I wanted to address this morning the separate accounts issue because I was asked about it during both interviews last night. In a time when couples are preparing to walk down the aisle and other couples are dealing with financial challenges, I felt it was time to share it on this blog.
My position on whether a couple should have separate accounts is detailed below:
1) If you are engaged and either one of you have debt, it is my recommendation that the accounts remain separate until the debt is cleaned up. Furthermore, there are some banks that might not add a spouse to the bank account if they have debt. Keep that in mind.
2) It is acceptable to have a separate account (Do not stop reading at this point) for pampering each other and having the ability to surprise one another with the understanding that the husband and wife have access to each of these accounts and is knowledgeable of what is in the account.
3) Once the credit is cleaned up for those that have financial challenges, then absolutely a joint account is the way to go.
At the end of the day, it boils down to do you want your marriage to have financial transparency or are you going to open the door from the outset for financial infidelity. Once financial infidelity happens and it is on the table, trust is broken, arguments begin to occur and the spouse who found out about the financial infidelity will wonder what else is being kept from him or her.
I do not condone have a separate account to utilize as a “Break away fund” meaning when I have had enough, I have more than enough money saved to break away from this marriage. When you say “I Do” those vows specifically state – For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Don’t take your vows lightly.
Caution: When you lose trust, it is hard to get it back. Think long and hard what statement you are making if you want separate accounts and do not have a financial issue.