Joint account


Ah, the question of the joint account. To have, or not to have?

It’s a subject that has been discussed over and over again, and one which couples must broach when heading towards marriage. But it looks like current newlyweds are generally content to stick with their personal bank accounts, according to a Sydney Morning Herald article.

In her book Generation Me, Jean Twenge notes that Gen Ys exhibit a sense of entitlement, narcissism, and a rejection of social conventions. It is not surprising then, that they would also tend towards keeping their finances separate, even in serious relationships. To me this reflects a culture which is focused on self and reluctant to share.

I realize that this is a choice that couples should make together, with their own situation in mind. But in most cases I feel that separate finances demonstrate a lack of trust, and potentially some selfishness. Marriage is all about the whole giving of self, of everything that you are and have. So if couples can share a home, surname, and children, then why not money too?

Sometimes it appears that there is too much nowadays to presupposes relationship failure. Couples cohabit before marriage, implanting in their heads an “I can leave at any time” mentality (studies show that cohabitation doubles the likelihood of divorce if they do marry). Pre-nuptial agreements are signed, just in case. And couples are keeping their funds to themselves.

I’m not married myself but it seems to me that sharing income (and/or tackling debt) with your spouse is about teamwork – it’s an opportunity to grow in unity and communication skills. As Adam Baker from Man Vs Debt sees it, the only negatives of joint finances are that he can’t make any selfish, out-of-budget purchases without his wife’s knowledge; and it would be tough if they got divorced. But since he really doesn’t want either, I think he made his point: that sharing finances is one element that make them a stronger couple.

What do you think about joint finances in marriage? Yay or nay?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.