Separate accounts or joint account? We ask several couples how they balance the family books. Han Bingbin gets the answers.
Zhang Qian, 25, Yiwu, Zhejiang province, China & Husband Adam, 27, from Chicago, USA. Currently based in Yiwu. NEWLY Married.
Adam and Zhang will both have their personal bank accounts where they plan to put part of their individual salaries. They will also have a joint account where they will deposit most of their combined incomes, mainly for savings and investment. It will pay for big items such as house, car and the children's education. Adam and Zhang will make decisions together on how to use the money in the joint account, while maintaining the right to decide how to use their own money in the personal accounts.
Zhang says: "According to what I've heard and seen, the traditional Chinese family financing structure seems to have worked fine in the past. That said, the factors underlying this financing model are changing in current society. As a result, it may not work as well now.
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"Three factors that comes to mind are income structure, power structure within the family, and the money management structure.
"First, there are more married women with their own careers who contribute significantly to the family finances. Then, in the double-income family, the wife's security is less dependent on the control of money. In the past, one important way to maintain power within the family is to control the purse strings. These days, in addition to savings, investment has become a major source of family income. This change in the management structure, which is the third factor, requires a higher involvement from both partners."
Adam agrees. "I come from a society where, if there was one partner who controlled the finances, it would likely be the man. In more and more families, the money is shared and both partners have an equal say on how to spend and save.
"I feel this is a much more egalitarian and democratic approach, making both partners active participants in the family's financial destiny. I don't criticize the Chinese way, but I also don't think it's ideal for modern life."
Tang Yang, 26, bank clerk & Zhou Qingqing, 28, civil servant. Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Married.
They were married last year, and have deposited money gifts from the wedding in an independent bank account. They planned to invest it, but agreed to buy a car first. Individual earnings are completely subject to personal arrangements but they agree that the wife pays for the family's food, daily necessities, and small home furnishings. The husband pays for the utility bills such as water and electricity, gas, broadband services, parking and property management fees. He also pays every time they eat out and see a movie. They split expenses for annual vacations.
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