I Want to Combine Our Savings. Why Doesn’t My Husband?

Our editor-in-chief 'makes cents' of combining finances in marriage

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The Balance/Alice Morgan

Dear Kristin,

I have a high yield savings account and the rate keeps going up, which is awesome. Inflation is high and the market is nuts so I like knowing my money is growing somewhere. I keep telling my husband to give me the money in his account so I can put it in mine and then we'll earn even more interest! But he is reluctant. How do I convince him?


All About APY

Dear APY,

You’re absolutely right that in this high inflation environment you have to take every opportunity to make sure that your money isn’t eroding in value. You didn’t tell me how much interest you’re making in your savings account, but given that most high-yield savings accounts pay an interest rate of around 1.75%, it’s likely much higher than what he (or you) are earning in your regular bank account, where currently, you will only earn 0.13% on average.

So I get your point, if he can earn more money in the savings account that you have—why wouldn’t he? But much like our hearts, when it comes to matters of our wallets, things are rarely this simple. 

The reason he might be nervous to combine his savings with yours might not have anything to do with the very real fact that he’s losing money by not doing so. There could be other, emotional reasons behind his hesitation.

Combining resources—even when married—is not without risk. Personally, I think all married couples should keep some of their finances separate, whether it’s for personal savings to spend on gifts, or going out with friends. Because you’re married, separate accounts can be considered community property in the eyes of the law in many states. Community property tends to be divided equally among spouses after a divorce.

That aside, if the account you’re wanting to roll his money into is only in your name, that money will, for all practical purposes, be yours. And while I’m not suggesting that he thinks you’ll try to take his money and run, there might be some general unease with handing over all his money (and to an extent, financial control) to you, especially if there’s been relative financial independence between you both.

So talk to him about it, and gently ask where his concerns are coming from. Does he worry that if your savings are combined that you’ll spend “his” money? Does he just feel weird about emptying his bank account into one that is only in your name? Are there other worries he has about putting his assets into your name? This is a good opportunity to talk more about money and about his feelings and approaches to money. If your financial goals are to increase your savings it would be good to get on the same page and work together on the best route to get there.

But truthfully, if your goal is just to maximize his savings, he doesn’t need to put his funds into your account. You could suggest he open his own high-yield savings account. With the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates (and expected to continue to do so), it is even possible for him to find an account that will pay an interest rate of 2% or higher. This could be a win-win situation for you both: his money both gets boosted by a higher savings rate and remains fully in his control. 

And if he doesn’t want his money in a savings account at all, there is of course the option to put the money in something like a certificate of deposit, which will of course tie up his funds for the specified time but could offer even better returns than you might see in a high-yield savings account.

Communication will be key here, for both of you to chart the best course of action for boosting your savings and for any other money issues you have going forward.

Good luck!


If you have questions about money, Kristin is here to help. Submit an anonymous question and she may answer it in a future column.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. FDIC. “Bankers Resource Center - National Rates and Rate Caps.”

  2. Sallie Mae. “High-Yield Savings Account.”

  3. California Courts Self-Help Guide. “Property and Debts in a Divorce.”

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