I was born in the late 1970’s, the “summer of sam”, the great NYC blackout, and the second wave of the women’s liberation movement. The divorce rate was climbing and women were leaving the stay-at-home role to earn her own money. I am born from a generation that once needed her father or husband’s approval to open a bank account but became mothers themselves in an era that demanded more opportunity than high heels and a job as a secretary, nurse or teacher.
New beliefs were born as women embraced a new vision for themselves. A vision of independence, self-reliance, equity, recognition, and worth.
U.S. News reports that, “At some point in their lives, 90 percent of women will be single, divorced or widowed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and therefore entirely responsible for their finances.”
I didn’t get married until I was 35. Up to that point, I spent my entire adult life financially independent. I have needed to leave relationships, and was glad I had my own money to support myself. The reality today is that most single people live with their significant other before marriage. Not always the best choice (talking to myself here!), but that’s what we do.
Here is a fiery article from Budgets are Sexy making the argument for finical independence for women.
“…the biggest risk is if you make way less than he does, or chose to stay at home with the kids, and then succumb to lifestyle inflation. I wish you all the best, but strongly suggest you prepare for the worst, because the odds are that over half of you will get divorced. And if you are financially dependent, it will get ugly.”
This article had a lot more to say, and is betting on extreme circumstances in some of the arguments: like this one:
“But what if you can’t leave an abusive relationship because you haven’t got enough to move out? What if he empties all the accounts and leaves you begging for alimony?” (budgetsaresexy.com)
But in fairness, these extremes circumstances are valid.
So as my husband and I newly put our finances together, I am thinking about this…hard. I just added him to my checking AND my savings account. He, in return, deposited the large sum of money left from the sale of his house into my, oops…I mean OUR family savings account. There is a large amount of TRUST going in both directions here. However, I am on the fence about opening my own personal savings also, as $100 per week (5%) goes into my savings each pay period, but is now being deposited into the “family savings”. This feels funny to me. My husband is keeping his personal checking so he can have “fun money” for coffee, etc… during the week. Should I have fun money too?
Maybe old habits die hard, but do I need my own personal savings account?
What do YOU do? I would love to hear your advice!