Money can be a touchy and emotional topic. Like sex, money is a crucial conversation that no one wants to have. Also like sex, it can be handled distastefully. I hope to open these conversations with class, honesty, and my best understanding of God’s Word.
If you Google, “Should I share a bank account with my husband?” you’ll find answers up and down the spectrum between “no way!” and “absolutely!” My answer is “absolutely,” and here’s why:
- Financial decisions facilitate important conversations in every other category of your life. Even people who have little value for material possessions assert their priorities with every dollar they spend. Think about it: paying your rent says that you prioritize having a roof over your head. When your money is combined and one of you wants to spend money on a vacation while the other wants to put that money into a Roth IRA, it forces a discussion about priorities. Yes, there will be compromises. Yes, there would be less conflict if you each made and spent your own money. But if you extend that argument, it would also be easier to make all your decisions independently. If you’re going to get married, go all in.
- It sets your priorities in the right order: Combining finances is a practical way of showing your spouse “I love you more than I love my stuff and my money.” While you’re taste-testing cake and choosing centerpieces, it can be easy to forget that you’re pledging your life to another human being. Maybe that’s why we get so wrapped up in the whimsical party we’re throwing- to help us handle the gravity of those steps down the aisle. Spiritually, you become one in the marriage commitment. Nothing on earth should be more important to you than your spouse, including money and all other relationships. You are meant to give everything in marriage. An unwillingness to combine finances is a way of holding something back.
- You can reach financial goals more quickly: In Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey gives an illustration about what horses accomplish when they pull together. Two horses who’ve been trained together can pull four times as much as one of the horses alone. Pooling your income and sharing expenses allows you to accomplish everything faster than either of you could alone.
- Joint finances foster trust, honesty and communication: No one gets married with plans to lie to their spouse. Marriages that fail degrade over time, and separate money only makes it easier to keep secrets or simply fail to communicate. Even innocent communication gaps create distance. If you can’t trust your spouse with money, how are you trusting him with your heart, or your children?
- Accountability: Most marriages have one person naturally inclined toward saving money, while the other is more likely to spend. Just like you’re more likely to go the gym when a friend meets you there, you’re more likely to stick to a budget when your spouse holds you to it.
Question: Where are you on the spectrum between “no way!” and “absolutely!” when it comes to joint accounts?