New mum, Chloe Madeley, admitted recently that she doesn’t share a bank account with her husband of over four years, James Haskell – despite his ‘great income’.
‘Well done,’ I thought to myself – smiling knowingly.
You see, I don’t have a joint account with my husband either. Never have. Never will.
‘James obviously makes a great income and he’s my partner and that’s fantastic, but we don’t have a joint account,’ Chloe told The Mirror, explaining that they’ve ‘always had separate accounts’.
‘I think that’s a bit of a pride thing with me,’ she added.
Truthfully, I think it’s liberating for women to be financially independent and will be far better for her than if she had a joint account.
Before I met my husband Cornel back in 2006, I’d always assumed joint accounts were a given but I never particularly wanted one. Cornel is a pianist and interpreter and I am a journalist and author, so our salaries vary widely from month to month.
But never once in the 17 years we have been together have we sat down and decided to open a joint account. It’s just a subject that has never come up.
Instead, we split everything from our mortgage, bills, utilities and everything we buy for the kids, down the middle. Everything is set up to come out of my account and at the end of the month, Cornel will send me half.
And I’m grateful for that, because I can’t think of anything worse than having a joint account.
From what I can see, historically, couples used to get joint accounts, so that when women had babies, the man could ‘look after them’. But what a load of old tosh – joint accounts are merely shackles that strip both partners of their financial privacy.
I don’t check my husband’s bank balance, and neither does he mine. As long as we have enough between us to pay the mortgage and bills, what does it matter what we spend the rest on?
I love having the freedom to spend my own money, and having my own bank account means I can get away with telling my husband little white lies that my new bag cost £70, instead of 10 times that. Or I can buy several shades of Charlotte Tilbury lippy with no one to berate me.
I’d hate to have someone look at our bank balance and tell me off for buying a pair of new shoes or getting my hair done.
Friends have told me in the past that they’re horrified at my lack of financial transparency with my husband. He honestly has no idea how much I spend on ‘me stuff’ in a month, but likewise – neither do I with him. I trust he knows what to do with his own money not to be foolish with it.
I think joint bank accounts are just an archaic idea that keeps women at home, in their place – and having to justify their purchases
I can see why some people might want a joint account for bills, or if one person in the relationship earns vastly more than the other. But it’s just not for me.
I worked for that money so it’s mine to spend once our family overheads are accounted for.
Another important issue with having your own account is how it is imperative that women in particular have their own money – and their own ‘getaway fund’, just in case they should ever need it.
I’ve seen various friends who had joint bank accounts and had begun to naively rely on their partner’s income, only for him to up and leave, leaving the woman in a precarious financial situation.
I’m in a very happy marriage and I trust my husband implicitly, but even the happiest of relationships can crumble and it’s my belief that every young girl embarking out into the world should be told to keep her own bank account at all times – financial security is sacred. I believe girls should be taught this in schools.
And it is for this reason that Chloe’s other comment also resonated with me – that she went back to work to support herself when her baby was only eight weeks old. She claimed that she needed the money.
Like Chloe, I too went back to work when both of my kids turned 12 weeks. It wasn’t ideal – working with my child in a baby bouncer by my feet. But it worked – and I made sure I was still earning enough to contribute to the household finances.
I think joint bank accounts are just an archaic idea that keeps women at home, in their place – and having to justify their purchases. I can’t think of anything worse.
So, Chloe Madeley, I take my hat off to you. You’ve kept your financial independence and are a real role model to your daughter by showing you can stand on your own two feet.
Chloe’s said she might want a joint account after her second baby. That’s her prerogative but I think she should stay as she is.
Never relinquish your financial independence. It may not always be easy – particularly when your baby is young – but you’ll be thankful you did in the long run.
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