3 steps that solve the problem of joint-versus-separate accounts
When it comes to marriage & money, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that couples who fight about money an average of once a week are more than 30 percent likely to be destined for divorce. Yikes. It seems that fights about finance are common. Multiple studies, including a 2014 study by Money Magazine, found that out of all the subjects couples tend to argue about most – chores, quality time together, sex, snoring – money is the hot topic most likely to cause explosive disputes.
Marriage & Money: The Good News
Being married can also lead to financial success and more riches. Because two heads on a problem are better than one, married couples who work together as true financial partners have also been shown to achieve greater financial success than single people. Yahoo. But this kind of financial harmony takes communication, and not in general terms such as you spend too much or you should save more, but in specific terms that clearly identify numbers and spell out a plan.
His Money. Her Money. Where is MY MONEY?
Joint accounts vs Separate Accounts: Our money and my money.
The subject of joint versus separate bank accounts often comes up in stable marriages when one spouse goes back to work after a time of absence. Take the case of Jason and Kat:
After taking maternity leave for a few years, Kat was excited to start earning a little money of her own again. Her income was substantially less than what Jason was making, but he wanted to put their paychecks together in one joint account. This is what they had always done, and he felt threatened by his wife’s desire to have her own separate account. After all, he had been paying the bills for years. Kat said she would be happy to put some of her money towards the bills, but she wanted a portion that was all her own. That set Jason on edge. Was Kat trying to hide money? Did she not trust him? And the couple starting fighting.
Communication is Key To Finding the Middle Ground
While there is no one answer that fits every situation, every couple can learn to find a solution by following these 3 easy steps:
FIRST – get clear about what you are talking about. What exactly does “some money” mean? Start by calculating your total household income, and identify what percentage of income you each earn.
In the case above, the total household income was $10,000 a month. Jason earns 80 percent (his money) while Kat earns $2,000 (her money).
SECOND – communicate what this is really about. Be honest with each other. It’s rarely just about the money. In this case, it’s about independence, insecurity and control.
THIRD – identify the middle ground by giving both couples what they need. Use the percentage amount of total household income calculated in step one to determine the percentage each couple should contribute toward expenses.
Using our example, Jason pays for 80 percent of the household bills, while Kat pays for 20 percent of the bills. Any money left over after those expenses have been paid for can then be used for individual discretional spending – my money.
Do you have a question about success with money, your business, or life? You can ask Beau anything by visiting AskBeau.com and sending your question(s) in to RichLife HQ!
New York Times, Money Fight Predict Divorce Rates, <http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/money-fights-predict-divorce-rates/>
Money Magazine, Love and Money, <http://time.com/money/2800576/love-money-by-the-numbers/>
North Carolina State University, Financial Harmony: A Key Component Of Successful Marriage Relationship <http://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2008/v13-n1-2008-spring/Washburn-Christensen.php>