Who Should Balance the Check Book: Wife or Husband?

Paying Bills

Dear Dave,

Does it matter whether it’s the husband or the wife who keeps the checkbook and pays the bills? Lots of people say that kind of thing is the man’s job, but I was curious about what you think.


Dear Daniel,

I don’t think it matters one bit, and here’s why.

In each family there’s a nerd and a free spirit. The nerd is good at keeping track of things and putting everything in its place. The free spirit is just the opposite. They are not detail-oriented. Now, this doesn’t make them irresponsible or mean that they don’t care. It’s just that they aren’t blessed with a gift for administration. They want things to be good and right just as much as the nerd, but they don’t necessarily get a rush when the checkbook balances out.

Just because the nerd keeps the checkbook doesn’t mean he or she gets to make all the financial decisions, either. In a marriage, those decisions should be made together with input from both the husband and wife. Remember, God didn’t unite some kind of joint business venture. He made you as one – together. When you do a budget each month, you should both sit down and come to a mature, reasonable and respectful agreement on where the money’s going.

So, when it comes down to the act of keeping the checkbook, I think whoever is the more organized of the two should handle this duty. But if you include these other principles, you’ll experience more unity in your daily lives together and have better communication in your marriage!


Dear Dave,

I just began a business with a friend as an LLC partnership. I know he’s honest and a hard worker, but I’m still a little scared that everything will fall apart and we’ll walk away mad at each other. We used a CPA to get a tax ID number and help us set up the company. Do you think we should pay a lawyer to help us map out the partnership agreement in writing?


Dear Mike,

Drawing up a written partnership agreement may be the only shot you’d have at walking away from this venture with your friendship still intact. But I don’t think you need to hand some lawyer a bunch of money to make it happen.

Chances are, your new business doesn’t need that level of detail. All you need is someone to help you draw up a template that answers all the “what if” questions. This template can be as simple as a list of all the things that could go wrong and the answers to those scenarios. These would be things like death, disability, moral failure, bankruptcy, etc., and what happens if any of these occur.

You know, there are hardly ever problems in a business venture when everyone’s happy and making piles of money. But it can get rough if you begin to disagree over the direction the company is taking. Or, what if personal issues make you decide you don’t want to be in business with the other person anymore?

It’s easy to go all pie-in-the-sky over these things, but you have to make plans for any and all of the worst outcomes, too.


* For more financial advice please visit daveramsey.com.