with Amy Urquhart
I’m Amy and I’ve spent the last three years trying to strike that perfect balance between being a wife, mom and professional career woman. I’ve decided that I’ll never perfect the art of “having it all”, but this blog is a chronicle of my attempts to continue to do so. I’m a blogger (my personal blog about Canadian home life is Hearts into Home), gardener, college instructor, wife to Graham and mom to Nate. If you’re also a working mom who finds there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I hope you’ll enjoy this column!
Read her blog at Hearts into Home.
My husband and I have never merged our money. It doesn’t make sense for our blended family to also have blended finances, so in order to keep our assets and financial obligations and liabilities separate, we keep our financial accounts separate as well.
According to many marital and financial advisers, this is a recipe for disaster. “If you are keeping two separate accounts, then I seriously want you to reconsider the vows that you took with your spouse,” writes Erik Folgate at Money Crashers. “You stood up at the altar to show that you are dedicated to becoming one cohesive unit that functions together.”
But some financial experts have found that keeping separate accounts is becoming more common: people are marrying (or remarrying) later in life, they point out, and more women are outearning their husbands. And with credit scores having become so important, it makes sense for each spouse to build and maintain a credit record in his or her own name.
All I know is: It works for us.
Of course, money is still a source of stress — though we tend to worry about how the bills get paid, not who is paying them. But I think that there’s big a difference between having a separate account and having a secret one, and one doesn’t necessarily have to lead to the other.
Psychologist and couples coach Dr. Jan Hoistad says that every issue in a marriage is a partnering issue — including money problems. In her new book, Romance Rehab: 10 Steps to Rescue Your Relationship, she suggests that couples search for “win/win solutions” and working to resolve issues together instead of fighting over them. Looking over past receipts and tracking current and future expenses can help illuminate the bigger financial picture, she suggests.
As the breadwinner, it’s tempting for me to try to shield the rest of my family (including my spouse) from financial issues, but that does them a disservice in the long run — and causes resentment and confusion in the short term as well. You can’t really expect someone to ratchet back the spending if they don’t have a clear idea about why you need to save money, but I think that clear picture comes from communication, not a joint checking account.
How is money handled in your household?
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