When spending habits differ
Maintaining separate checking accounts can be advantageous when two people have very different money practices, says Joe Pitzl, principal at Intelligent Financial Strategies LLC in Edina, Minn.
One partner may spend frequently on smaller items, while the other buys larger items, but infrequently. For example, the wife may amass an extensive wardrobe over time while the husband buys a membership at a private golf club once.
"If we outline the money spent by each over the course of a year, it is incredible how often the expenditures are very similar, yet the way the dollars are spent causes tension," Pitzl says. Separate checking accounts keep one person's spending habits from affecting the other's.
Another good reason to maintain distinct checking accounts is that it brings some meaning back to gift-giving, Pitzl says. If spouses buy gifts for each other from their separate accounts, it requires some sacrifice and planning as opposed to grabbing the communal credit card.