Is It a Good Idea for Spouses to Have Separate Bank Accounts?
In one of the comments from Friday, I had this question posed. Could you write about your thoughts on separate bank accounts for a husband and a wife? First, you might be operating with separate bank accounts and everything is great in your marriage. Congratulations, because you are part of a small percentage of couples. I would imagine that the percentage of success is in the lower single digits. To me there are 4 reasons why separate bank accounts are problematic.
(1) It Emphasizes Control
When a husband and a wife stand on the alter and say their vows, they pledge unity on all areas of their lives. They don't pledge unity in everything but money. Having a separate bank account could mean that there is the need to control the handling of their own money. I have yet to see a couple be completely successful without surrendering control of money. This could also be a premarital red flag that needs to be explored. This is why it is important to go through premarital counseling regarding financial issues. Get those issues out of the way while you are in the pre-honeymoon phase.
(2) Temptation to Hide Spending
A previous Pastor of mine had an old saying that always stuck with me. He said, "If your head is made of butter, don't sit by the fire." Having 100% control over your bank account is a temptation to spend money that might not be in the best interest of your marriage. Plus it is easy to accumulate debt if your spouse doesn't see the credit card minimum payments.
(3) Builds Distrust more than Trust
To completely trust means to surrender financially. Now there are many areas of trust that have to be established and maintained in a marriage. If you are violating any area of trust, chances are you are hiding something financially which can only be done in separate bank accounts hidden or otherwise. Said another way, finances are tied to everything. Thus, to build a good foundation of trust, starting with a husband and wife surrendering financially to one another is a great place to start.
(3) Difficult to be on the Same Page
This is one of the single biggest problems when it comes to finances and marriage. In fact, it greatly reduces the chances of your marriage being successful long-term financially. To be successful long-term financially in a marriage, it is important to have a set of values that runs your financial life as a couple and a family. Further, those values are tied to your long-term financial goals. In order to combine values and goals into one game plan and monitor a successful spending plan that incorporates those important items, it is imperative that you have a combined bank account where spending is tied to a solid spending pan driven by your values as a couple and a family.
If you are engaged, deal with these issues right away and don't leave it to chance. If you are married, start the process of breaking down the barriers. It is a process and takes a lot of courage. Build that foundation in the heart of stewardship. Placing God at the forefront of your finances is the best place to start.