He says, she says… on marital finances

You share a bed, you share a mortgage, but do you share a bank account? Married columnists Dave and Lisa dish on joint accounts and secret shopping sprees

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One pot or two?

Lisa: It wasn’t really a big decision to open up a joint account. It certainly makes organizing finances a lot easier.
Dave: I agree. That said, there was a period of a month or so afterwards where my paycheque was going into the joint account, but yours was still being deposited into your own account. I was perpetually broke, even as H&M bags kept creeping into the house. Funny that.

Majority shareholders

D: I make the most money, but it’s something I rarely think about. Of course, if we kept our finances separate, the disparity would be that much more apparent.
L: And I think it would cause disagreements; this way, finances don’t really enter into the equation, unless it’s a big purchase. Also, if we had separate accounts I’d always be “borrowing” money from you.

Financial segregation

L: I think it’s really important to at least have your own credit card. How else to buy presents?
D: I only recently closed my personal bank account. It was more trouble than it was worth, trying to maintain a minimum balance. You still have one though, don’t you? How much is in that thing anyway?
L: I’ll never tell.

Cooking the books

L: I’m sorry, but I feel better handling the bills myself.
D: I feel better that you’re handling the bills, too. There have been studies that show women are more fastidious with bills than men are. I believe it, if only because I prefer the “what I can’t see can’t hurt me” method of accounting.

Exposing your weakness

L: Just so you know, unlike those crazy wives you see on Oprah, I’m not secretly buying things and stashing them in my closet. Sometimes I even stop and question whether you’d really want me to spend your hard-earned salary on my 38th handbag.
D: You do shop more frequently than I do (I happen to know that during lunch, the mall’s siren song is too irresistible), but I probably spend more since my weakness is at Best Buy. Unless we found ourselves in dire financial straits, I think it would be a mistake to actually compare receipts. Them’s fighting slips.

Devil’s advocates

D: A lot of couples do keep the separate bank accounts, separate finances. Do you think that’s healthy?
L: I think it’s up to the couple. But I might argue that it says something about a relationship, and the personalities in it. Apparently we’re both very trusting… and too lazy to do the math.
D: I guess that I’d hope trust didn’t enter the equation. I think people keep separate finances for the same reason some couples take separate vacations – freedom. But you’re right: we’re too lazy for that.

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