Joints accounts or individual accounts? As with marriage, couples' money-management strategies come in countless variations that can somehow still work. Marriage therapist Erickson says, "commingling funds both requires and builds trust and therefore is more advantageous for the couple and their family. Rigid separation of funds does the opposite."
While Scheumann agrees that communication and collaboration on how to spend money are essential, he says some financial independence in a marriage "demonstrates trust — and there is something very positive" about that arrangement. "I have successful clients who make it look easy," he says. "They split the money out and they have been married for many years. They trust each other and they seem to manage with less tension."
Wells Fargo Advisors, in a recent commentary to clients, said there are benefits to both individual and shared accounts. "One solution to consider: Keep separate accounts and have a joint account that both individuals contribute to for covering household expenses."
Either way, says Erickson, "Money is a topic fraught with risk for couples. There is only one inviolable rule that unfortunately too many couples violate. They must be willing to talk about money, preferably before they marry."
Then, when that first anniversary dinner arrives, chatting about the fees you are avoiding on that joint bank account or whether you'll split the check might actually be romantic.