I've been an advocate for this and we're going on eight years of extremely happy marriage but this is from The Atantic:
Why More Young Married Couples Are Keeping Separate Bank Accounts
It doesn’t signal a lack of trust—to some, it’s a way for spouses to show they trust each other more.
A joint bank account has, traditionally, been a sign of commitment. As newlyweds start their lives together, it is perhaps the clearest way for them to say, to each other and to the world, “What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.”
But these days, some young couples are skeptical. “There has been a generational change,” said Joanna Pepin, a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland who studies the organization of money in romantic relationships. “The research we have shows that, cross-culturally, more people are keeping money separate.” Indeed, a Bank of America study published earlier this year seemed to suggest that Millennial married and cohabitating couples were more likely to hold separate accounts than previous generations were.
Pepin says this trend is particularly pronounced among low-income couples, who are likelier to value access to their own earnings over the show of commitment and loyalty that comes with the decision to merge finances, a quality often prioritized by higher-earners.
Some of this has to do with Millennial marriage trends more generally. Compared to previous generations, Millennials get married later in life, and thus significantly more of them live together before marriage. Because cohabiting couples are far more likely than married couples to keep finances separate, a certain inertia develops. “Once you’ve established your relationship norms,” Pepin asked, “why would you change them?”
When today’s young adults do decide to get married, many of them are further along in their careers, with a better sense of who they are and what they contribute to their workplace. One 29-year-old I talked to, a medical resident in San Francisco, told me that for those who believe one’s bank account offers a clear reflection of a person’s work ethic or success, it can be hard to cede control. “It’s about wanting to maintain one’s sense of identity, individuality, and autonomy,” said Fenaba Addo, an assistant professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
When I asked several married Millennial couples why they decided to keep their finances fully or partially separate, one reason came up more than any other: A joint bank account seemed to blur each individual’s financial contributions at a time when women are earning more than they used to. “If we just had a joint account, it would bring an uneasy feeling—a sense of inequality,” said Zack Pasillas, a 26-year-old office worker from Orange County, California. Zack’s wife...
YOU CAN READ THE REST OF IT OVER ON THE ATLANTIC but read my comments below first before you jump over there.
I've been married twice-- the first time got me prepared for the second. I'm not going to say that the introductory go around was the worst time of my life but there were things we disagreed on that I just caved on, and separate checking accounts was the first of those issues.
When Veronica and I were still dating I brokered the idea to her, expecting her to fight and I was happily surprised that not only did she agree that separate checking accounts is a good idea, it's the ONLY way to handle personal accounts.
The article likely covers it but when you first think about it the concept sounds like you don't trust each other-- but that's completely the opposite.
We keep a joint house account that we both pay into each week and then we have our own accounts. Now should one of us come to financial trouble the other one is happy to jump in and help out but having two different accounts that are each our own has removed a huge element that causes a lot of fights among married couples.
The stress is multiplied ten-fold if one of you is a saver and the other a spender. Using separate checking accounts I never have to worry (or comment) if she's buying a new pair of expensive boots, and vice versa. We also have a hard and fast rule that we don't take money out of each other's wallets. In my previous go around there was a time I was waiting in line at Dunkin Donuts knowing I had a fresh $20 in my wallet and when I got up to pay said $20 had been borrowed without my knowledge. This was back in the days before we used debit cards for everything so I stood there with no way to pay for my order.
As long as the house account gets paid and one partner is not constantly asking the other partner for money then the system works great.
Veronica and I seldom fight- something I didn't think was possible among married couples, and those rare times when we do it's never about money.