This is purely an opinion piece as it relates to couples embarking upon the unity of marriage.
I recall while working at the Post-Bulletin in Rochester, I went to lunch with a co-worker. Let’s just say his name was Jerry, because his name was Jerry Boland.
I had recently asked my girlfriend to marry me in September of 1999. Jerry asked me a question I hadn’t been asked before.
“So, will you and your bride-to-be have a joint checking account?”
I told him I hadn’t really thought about it. He went on to say, “Well, you are, aren’t you?”
So, it was apparently pretty important that I give him an answer, and that had better be “yes.”
Jerry shared with me how he’d been married for over 20 years, and he and his wife had a joint checking account from day one.
He said when you get married, you share everything. If you keep your finances separate, your unity isn’t complete. As he shared, you will experience financial challenges and success together, and the best way to show you’re in it together is to combine your finances.
I’m glad Jerry asked me that question on that particular day. I’ve never forgotten that conversation.
Over the years, I’ve seen many couples manage their finances with separate checking accounts. The husband pays the house payment, and the wife pays the utilities and other loans payments; or something along those lines. Maybe one spouse makes more money than the other, which means that individual feels they financially contribute more to the relationship; possibly a point of contention. Furthermore, a joint checking account establishes an important level of trust and communication in the marriage. There is no “his money” or “her money.” It becomes “our money.”
If both husband and wife dump all of their money into one joint checking account, all money spent from that account is the result of their combined efforts and decisions. For example, what if the wife is a saver and the husband likes to spend money? They need to be on the same page.
Marriage is a team effort. A joint checking account can establish equality in contributions and buying decisions.
The girlfriend I asked to marry me in September of 1999 has been my best friend and wife for more than 17 years, and we’ve had a joint checking account since day one.
I’m not saying this is for everyone, but I know it has worked for us.