Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
As a fairly newly wed (2 and a half years now) I can honestly say that the idea of shared accounts always freaked me out. In part because of the horror stories I had imagined in my head. And heard happening to other people. To begin with money is a tricky topic. Add in knowing how and when your partner spends money can add even more drama, let alone stress that you just do not need or want. Personally I have always believed that everyone should have their own accounts. Especially if said people both have jobs etc. But after almost 7 years of dating and two years of marriage with an almost one year old. I al starting to rethink this idea.
Whilst I still think that accounts should be kept separate when you are just dating. I do think that with marriage and all that comes with it (owning property, having children etc). Then it’s time to rethink this idea. If you and your partner are not married and still have the above mentioned shared responsibilities then perhaps some sort of agreement should be made. Whilst marriage is no guarantee that someone will run off with all the money. In the case of my marriage, we have a prenuptial agreement that protects us both. However this does not mean that my husband and I only have one account that we share. Instead we have our own separate accounts, as well as a shared account that we use for paying off our mortgage and taking care of our daughter.
As I am also the primary care giver to our daughter. This has meant that I have had to take a pay cut of sorts so that I can be a mother and wife. In this case the shared account also adds as a top up for myself when ever my personal account runs low or I need to buy things for the family and do not have the money in my personal account. It may seem complicated but it really is not. Partly because my husband and I have honest and frank discussions about what we want, what we expect and how we hope to grow our personal and shared wealth. This takes away the guilt that may come when I splurge on something out of my personal income budget but that can easily be covered by our shared account. Because as often as we talk finances. We also talk about things we are coveting and where we are financially.
In the interest of transparency I also have to note that it was not always this way. In part because neither one of us wanted to talk about money. And the idea of getting into fights often meant we just ignored the issue altogether. But with a baby and mortgages to pay. This is no longer possible or healthy. Nowadays we sit and chat about money like we do everything else. Even our Christmas gifts have a budget that we discuss.
But ultimately irregardless of my personal experience. It is important to set the rules and guidelines for your relationship early on. Even if you never foresee sharing an account. getting to a point where you and your partner can talk about such things is important. Because if I have learnt one thing, it is that life changes pretty quickly. And the more you plan ahead for any changes. The better not just for you but for your relationship too.
So ladies, I want to know, would you share an account with your significant other? If so under which circumstances? And if you already do how is it going?