Take a quick survey…
1. Do you know how much money is in your bank account right now?
2. Do you and your spouse share a checking account?
3. Do you consult your spouse before buying something for more than $50?
If you answered “No” to all of these questions, then you need marriage counseling. It is as simple as that. A marriage constitutes becoming one cohesive unit, and when two people do not share and consult with each other over the finances, things get ugly. The number one cause of divorce in North America is money problems. The problem is not having enough of it, it’s how to handle it.
There are two kinds of spouses. There is the spouse that takes absolutely no part in handling the finances (usually the man). He brings home the bacon, but does not have a clue where the bacon is going. The other kind of spouse is a control freak whom insists on having separate bank accounts so he or she can keep “his” money from the other spouse. Everything is split down the middle, and issues about money are not talked about. Both of these spouses are completely off base. First of all, a marriage is not a joint venture. The purpose is not to keep intimacy separate from other marital subjects. Your finances should be an intimate encounter! I know, it sounds creepy, but you and your spouse should be doing a budget together, sharing a bank account, and talking about big purchases together.
The problem always comes when either one person takes no part in their finances, or he or she grabs complete control over it. If you are engaged, I strongly encourage you both to talk about money. See what your views are on it. Chances are that one of you will be more free-spirited and the other will be a nerdy, penny-pincher. This is not as big of a problem as it sounds! It is common for a spender and a saver to come together and get married, because it is good for the both of you. One spouse teaches the other to save more, and the other spouse teaches the other to live a little! Finding this balance is the key to a successful and healthy marriage.
Remember…if you have two separate bank accounts, YOU ARE SETTING YOUR MARRIAGE UP FOR A DISASTER. All it says to me is that you do not trust each other, which is a much bigger issue than having two separate accounts. There are plenty of financial advisors out there that will recommend it, but are they candid about their personal lives? Now THAT is something to think about.