What are your thoughts on joint bank accounts?

BigFellow

Sparrow
What are your thoughts on sharing a joint bank account with your wife?


It seems that many conservative Christian men with happy marriages say that it’s best to live as one unit and that you shouldn’t be living with your property separately partitioned. That is not the way to have a successful and happy marriage. It should be “our” bank account. Mark Driscoll talks about this. If you don’t trust your wife and are constantly trying to keep property separate from her, then the marriage isn’t likely to succeed. If the property isn’t joined, the couple isn’t likely to stay joined.


On the other hand, the Red Pill community seems to understand a woman’s true nature. They say women like being subjugated. Women really can’t be trusted with money. I have heard so many horror stories about men getting screwed over by divorce courts. If you have a marriage license and she wants to divorce you, and you have a separate bank account, she will eventually be able to get to your bank account even if it’s separate, but it will take a while; she won’t be able to access it immediately, and will have more trouble paying a divorce lawyer up front. If the wife has access to your bank account, she can just take a bunch of money and then just run off with the kids. So it can accelerate a divorce. If you don’t have a marriage license, and you have sole access to your bank account, and you’re in a state that doesn’t recognize common law marriage or palimony, then the man is in an even better position. She won’t be able to touch your bank account. I am thinking that it may be better to just give your wife an allowance instead of sharing the bank account. An allowance could allow her to buy the items she needs, like groceries, household items, women’s clothing, kids’ items, etc… Denying your wife access to your bank account doesn’t mean you don’t love her; that is like saying you don’t love your 9-year-old child because you won’t let your child access your bank account. There are so many temptations and inducements for women offered by our legal system and our culture, and so much dishonesty or silence about that system, that in today’s world it may be wiser to just keep a separate bank account. It may be better to just let her know that you're in charge, you're the boss, and you'll make sure she's taken care of.


Any thoughts?
 

JayR

Woodpecker
I see no advantage to joint accounts. There are disadvantages though -- if one person screws up with the finances, both account holders' credit reports get dinged. If the relationship goes south, joint accounts can be a huge headache, as you suggest.

Been married almost 20 years and have never had a joint bank account, but we consider the money in both accounts "our money." If money needs to be moved between accounts -- which happens sometimes -- it's easy enough to do freely and quickly. Joint accounts are a trap.
 
For starters, any man should explain to his potential wife both viewpoints that you have outlined in the OP.

See what her take on the matter is, and then ask himself 'does that agree with my take on the matter?'

Of course, the question he must first ask himself is, 'do I have the correct take on the matter to begin with?'.

'Distrustful vs Prudent?' - how should that be answered?

I would offer this suggestion of 'compromise':

One family bank account, only accessible by the husband. Your wife would have to ask/be given the money, in cash, for every household expenditure (unless, for example, you want to do all the grocery shopping yourself), receipts being provided afterwards.

However, even a husband that is in 100% control of all the finances should respect his wife enough to let her see the bank-accounts and family budget-ledgers each month/paycheck, and encourage her feedback on these matters.

Philippians 2:4
 
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redbeard

Hummingbird
Moderator
I am in favor of joint bank accounts. The main reason is that if you expect your wife to give herself wholly to you, you must reciprocate. Trust is a two-way street, and (surprise surprise) marriage means you give up some of your independence. Miss me with the silly "red pill" talk, most of which comes from unmarried men (who are not of the faith).

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it."
Ephesians 5:25

How can you sacrifice yourself to your wife like Christ did for us...if you won't even share your checking account with her?

The other benefit of joint bank accounts is that it's easy. From a strictly financial standpoint, you don't gain anything by splitting them in two. But, you do get more headaches from managing two accounts instead of one...transferring money...on and on. One account is easy.

That being said I understand the downsides, but they really only boil down to two:

#1 - Divorce. Split accounts might provide some protection if you get divorced, but at the same time...it's possible the divorce courts go to discovery and find out how much money you have. Who knows what'll happen? In that case, you kind of shot yourself in the foot by not trusting her. Maybe if you had joint accounts, you'd still be together.

If you're going into your marriage and worried about protecting yourself from divorce, it's possible you're going into it with the wrong intentions or the wrong person. Instead, find yourself a woman who truly understands the depravity of divorce, and these worries will disappear.

#2 - Overspending. This is a much more reasonable concern, because women like to spend money. However there are a few ways you can prevent this:

-Budgeting software like YNAB, which tracks every expense down to the dollar. There's no way for her to overspend because everything is in the budget.
-No credit cards. It's much harder to spend on debit than credit. You can even opt to paying only with cash as mentioned previously.

Between these two you should be fine. And again, if you're worried about your spouse's spending habits...address that before you get married.
 

Athanasius

Kingfisher
Wife and I have had a joint account for 20 years. It's easier and has presented no problems, and has encouraged openness on what both parties is spending. It's not a factor because she's always been responsible with money. The others above provide plausible options as well.

Single men: On the What I Want from a Woman sheet, make sure you put "trustworthy w/finances" on there. Little will lead to trouble faster than someone who spends irresponsibly.
 
My significant other wants a joint bank account (though she does have one of my debit cards to my main American bank account). But despite me asking her to always tell me first, before she makes a large out of the ordinary expenditure, she often does not. This has made me very angry and frustrated, at times.
 
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Max Roscoe

Woodpecker
Maybe it's ok for some men to have joint accounts, but I like being the provider. I suppose if I was married I would consider everything of mine to also be available to my wife. But I don't think opening 100% of your financial holdings to a wife is a good idea, nor is it necessary to have a healthy marriage.

In a past era, I think a joint account where my stay at home wife could access my savings by writing a check to purchase things our household needed would be fine. Women used to study home economics in high school, and they were taught to cook, clip coupons, mend clothing, etc. If I met a unicorn like that who time travelled from the past then great, but it seems most millennials cannot even complete an education without the use of debt financing and are going to be poor stewards of money, and lack basic economic understanding. There are many risks to giving your wife full access to your money.

The divorce rate is 60%. It's even more risky if you are wise with money. Imagine a wife is already having thoughts of divorce, and then she discovers her husband has a six figure balance saved up. Consider that divorce didn't even exist until the 1800s, and I'm not sure that divorce is biblically sound, and certainly the current system of "wife can cheat on you and leave you because her feelings change, and you must give her half of your life savings that you intended to be used for starting a family, and also pay her a portion of her income until she finds another husband" creates a scenario so different from what marriage always meant, that we are playing under different rules today.

Money is a worldly matter. From a religious perspective, we render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

A woman in general is going to be a worse steward of my money than I am. Yes, she should be allowed to even have some frivolous indulgences from time to time, assuming I can afford to indulge her. But do not harm your family by giving other parties access to the family's nest egg. I would not give my children access to my primary bank account either, even though I think they deserve an allowance and ability to buy things they want.

Husbands are expected to provide for their wives. This was always a social and cultural expectation of European societies, and of course a religious one as well. The concept of dowry was a historical example of this, practiced in most societies, where a young man was given a sum of money by the bride's family, with the instruction that the bride was now under his care, and he was responsible for her.

Husbands and wives are unequal. They are two different parts that create a greater whole. They have different responsibilities. If the husband is the breadwinner and provider, then he should ensure the wife's financial needs are taken care of. But she doesn't need unfettered access to my money any more than my kids do, even though I am also obligated to provide for them. I never knew exactly what my father's bank balance was. But we were always open about money and he provided whatever I needed.

Yes, husbands are commanded to love their wives. Are you not able to love her without telling her your bank account balance? I also love my mother but I don't share my investment choices with her. And I would provide for my mother or spouse no matter the cost. In fact, I'm probably better able to provide for a wife if she doesn't know the exact state of all my assets, as any excess savings she would quickly find a reason to spend.

Now sure, it is possible to find a wife who is a great steward of money. And some guys are terrible at it and the wife would actually help you be more financially stable. But in general, I think it's unnecessary at least and very dangerous at worst.

Personally, I would make the offer that I am going to provide you with a happy home, giving you food, shelter, and clothing. We will take trips together, dine out, have entertainment. I am providing all of her needs. For her *wants* she can have an allowance and/or money from a job if she is working. Is that unfair?
 
I personally give an allowance to my wife every month , for "common expanses" ( for kids etc).
She has her own bank account , and i have my own. At times she gets a bit of money from various freelance works , then she can do what she wants with it.
A joint account in my opinion is totally wrong.
 

kel

Pelican
Seems risky to me, a risk with no upside and all downside. I'd keep an account for day-to-day expenses that both have access to, but keep the majority of your savings and investments elsewhere.
 

NoMoreTO

Pelican
I see no advantage to joint accounts. There are disadvantages though -- if one person screws up with the finances, both account holders' credit reports get dinged. If the relationship goes south, joint accounts can be a huge headache, as you suggest.

Been married almost 20 years and have never had a joint bank account, but we consider the money in both accounts "our money." If money needs to be moved between accounts -- which happens sometimes -- it's easy enough to do freely and quickly. Joint accounts are a trap.
A couple of married friends (well one married, one divorced) were actually talking about this recently. When you have seperate accounts and you want to buy something or pay a bill there is always this "oh well who should be paying for this". There is a tug of war between whose money gets spent.

Lets say you buy a truck, or go golfing, you might hear that it should come out of your account and not hers. Even with grocery, utility bills, mortgage bills, you have to decide who will pay for what items and out of what account but for what purpose? You both live in the same house and eat food together.

Word of Warning: I worked in collections a long time ago and the joint account, joint line of credits always get cleaned out before a divorce. If your ex takes 50K out of a joint LOC, you're still on the hook for it. If she walks away from the payment, you either pay or wreck your credit rating.
 
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LINUX

Ostrich
Gold Member
Easiest way is to marry a woman you trust and have a joint checking, try not to marry someone with a child from a previous marriage, and try not to get divorced , and make sure you give your child financial power of attorney over the both of you if you become incapacitated due to mental decline. That would be the perfect scenario.

Don't spend 50+ years asking who's going to pay for what and don't ever put yourself in the position of her saying" I'll use my money to buy xxx or give xxx an amount of $xxxx. It's not difficult.

There are also a lot of misconceptions that men have regarding separate accounts which shows they may not fully understand the laws in their state. For most states, if you have an account before you are married, you need to never touch it again, put it in an account and leave it alone forever. Once you put money in it again after marriage, it's commingled.

As far as investments and properties, any increase in value since the time of your marriage is 50% hers. It doesn't matter if you used her money or not, nor does it matter if she works a full time job or only sweeps the floor at home nor does it matter if you owned it before you were married.

You also need to understand the difference between tenancy in common vs joint tenancy on property ownership, as well having a pre or post-nuptial agreement regarding elective share if you have different people you want to leave your money to at the time of your death. Also most divorces require full financial disclosure and trying to hide money can get you up the creek without a paddle.

Wills aren't as great as most people think and are highly litigated documents which is why most people go with a pour over will leading into a revocable trust if they have a decent amount of money, want to avoid elective shares, and have multiple beneficiaries and or issues that could arise.

TLDR: It's complicated and different for every state. Don't take advice from an internet forum. If you want the easy road, do not marry a woman with a child from another marriage unless you plan on loving that child as your own, otherwise, start planning now to protect your finances because in 30 years, it will turn into a war, especially as you get older, angrier and more aware of people wanting to take what's yours. Money changes people.

Best advice any lawyer will give you is to " Never leave it up to the judge."
 
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Biggest piece of financial advice for married (or about to be married couples)...

Once a week financial conversation together.

Any problems will get sorted out on a regular basis and you both stay on the same page. You'll also be able to lead the financial decision-making.

My wife and I have had joint accounts for our 20 year marriage. Over time, I've collected a few additional accounts in my name only, related to business and investing. She doesn't want to be on those, because she doesn't want to deal with those aspects of our life. It would be a deal breaker for me if she wanted her own accounts or wouldn't have that once weekly conversation.
 

JayR

Woodpecker
A couple of married friends (well one married, one divorced) were actually talking about this recently. When you have seperate accounts and you want to buy something or pay a bill there is always this "oh well who should be paying for this". There is a tug of war between whose money gets spent.
That's odd. I've never had such a debate with my wife. When you agree that all funds are communal, there's no need to bicker over who is paying for what. Bills are non-discretionary -- they need to be paid and there's no need to discuss them. In my house, I pay all the utilities, she pays for the groceries. When either one of us wants to make a large discretionary purchase -- say anything over $500 -- we naturally discuss it first.

For a few months, wife was out of work. So, she ended up being short each month when it came time to pay her credit card. So, she tells me in advance how much she needs, and I electronically zip the funds over to her. It's not an "allowance," because the bulk of her expenses are groceries or other normal household expenses.

I guess it is a matter of trust. One poster upthread said that if you don't trust your wife enough to have a joint account, perhaps you shouldn't be married. My take is that if you don't trust your wife enough to manage her own accounts and not spend frivolously, maybe you shouldn't be married.
 
I can't contribute much since I'm not married, but:

I come from divorced parents, and money was always a trouble among them. My mother, although a devout Christian, loving mother, and amazing on all accounts, liked to overspend on frivolous things and always believed salespeople. My father did have a joint account with her, but always took out a fraction of his income and placed it in secret accounts at different banks. During their divorce, he was able to secure large sums of money away from the courts, and while my mother wasn't left with much (mid 50s, no valuable experience or education), the money she was given she didn't spend wisely.

It's a tough topic to wrestle with, since although I understand the red-pill mindset of "Aha! If your father handled ALL of the finances, then none of this would have been a problem," —this feels like an arrogant approach.

My father was the one who filed for divorce after cheating on my mother for a couple of years, maybe more. For these red-pilled men, I think it's important to understand that you are not as clever, nor as faithful as you think you are. It's very easy to think that you will be the uber-faithful and intelligent, but you haven't dealt with temptation years into marriage. You may also suffer from poor financial decision making as well; my father suffered losing huge amounts of money thinking he could outsmart the stock market. I think he suffered from that sort of hubris and also paid the price for it.

But, what happens if you marry a woman that you later realize would be a terrible mother for your future children? "Just marry a woman that won't be dumb/unfaithful," while the best approach before the marriage occurs, isn't an option if the you already married someone who is a nightmare. I understand men who don't have children yet realizing that if they want to secure a proper family and raise good children, they may need to leave the woman they've been married to for a small number of years, and part of securing a good future for future children is ensuring wealth isn't lost of an ex-stepmom that has no relation to them.

However, when children enter the picture, that's where I draw the line in the sand. When a soul is brought into this world, both parent's obligation are now focused to their children first, and then their marriage second (as it helps facilitate raising children), and then themselves third. Children are real "skin in the game," and you can't go back, so I think every measure of bringing trust into the relationship is a good one, and that includes joint banking. If the mother is truly that bad with spending, then consult her about it first, and then start considering other approaches, but underhanded tactics should be avoided unless the mother does not realize, or isn't willing to admit she's actively harming the children and household with her materialistic obsessions.

TL;DR: When kids come around, they must come first. No games, no secrets, make a joint account with the wife and address any problems moving forward.
 
I can't contribute much since I'm not married, but:

I come from divorced parents, and money was always a trouble among them. My mother, although a devout Christian, loving mother, and amazing on all accounts, liked to overspend on frivolous things and always believed salespeople. My father did have a joint account with her, but always took out a fraction of his income and placed it in secret accounts at different banks. During their divorce, he was able to secure large sums of money away from the courts, and while my mother wasn't left with much (mid 50s, no valuable experience or education), the money she was given she didn't spend wisely.

It's a tough topic to wrestle with, since although I understand the red-pill mindset of "Aha! If your father handled ALL of the finances, then none of this would have been a problem," —this feels like an arrogant approach.

My father was the one who filed for divorce after cheating on my mother for a couple of years, maybe more. For these red-pilled men, I think it's important to understand that you are not as clever, nor as faithful as you think you are. It's very easy to think that you will be the uber-faithful and intelligent, but you haven't dealt with temptation years into marriage. You may also suffer from poor financial decision making as well; my father suffered losing huge amounts of money thinking he could outsmart the stock market. I think he suffered from that sort of hubris and also paid the price for it.

But, what happens if you marry a woman that you later realize would be a terrible mother for your future children? "Just marry a woman that won't be dumb/unfaithful," while the best approach before the marriage occurs, isn't an option if the you already married someone who is a nightmare. I understand men who don't have children yet realizing that if they want to secure a proper family and raise good children, they may need to leave the woman they've been married to for a small number of years, and part of securing a good future for future children is ensuring wealth isn't lost of an ex-stepmom that has no relation to them.

However, when children enter the picture, that's where I draw the line in the sand. When a soul is brought into this world, both parent's obligation are now focused to their children first, and then their marriage second (as it helps facilitate raising children), and then themselves third. Children are real "skin in the game," and you can't go back, so I think every measure of bringing trust into the relationship is a good one, and that includes joint banking. If the mother is truly that bad with spending, then consult her about it first, and then start considering other approaches, but underhanded tactics should be avoided unless the mother does not realize, or isn't willing to admit she's actively harming the children and household with her materialistic obsessions.

TL;DR: When kids come around, they must come first. No games, no secrets, make a joint account with the wife and address any problems moving forward.
Your post could have its own thread. Yes, sometimes men are the home breakers, not the women. And back in the day, some couples would stay together for the sake of the children, and if things were not too emotionally toxic, that could work for the kids. But now we have much more of a "me, me, me!" culture, and due to imbalances in the divorce laws, when many women feel bored, horny for others, wanting a richer mate, etc., they just hit the divorce button for expansive cash and prizes. We do not live in an age of self-sacrifice...

What floors me, is when a man marries a woman who is a definite bad fit for him. But instead of divorcing after having just one kid together, they have several other kids, and so when a divorce happens later on, now three or four kids gets their hearts broken! Ugh... I see this happen over and over again.

I am with a woman with four daughters. And so do my stepdaughters love and embrace me as their stepdad? LOL! No, not even close! I am the outsider, the intruder, who is seen as an obstacle to their mother reuniting with their cheating, lying irresponsible scumbag father, who is never around. But they don't care about logical reasons to understand the situation. They just know their biological father is not there, and it drives them crazy with hurt and frustration!
 

Waverer

Sparrow
I really do think radically different attitudes to thrift and spending is a recipe for an unhappy marriage. CrunchyEater says you can't always avoid it before marrying but you can do your best.
 
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