When it’s late at night and I have a craving for Sour Patch Kids, French fries, and a Diet Coke, I’m going to hop in my car and satisfy that craving. I dare anyone ask me if I really should be eating junk at that hour, or even worse, ask me what I charged for $7 at 2am once the bank statement arrives.
Why do I have to explain this when it’s my money?
You can imagine this conversation comes up in relationships. The one about joint bank accounts. Many think it’s something to consider, especially when married. As a couple, you come to a conscious decision about what should be shared monetarily, like gifts for your kids or big bills. Others, however, want to keep their money separate. Today, both men and women value their independence more than ever. Natalie, a 23-year old single gal said, “I don’t wanna explain the random $20 withdrawals. No joint account for me.” She took the words right out of Cartman from South Park’s mouth: whatever, I do what I want!
Even those who have settled down agree. LeAnn, a mother of three, says that she and her husband go back and forth about choosing to open a joint bank account. “We always just decide to keep it separate and decide on who pays what bill. We discuss the bigger purchases, like furniture or holiday presents, but that’s it.” Talking about bills and important buys can eliminate doubt with your partner and opens the door to communicating about finances.
Andrew, a 31-year-old married man, also jumped on the “separate bank accounts” bandwagon. “There might be a time where we’ll need to create one account, but for now, what’s hers is hers and vice versa,” he said. “If she makes a purchase that goes toward something long-lasting and benefits our future together, I’ll reciprocate with my own purchase for the two of us.” Compromising and equal contributions sound like a great way to be independent while letting your significant other know that while it is their money, it isn’t just about one person anymore.
But what if you have a combined account with your other half? Don’t become upset when you’re asked about a specific charge. I heard first hand from my own mother that she regrets the period in her marriage where her and my dad had a joint account. “It irritated me how he asked about how I spent a certain amount of my paycheck,” she recalled. “That didn’t last long!”
It sounds like in order to keep the peace at home separate bank accounts are key. Rest assured, the $20 withdrawals I take out of my account to indulge in a bottle of wine and my favorite Asian cuisine will be my business.