Married (Joint) Checking

I have heard and read about a lot of couples that have separate checking accounts, and to be honest I do not know how they do it. It seems like a hassle to split up every bill, or to make a payment and one person owes the other person half of that payment. One benefit would be that it is easier for each individual to track their own money, but the constant exchange of money seems difficult. Those of you out there that have a separate accounts, please feel free to jump in and she'd some light on the benefits of separate accounts. On the other hand joint checking accounts aren't easy either. In fact they are even more complicated.

When I asked my wife to marry me I planned to assume responsibility for her money and her debts, just as she did for mine. My money became hers, my debts we're her debts, and my stuff became her stuff. Marriage is about two people coming together and part of that is bringing your finances together. We joined our finances within the first few weeks of marriage, and although we have fewer accounts, it was hard to keep track of each others spending. My wife didn't know when I decided to move money over to savings, and I didn't know when she filled up on gas. We went from being two individuals managing our own accounts, to being two individuals sharing an account. We didn't realize the communication necessary to manage a joint account, we we're still operating as individuals.

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Along with managing the joint checking account we learned that men and women like to spend money on very different things. It was hard for us to see each other spend money on something that we didn't really care about. I wanted to go to dinner at a really nice restaurant, and have a nice romantic meal together (Yes, I am romantic in the relationship ). My wife likes to spend quality time together, but she would be just as happy eating at Chipotle. She doesn't like to have to pay for a waiter to bring us food, and it ends up being an extra $20 to pay for that. I prefer to go out to dinner for the experience, and she would rather just get something to eat. We had to learn how to communicate these likes and dislikes, and learn how to develop ground rules around the way we spent our money.

Money is one of the main causes for divorce and separation. It is a sensitive subject, and all couples have to learn how to talk about their finances, and express how they want to spend their money. My wife and I had different desires of where we wanted our money to go. I am a planner and more practical about planning our financial future, and my wife is a bit more carefree and easy going about finances. Over the last year and a half we have learned to communicate our own financial goals, and where we would like to see our money spent in the future and in the present. We are far from perfect, but we are working on it. Our biggest advice is to communicate, and do not be afraid to talk about money. If you are thinking about marriage, and are worried about your finances, talk about those feelings and express your financial desires with one another. The only way to find common ground in your financial life is to talk about it.

So to all you couples out there do you think that it is easier to have a joint checking account, or separate accounts? Have you found it hard to talk about money as a couple? Is Money the cause of many of your fights? What has helped you the most with your money management as a couple?

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