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Separate Accounts: A Happier Relationship?

Can separate accounts save your relationship?

It's no wonder that money is one of the top two issues that couples fight about (the other being sex). Is it possible that separating your accounts could lead to more harmony at home? There is no rule that says you have to combine all of your money when you get married.

There are a couple of options when considering separate accounts. One is to have completely separate accounts. That way each person is responsible for their own account. You can divide expenses based on each person's income. Or you can just split all the bills right down the middle (this can be much more time-consuming). Another option is to have a joint account for household expenses and separate accounts for other expenses. You can still keep your partner's name on your individual accounts so he or she has access to the funds in the event of an emergency.

When deciding whether or not to have separate accounts, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you continually arguing about joint account expenses?
  • Have you and/or your partner bounced checks?
  • Do you and/or your partner continually forget to record withdrawals from your joint account?
  • Do you or your partner have poor credit? (Note that when applying for joint credit cards and joint loans, both partners' credit is reviewed.)
  • Are you in a relationship that is not legally binding? (Marriage, common-law marriage, and civil unions are legally binding relationships. Check your state laws regarding the status of common-law marriage and civil unions.)

Some couples may feel that keeping separate accounts decreases their feelings of "togetherness", but consider that keeping your accounts separate may actually increase your ability to stay together happily. And the less you argue about money, the closer you will feel to your partner.

Stephanie Sarkis PhD is the author of ADD and Your Money: A Guide to Personal Finance for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Copyright 2011 Sarkis Media LLC

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