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Why you SHOULD Keep Separate Accounts Even If You Are Married

February 29, 2008 by Lulu in Credit Report, Finances with 24 Comments


I found this story about a Widow who finds her Credit tied up in her husband’s name after he died. This is a very unfortunate circumstance for her but it just goes to teach us the importance of having your own, separate credit history when you get married.

I have already decided that when I get married my husband and I will keep separate accounts. This is not so that we can hide money from each other, but rather to protect against one of us losing access to credit history if something happens to the other one.

Joint Accounts are okay

We can have a joint account for things that we will be paying together like the mortgage and utilities. We will each contribute to that account and then the account will be used to pay those bills.

Having a joint accounts also helps couples to manage their money better because each partner can monitor the other one and offer advice if needed. When you have a joint account you have someone else who you need to think about when you are spending, so you might tend to be a little more careful about what you do.

Separate Accounts are okay too

Our credit cards will continue to remain separate because we have credit histories tied to those cards. We will also have separat, high yield checking accounts for the things that we splurge on or want to have as discretionary spending.

That makes it a lot easier to track certain things and I do not have to account for why I have been buying socks every month. (I really, REALLY like socks!)

I also have a way to keep things that should really be separate, like getting my hair done or buying things that my (future) husband has no interest in.

pink gel 2 150x150 Why you SHOULD Keep Separate Accounts Even If You Are MarriedLike those pretty pink bath gels with sparkles.

I love getting bath gels and fizzies and poufs almost as much as I love socks. Those are my little indulgences and I do not know of many men who like these things.

I need to have my own little account where I can keep track of how much I spend on such frivolous things because I just know I can get out of control if I am not watched.

These may seem trivial to some people but you would be surprised at the number of households that have arguments over silly items that someone bought.

While I think that joint accounts are great I will continue to keep a few separate accounts just to make sure that if something happens my credit can stand on its own.

What do YOU think about having separate accounts when you get married? Leave a comment and let us know!


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24 Comments

  1. savvyFebruary 29, 2008 at 8:44 amReply

    I think I posted about that same article about a month ago. Some couples prefer joint accounts and some prefer separate and some prefer a combination of the two. I think whatever works is what’s best. More important than how many accounts you have is your financial attitude and goals as a couple. If your finances (the general you, not you specifically) are bad, having joint or separate accounts really isn’t going to make much of a difference.

  2. CinderFebruary 29, 2008 at 3:51 pmReply

    We have a combo of seperate accounts but we both have access to all of them. This allows us both to maintain high credit scores. We pool all expenses/money, there is no split. Works great for us. But in the end, it’s what works best for the person in question.

  3. KimberlyFebruary 29, 2008 at 5:17 pmReply

    We have joint accounts… I can’t imagine having it any other way…. but whatever works other couples is the way to do it..

  4. LuLuGalFebruary 29, 2008 at 7:26 pmReplyAuthor

    Hmm it seems we are a bit split on this here. I agree to having BOTH types but I love the idea of the separate accounts. You never know what is going to happen and I really do not want to account to someone for why I spent $50 last month on fizzy, pink, sparkly bath gel that smells like bubblegum…when plain old ivory soap gets you just as clean and can be used for the whole family. :-)

  5. her every cent countsMarch 1, 2008 at 3:06 amReply

    I think I’ll want split accounts with a joint account for major shared purchases. I like having my own spending power. I like having my own money. Afterall, how will I ever buy my future husband a gift if all the money is in a joint account?

  6. LuLuGalMarch 3, 2008 at 12:07 pmReplyAuthor

    @ HEC:
    Hey I did not even think about the surprise gifts. That is another great idea for having separate accounts.

  7. Tiffany BuffaloeMarch 3, 2008 at 6:18 pmReply

    I think everyone should have something of there own even if they are married. I think it is ok for a married couple to have individual bank accounts, as long as the house bills are being paid. So what if he has some money on the side, then you will not have to worry about him bothering you for money.

  8. LuLuGalMarch 3, 2008 at 9:04 pmReplyAuthor

    Thanks for your input Tiffany. I like how you are thinking.

  9. ShazanMarch 5, 2008 at 2:15 amReply

    Some interesting comments here, I think. Having been in both situations ie all accounts are joint and having some joint and some separate, I believe that the latter option is the best. And talking to friends has backed up that belief.
    Especially in relation to buying gifts for your partner. Do you really want him/her to know exactly how much you spent on the “birthday/christmas/I love you/I feel guilty gift” that you have given them? It’s just one area that can bring lots of unnecessary angst into a relationship!!
    However, I do agree that you need to have a joint account for paying bills and managing any household expenses.
    And it is important that both people in a relationship have their own financial feet to stand on should the relationship break up or one partner pass on – you still need to be able to access “your” money until any issues are sorted.
    That’s the way I look at it!
    Shazan

  10. LuLuGalMarch 5, 2008 at 11:04 amReplyAuthor

    Hey Shazan, thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. I especially love the last part where you talked about the money issues.

    You never know what will happen and you really do not want to have all your money tied up where you can’t get to it without the other person.

  11. SpilltoJillMarch 9, 2008 at 1:18 amReply

    I am getting married this fall and we haven’t really discussed it yet. I am going to send him this article.

  12. LuLuGalMarch 9, 2008 at 12:17 pmReplyAuthor

    @ SpilltoJill:
    Thanks for recommending my article to someone and thanks for dropping by. I hope this gives you some perspective on how to manage your accounts after getting married,without causing conflict.

    If he still thinks separate accounts are bad…just remind him that you want to be able to buy him a surprise gift without him seeing how much it costs each time. :-)

  13. Alicia GarciaSeptember 22, 2008 at 3:58 pmReply

    I am married my husband and I have joint credit. We would like to separate our accounts. What would we have to do?

  14. LuLuGalSeptember 22, 2008 at 4:17 pmReplyAuthor

    @ Alicia
    I am not a finance expert. What I was referring to in the post is that you should keep the separate accounts BEFORE you get married.

    If you already have joint accounts I think you cannot split them up. You would have to contact your bank to find out what could be done.

    The only thing I can think of is that you open another separate account on your own….but if you already have a joint account I do not think you can split it.

    Call your bank to find out your options.

  15. Lisa PNovember 25, 2008 at 4:49 amReply

    One of the reasons why some of the married couple are deciding to file a divorce because of the poor financial planning. This is mostly what couples are arguing about most of the time. This is because they cannot handle their money properly. Marriages today need all the help they can get, and if payday installment loans can help a couple’s budget and their marriage, they should definitely look into taking out these kinds of loans. It is a sad fact that the divorce rate is over fifty percent, and a huge reason for divorce happens to be disagreement over money. Many newlyweds have no idea what they are getting themselves into. They think marriage is going to be a cakewalk, but although it has its rewards, marriage will probably be the hardest thing they’ve ever done, especially when it comes to finances. My husband and I think in a completely different manner when it comes to money. I’ve been stashing money since I was a little kid. I remember cleaning my closet when I was younger and finding money hidden in crazy places. My husband, on the other hand, is a compulsive shopper. If he wants something, he just goes out and buys it. I’m pretty sure he never had a piggy bank. You can see why we struggle when it comes to making financial decisions. Our opinions are on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, we make it work because we talk about our budget together. We frequently disagree, but marriage is about compromise. And we compromise when it comes to our budget. If I could give any advice to newlyweds it would be to speak openly with your spouse about everything, but most importantly be open about money. Communication is a key to marriage, and if you are properly communicating about money you can save yourself a lot of trouble. For example, there have been a few instances where my husband and I realized we weren’t going to be able to pay some of our bills, so we took out payday installment loans to cover the costs. Payday installment loans have helped our bank account and our marriage.

  16. Lisa PNovember 25, 2008 at 11:24 pmReply

    One of the reasons why some of the married couple are deciding to file a divorce because of the poor financial planning. This is mostly what couples are arguing about most of the time. This is because they cannot handle their money properly. Marriages today need all the help they can get, and if payday installment loans can help a couple’s budget and their marriage, they should definitely look into taking out these kinds of loans. It is a sad fact that the divorce rate is over fifty percent, and a huge reason for divorce happens to be disagreement over money. Many newlyweds have no idea what they are getting themselves into. They think marriage is going to be a cakewalk, but although it has its rewards, marriage will probably be the hardest thing they’ve ever done, especially when it comes to finances. My husband and I think in a completely different manner when it comes to money. I’ve been stashing money since I was a little kid. I remember cleaning my closet when I was younger and finding money hidden in crazy places. My husband, on the other hand, is a compulsive shopper. If he wants something, he just goes out and buys it. I’m pretty sure he never had a piggy bank. You can see why we struggle when it comes to making financial decisions. Our opinions are on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, we make it work because we talk about our budget together. We frequently disagree, but marriage is about compromise. And we compromise when it comes to our budget. If I could give any advice to newlyweds it would be to speak openly with your spouse about everything, but most importantly be open about money. Communication is a key to marriage, and if you are properly communicating about money you can save yourself a lot of trouble. For example, there have been a few instances where my husband and I realized we weren’t going to be able to pay some of our bills, so we took out payday installment loans to cover the costs. Payday installment loans have helped our bank account and our marriage. Click to read more on Payday Installment Loans.

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  19. pDecember 3, 2009 at 4:21 pmReply

    My husband and I argue about money anyway. He gives all his money to his kids and is in debt up to his ears. Me on the other hand, I have had to work hard all my life for everything I’ve ever had, but I am the one that can save and manager my money correctly. He will be in debt when he retires and I will not. I have had to just back away and let him dig himself a whole because he does not respect my opinion on his lazy son.

  20. KaraDecember 17, 2009 at 12:43 amReply

    I just got Married on the 5th of December. I was ALWAYS good with my money and I kepy my savings account and I ALSO have a checking account where my money is automatically deposited in from my job. My husband makes double what I make and takes care of the rent and his own car insurance and he pays for or joint cellphone account. We are opening a joint account just a few thousand to tuck away for a rainy day but overall we are keepiing our accounts seperate. Also I changed my last name on my accounts including credit cards…etc…but, I did not add him on- I agree no joint credit as he doesn’t have the greatest credit and hs ex wife is partly to blame. I paid off 2 of his credit cards before we got married and now we are in my parentds apartment so he is saving at least 400 a month in rent before his rent was a lot more. He has ONE credit card left to pay off and he even opened up his own savings account…all thanks to me. I told him before we got married we will keep it just as is because it was what we were already doing…it worked…and we were comfortable with doing just that. I told him (because I am a realist and I feel I am fairly Logical) but, I told him if God forbid things didn’t work out whatever is in our joint account we split in half and whatever we have in our seperate accounts we don’t go after each others savings…I don’t know what rights either spouse or soon to be ex spouse has in regards to that- Mainly I want my seperate acount to be mine and ONLY mine because although you get married you are still your own person…I make sure he pays his credit card bill on time and he is almost done and I always remind him- I TAUGHT him how to manage his money better. He has not had his own savings account since his last marriage which was almost a decade ago…I am proud of him. To put it all in a nutshell having the bulk of your money in a seperate savings is a good idea and putting a bit here and there in a Joint account is the perfect way to go. Keep your independance. Then there are the stay at home mothers though who do not work- that is where Joint bank accounts are just how it is being the mother/wife isn’t working and the icome comes from the husband…some woman aren’t even on their husbands account and have to ask for an “allowance” I could never live like that! Good luck to you all and may we all stay happily married or united and if things go awry may we have the right to what is in OUR own name and the rest goes 50/50…fair enough…no? :)

    • KaraDecember 17, 2009 at 12:48 amReply

      Oh also…I meant to say…I pay for my own car insurance and buy the groceries and give him “Milk money” here and there if he needs it which is an extreme rareity- but I don’t mind it makes me feel good. Once in a while he will pay for the groceries but I mainly take care of that. I mean if there are no kids involved you share the expenses differently and it is much easier…I am just glad he saw it my way and we agreed on all of it. I am proud of him as well that he is doing MUCH better financially…better than he ever has…I taught him well ;-p

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  22. Sarah RMay 18, 2011 at 7:29 amReply

    My fiancée and I have discussed the money thing…we have decided that a joint account is great for all major things… mortgage, large purchases, utilities, etc…but that each paycheck we will get an allowance from our check and put it into our own separate accounts. That way, we can save for something crazy that we want or we can spend it on the new _______. I think the upside to this is that, for one, if each person has a separate account and nothing is joint, we tend to spend more which equals to less money to save….I know this first hand because both myself and he spends way more money sometimes on frivolous things than we need to. Also, if we had an allowance we will be forced to think before we purchase.
    Money is definitely something that gets in the way of having a happy marriage sometimes and anything that will take away from monetary fights is better. I know that I can restrain myself from buying something stupid and I trust that he can too…however, we all know that what I think is stupid may not be stupid to him and vice versa.

    • LuLuGalMay 18, 2011 at 1:04 pmReplyAuthor

      I think it is great that you guys discussed it before you got married. That way you will have clear expectations when you are officially married.

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