Jonathan Ross was on TV's 'Loose Women' recently, chatting about who brings home the bacon in the Ross household. He joked that when he was the 'main' breadwinner all the Ross family earnings went into the 'joint' pot; but now his wife's pulling in serious money as a scriptwriter she banks her cash in her own separate account. So if you're together 'for richer, for poorer' is it still ok to stash some cash in your own bank account?
Around 60% of couples have a joint account; but when it comes to buying gifts for each other or splurging on shoes, handbags or 'must have' gadgets; sometimes it can be a whole lot easier to have your own cash rather than risk the 'how much?' conversation if your partner catches sight of the price tag on your latest purchase. And it could be for this very reason that one third of us make the decision to stay financially single during our relationship.
I've got both; got the joint account for the bills and hubby and I each have a solo one too. That way I can buy gorgeous shoes without having to hide the price tags and when he buys 'boys' toys' I don't feel the need to tot up how many handbags that would equate to. OK, so this works for us and in our case we're both earning full time; but what happens if the financial dynamics of your relationship change and one of you is temporarily out of work, at home with the children or switch jobs which means taking a pay cut in exchange for the job of your dreams?
Lisa, a mum of two girls, is now back at work, but admits losing her financial independence was hard during her early days at home with the children. 'I was fine buying things for the girls from our joint account; but I felt so guilty 'treating' myself, even just buying a lipstick when I wasn't actually paying anything in'. While Lisa says her husband didn't have a problem over this; 'I just didn't feel I had the right to spend money I hadn't earned'.
But whether you've opted for a shared joint account, solo one or even a mix of both; how would you feel if you discovered your partner had a 'secret savings' account? According to Virgin Money women are twice as likely as men to have a secret slush fund which we use for 'treats' and even as a potential 'running away' fund?
And as we're getting married and moving in together later in life these days; is it reasonable to expect both partners to throw everything they've got into the shared financial melting pot? My friend Helen says no; she's always been a saver and careful with her cash while her partner Nick literally had just his current pay packet to his name when they moved in. When Helen approached the subject of 'ring fencing' the £20,000 deposit she'd put down on their property, it caused countless rows.
With money being the number one cause of rows for most couples, some would argue it's actually having a joint account that can be the true test of 'financial' trust in a relationship. You both get unlimited access to the cash; but on the flip side you're both equally liable for any debts you rack up; not just your own 'share'. And if one of you doesn't pay up or runs off having raided the account it could mean both your credit ratings are affected which can impact on your ability to borrow money in the future.
Do you have just a joint account, a solo one too, or strictly separate?
Has your way headed off financial rows or caused them?