Should You and Your Spouse Have Separate Accounts?

games Disagreements about how to handle the family finances is often sited as a leading cause of divorce. There seems to be an increasing number who are separating their finances so they don’t separate! This would have been unheard of just a generation or two ago.



Opposites attract

In many relationships, there is a spender and a saver. Or sometimes you have two spenders who spend differently – one who frequently buys little incidentals that may add up to a lot of money over the course of the year and another one who can’t resist the major purchases.

Is it wrong?

While some people are finding separate accounts the way to go, others think that it’s just wrong. They believe that it’s a bad sign if a couple doesn’t co-mingle their funds.

Does that stem from a time when you had one wage-earner in the home?
Is it a control issue?
Perhaps it has to do with religious beliefs?
Or maybe it’s a trust issue?

We don’t know the answer, but we do know that many couples are making this work.

Why it works

We think keeping separate finances works for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • The saver isn’t frustrated by money being spent on things they think is unwise.

  • The spender doesn’t have to defer gratification so long that they just can’t stand it anymore. 


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How it works

We’ve seen a number of ways to do this. Here are two examples:

The Allocators. These couples begin by allocating who pays for what. It’s a negotiation process. If you choose this system, determine your respective spending priorities. Then, whenever possible, let each spouse pay for those things they feel are most important. Divvy up the basics however you see fit.

Once you’ve figured out who will pay for what, each spouse then gets to spend, save or invest however they want.

The Allowancers
. Okay, we struggled with a name for this group. That’s the best we could do!

Allowancers may maintain a joint account to pay mutual bills like the mortgage or the utility bills. Then they divvy up the excess as allowances.

But don’t forget to take out the trash or you may lose your allowance!

With their allowance, each spouse can save or spend however they want. One spouse may even save to spend … on that next major purchase.

A final thought

You may have heard us say this before, but our thought on this issue is this:

If it works for you and your family, it works.

It doesn’t matter what other people think or even say. What does matter is that you find a system that helps you keep your finances in order. After all, they are a key component to living out your bigg dreams!

How do you and your partner handle your finances? 

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Related posts

When A Saver and a Spender Become a Couple

Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much!

(Image in today's post by hisks)

2 replies
  1. Matt B
    Matt B says:

    I must admit, deep down, I am one of those people that think married couples must, as a matter of principle, keep their money together. Through the years, however, I have learned to be more tolerant of differences, after all it doesn’t impact me.

    I know some people that have separated their finances with great success. And for those people that do it well, kudos to you! Personally, I could not imagine doing it that way with my wife.

    We became a couple, living together, at a very, very young age when our combined hourly pay was somewhere around $8 an hour – and only one of us was full time. We grew up together and learned how to manage money as adults together and have always, since day 1, had only joint accounts. After nearly 17 years and two beautiful daughters we still think our way works best for us. I have committed to sharing my life with my beautiful wife and think that money is a natural extension to that.

    I really think that we do it this way because we started out with nothing, almost literally. We have seen separating finances work for some of our couple friends, but mostly those that were married later in life. Not sure if that has anything to do with it but that’s just my gut.

    Our way works well for us and the other ways work well for many others, that’s great. I think either approach takes openness, honesty and most of all, trust.

    I enjoyed your short discussion on the subject. Always good to hear another viewpoint.

    By the way, even though we manage our finances as one big pool of money, we still have those distinct roles… one is the spender and the other is more of a saver.

    Great show!


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  1. […] We face an economy that we haven’t seen before (or we were too young to really remember). And of course, financial disagreements are a leading cause of divorce as we discussed on a recent show. […]

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