Why Separate Accounts Helped Keep Us Together

My husband and I doubled down on the ‘dutch’ 25 years ago, and I never looked back.

  • By Jules Olbermann
  • June 27, 2013


Since that account closed, over 25 years ago, we have never opened another one together and probably never will.  Money is a funny thing, and discussing it with the people you love (and even the ones you don’t) can cause stress, resentment and plenty of bad feelings. My husband has definitely learned from his financial mistakes over the years. We both have. I don't want another joint account mostly because I don't want to have to justify how I spend (or save) my own money. For the most part I make more, but I also pay for more (usually), and the rest of my share I want to have control over.

But even though we keep our money separate, we have learned to be equal partners in household expenses, vacations and insurance. When I have more money to share, I contribute more. When he has more money to share, he contributes more. In the end, it evens out.

One of the biggest lessons I've discovered over the years is that nothing takes the place of good communication and honesty. No matter how uncomfortable or anxiety-ridden those conversations may be, talking through your expectations and needs clearly and openly with your better half is important.  And this applies no matter what your situation may be. 

The "save all your money" advice I was given when I was younger was not particularly helpful for all the minefields I would pass through in life, so I had to make my own mistakes and learn from them. Now I never ask my husband's permission to spend my money. Ever. I work hard for it and if I feel like I can afford it (relative to all our other expenses) then I spend it. Is that what I would suggest to every couple? Probably not. But when you share your life with someone, it really is for better or worse, and accepting that you have the power to make it better by choosing what works for you can make all the difference.

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