Should married couples combine their finances? Or should they keep them separate? This is a bit of a financial hot potato, with strong supporters on both sides of the aisle. In the end, however, the “right” answer almost certainly depends on the circumstances and the people involved.
With the foregoing in mind, I wanted to talk a bit about how we approach things, and to also give you guys a chance to share what works for you (and why).
My wife and I actually combined our finances before we even got married, and we’ve never looked back. To be completely honest, I can’t even remember having had a big money conversation in which we decided to do this. Rather, it just seemed like the right thing to do, so we did it.
Looking back, this was very easy to implement because things were so simple. We didn’t have much money, and neither of us had any debt. In the end, we just had to open a joint bank account and put each other on our credit cards.
Since that time, our finances have grown increasingly more complex, but we’ve maintained a joint approach across the board. With the exception of our retirement accounts, where we’re not allowed to have joint ownership, my wife and I are joint owners of all of our banking and investment accounts.
As far as credit cards go, we have two main cards. My wife is the primary account holder on one, and I’m the primary account holder on the other. We’re both authorized users on each other’s accounts, and we use them interchangeably to maximize our rewards.
Overall, this has been a fantastic arrangement for us. My wife and I are two of the most financially-compatible people you’ll ever meet, and we’re also very open with each other. While we’ve had our fair share of disagreements about various things over the years, I can’t recall a single argument about money.
Another wrinkle for us is that my wife now stays at home with the kids. Since she doesn’t currently have an income of her own, maintaining separate finances would be the rough equivalent of putting her on an allowance. Given that she works at least as hard as I do, that just doesn’t sit well with me.
What about you?
Okay, now it’s your turn… Are you a fan of joint or separate finances? Or perhaps you’re partial to a combination of the two approaches? Whatever your preference, what concerns you about the alternate approach?