- 4. Do you want joint or separate accounts?
- Whether or not to maintain joint or separate accounts is a personal decision and varies from couple to couple. Some newlyweds opt to keep their finances completely independent, and others choose to co-mingle everything. Still other couples take the hybrid approach (and my recommended strategy) by keeping separate accounts and then having a joint account from which they pay household bills.
- Talking through this issue, and being upfront about how money from each account is to be managed will help stave off financial infidelity down the road.
- Admit it: how many times have you spent money or made a purchase and tried to hide it from your significant other? When you have your own checking or savings account, you typically don’t have to ask for “permissionâ€ or get your partner’s approval for most purchases. Couples without such an agreement, however, are often plagued by “secret spendingâ€–a phenomenon that can threaten the financial health of the relationship, as well as put up barriers to overall communication.
- In a recent survey of 327 Americans, commissioned by CESI Debt Solutions, a nonprofit agency dedicated to debt-free living, 73% of married couples said they believe spending more than $100 without telling your spouse is unacceptable. Nevertheless, 80% of those polled admitted that they spend money their spouse doesn’t know about.
- Obviously, American couples need to do a better job of communicating about finances. That’s why the four questions above are by no means comprehensive. Rather, use them as a good way to jump start what hopefully will become a lifetime of positive communication and healthy dialogue about money matters.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox is a weekly money and finance columnist for BlackEnterprise.com and founder of the free financial advice blog, AskTheMoneyCoach.com. Follow her on Twitter @themoneycoach and see her column every Tuesday on BlackEnterprise.com.