All Articles Tagged "joint accounts"
While getting a prenup might be the appropriate business decision in this day and age, it brings the creeping sense of insecurity into the relationship. At a time when you should be devising a plan to stay together, it makes it seem as though you’re ironing out your plan for breaking up.
If you truly believe in the elements of marriage and want to share your emotions, body, and ASSETS with a person, aren’t you diluting the experience by attempting to protect yourself in case of failure? Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to say I’m going to give my spouse all of my time and affection, but I’m going to continue to date on the side just in case things don’t work out? Or I’m going to love my spouse, but not too much just in case he hurts my feelings?
Many compare prenups to insurance; you have it there just in case you need it. However, the likelihood of needing insurance is high. Everyone needs life insurance since we all, one day, will die. We all need to maintain our health through regular checkups so health insurance is a must. And by law we have to carry car insurance based on the liability that could occur if there was an accident. There is no law forcing couples to sign prenuptial agreements, but with the divorce rate at about 50 percent many would argue that your chances of getting a divorce are high too. I beg to differ.
You only be at risk succumbing to the statistics if you are living an at-risk lifestyle. If you are careful and serious about your marriage the chances of you getting a divorce are not the same as a couple that does not take marriage seriously or does not work to stay together.
The greatest part about being married is having someone you can be completely vulnerable and transparent with. You know this person has the power to ruin your life at the drop of a hat because they know most of your secrets (and your social security number). But because of the love and trust you share and have built over the years, you know they never would.
Ok ok, I know that sounds mushy and all. But even beyond the mush, there is research that confirms that couples who are optimistic about their marriage are more likely to be happy in their marriage. And a National Center for Family and Marriage Research study finds that couples that have joint accounts are less likely to get divorced while couples that do not pool their funds are 145 percent more likely to divorce. Proving that financial cohesiveness in a relationship is important and it’s hard to be cohesive about your finances if you have signed a paper that encourages you to keep your finances separate.
If you are not ready to share every aspect of your life with someone, the best alternative is to not get married and just co-habitate. By co-habitating with someone and choosing not to commit to marriage you both are clear on where you stand with your money since you both can walk away with what you brought to the table or earned, that is unless you live in a state where common law marriage exists and your relationship lasts long enough to fall under those rules.
Now I do understand that in some situations where there are other people’s financial well being at stake, like business partners or family members, there may be a need for legalities before marriage. But in others cases it’s just an easy way out. I think many people want to dive into the benefits of marriage without putting in the work it takes to sustain one. Yes, you might get flack from your mom for shacking up with your boo without being married. But if you and your boo are starting your new beginning planning for the end, you just might not be as serious about the relationship as you think anyway.
When I was in high school, I knew a married couple who shared everything. They had one car, one office (they both worked at her father’s church), and – although they each had a cell phone – her voice was on both voicemails. They were super close and I thought that was so cool. I couldn’t wait to be married one day and share everything with my husband.
Now, that I’m older and married myself, I realize that while I like to share a one person chair with my new husband when we watch sitcoms or a basketball game, we both need our own space – and definitely our own cars. But one thing my husband and I did decide to share after we got married was our bank accounts. I always thought a joint-checking account was a very “married” thing to have, so I was excited to open one almost immediately after we returned from the honeymoon.
Finance experts don’t agree on whether sharing a checking and savings account is a good idea. Dave Ramsey says do it. In his book, Total Money Makeover, he says “When you get married, you become one. Money is a key area that helps bring unity. When you handle your money together, you are agreeing on your hopes, dreams and goals.” Suze Orman says don’t do it. She told Ms. Magazine, “Having a shared pot of money can cause a lot of unnecessary strife and haggling over expenses.” Jean Chatzky stays kind of in the middle. She wrote on Oprah.com, “Everyone needs some financial independence, and often, that comes in the form of your own bank account. I’m a huge fan of what’s often referred to as the three-pot system: Yours, Mine and Ours. A joint account and two separate checking accounts.”
Personally, I like Dave Ramsey’s idea of having one checking account and one savings account. I don’t want to feel like roommates splitting bills and such. In addition, I didn’t get married to still have that awkward, “reach-for-your-purse-to-pretend-you-want-to-pay-but-secretly-hopes-he-grabs-his-credit-card-first” moment in restaurants. I like that every dime is coming out of the same pot: groceries, movies, mortgage payments, dinners out with friends, Starbucks, etc. We’re a team and having a joint checking and savings account makes me feel more like a team. I think completely separate money is a slippery slope and three or more accounts are just too much to keep track of.
Granted, joint accounts certainly aren’t for every couple and there is no one-size-fits all solution for money management. My husband and I are lucky that he is pretty frugal and I am a (mostly) reformed shopaholic. I definitely think twice about purchases when I consider I am not just spending my own money anymore and occasionally I will give the side-eye to one of his purchases, but the joint checking thing seems to be a good idea.
And you know what, if joint checking doesn’t work in the long run, then we’ll change it. No sense having unnecessary arguments! For now, though, it’s one of my favorite things about being married.
We have had one incident that was a result of sharing an account. I don’t always bring my purse places because it’s heavy, so if he has the credit card and we’re only going one place then I leave my purse at home. One day we were sitting in a restaurant and had just finished eating breakfast when the check came. I looked at him. He looked at me. He said: “You don’t have your purse do you?” I shook my head and said, “You forgot the debit card?” He nodded. We were sitting in the restaurant with no money! Thankfully we weren’t too far from our house, so he was able to drive home and get his card while I sat at the table waiting for him to come back. Now, I always ask him if he has the card before I leave my purse at home!
What do you think about joint checking accounts for married couples?
More on Madame Noire!
- That’s That Ish I Don’t Like: Why I Can’t Stand When Parents Talk to Kids Like Adults
- “Ho*s Be Winning!” 8 People Who Became Overnight Celebrities For Being Scandalous
- Call Me Prejudiced, But I Only Let Black Women Do My Hair
- Noire Naturals, Episode 2: Maintaining Your Twist-Out Style
- “The Decision,” Fake Marriages & Crispy Chicken: 9 Moments Celebs Can’t Seem to Live Down
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making of School Daze
- Ask a Very Smart Brotha: Why Did He Just Disappear?