By: Katelyn Stiver
My husband and I have been together for more than seven years (and married for just a little more than two years). We’ve lived together for about half the time we’ve been together and during that time, talk of sharing a bank account has come up a handful of times, especially after we were engaged.
We’re both financially responsible – while he’s more of a saver than I am, we both understand the importance of paying bills on time, not living above our means and saving for our future. But at the end of every conversation, we always decide that it’s in our best interest to not share a bank account.
In our minds, it will put our relationship at more of a risk than the convenience of being able to pay bills from the same place. Fighting about money is one of the biggest stressors in a relationship – so why fix something that isn’t broken?
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Now, we don’t have kids, and maybe that will change things, but we will never completely share our money and here’s why: I never want to financially dependent on another person.
My parents always taught me to be financially independent because as a woman, not having financial independence can mean the difference between staying in a bad situation and living the life you want.
“No matter what you decide about whether to merge your finances or not – always have an account that’s only yours,” my mom always said. She wasn’t saying not to trust my husband or to be selfish with my money, but to always make sure that I had options if I needed them.
There’s an article from a while back that made it's way around the internet called “The Story of The F*ck Off Fund.” It’s a “choose your own adventure” scenario that shows the all too common choice women need to make when it comes to their finances after they graduate and get their first job. Do you spend your money for the clothes and trips and risk not being able to leave a bad situation? Or do you make sacrifices in the beginning so that you can continue to have choices?
[Related: How to Stop Losing Sleep Over Money Worries]
Now, I trust my husband completely – I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t. But who knows what could happen. One day he could no longer be in my life and what would I do then if I don’t know how to take care of myself financially? And at the end of the day, I was able to make the choice to marry or not marry him because I chose to be financially independent from a very young age.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t share a bank account with your significant other – that’s just a choice that I’ve made based on many different factors. But as women, we do need to take charge of our financial health and make sure we’re making smart choices from the start as well as teaching the next generation of women how to be financially independent.
This article originally appeared on www.sheinthecle.com.
Katelyn Stiver is a strategic marketer at a non-profit venture development organization who is passionate about telling brand stories through compelling content. She has a passion for learning, especially through reading biographies, watching documentaries and listening to podcasts .
Ellevate Network is a global women’s network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.