Monday, August 31, 2009
Separate or together, doesn't matter, just agree
On Mondays in this space we answer a financial question from a reader. Post your questions in the comments and we'll answer them here next Monday.
QUESTION: My fiancé and I are getting married in October. However, we don’t agree on one point: checking accounts. I say we should have one. He says we need separate accounts so we can each have some freedom. What do you think works best?
ANSWER FROM DAN DANFORD: Every couple is different. In my house, we keep separate checkbooks on the same checking account. It's harder to reconcile each month, but it allows a certain freedom that suits us both. Most families have a designated finance person (gender doesn't seem to matter), and that person divvies up the money and pays the monthly bills. Obviously, someone's got to do it and it's not a high-glamour job.
My only concern with this question is that it seems to indicate a bit of financial friction already. Finances are at the root of many troubled marriages, so I'd try to resolve as much as possible before the nuptials. I doubt there is a specific right or wrong on the issue of checkbooks, but it's important to find a solution that fits your relationship. Money equals power, and no one wants to lack power in a relationship. You need to negotiate a solution that meets everyone's needs. For the sake of your marriage, do it before the wedding.