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Separate Financial Accounts from Your Spouse? It's Okay!

Separate Financial Accounts from Your Spouse? It's Okay!

March 27, 2023

It’s not uncommon for someone to come into my office and tell me they have kept their finances separate from their spouse or partner. However, what I’ve noticed is that sometimes people seem…well…embarrassed to admit it.

According to CNBC, “Forty-five percent of younger millennial couples ages 26 through 32 keep their money entirely separate, versus just 20% of Gen Xers and 14% of baby boomers who do the same.”

We all come to the financial table with our own “stuff.” Upbringing and differing beliefs about money are just two of the reasons why couples might choose to keep things separate. And the truth is, keeping your finances independent isn’t always a bad idea. In my financial planning practice, I have many clients who are married, yet only one or the other meets with me on a regular basis. These couples have simply decided to do their financial planning separately and this is perfectly fine. Don’t think you are weird or unusual if this scenario resonates with you. 

More Autonomy

Having separate accounts gives each party a sense of autonomy over their own finances. This can help set boundaries between partners and show respect for each other’s independence when it comes to decisions regarding finances. You may find that having separate accounts is easier than trying to manage all your money together in one account. Of course, there are also some situations when keeping everything in one account makes more sense—it just depends on what works best for you and your partner or spouse.

More Motivation

If you are striving for a certain goal, such as buying a house or paying off student loans, having a separate account can help you stay motivated by providing an extra layer of accountability. By monitoring your finances separately, tracking goals becomes much easier and more manageable. Plus, if you both agree to contribute to joint expenses through your individual accounts, it can help keep things organized and provide another level of motivation when it comes to achieving those goals.      


Planning Ahead for The Future

Since life is unpredictable, having separate financial accounts can also help prepare couples and spouses for the future. Having two separate incomes is always beneficial; it provides an extra layer of security in case of an emergency or illness where one partner needs time away from work without worrying about dipping into joint funds too much. It also helps protect assets in case something unexpected happens during the relationship (e.g., divorce). This can give both people peace of mind knowing that they have backup plans in place in case anything goes wrong down the line.


Pros of Keeping Separate Accounts

  • It allows each person in the relationship to maintain a sense of independence when it comes to finances.
  • Each person can make decisions based on what makes sense for them without having to worry about what their partner will think or whether they will agree.
  • It also gives each person an opportunity to have their own financial goals and plans while still being able to contribute towards joint expenses like rent or mortgage payments.
  • If something ever happens to one half of the couple, such as job loss or disability, having separate accounts ensures that both parties' financial security won't be affected by the other's situation.


Cons of Keeping Separate Accounts

  • It can make it more difficult for couples to track spending and plan for major expenses like vacations or home repairs.
  • If both people in the relationship have different approaches towards money (for example, one is a saver and one is a spender) then having separate accounts could lead to arguments about how much each person should be contributing towards shared expenses.
  • Having separate accounts may not provide any legal protection; if one party’s account were ever frozen due to fraud or other legal issues, the other party would still be responsible for any shared debts.

If you and your partner have separate accounts, it’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s probably going to become the norm in the future. What’s important is that you are getting the financial advice that fits your specific situation, whether that’s with or independent of your spouse.

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