Joint Bank Account Advice, Should You Keep Your Money Separate?

Marriage and relationships are tough.

I already know some of you, especially those who have been in relationships or married for a while, are nodding your head in total agreement. It is not that you don’t love your significant other. It is that you know to have a healthy and happy relationship, you have to work on it every single day.

Others, who are still in the honeymoon stage or in a new relationship, are thinking “this isn’t bad, we are in love and will never argue about something stupid, like money.” It is hard not to chuckle when you hear young couple makes statements such as this. Don’t be offended. We aren’t laughing at you. We are laughing because we said the same thing, and then life happened.

I am going to make a bold prediction. At some point, you WILL argue about money. It is almost impossible not to. There are so many crucial decisions you make as a couple that involve your finances. Arguing about it is inevitable.

Many couples argue about their bank accounts. Should you have a joint account? Should you have separate bank accounts? What about both? Some couples even go as far as one partner will handle all of the finances and the other knows nothing about how the money is being dispersed.

While every relationship is different, it always helps to get some sound advice from those who deal with these situations for a living. Here are what some experts have to say when it comes to making the decision on how couples should manage their money and bank accounts:


Lisa Bahar, MA, CCJP, LMFT, LPCC
Lisa Bahar Marriage and Family Therapy, Inc


Lisa, a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as clinical counselor, believes that:

“Communication is key, about money is a big one. There is a lot of control around money and how it is used. Couples being able to communicate openly, builds trust and awareness of each other. It depends on couple to couple as to whether joint, independent or both. I have seen value with joint and independent, however communication is key, there are a lot of reading into how a spouse spends money.”


Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.


Tina B. Tessina, PhD, who is also known as Dr. Romance, is a psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage(Adams Media) states:

“Having separate checking accounts, with a joint account to which both parties contribute for paying household bills, often minimizes struggling and fighting. As long as no one is overdrawing an account or a credit card, and bill paying and savings are covered by the joint account, they don’t need to be concerned about who spends more on clothes, who on meals out, etc. Money differences can go a couple of ways: A money saver can become resentful, and enter into a spending contest with the spouse who spends — that way lies disaster, and high credit card bills. Or, the couple can just have constant nasty fights about money. Also, the spender can get more out of control if he or she feels criticized and disapproved of by the saver. Sometimes, one partner will criticize the other for one kind of spending (say eating out a lot, or buying computer components) while equally overspending in a different way (say for clothes or household goods).”

She goes on to say that, “It’s not a matter of right or wrong; each partner has different views of the value and uses of money. Savers aren’t necessarily Scrooge, and spenders aren’t necessarily out of control. Actually, these two can really complement each other, with the saver helping the couple create a financially sound future, and the spender helping them enjoy the present, and make the most of their spending dollars. Both partners need to recognize the need to talk about money in a businesslike fashion.”


Andi Wrenn, MA, AFC
Love and Money Counseling


Andi, who has been involved in financial counseling, planning, and education since 2003 and manages a network of financial professionals, had this to say about couples and finances:

“Each person has a different money management style. Some have better control than others over impulse spending and discussing personal finance with their spouse. So for some it is possible that it works out best for them to have separate accounts. The majority of people however, are able to share accounts and discuss and manage their finances successfully that way. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a separate account just for the discretionary spending that each spouse might do in a relationship. That is when the separate account is probably more practical.”

Couples need to understand each others strengths and weaknesses when it comes to finances. Knowing this information can help you decide as a couple what is the best route to take. Try to be honest with each other and open to which solution is going to help your financial situation. It might even be in your best interest to bring a third party into the discussion like a couples counselor or financial advisor. A little mediation can always help in a heated discussion. Which talking about money can sometimes turn into.