he never give me a money.and i don’t have a job because am pregnant am just stay at the house doing i need to be afraid one day?

    • yes be very afraid..I got screwed 2xs by 2 husbands. If anything happens you wont see a dime. Im telling you through experience. To top it off. Im now living with a 3rd guy and I refuse to marry again.. and had 2 babies with 2 and 1. He just pulled the same crap. He wouldnt put me on his account but did open a joint. we got into a huge fight this past week. He went and closed the joint acct and opened another. kept his acct and changed the password. Im penniless once again. Im trapped. I have nothing and no where to go. dont screw yourself like I did. I just got a job at home for 11.00/hr..woopie..yet he makes almost 40.00/hr. so now i have to work at home 40hrs/day with 2 toddlers, feed them, keep them occupied, change them, etc. so I just applied for child care subsidy to put them there all day even though my man will hate it. now he wants to give me an allowance. how embarrassing. I have no choice but to take it..and thats if he’ll give it to me now that ill be starting a shitty paying job.

      • p.s…I also got screwed out of half the income tax which I think I deserve. He shut down the joint account and is now paying for a 2000.00 boat slip. after he bought a 6000.00 boat. I wont see a dime unless I apply for child support which i just filled out the papers for. cover your ass. Im 40 yrs old and have nothing. dont be like me. luckily in this day and age we can work from computers. please do something and make money. get your own bank acct and stash. sell stuff on ebay, amazon and consignment shops, get on craigs list and apply for jobs like crazy. Im going back to college now p/t online as well as working from home 40hrs week. Im thinking of writing a cookbook and taking classes at michaels craft shop for desserts for sales at farmers markets and such. who knows maybe ill end up on cupcake wars loll hee hee.
        stash any money you find or he gives you in an account of your own. stash stash stash!!

      • wow ur a piece of s**t, what a trashy woman

        • @kim: Good Lord! It sounds like you have made some bad decisions in the man department of life. Don’t blame these 3 men for your bad decisions (after all, you are the common denominator!) and DO NOT advise others seeking help to “stash, stash. stash” because that is deceitful and a one way street to divorce. The answer to your problems is communication, not deceit.

  6. What a way to break it down. There is no template for this and I think that is exactly why marriages fail. They feel the template they were given goes for every situation. I feel we need to become Chameleons and change with what isn’t working and enlighten what is. Thanks Dustin!!

  7. Having a joint account is easier said than done.

    I’m married for over an year now. I had a joint account with my spouse till a month back but during this time I realised that spouse would send a lot of money to his family. We were like a money tree to his mother. My in laws came to visit us and stayed with us for a couple of months. I found out that my MIL is a spend thrift. She would keep on spending a lot of our money buying gifts for her friends and relatives and to my surprise my husband did not stop her at all. I had a tiff with him on this matter and then I decided to have my own separate account for my paycheck.

    I had not wanted to do this but I had no control over his mother and he would also turn a blind eye to this habbit of his mother. I did not have control over my own hard earned money so I had to take this step.

    • Emma,

      It can be difficult, but i think your story actually highlights a major benefit of having a joint account. It was only through that account that you knew there was an issue with your money (in this case with your husband’s spending), while separate accounts would never bring this to light or give you the opportunity to work through it.

      My own opinion is that you guys need to work through this spending issue together and come to terms on it. By separating your money, you’re ignoring what is clearly a hurtful problem for you, and I’m afraid this is going to set you up for more problems rather than less.

      All my best,


      • I have been married for 8 years. When we got married my husband wanted separate bank accounts, he believed what money he earned was his and what I earned was mine. He also believes that I since I do not make as much money as he(He makes in month what I make in a year) that I don’t know what hard work is all about and I came from nothing. Unfortunately I didn’t know he felt that way before we married. Well, 8 years later things are the same. He pays the bills and has plenty left over while my earnings go towards daycare, gas, clothing, ect. Needless to say I usually have no money what so ever. I have tried to ask my husband in the past for money, 20.00 at the most and he told me to learn how to budget better. So, I never ask anymore and pray that I make it until next the next pay check. I usually have to ask my daughter to borrow money. So, what do I do? It has caused so many angry, resentful feelings toward my husband but he just doesnt see it. It has never been “us” only his and mine. I want to go to counseling but am afraid to even bring it up. I don’t want “his”money but I I just want to have something in case I need it for gas, groceries etc. He is always making remarks that he always has to pay for things, which I know are directed towards me. I could work 7 days a week and it wouldn’t be enough, nothing every will.

        • Hi Rachael, your reading your message I can see your frustration. I think the way your husband is treating you is wrong. My husband and I have a joint account and make all financial decisions together. We have plans and goals together, and it makes sense for us to reach them together, not who ever makes the most money gets there first. Marriage is about giving and sacrificing and putting your partner before yourself. To me, it sounds like your husband puts himself before you and possibly your family, if you can’t afford things like groceries and things for your family. Doesn’t sound right to me.

      • My wife of 5 years demands control of everything. I make over 100k-200k a year. Quarter million dollar house paid for in 2 years. 25k car paid off. 100k in the bank.

        She walks everywhere. Wont drive – gas costs too much. Everything we eat is something she finds on deep discount or for free somewhere. We have 2 kids. Pushes them in a stroller all day. Needs to get in her 15 miles of walking a day.

        Gets mad if a light is on in the house because electricity costs money.

        We have now had a water heater go bad because it is never used. So now we don’t have hot water in our quarter of a million dollar house. We sleep on the floor in the house instead of beds. Beds cost money.

        Family budget? That’s a joke, all money is hers and if anyone thinks about touching a penny she goes off the wall ballistic. Saving all this money for? Dunno…



        Before her, I had a corvette and truck. Top of the line computer system. LOTS of cool and fun stuff. Go out to movies EVERY week. I don’t remember the last one I have seen now…. I don’t even know what is out there either, TV USES ELECTRICITY!!! THIS MEANS MONEY!!! SO WE CANT USE IT!!! AHHHHH

        You all try to sound all nice and happy with your little joint accounts and happy marriage. I AM IN HELL.



        I HATE MY LIFE.

        OH AND I HAVE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Can I ask… if you’re making the money, why do you let her control it? She can’t make you. She can’t even use the threat of if she doesnt’ have control, then she’ll leave and get custody of the kids – because a magistrate would look at the appalling condition she is keeping the kids in (not even a bed!) and give you majority or sole custody.

          What she is doing to you and the kids is abuse and you need to step up and take responsibility and stand up to her. It’s your pay, you earn plenty – you have every right to spend your hard earned money on a decent life for you and the kids.

          Going out to the movies every week is perhaps a little irresponsible, especially when you have kids, but everything else you want is reasonable – a car to get to work in the rain, a tv to relax at home (for you and the kids too), hot water, heating … you need those and she has no right to abuse you by stopping you from having those when you’re on such a good wage.

          Tell her you’re taking control of at least some of the finances!

          • Jay, all due respect, but, you do not know how the judicial system works in this country. She roughed me up a bit back a while ago, i got photos and audio of it in action. I called the police. They saw marks. She ran. She got arrested. The cops tried twice of accusing ME of lieing about saying a woman would never do such a thing. We moved to a different state. The physical abuse stopped. Just the verbal abuse and control continues. the judges in the country ALWAYS WITHOUT FAIL WILL ALWAYS SIDE WITH THE MOTHER EVEN IN THE FACE OF EXTREME EVIDENCE OTHERWISE. that is just the way it is. some part of me loves her too. i dont know why i would have stayed with her this long otherwise. and always hoping that things somehow get better. her constant refusal to go to marriage counseling. …. i guess it is up to me to just say enough is enough. tear the family apart. … to hopefully build a better future……………………. life sucks. shouldnt have to be this hard.

          • I’m guessing you’re from the US? I’m in Australia where it’s the total opposite. Cops and the courts take the man’s side. Even with me having horrific injuries, the cops I dealt with just insisted it must have been a “mutual fight” and my exhusband got off time and again. And even after he savagely beat our 5 year old child, he got shared custody – and even after someone molested her at his place, he continued to get shared custody.

            I’m sorry to hear things are the same but for men, where you are. But the point still remains – you have to stand up for yourself. Document every single abusive thing she does in a journal with days and times, and with specific information.

            She can’t forcibly take your pay, not even legally. Negotiate with her. Work out how much your mortgage is (I assume it’s a mortgage and not paid off?) and work out the cost of the basic bills like electricity, gas (if you have gas) and phone and either pay them or get them direct debited from your pay and then (so she can’t use it against you) offer to give her half the rest, and you keep the other half and tell her that she can do as she pleases with her half and you will manage your half.

            I know you love her (I loved my exhusband with all my heart) but you know what she’s doing is abuse and I can bet you anything deep down she knows it is too. If you can’t stand up to her for your own sake – do it for your kids. It damages kids to see one parent abuse the other.

            Please go see a domestic violence counsellor and explain to them the situation. They can give you the best advice on what your legal options are where you live and help you get the strength to stand up to the abuse.

            No one, male or female, should have to go through domestic violence – but only you can make the next move to do something about it. Your wife never will when she has so much control.

            Cops might be useless, but domestic violence centres are aware that men can be victims too and can be a great source of advice and support. Please talk to one.

            Praying for you mate.

          • anonymous says:

            Three months ago, I was in the same situation. Circumstances changed when the legal system got involved. Now there I cannot even legally be around my wife, nor can she do anything to make things better. It was a painful first week, but things got better, and I have gotten stronger since. Personally, I think my wife has expectations that is humanly impossible to obtain, and it sounds like that is true for you too. I’d start seeking help. My church was what ensured that we stayed apart, and they’re strengthening us individually. They also suggested that I speak with attorneys to ensure my legal problems will get straightened out. I have no intent of divorcing, but until I know that I won’t be punched, cut with a knife / beer bottles, accused of being aggressive when I’m just yawning, I have no problem staying away. Miss my wife and children terribly, but my sanity is important too.

            Wanted to share to let you know that you’re not alone. Frankly doing anything is better than doing nothing. You already know what doing nothing is going to bring – nothing different. But doing anything will get you out of that rut.

      • My husband has a joint account with his mom & he has no idea where his money is being spent. Its impossible for me to plan anything financial with him. What do I do?

      • My husband has a joint account with his mum & he has no idea where his money is being spent. Its impossible for me to plan anything financial with him. He thinks he’ll hurt her feelings if hr separates his account & when i ask him about his savings he tries to avoid the topic. What do I do? Im confused & in trouble

  8. We been marriage for a year at the beginning we was using the same bank account so all the pay checks went there so she was in charge of dealing with the bills and everything all i was doing is check the account sometimes to see how she doing with the spending,and when I feel like she was not supposed to spend that much money shopping or some unnecessary when we even didn’t pay the bills she got mad and since 2 months she asked me to have separate account and one together where 70% of our pay go because she feel like I am treating her like a little girl and controlling her by checking the account sometime and giving my opinion or asking her to discuss it before we spend more than 50 dollars…..I don’t understand it to me it don’t make no sense because we married and being married to me is became one so we should have everything together I mean almost everything…so do u think I got to just let it that way or talk to her… And look we got more than 5000 a month but we don’t have nothing save…..

  9. Why making sure your on the same page before you get married and a joint account is so important.

    We have separate everything and not by my choice. Everything in our marriage is decided by my husband. i have no say in anything. I have 2 children before we got married and I am responsible for everything except the mortgage, gas, and electric (although I still end up paying these utilities about half the time). We do not make any financial decisions together and we are not allowed to talk about it. I have a degree and could get a really good paying job, however I decided that being home for my kids while they are little is more important so I work as a nanny where I take them with me and make cakes and sew items to sell on the side. I barely have enough money to pay the bills, put food on the table, and allow my kids to play one activity, so I am forced to use my CC till I can pay it off. My husband didn’t even have a job the past year so we supported him almost entirely.

    I feel like we are roommate nothing more! I feel like he could care less about me or the kids. This month for example I thought I had extra money to pay towards bills and forgot about the car insurance that auto deducts so i bounced my account the first week of the month and it remained that way till I got paid again at the beginning of this month. When I talked to him about it, he yelled and got angry and asked “what the hell do you do with all your money?…You need to stop spending money…” Honestly I was better off financially as a single parent, the year he was without of a job killed me in CC debt of which I had none before. When I told him I dont spend any extra money his response was well maybe you need to watch how much food your buying and the kids dont need an activity.

    Ironically, he states that he wants me to be able to stay home and not work at all, when he makes enough money. So I asked him how I was going to pay my share of everything and for the kids and food if I don’t work? His response was I would have to figure that out and quit spending so much money or that it is a ridiculous question and he doesn’t need this “bull sh***.” I have no idea what I am supposed to do, think, or say half the time.

    As a mom who cooks, cleans, works, and almost 100% takes care of the kids it is demeaning that I dont get to see any share of the money he makes or how he spends it. I worry about how to buy the groceries and pay for my kids schooling, while he goes out to eat everyday for lunch and golfing as often as he can. i am not allowed to see his accounts in fact if I walk by him while they are pulled up on the computer he hurries and switches pages. He keeps all his info hidden so I never see it (statements, accounts, cash, etc…).

    Talking about upgrades to the house well that money should come half from me and if I don’t have it I get the wrath and get asked again what I do with all my money.

    My kids always ask why he doesn’t pay for things or buy them things too. My oldest (5) asks when is dad going to get a better job so we can do more fun things. It is heart breaking to myself and them.

    He wants me to get a second job by the way….

  10. My husband and I have seperate accounts. Which in the beginning was okay. But now it’s just irratating and frustrating. He by any means does not let me even know what is in his bank account. His excuse for not going for joint accounts is because we both have spending habbits. Which I agree with but what I was trying to get him to understand we would be able to budget better and save waaaay better then we do now. I make more money then he does. He pays rent and utilities but my bills are just as much as his so I thought just put 75% of our income into the joint account and have our own account to do what we please with it. Still no budge. He also does it with his phone. His “only privacy” in our marriage. Getting a bit fed up with it. Especially our finances being the fact that he makes more then enough to cover his bills yet he sometimes asks me for my help and Im baffled at the fact that he doesn’t have enough. Like, where did all your money go? HELP

  11. I appreciate your perspective. I really do. I used to share it, at least before I got married. But my experience has really changed my mind, and here’s why.

    When it comes to our philosophies on money, my spouse and I aren’t that different. We both avoid debt like the plague (except on big purchases where it is all but necessary, like a house and car), we both believe in the need to save, and we have a meticulously crafted budget using Mint that we frequently monitor. We also share many similar ‘big ticket’ hobbies like travel, so spending money on those things is never a problem.

    But at the same time, we both recognized, even before we got married, that our philosophy towards money is also different in some significant ways. At the end of the day, I believe that money is simply a means to an end, and so as long as our bills are being paid, we remain debt free, and we are saving to achieve longer goals, there is no reason to worry over every extra cent. My spouse, on the other hand, worries constantly with every single purchase. We frequently have a surplus of several thousand dollars in our joint checking account (after paying all bills and saving), yet we can’t treat her mother to a nice dinner without constant hand wringing that ‘we don’t have the money’.

    We both realized this before we got married, but we opted for the joint-everything approach for the main reasons stated in this article and elsewhere. And for the first 3 years of our marriage, money has been the source of countless arguments despite the fact that our financial situation is probably better than 80% of couples out there.

    So while we are aligned in most important ways, we are still two different people in others. She doesn’t spend money on herself, and questions every purchase she doesn’t deem essential in some way. I don’t see a problem in spending extra money on something either one of us might enjoy, no matter how frivolous or ‘non-essential’ it might seem. And for 3 years, we have both tempered our impulses in the direction of the other, for the benefit of the other, and yet I still get upset whenever she questions a small purchase I made for myself, and she still gets upset whenever I spend money on something she doesn’t see the value in.

    I believe our marriage is fundamentally sound, as are our finances, but I can’t help but think that this joint-everything arrangement is causing more problems than anything else. We’ve talked it through to death, and the bottom line is that our basic philosophies on that extra money are fundamentally different. One isn’t right or wrong – just different. I believe that loving someone is loving them completely, for who he/she is, so I can’t expect her to change and just accept my philosophy any more than she could expect the same of me. We could continue this joint everything situation and have this same point of friction until death do us part, but to what end? For the sake of our marriage and our sanity, I think we need some kind of separate account scenario.

    I say all this to illustrate a larger point. I think that in all marriages spouses have a list of things they wish were different about their partner (like approach to money). But I think that love, and marriage, is about understanding and accepting another in all his/her glorious shortcomings, and working together to come up with solutions to the problems a couple faces. Just like every person is different, every couple is different. As such, I don’t believe there are even general solutions (like joint accounts) that can be recommended. I think the best idea is to treat the relationship with your spouse like an experiment, trying out different things and seeing what works, accepting you and your spouse’s differences/shortcomings and figuring out what best works for your marriage.

    • We were the exact same way except I am the penny pincher. My wife opted to simply clear everything with me before purchases and I make sure we save enough to have fun. We have three savings pools. One is just to never touch until absolutely necessary, one we try to put $25 a day into for vacations and trips (although we usually find a way to save up for the planned vacations separately and leave it for a spur of the moment) and a 3rd that is used to go out to dinner or go shopping that we put just a little every week into depending on how much we have left over from groceries and gas. I keep track of them and keep them healthy, but we both stay up to date and make decisions on what to do with it. (The emergency savings was formerly used to kill our credit cards while we fixed the financial problems we brought to the alter) We have disagreements, but we never fight over paper with ink on it.

  12. hey … spells are fake. spells do not work. spells are of the devil. The bible says all witches are bad, even ones that say they are good, no they are actually bad. JESUS is KING, JESUS IS GOD, dont fall trap to believing in false idols. Humble yourself. Know that JESUS IS REAL AND IS ALWAYS LISTENING TO YOU.

  13. My wife and I have a joint accout. I manage the finances, and ensure the bills are up to date; but she has full access to the account. We try to keep a set amount of cash for groceries and gas as needed, but if she needs something on the fly she just calls and asks how much excess is in the account, and what bills are coming up. It works for us because I have a good memory for numbers and dates and she’s focused on making sure we live more than we work; which I have a tendency to forget to do. We spend most of our free time together, we talk a lot and she asks questions that I patiently answer for her. We learned early on money can go from stressful to emotionally damaging if you forget that it’s paper, so we conquer the game together. It just makes sense when she says “Let’s go do this” and I can tell her we can or we can’t aford it now, but we could in two weeks; then we make a game plan with our combined finances and budget on the spot.

  14. Phone book SIM cards can be obtained at any major electronics retailer, including Radio Shack.

    i – Phone has if truth be told modified the means that of communication and with
    increased net speed; varied applications enable the users to calculate tasks whereas
    situated thousands of miles removed from wherever the info
    is found. They create the exact application according to your specifications.

  15. Definitely having both joint and separate account for us. Joint account for buying household and children stuff. Personal account for our own hobby stuff…

  16. Great Post, I can see how effective it was to separate the benefits and the drawbacks behind the separate account lifestyle. I see it as the communication is the key driving factor if you are in either situation. Do what works well for your situation.

  17. Me and my wife have separate savings and checking,…….oh, she is on my savings. Why you ask? Because she wants it that way. I hate it. I despise it. She is right when I use my debit card and never record it. That’s the only real issue. I am going to make a change.

  18. My fiancé and I were planning to marry in 2015, (together 3 plus years) we decided to keep separate bank accounts and open a joint one, we also decided to put each others names on our separate accounts (because we are in “it” together). I want to have “our” home at some point, not live in “his home” for years…

    In full trust my man said he was in agreement to purchase a life insurance policy with me as beneficiary in the case of anything happing to him, I currently have one and would do the same when we marry.

    He has significantly more to risk financially than I: his house, his business, his retirement…I get that he has worked hard and lost a lot in his divorce 10 years ago. I understand and respect that.

    He and I have adult children from previous marriage and want to feel safe that they will be treated fairly. He said he trusted me to do the right thing with our adult children’s inheritance, ( I want to put both our desires into a Will so its not on my shoulders). I was so happy when he proposed this to me, I felt so trusted and just wanted us both to feel safe. He even said he wanted to put me as having life rights to “his” house.

    Apparently he felt the need to discuss this with his mother…He says he does what ever she says to do because she is just trying to protect him…Im not sure what she said…however, he now has changed his mind about putting my name on his bank accounts. Also, due to my financial status which he and she are aware of (I was injured and lost my job, (we were broken up at that time) I cashed my retirement in order to keep my rent and bills paid. I am collecting unemployment while job searching and working on other money making projects, and keep house for us. I can pay my bills and buy food (not much else right now)…I have a masters degree, lol).

    I wish he could make these decisions based on trust…and what works for us, not based on what his mother says.

    Again, He says, “I do what ever she says to do because she is just trying to protect me”… It makes me wonder if he i with me because she likes me?
    He also says, his heart and his finances are two different things, and he now needs a “life raft”. Basically Im now feeling like the only “it” we are “in” together is the bed…

  19. My husband has a joint account with his mum & he has no idea where his money is being spent. Its impossible for me to plan anything financial with him. He thinks he’ll hurt her feelings if hr separates his account & when i ask him about his savings he tries to avoid the topic. What do I do? Im confused & in trouble. How do I convince him without hurting anybody’s feelings?

  20. What happens when you are the only one putting money in the account. Your partner keeps his income to spend as he wishes. Helps you out only after you harp and nag… And when you do let him have access to your acct all you ask for is let me know what you are purchasing beforehand bc I am managing finances and need to know what is there bc you don’t know what bills I have lined up to autodraft and that doesn’t happen either?!? Separate accounts and making him responsible for his part is the only logical way to handle this problem.

  21. Judging by the comments it just seems to me like joint bank accounts is a bad idea. Why within a marrage is it acceptable to steal someone elses income as your own? or a Joint finance – our income? Why would you be entitled to it? There is no way I would have a joint bank account. I would have my account with my money and then agree to have a bank account to pay a direct debit in for bills etc. It seems to cause problems. Its up to me if I want to spend MY money on soapmaking equipment, shoes, organic clothes etc and I shouldn’t have to discuss this with a spouse and I don’t buy anything on credit so there would not be a problem with debt.

  22. We have joint accounts. It never occurred to us to do it any other way. It works for us. I think for all the reasons you listed newly married couples should do joint accounts. However, if a happily married couple has separate accounts (that both can access) & this is working well for them, I don’t see a reason for them to change what works.

  23. The issue of joint or separate bank account is what I don’t like to give a direct answer. The reason is that there are couples that are using a joint bank account and it is working perfectly for them, while there are those that have separate bank accounts and they are living happily as it is working perfectly for them.

    I know a couple that has a joint bank account and one person went and cleared all the money in the account when they have a marital problem. I also know a couple that maintained a separate bank account, one of them died suddenly and the living spouse found it difficult to withdraw money from the late husband’s bank accounts without parting with a substantial amounts.
    In other words, a joint bank account is working for some couples while it is separate bank account that is working for others. My counsel to couples is that they should choose an option that is best suited for them. Couples should choose an option based on their love and trust for each other as well as how each manages finance.

    Finally, the use of ATM Card has brought a meeting point between the two options and that is what I use myself. That is having a separate bank accounts, but the ATM Card Pin Number is known by each of the couples. In other words, I know my wife’s ATM Card pin number and she knows mine. For instance, there was a financial need in the family recently and I gave her my ATM Card and she went and withdrew money from my accounts for family use.

  24. My wife and I were in our 30’s when we got hitched – independent and established in our lives. Married for 8 years now, my wife and I have a combination of everything: Joint checking, joint savings, joint investment, individual checking, individual savings, individual retirement, and separate business checking accounts for our ventures (we are both signers on each of these). Our payroll deposits are split between the joint checking and our personal accounts. Our joint bills (mortgage, cable, house phone, lawncare, projects, etc.) are paid out of our joint checking account, while our individual cell phones, etc. are paid individually. She generally handles the bills, while I am responsible for our investments. In some ways, it’s more complicated than having single joint accounts for everything, but it works for us.

  25. Has this ever worked for you?


  1. Roundup and Link Love: Ice Storm January 2010 Edition says:

    […] stirred things up a bit with an article on whether couples should have joint or separate bank accounts. Join in the […]

  2. […] Dustin at Engaged Marriage debates whether married couples should have joint or separate bank accounts […]

  3. […] Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts? from Dustin @ Engaged Marriage and Separate Bank Accounts @ Money Funk both have good discussions going on the pros and cons of couples having separate accounts.  What do you think? […]

  4. […] presents Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts? posted at Engaged Marriage.  I know how important this choice is because my wife and I had a […]

  5. BOM Carnival #37 | Finance Blog says:

    […] The latest Best of Money Carnival is up now with the winning post being Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts? […]

  6. Roundup and Link Love: Please No More Snow Edition 2010 says:

    […] Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts? […]

  7. […] you spend money.  While there may be value in doing so, you can build your budget to accommodate joint or separate bank accounts, cash or credit card spending, and frugal or extravagant spending […]

  8. […] Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts? […]

  9. […] get married and in the early years after their vows.  Our interview was focused on the issue of Joint vs. Separate Bank Accounts.  However, as we spoke for nearly an hour, a few additional themes came […]

  10. […] Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts? […]

  11. How I Built an Engaged Community Around My Blog | From Online Marketing to SEO says:

    […] recently wrote a post called “Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?” and the reaction was incredible.  Not only has it received 68 awesome comments, but it is […]

  12. […] invite you to read the most popular post on my site called “Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?” and consider the variety of intelligent (and very passionate!) opinions in the post and […]

  13. […] 15 Reasons Why You Should Have a Joint or Separate Checking Account […]

  14. […] money.  While there may certainly be value in doing so, you can build your budget to accommodate joint or separate bank accounts, cash or credit card spending, and frugal or extravagant spending […]

  15. […] fund be saved in a high-interest (i.e. not your local back), easy-to-access (i.e. not a CD or bond) savings account.  Personally, we use and highly recommended an online “Orange Savings” account with […]

  16. […] [Note from Dustin: I've shared my thoughts on this issue and heard loudly from the community to the tune of over 100 comments on this post about bank accounts.] […]

  17. […] that can cause financial stress if proper communication is not kept. There are pros and cons to sharing a joint bank account, and the decisions involved in partner finances is a personal one. But if you already share a joint […]

  18. […] that can cause financial stress if proper communication is not kept. There are pros and cons to sharing a joint bank account, and the decisions involved in partner finances is a personal one. But if you already share a joint […]

Speak Your Mind