When you are first getting married, you’ll hear a lot of advice on what you should and shouldn’t do in order to have a “good” marriage. One of the nuggets that a lot of old-timers state — at least my parents did — is that you should combine finances as soon as possible to show you are “one.”
It’s nice sounding advice, and it certainly means well, but in my own experience, it was hardly useful information. My first marriage did end in me deciding to file for divorce and untangling the knotted financial information was a nightmare.
In my second marriage, my wife and I have separate accounts and we like it that way. She will handle “her bills,” which consist of a college loan and a little bit of credit card debt. I pay for everything else. Housing, utilities, medical bills, etc.
While we have had a healthy amount of disagreement, money has never been an issue. We’re both happy with the arrangement, and it will probably stay that way. Here’s why:
Money Is Easier To Talk About.
The last thing my wife ever wanted to talk about when we were dating was money. I didn’t enjoy it either but knew it was a necessity. By deciding to keep our accounts separate, we have been able to handle the subject without getting hot under the collar the way so many married couples do. I know what is expected of me. She knows what her obligations are. We take care of what needs doing and don’t burden each other if the account is low but still solvent.
Money Is Easier To Manage.
Unlike in my first marriage, I know exactly how much money is in my account at all times. No taking out surprise purchases because your spouse forgot to tell you about it! I haven’t had doubts about the money in my accounts for close to a decade now, and that’s the way I prefer it.
Keeping Separate Accounts Fosters A Spirit Of Cooperation.
My wife knows how much of the financial obligation that I take on. I don’t ever ask her to help me with my obligations, and that makes her want to do nice things for me, like take on the electric bill or pick up a load of groceries without asking for help. Likewise, seeing that she isn’t the primary earner in the relationship makes me feel for her position of dealing with personal bills on a lower income. Having been there and done that with the financial difficulties, I feel for her and so whenever I have some discretionary money, I’m always wanting to give her money so she can enjoy herself and break the trend of bills-bills-bills. She works really hard and deserves that money. That’s at least how I see it.
Thankfully, we’ve found an arrangement that works great for us. This was something I wish that I would have tried before finalizing my divorce papers so long ago, but it’s never too late to make positive changes. Do you think separate finances would have helped you avoid the divorce forms?