In this day and age, independence and the need to plan for an invisible ‘what if’ is stressed even among cohabiting, engaged, and even married couples. The principles of self-help, self-care, and self-love are everywhere you look. Putting yourself first all the time is quickly becoming the norm. So much so that many couples opt for separate financial lives and simply split household bills down the middle with each paying their share and managing their own finances. You know…just in case.
That 50/50 ideal is actually the perfect setup – for roommates. Marriage, though, means transforming two individuals into one couple. It means combining lives in every way that matters including physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. It means choosing us-help, us-care, and us-love over self. It means putting the needs of the whole over the needs of the individual. How you manage your finances and whether or not you have a joint bank account is an important decision.
Weigh the following pros and cons carefully:
1. Reduced financial risk
2. Financial transparency
3. Access to money as needed
4. Shared financial responsibility
1. Perceived loss of financial independence
2. Feeling a loss of decision-making abilities
3. Feeling the need to check in with every expenditure
4. Feeling like you have no security if things ever go sour
From saving to purchase a home or investment property to making the financial decision for one spouse to start a business to managing routine household expenses, setting and achieving shared financial goals is easier when bank accounts are joined. Married couples should share a bank account because it allows both parties to have an accurate picture of their finances. It reiterates your commitment to each other and creates its own open line of communication. It tells your spouse you trust them and trust in your future together.
The shared responsibility of a joint bank account requires regular communication around your finances and encourages it in other areas, teaches each spouse to set and respect boundaries, and adds an element of accountability that also enhances other areas of your marriage. It eliminates the ‘what if’ possibility of separation or divorce and gives each of you a measure of trust and security that will hold you in good stead. What if instead of planning for the possibility of divorce, you committed to keep your marriage alive in the face of any adversity?
Work together to actively change your ‘what if’ from ‘what if we divorce’ to ‘what if we plan for retirement together.’ Change it from ‘what if it doesn’t work out’ to ‘what if divorce is not ever an option.’ Change it from ‘what if we disagree on a purchase’ to ‘what if we talk it out until we find a place of agreement.’ Marriage means the uniting – the complete fusing – of two lives. You have enough love and passion to co-mingle your home. You have enough hope and vision to co-mingle your dreams. You should have enough faith and trust to co-mingle your finances.