Married Couples & Bank Accounts

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by mattbrent, Mar 14, 2014.


For married couples, how do you arrange your bank accounts?

  1. All bank accounts are separate for each spouse

    1 vote(s)
  2. All bank accounts are jointly held

    10 vote(s)
  3. There are both separate and jointly held bank accounts

    1 vote(s)
  1. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    Hi folks!

    I hope you don't mind, but I have a survey question for all of you married people. My wife and I have been married for 7 and a half years. We have 2 kids. We both work. For the most part, our bank accounts are jointly held, as is our mortgage, car loans, etc. We do have separate credit card accounts, though, with some minor exceptions. My question is about what everyone else does in regards to accounts.

    Would you answer the poll question, and if you'd like, feel free to comment on why you do what you do or why you think one way is better than another way.

  2. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    We married days after college graduation. I paid off my wife's student account. She's a stay at home wife and mother who has borne seven children; she homeschools our children now (and will for at least the next 17 years). She'd have no credit at all (and no assets for that matter) if things weren't joint. We do have one credit card account that we hold separately so we could get the extra travel miles when we signed up. :)
  3. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Our assets are all in a revocable living trust, so it is the trust that has the bank accounts. Some day our children will thank us.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I guess, I am only one for far with separated bank accounts. With what happened to me at the begin of my marriage, I don't really trust her in term of finance. Yes, I do have hidden investment and bank account, but it is all about our future and for our kids. Because I want to purchase a house paying cash. As far as she knows, I am on paycheck to paycheck. If she did not sabotage my finance at the beginning, we already have a house paid off. We both work, but separate shifts to eliminate daycare for 3 little ones (3, 2, and 1), but I pay for everything exception of grocery and her expenses.
  5. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    When I was in the Marine Corps and deplolyed multiple times it was easier for my wife to take care of all the finances. We've always had joint accounts, works ok for us.
  6. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    This is around the lines of why I posted this poll. My wife and I have been married for 7 and a half years. She hasn't ruined my finances, but I'm afraid her spending is out of control. I am an authorized user on three of her credit cards (1 is a major card, the other 2 are store cards) and the accounts are all maxed out. I took two courses over the summer which I put on my credit card. I was reimbursed for the tuition from my employer via direct deposit, but before I could pay off my card, she had used it. I'm just getting to the point where I'm afraid that she's going to drag us all down.

    Would I be out of line to open up my own account and have my salaries deposited there where she can't get to them? I almost feel like that would force her to slow down a bit, but I don't know. I hate talking about money...

  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    You didn't say that you've talked to her about your concerns yet. I'd think that would be your best choice as a first step.
  8. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    No, I haven't specifically talked about getting separate accounts, but anytime I mention budget or watching our spending, she gets offended.

    I should mention that we're not living paycheck to paycheck or anything. We have a comfortable buffer, but I would like to pay off my debt, and I know I could do it if we cut spending a bit.


    TEKMAN Semper Fi!


    I would recommend you take control of your family finances. If she is irresponsible, then soon your family will be in trouble. Just likes my wife, she has to eat out during lunch at work, and at least one ice coffee cup per day at Dunkin's Donuts, and one pack of cigarette per day. Sometimes she goes to the Casino behind our back. So, if I don't pay attend to finance, then we already moved to the street or on welfare.
  10. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    Fortunately, we have no casinos. My wife's not a gambler. That'd be more my style, ha!

    One of the things she does is use coupons. I know that sounds great, but it's not. She buys stuff just because she has a coupon. It could be something we don't even need, and in fact, it often is. We have a shelf in our bathroom with tons of bathroom stuff on it just sitting there. Now I know we'll be able to use it eventually, but she keeps buying more stuff. We just don't need it right now. And that's just the stuff we use. I've already talked to her about that, but to no avail.

  11. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I work and she does not by choice. We have all joint accounts. We have separate credit cards but my wife does not open her bill - she just hands it to me to pay. She spends about $100-$150 per month on her credit card and it is usually stuff for both of us.
  12. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I don't know what the perfect financial advice would be, however, I believe in the union of two people when you marry, thus everything in 1 pot. I also believe that there are psychological, spirituality, and emotional elements that roll into the decision to join "everything" together; the commitment to oneness and how that looks in real life, which I think is trump.
  13. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Enroll together in the Financial University course. It's all about talking, spending, goal setting, and planning to become debt free. Again, I'm not saying it's the perfect financial advice- that's not really the goal, the goal is to get you both back on the same team, and I think this would do that. Also, it's incredibly awesome ;p Dave Ramsey Homepage -
  14. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    We used to watch Suze Orman all the time before we had kids. She mentioned a few times, from what I can remember, that it wasn't necessarily a bad thing for couples to have separate accounts. She also had a formula for paying joint debts based on each spouse's income.

    I think my main concern with the joint account is that she handles it, so I often don't know how much we have in it. I just discovered our bank has a new mobile app, so I've installed that to keep an eye on it, but we've definitely had a few overdraws in the past. Those are the things I want to avoid.

  15. jam937

    jam937 New Member


    Your opening another account to deposit your earnings isn't going to reduce debt and you're equally responsible for her debt. If anything it might increase your debt and cause marital issues from you hiding money. Sit down with her and have a frank conversation. Set a budget, collect all credit cards and use cash for a few months (it's an eye opener). The budget is a give and take opportunity. If she needs her daily coffee ask her to eliminate those funds from somewhere else. Agree that any major purchases by either of you needs the others consent. Have a meeting once or twice a month to reconcile the budget.

    If you can't have a frank conversation with your spouse about money then get out now. I have seen two marriages go down the crapper (bankruptcy+divorce) due to out of control spending. In both cases it was simply due to lack of communication and frank discussions about finances, budgets, etc.

    Both cases went like this: husband lets wife take care of finances, husband turns blind eye to finances, they have no budget, wife doesn't work, kids in school all day, wife doesn't cook so they eat out, wife want's "things" that her friends have, wife is always shopping and finding "deals," friends take vacation so wife wants vacation, friends get boat so wife wants boat, husband goes along quietly, husband eats out for breakfast and lunch every day, etc. (just because these two cases went like this doesn't mean they all go this way)
  16. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Why pay cash? It is much better to have a low mortgage interest rate (mines 3.35%) and get a high interest rate on ones investments. All my neighbors are doing this.

    Besides that consider inflation, a monthly payment today will seem cheaper years from now.

    Also with our mortgage we get free checking/savings accounts and a small bank vault box.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2014
  17. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    We have both joint and separate credit cards. We get 1% back on our REI cards and 1% to 3% on our Costco cards, and 5% back on out Target card. We always pay our cards off in full each month to avoid interest and late payment fees. Between the REI and Costco cards we get around $700 per year back.
  18. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    That is the smart thing to do. In most, if not all, states a trust avoids probate and associated costs and delays. We also have several other estate planning documents including wills, durable general power of attorney, durable medical power of attorney, and declaration as to medical treatment,
  19. mattbrent

    mattbrent Well-Known Member

    I understand that opening another account won't help reduce my debt, but it will keep her from creating additional debt. And I am not responsible for the debt on her cards. They are in her name only. I don't anticipate getting a divorce, and I'm not trying to imply that, but I do live in a state in which I would not be responsible for her debt if we were to get divorced. I'm not trying to hide money either. I just want to be able to keep a hold on eye on it.

    Case in point, she just changed the password for our online banking. She didn't want to tell me what it was. She kept telling me she forgot what it was, which I knew wasn't the truth. I finally bugged her enough that she told me what it was.

  20. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Which is why I suggested Dave instead of Suze. I don't see this as a money problem, but I'm not going there. Dave approaches things from a "marriage improvement" standpoint. I answered the poll, now I'm out. :) This is getting too sticky for me.

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