Chuck Bentley: Should My Wife and I Have Separate or Joint Bank Accounts?

Dear Chuck,

I am engaged to be married late this summer. My father recently asked if we are planning to have joint accounts like he and mom have for decades. I didn’t have an answer. We have friends with joint accounts and some with separate ones. We want to start off right. What do you recommend?

Separate or Unified?

Dear Unified,

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding! I’m glad you’re thinking about and asking this question now so you can get started off on the right foot in your marriage.

Larry Burkett, the founder of Crown, believed that separate banking accounts “makes about as much sense as maintaining separate houses.” Why? Marriage is about becoming one. One in everything – name, address, bed, money…the list does not end.

When finances are kept separate, a “his-money-her-money” philosophy develops which can lead to a “him-versus-her” mentality. This should not be present in marriage. It’s God’s money that you manage together.

There are different reasons why people defend having separate accounts. A few popular reasons I hear today are for protection in the event of dishonesty, for debt problems, or for previous divorce issues. Another is that one spouse is typically a sloppy manager of their account (overdrafts and penalties) and the other does not want to put up with it.

The foundation of every marriage is trust. Before you make your vows, be sure there is absolute trust in each other and an ability to discuss any areas of concern. Money is a key area for discussion.

If there is a hint of financial problems or distrust prior to marriage, delay the wedding, and resolve the issues. When transparency and trust is impossible, I suggest breaking the engagement. Marriage requires open hearts, accountable to God and one another.

Certainly, there is no Bible verse that commands couples to have joint checking accounts or that the bills must be paid by the wife or husband. But lying is prohibited; there is no place for secret accounts in healthy marriages, because when separate accounts are discovered, betrayal and lack of trust result.

Ted Rossman, industry analyst for CreditCards.com believes financial infidelity is on the rise. According to a recent survey, millennials are nearly twice as likely to hide money or accounts from partners than other age groups. Technology provides the ability to conceal.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley

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