Should women have their own money?

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!

 

 

11 thoughts on “Should women have their own money?

  1. Amy says:

    Hot topic! My wife and I are still using separate accounts because it’s nice to have an account that the other person can’t look in when you want to buy them a gift, or even just buy yourself something without having to explain yourself. We both have built trust in each other over the years and we know that we treat money with the same amount of respect and responsibility, so it’s not like we need to share our account in order to keep each other accountable. However, I recently drained my savings to pay down my student loan, and my wife has “our” savings in her name. She has the account that contains all of our wedding gift money. I do sometimes wonder if I’d ever get to see half of that if we ever got divorced on messy terms…. But we haven’t been worried enough about that kind of thing to go into the bank and add each other to our accounts… I agree that it is important for women, or for the lower-income partner, to have some degree of financial protection, and I don’t have that right now 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      Thank you for sharing that will me. Initially my husband and I linked our accounts so that I could transfer money to his accounts and he could transfer money to mine. He is the larger earner (he doubles my salary) but would like me to handle the finances because he spends a lot and doesn’t like doing the bills.

      Like

  2. Caitlin says:

    We do “Yours-Mine-Ours” and I HIGHLY recommend it. We each get our paycheck deposited into our own checking account. Then we each transfer a predetermined amount into a joint checking account. The joint account covers all joint expenses (groceries, bills, cell phones, mortgage), and a few things like dinners out, etc. The amount we put into joint is determined by the total cost of monthly expenses divided between us. The one of us who is making more in salary contributes proportionally more to the joint account. The remainder from our own paychecks is our own to keep/save however we like. We use it for gifts for each other or our own family members, coffee, lunch, or to take each other on dates. It’s also used for our own clothes, gym memberships, etc. My wife spends a lot on triathlon and equipment, but I never have to worry about it, because it’s her money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      This is helpful and similar to how we used to do it. Now we are doing the inverse- it all goes in one pot and a small predetermined amount goes to each of our individual accounts. That way it reigns in our spending and allocates more to savings. For most of our marriage, my husband has paid a small fortune to Starbucks ($300-400 per month- no joke!). Thank you for sharing your method.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mommylion says:

    We are a little different and have all of our money in one joint account. We put rules in place where if one of us wants to spend over a certain threshold we have to ask the other person. My husband takes care of paying all the bills and while I was reluctant to give up control at first it really is so much easier and has done a lot for our marriage to build trust and not argue about money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      Its SO hard for me to think about not having my own account. We are still transitioning into one account but we have to change direct deposit allocations, auto payments, etc… Its a lot. I like the idea of having to agree/talk to one another about purchases. I am sure it will be trial and error until we find what works for both of us.

      Like

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