“Combine accounts?!? Uh uh, girl nope you cray!”
I hear you! But just hear me out…fair warning tho…a sista is about to give you a dose of tough love!
I recently read an online article where the author threw a complete tantrum about combining finances as a married duo.
You guys…this person was NOT here for it…at all.
To sum the piece up, anyone who had joint accounts was pretty much stupid and setting themselves up for disaster.
To be honest, much of today’s society would have you believe that it’s some kind of antiquated old school idea to have joint finances. But this simply isn’t true.
Unless you’re in a marriage dealing with issues like crazy addictions where your spouse steals to support their habit, you could and should benefit from learning to manage the family finances together.
In most cases, I find that when people fight tooth and nail against combining their finances, there is usually a deeper issue than just the money…it is NEVER really about the money.
***TOUGH LOVE ALERT***
If you get offended easily, you might wanna just skip this post, stop scrolling, and move on with your day. If you’re ready for some truth…lessgo!
Here are the top 3 myths about having joint accounts:
YOU GOTTA “CHECK IN”
Similar to the thoughts in the article, a friend of mine recently admitted that she liked having separate accounts because, “always having to check in with my husband gets old.”
IMHO, there are two problems with this statement.
- If a spouse is constantly “checking” on the other and documenting every penny they spend, its not checking, it’s controlling! This is a form of abuse and you may need to seek professional help in sorting it out.
- People that don’t want to be held financially accountable to their spouses are often times hiding something. Like my friend, she was hiding a raging shopping addiction. It was so bad that she resorted to having things shipped to her job or other friend’s homes to hide the stuff!
The thing is, when you said “I do”, you made a promise of for better or for worse and chose to accept the person you married as they were.
You married them, you married their family, you married their financial habits and baggage, and everything else that makes them THEM.
That being said, managing your finances together is about trust and transparency. It’s the act of agreeing on your hopes and dreams, achieving goals together! Because money touches and affects almost every aspect of our lives in some way, it will be difficult to have marital harmony if you’re constantly out of sync with your spouse.
Fights and tension surrounding your money can leak out and affect other areas like your parenting, your sex life, and other relationships around you.
It’s not about micromanaging one another, but having shared financial goals and agreeing how to reach them. It’s not about dictating to one another and forcing your way, but about learning to communicate your financial needs and blazing a path together.
YOU’RE GIVING UP YOUR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
Oooo girl, this.is.an.illusion. Don’t believe me? Ask any divorced person and you’ll find out real quick! When you skipped down that aisle, you took two and became ONE…in every sense of the word. You are folding two lives together in all aspects.
You’re married, period. Unless you signed a prenup, you gave up your financial independence when you said “I do”.
Whether it is direct or indirect, you will always be impacted by how your spouse manages money.
Let’s say that Mary and John want to buy a house. John has a 520 credit score, but makes $100k a year. Mary has a 700 credit score, but makes $40k a year. Although John makes significantly more than Mary, his low credit score indicates that he does not manage his money very well. And although Mary has great credit, it is unlikely that a lender will finance their home purchase because of John’s poor credit.
Now let’s say that a year from now, John loses his cushy $100k job and has to find new employment. He aces his interview and is extended a conditional offer pending a background check that includes reviewing his credit history. In the end, John doesn’t get the job because of his poor credit.
Or what happens when the transmission blows up in Mary’s car, but on her limited income she doesn’t have the funds in her account to get it fixed. But because John ain’t that great at holding on to a dollar, he doesn’t have anything in his account to help out…now that’s a pickle for ya’.
These are just a few simple examples of how your spouse’s financial situation can impact your own, separate bank accounts or not.
Wouldn’t it be better if John and Mary decided to learn how to manage their money together? Mary’s credit score would indicate that she might be better at the tactical aspect of handling money, why not leverage Mary’s talent and achieve financial success for BOTH of them.
Managing your money together gives a true and complete picture of the family’s financial health. When everything is all split up it makes it difficult to make informed decisions because the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
I remember watching the reality TV show Fear Factor where contestants line up to eat the grossest stuff and do the craziest things! As part of one challenge, couples have to drive a car onto the bed of a speeding tractor, sounds easy right?
Not so fast, the driver is BLINDFOLDED while the passenger VERBALLY gives the driver instructions. Seriously?!?
While some couples do make it, it takes multiple attempts and takes quite a bit of time. Attempting to manage your finances separately is the same way.
In the end, you’re still dependent on and affected by the money habits of your spouse…no matter how “independent” you aim to be. So why make it more complicated than it needs to be?
IT’S EASIER TO SPLIT IT ALL UP IF YOU SPLIT UP
Since when has it become the norm to make it “easier” to split up…it’s a sad day when the focus has moved from “making it work come hell or high water” to “let’s set everything up so it’s easier if (but really when) we split”. You’re already banking on failure and that never bodes well for a relationship.
It shouldn’t be what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is MINE! This mentality can be very one sided and sets your relationship up to be “me me me” by not fully committing to a shared financial life.
Don’t treat your spouse like a roommate. It’s #teamWE, not #teamME!
In the end, there is something about being in the trenches working together! It forges a bond and deepens the trust and intimacy that are the bedrock of your marriage. I dare say that money is pretty important to most folks, and entrusting one another with something so important in your lives can bring you closer as you learn to be wise stewards of your money TOGETHER!
And this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing either. You can have accounts that you’re both on, but dedicated to each of your fun monies, while you maintain the family finances from one joint account. Find a method that works best for you and your family, the key is to do it together.