Keeping finances separate

Filed under: Just For Moms, Just For Dads, Work Life, Activities: Babies

One of my best girlfriends had a baby last year, and we've been making plans for her impending visit here since the day her baby girl was born.
"We'll take walks in the forest!"
"We'll sip lattes and carry matching purses!"
"We'll talk about our long-lost days of debauchery and disheveledness!"

We've been talking about this event for nearly a year now, but she hasn't come to see me yet. Airline prices have been so high, and, well, maybe we'll wait for a seat sale.

Finally, I asked: "Can't your husband help out with the fare?" He is working full time, after all, and he makes a good living as she stays home with their baby.
"Well,"she paused,"You know, I look after my own expenses, he looks after his."

It's the way it is with them: they keep their finances completely separate, and she, the stay-at-home-wife, is expected to cover any incidentals and luxuries with her own moneymaker. That moneymaker tool, however, is a little hampered by the daily grind of life with a baby: it's difficult to establish a high-flying career when one has a baby attached to one's breast at all times.

My friend's situation made me wonder. Financial arrangements within marriages aren't a topic of everyday conversation amongst most of my friends, but (having never been married myself) I've been assuming that most couples just divide the bacon 50/50. Evidently, this isn't the case, and as I probed more of my married friends (for research purposes) I learned that most of them keep their own bank accounts.

In many ways, I guess it's prudent. But it seems to me that marriage, in its shiniest light, should connect all life's big forces: love, sex, children, money.

Over at, they have some common-sense advice about the best financial practices within a family unit . Number one? Maintain separate accounts.

It makes sense, I guess, but it's not very romantic, is it? But I'm beginning to understand that in long-term relationships, very little is.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.