Why married couples should have separate bank accounts

The Financial Samurai Sam Dogen says: “Giving financial independence is a gift of love”.

A study has found that the top predictor of divorce is arguments about money.

According to the 2013 Kansas State University study of more than 4,500 couples, arguments about money was by far the top predictor of divorce.

According to a creditcards.com report, approximately 7.2 million Americans (4.4 million men and 2.8 million women) have hidden a bank or credit card account that their live-in spouse or partner doesn’t know about.

What’s going on?

For one, if you are constantly feeling financially constrained, there’s no surprise that your relationship will suffer.

Therefore, making enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle is important. Then getting 100 per cent on the same page when it comes to spending and reaching financial targets is the obvious next step.

A study has found couples argue about money the most.
A study has found couples argue about money the most.

But even rich people go through breakups all the time. So clearly there’s something else going on after a couple starts earning a comfortable income as the hidden bank and credit card accounts survey indicates.

Why every spouse should have their own bank account

One of the best gifts you can give your spouse is the gift of financial independence.

It's about supporting your spouse in making his or her own fortune in addition to contributing to the family fortune.

After all, financial independence by definition includes being financially independent from each other. Many of us remember the sheepish feeling of having to ask our parents for money growing up. The same feeling still exists as an adult without your own bank account.

Over the years, I’ve had over a hundred spouses tell me how they wish they had their own money to spend freely without fear of judgement from their spouses.

Husband of an heiress who lives in a mega mansion

“Sam, the reason why I spend so much time trying to become a published author is because I want to make my own mark. Right now, I’m seen by strangers as just some chump who married into money.

"No matter how much I tell people I married for love, nobody will fully believe me. I want my own identity. I want to eat what I kill. I want to have the freedom to buy what I want without drawing from a pool of money my father-in law left us when he died. I don’t deserve it.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a poor kid raised by a single mother would one day be asked to host political fundraisers at his home. I need to right the scale. “

Business school classmate who married a Google engineer back in 2007

“We live a comfortable life down in Menlo Park. Google’s stock is up more than 4X since we graduated back in 2006 and we feel financially secure.

"It’s wonderful being a full-time mother of two, but it’s exhausting as you’re now finding out. I had a great 10-year career working as a chemical engineer until we decided it was best for me to stay home.

"He made more and the family benefits at Google are amazing. But ever since I decided to be a SAHM in 2012, I miss the feeling of being able to make my own money and spend money on silly things without having to explain myself to my hubby.

"Although we are a team, I’m always second guessing whether I should spend on even the simplest of indulgences. For example, when my back and hands were starting to kill me from having to rock my youngest to sleep for an hour each evening, all I wanted was to get an hour long massage.

"But instead of charging $120 on our joint credit card where he checks each line item, I decided to just spend $20 in cash on a chair massage at the mall because I was afraid he’d complain that he could easily give me a massage for free! I love my husband’s frugal ways, but his massages don’t come close to what professional hands can do.”


Reader shares one of the reasons why she got a divorce

“We never made a lot of money, around $85,000 combined, or so I thought. He liked to handle the finances so I just let him do his thing. Then one day I found a pile of ATM withdrawal receipts stuffed in his coat pocket that totalled about $8,000 over the past three months.

"When I confronted him about the receipts, he admitted he had a separate account used for playing poker. He didn’t want me to worry, explaining to me poker was just a fun outlet.

"It turns out he was actually a great poker player and had over $50,000 in the account! I was pretty proud of his success in the beginning, but then I realised he wasn’t always going to play poker during the nights he said he was.

"I won’t get into the details, but I strongly believe that if your partner isn’t completely honest with you about money, he’s probably hiding something else as well.”

If you believe in happiness, then you believe in financial independence for both spouses. And if you believe in financial independence, then you should not be opposed to each spouse having a separate bank account along with contributing to a joint account.

The ultimate goal is to create household wealth together, while also ensuring each spouse never loses his or her freedom. Giving financial independence is a gift of love.