Fifty years ago, I'm guessing my mom would have sat me down the night before my wedding to give me the old birds and the bees talk. But since I waited until my late twenties to tie the knot, she probably sensed that ship had already sailed. In place of a sex chat, she made sure to provide advice on something I believe she places an even greater importance on in marriage: money. Now, my mom and dad separated for a good 10 years before reuniting, but never divorced, and this is important to note because, unlike some women who find themselves trapped because of financial dependence on a spouse, this wasn't her experience. I listened carefully to her advice. And then I chose to completely ignore it when I got married -- a decision I don't regret for a second.
My mom asked if I was planning on sharing a bank account with my husband. Of course, I said, and didn't bother to add that we had opened a joint checking account when we moved in together three years prior to our wedding. She advised me to pay our monthly bills from the same checking account -- but to keep a savings account totally separate from my husband, even if it meant not telling him about it. If, God forbid, something should happen within our marriage one day, she told me, you never want to be left without a lifeline.
As part of the Baby Boom generation, my mom had heard plenty of stories from close friends who went through bitter, nasty divorces. Many of these women had stopped working to raise their children and found themselves completely reliant on their husbands to help them after their divorce. And, in her defense, even modern working women who are in very happy and stable marriages argue in favor of keeping a little of their own money on the side in order to prevent arguments about who spends how much over what.
I didn't feel like this would work in my own marriage. I trust my husband with my life, and I believe he feels the same way about me. I couldn't imagine breaking that trust by storing a nest of money on the side just in case. Even if he never found out about it, I would know. I also felt like I would be starting my marriage with the end already in mind.
I believe in being logical about most things, and I certainly don't think I'm immune to divorce. But I would be utterly hurt if I knew my husband had a source of income stashed some place while I was putting all of my money -- minus any spending money we allot ourselves monthly -- toward paying the mortgage, food bills, childcare expenses, etc. We're in this thing together, and learning how to co-manage money is a crucial part of learning how to grow together and become a stronger couple.
Do you or would you ever keep a separate savings account from your husband?
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