My husband is huge on financial management, budgeting, and investment. He teaches the Financial Peace class at my church. If you are not familiar with Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey, check it out HERE. It is a course taught in various places to help manage finances and build wealth the Godly way.
This topic is one i usually do not want to write about due to how people feel about finances. Especially since how you handle your finances is different from the next person and one way is not the best for everyone.
Anyway, while going through our church’s premarital class, one of the topics was finances after marriage. We began to seek how best to handle finances after marriage because as you know, finance is a huge cause of divorce in marriage. So we obviously wanted to start off right. We heard from several people on how they have a percentage of each person’s income that pays certain bills etc, then some had the man paying most of it while they saved the wife’s or she could use it as she pleased. So many different ways which sounded great.
But we really wanted a way to be fully united as a couple. Not saying the other ways are not, but for us, we wanted something else. Then we found out about Joint accounts as married couples and after reading, we decided this was best for us. I will share the benefits and cons of having a joint bank account.
Several people always ask him “should married couples have joint accounts? should married couples combine finances? I have also had people ask “but what if you get a divorce blah blah. Now as a Christian i do not believe that divorce is an option no matter what happens. With God, there is forgiveness and if God can forgive us a million times, why can’t we? I also think if people are so concerned about whether or not they divorce, then that is a whole different issue. In this case, you really need to look at the underlying issues causing you to even see divorce as a possibility.
Personally, I believe having a joint account is the way to go, you give your partner your body, soul, and a baby – Why can’t you share the same account? Jokes apart there is joy in working as a team when comes to finances in marriage. Again, these are things you will need to decide for yourself as everyone is different. What may work for us, may not work for you. A joint account might not be ideal if one of you is not good with money. This is because money issues can tear a marriage apart if you are both not on the same page.
Should you have a Joint account after marriage
Benefits of having a joint bank account
God’s purpose: As married couples, our first priority is chasing God’s goal and knowing how our individual goals can align with the kingdom goal of God. For us, having a joint account has definitely helped us walk together as one unit towards these goals. We are able to have a clear picture of the family’s finances and plan together. Being transparent with each other with our finances helps us to give freely and openly to others. We take joint decisions together when it comes to giving to people, offering, tithe etc. For instance, sometimes my husband would come and say he feels God leading him to give to someone. We both then pray about it, discuss it and decide to give. I believe this helps our walk with God because it makes us come together to God as one and seek his will. Let me take it to the bible for a second.
Budgeting: With joint accounts after marriage, our budgeting works better for us. We know we are both working together as a unit and so our focus is aligned and we are able to make joint decisions regarding our finances. We do our monthly budget meetings together and it goes very easily because we are on the same page and are transparent about our finances. One reason we initially started thinking about joint account before we got married was how do we determine who pays what etc. We heard from several people that it depends on the income each person makes and that just seemed so complicated. Especially if the person lost his job and the load had to transfer to the other person or vice versa. For instance, if the man is paying a huge chunk of it, what happens when he loses his job. There could be some resentment if the wife suddenly has to pick up all the bills, especially if she has been using hers for other personal things. With a joint account, however, i believe since you have been working together, it makes it a bit easier to handle.
Accountability: It has really helped us stay accountable to each other, communicate more and save more. Obviously, we do not question each other for ridiculous amounts on the budget but there is still that accountability we have to each other. If someone spends $50 etc, this does not mean we will question each other about it. But there is the accountability that you cannot just go and pull out $500 without discussing with the other. For some people, this might still seem frustrating, but its worked the past 5 years for us and drawn us closer to each other.
Trust: Because we have our accounts joined together, it has built our trust so much more. If I can trust you with my entire life finances, then what else lol. It also helps prevent money secrets between spouses and encourages us to communicate more with each other. It also forces you to trust each other because, in order to successfully combine your finances, you need to discuss certain things. You will, therefore, have to bring out issues and deal with them first.
- Future goals: Hubby and i work jointly towards our investment goals etc. From our work paychecks and businesses, we are able to remove certain amounts and put towards investments, school fund, and others. Again, there are no money secrets between us. I believe your money can do so much more when you are combined with it than separate. Also, when it comes to emergency funds and retirement, even if they are not joint, you should still be open about it. I would hate to get to retirement age and realize my spouse is not financially able to retire or we cannot achieve certain goals because we were not open about our finances.
- No surprises: I think this is the one disadvantage of having a joint account after marriage. Then again, i am not crazy about surprises so this does not bother me much. But if we want to do something extra special for each other, we have our personal “blow money” which i will discuss below. With this blow money, we can save up to do something for each other. However, if it is something a lot more, we are also free to ask for some extra money to do something. This might take a little away from the fact that it is a surprise since the spouse knows something is coming. However, you still do not know what exactly the surprise is, so i think its still a win. We do not encourage lying to each other, so we do not lie to each other about what the money is meant for.
How to make Joint account work for you
- Pray: This is the most important one. Before taking any decision, commit it to God and see what he says. Especially regarding finances, ask him what he knows is best for you as a couple.
- Be open to each other and willing to work together as a family. Communicate about issues or concerns you have. Have a monthly or weekly financial meeting set-up.
- Trust: You need to trust each other, without trust having a joint account after marriage cannot work. If you do not trust each other with money, you will constantly be suspecting each other and questioning your moves. With trust, you know you are both seeking the best interest of the family.
- Blow money: This is the monthly allowance we give to each other from our monthly budget. We take this money and keep in separate accounts for our individual use. With this money, we can save up and are not accountable to one another on how we spend it. This gives that flexibility and balance for us. It could be any amount you choose to split.
- Goals: Get on the same page with your goals
Exceptions to a joint account
- Blow money: Again, this is our allowance from the joint account so this is kept in cash or separate accounts for each individual
- Business account: We both have our businesses and so the money from these go to separate business accounts. However, the profits after expenses go to the joint account. Then the individual is also given a percentage of that money for their personal splurging. It prevents us having to dip into the family’s joint account to pay for something related to the business. We are also both aware of how much each person is making monthly from the business.
- Extravagant spouse: If your spouse is bad with money, then a joint account is probably not for you. At least till you can work through the spending issues.
Now, i am not saying if you do not use joint accounts in your marriage, you are not doing it right. Absolutely not because different things work for each marriage. Joint account as a married couple is our personal preference and has worked perfectly for us so far.
How do you and your spouse handle your finances?
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