Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sharing Money Tricky for Couples

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sharing Money Tricky for Couples

Article excerpt

While it is generally easier for married couples to commingle finances - and most do - there are times when keeping accounts separate may be a better way of maintaining marital harmony.

"Traditionally there have been, and still are, good reasons to co-mingle finances," said Edward Kohlhepp Jr., vice president of Kohlhepp Investment Advisors in Doylestown, Bucks County. "Generally, it's easier to run the household this way. But as society's idea of marriage evolves, so do marital finances."

Clashes over money in marriage are widely considered the No. 1 source of arguments and divorce by divorce attorneys and marital counselors, which is why some financial advisers support the idea of separate bank accounts.

Keeping separate accounts is especially common in cases where there are second families and when spouses have children from prior relationships. But it also comes into play when couples marry later in life, have their own ideas about money and do not see eye-to-eye on financial matters.

"Someone with children from a prior relationship may want to keep at least a part of their money separate to satisfy pre-existing obligations," Mr. Kohlhepp said. "Others may not be financially compatible. If one is a rampant spender and the other likes to save, joint finances can be an ongoing conflict and separate accounts can work, providing the household expenses are met."

Mark Snyder, owner of Mark J. Snyder Financial Services, Inc., in Medford, N.Y., said from his experience, the topic of whether or not to commingle finances can be touchy.

"Some may wish to maintain a form of independence and therefore want some financial autonomy," Mr. Synder said. "If each spouse agrees, then it won't be a problem. But it can become one when things change, especially when children come along and financial demands tend to increase and one spouse, usually the wife, will probably see a drop in income."

According to the Chicago-based American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, financial issues are at the top of the list of concerns most couples have even before exchanging vows. …

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