My husband and I have been married for a long time, over twenty years, and we were wed when we were still pretty young. So when it came to money and bank accounts, we did what our parents had done and opened joint bank accounts where we each deposited our paychecks each week and paid the household bills from that same account. Like most couples, we had our occasional disagreement about finances, especially in those early years when our kids were young and money was tight.
Fast forward to several years ago when we decided to try an experiment: we each opened separate bank accounts and divided the household bills down the middle. His account got his paycheck and his half of the bills, while my account got the same from me.
There was a surprising benefit from our separate accounts experiment, and it was a welcome one! We no longer argued about money. In fact, we rarely even discussed it.
It turned out that we have very different styles for managing our money and neither one was wrong. I chose to get my share of the bills by email and pay bills online. My spouse chose to get his bills in the mail and send his payments out by writing checks and dropping them back in the mailbox. He uses a paper calendar to track everything while I rely on my smartphone to send me reminders through apps and notifications.
Now, here’s my confession: I was the part of this couple who was against separate accounts. It felt weird to me, like we’d always be owing each other money for this or for that or that one of us would end up shouldering the majority of the burden. But it turns out that neither of those things happened, and most of the stress of managing the household budget and financial accounts disappeared from our relationship.
In the end, I was wrong, and my husband was right (but please don’t tell him that I said so). Separate but equal is perfect for us.