A recent report by Bank of America showed that while 13 percent of baby boomer couples maintain separate finances, 28 percent of millennials keep their money separate.
For some couples, maintaining separate bank accounts, credit cards and budgets is simply a matter of convenience. For others, it can provide a greater sense of personal security and harmony in their marriage.
That seems to be especially true for women. Here’s why these six married women bucked tradition and maintain separate finances from their spouses:
1. Because my partner’s been burned in the past.
“My partner and I have been together for eight years. I send half of all the bill money to her account every month. One reason we have done this is due to her past relationship, where finances were combined and upon separation, she had to eventually file for bankruptcy due to her previous spouse getting a car in her name. She suffers from anxiety, and one of her triggers is finances. By us keeping them separate, she can ensure all the household bills are paid and everything is in good standing. It has worked, and we never have arguments over finances. Even though our finances are separate, we don’t worry about who pays for what or how the money is spent.” ― Raigan
2. Because it’s easier.
“Pure laziness. We have bills each person is responsible for and it’s easier for us to keep it all how we are used to than to do math 😂” ― Jessica
3. Because we enjoy our independence.
“My husband and I have been married for 16 years. We started with a joint account because we thought that’s what you’re supposed to do, and I was not working anyway. About six years in, we got separate accounts at two totally different banks. If I remember correctly, it was because we kept spending everything and were living paycheck-to-paycheck.
We split the bills. Not like ‘the electric bill is $100, so you pay $50.’ That’s ridiculous. But I’ll pay all the utilities, and he pays the rent. I pay my own car payment, phone bill and credit cards, and he pays his own and our car insurance. He pays more in bills than I do just because he makes more than I do. I love being able to spend what I want without having to explain. ‘What the hell did you spend $300 on in Target?!!’ Nope! I do not go through that.
As a woman, I think it is important to have and manage your own money and have something put away in savings ― just in case!” ― Stef
4. Because we trust each other.
“We had both been married before when we got married 33 years ago, and decided that it was just easier to keep things separate. He’s a CPA, I’m a book publisher and trainer. He has always made more money than I, but my finances have grown over the years with job changes.
We both have shared personal and business accounts, but have never written a check on either account. When we owned a home, he took care of the mortgage, I took care of the utilities and food. He took care of the big ticket items and medical, I took care of all the kid stuff. He takes care of our investments and keeps me informed.
Over the years, we’ve just gone with the flow depending upon the needs of the time as to who is paying for what. His hobby is betting on the horses and I’ve never asked how much he won or lost because I trust him. I spend money on theater tickets, stuff for the kids or grandkids or clothes. He’s never asked me how much I’ve spent. It took us a while to get it all figured out, but I believe the key is flexibility and trust. It’s worked for us.” ― Glenda
5. Because we have different money management styles.
“Love it. I balance a budget and pay most of the bills, track shared expenses, etc. At the end of the month, I balance/reconcile and Venmo request the money he owes me for the shared expenses, which include utilities, mortgage, cars, groceries, investments, etc. We both manage our own personal non-shared expenses. We do discuss goals for investments that would ultimately have a shared responsibility.
This way, my OCD budgeting doesn’t impact his lower-key approach ― we both prioritize important shared funds but maintain independence. We have a ‘spend your own money on whatever you want’ mentality with no judgment and no permission-seeking.” ― Kelly
6. Because my ex put us in debt.
“When I was married, my husband and I shared a checking account. He was in school and earning very little. On my teacher’s salary, I was paying two car payments, a house payment ― all of it. His meager student loan was paying for rock climbing equipment, Starbucks coffees and daily lunches out while he threw away the lunch I made every day. The last year before we split, he was finally making $20,000. But we were so deep in debt, we had agreed that we would work to pay off credit cards. Unfortunately, his lifestyle was not having it. Fun times.
My current partner pays his bills and I pay mine. I never ask him where he is spending his money, and he never asks me. As long as the bills are paid, we are good. If he is running short, I get the utility bills. If I am running short, he will pick up the groceries. I will NEVER share a bank account again.” ― Meg
Last names were withheld to protect respondents’ privacy and the privacy of their families. Responses have been edited or condensed for clarity.