It has been said that one of the most common reasons for a relationship or marriage to end is due to financial matters. This can range from having two people with completely different spending habits to someone making substantially more money than the other person which can cause some level of resentment over time. (On the other hand, for some couples, this might not even be a deal breaker–it really depends on each person’s values). Before getting too seriously involved with someone, it is important to make sure you are financially compatible with someone. By that, I mean that you have some sense of how they value their money (ex: are they better at spending or saving?) and how much they have (not exact figures but things such as approximate salary, debts, etc.) Knowing this information is valuable along with discussing financial expectations as people’s views on money management can be radically different.
Once two people have established they are relatively on the same page financially, I advise to always keep bank accounts separate to prevent financial problems to arise later on within the relationship.
Each Partner Can Still Maintain Financial Independence – This is probably the most important reason for keeping things separate as it allows for both people to make their own money and do what they want with it. When there is a joint account, often times there could be arguments such as, “Why did you spend that much money on going out this week?” When both people have access to the account, there is less control on how the money is spent causing one person to get mad at the other on how the joint money is spent outside of their monthly bills.
Both People Can Take Financial Responsibility – It is good for each partner to be able to contribute financially on some level. Although it is easy to just split everything down the middle, this often times is not the case. By assigning certain monthly bills to each person to come out of their own individual account, this holds everyone accountable instead of relying on one person to be completely in charge of the finances. Although this can successfully work in certain relationships where one person is fully in charge, the downside to this is that if something happens to this person, this leaves the other person incapable of managing the finances on their own or at all.
One Person Makes Significantly More Money That the Other – If one person is making much more money than the other person, I think it is only fair for there to be separate bank accounts as the person who is making more should be entitled to be able to keep some of it for themselves as well. If everything is put together, the person who is not contributing as much could take advantage or feel a sense of guilt if they are unable to level up to their partners financially. When accounts are kept separately, this avoids potential problems or tension to build up over time.
There are pros and cons to everything including the subject matter of whether or not couples should have a joint or separate bank account. In the long run, the benefits of having a separate bank account typically outweigh the benefits of a joint account in today’s modern world, especially now where we live in a society where most households are two income households. Of course everything is situational in which it is important to have these conversations with your partner to see where each person stands on finances and what option is best for each partner.