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Why do you need access to MY BANK ACCOUNT?


In Episode 028 of the Naked Proverbs podcast, Rich and Nik Scott discuss whether or not married couples should have joint bank accounts.



Nik:

Welcome back to the Naked Proverbs podcast where we unclothe the truth about Black love family and marriage. My name is Nik Scott, one of your hosts, and I'm here with my husband,

Rich:

What's going on? Is your boy Rich. And today we're gonna talk about joint bank accounts.

Nik:

Right at the start of every episode, we always remind our listeners that we are not trained, licensed or professional therapists or counselors. We've been married a long time, and we use Naked Proverbs as our platform to share our stories, our advice, our experience and our opinions.

Nik:

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Rich:

As always, we want to take a moment right at the beginning and say thank you. Thank you for tuning in. If it's your first time, welcome. We appreciate you spending some time with us.

Rich:

So, I recently read a post that said, anyone outside of African Americans or Africans that choose to jump the broom at a wedding are culturally appropriating African American culture. What do you think?

Nik:

I don't know. I think that cultural appropriation is one of those buzzwords that we like to throw around in 2020 to make people feel a certain way for doing certain things. I don't know if jumping the broom if you're outside of the Black or African culture is cultural appropriation. I think that if it's other races, let's just say, white people or Europeans or Asians or whoever that are jumping the broom at their wedding, I think they're doing it because they've seen it happen at a Black wedding. And then they were like, oh, that's cool. Maybe I should do that. Which is weird, because we've seen, you know, other cultures like Jewish people have traditions. I wonder if other people have been to their weddings and been like, oh, you know what, I want to break a glass at my wedding.

Rich:

I think that's a great question. And I think that in our community, we can be a little oversensitive sometimes about things. Because, you know, for us, I think it probably goes way, way, way back, that it's easier to be cautious in the beginning than to just let your guard down. So, I do agree that maybe we use that word a little too much sometimes. And sometimes it's people just I think that what we're doing our culture, the things going on are so tight, that they want to emulate it, or they want to do the same thing.

Rich:

But I think it's important though, that people understand the history behind things, right? Because there are some things that may not seem okay, if you understood the history behind it, even if you wanted to, like I said earlier, emulate or you want to duplicate what you believe you've seen happen. So, as many know, and maybe some of our listeners don't know, jumping the broom is something that people credit to slavery. But if you actually research it, you will find that it goes even further back. It goes back to Africa.

Nik:

It does. I did some research after you showed me this post on Facebook, because I'm like, well, is it cultural appropriation? I don't really know. And is it something that was specific just to African Americans, and obviously, the research that I've done, I haven't done extensive research and I have definitely not written any type of PhD dissertations or defending a document like that. But the research that I've done, it does say that the 18th century European traders reported that the region that is now known as Ghana was extremely well kept due to the use of locally made brooms. The symbolism of brooms seem to permeate its way into wedding ceremonies. For example, waving a broom over a couple in an Asante wedding symbolize the sweeping away of evil spirits that might have ill will toward the happy couple. For couples who jumped the broom back then, the Act was representative of the household and symbolized the wife's commitment, or willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home that she had just joined. And because the groom often jumped higher than his bride, this showed his leadership in the household.

Rich:

So, there was some real purpose behind the jumping off the broom, prior to slavery. And I think that's a very important part because a lot of times as African Americans, we can start our history at slavery and fail to realize that there are some actual things that happened during slavery after slavery that have roots to the Motherland prior to. I know that we jumped the broom and our wedding

Nik:

We did.

Rich:

and I jumped higher than you.

Nik:

Are you sure?

Rich:

I have the video.

Rich:

So, you know, I think that initially, I thought that it was strictly about well, slaves couldn't be married. So, this was something they did to kind of symbolize the union between two and to let other slaves know, hey, those two are together, right? So, then to find out that it goes a little further back and has deeper meaning than even that, is kind of cool. And I'ma be honest, I don't think it's cultural appropriation for someone else to jump a broom. I think If they understand the meaning behind it, if they understand the history behind it, and they still want to jump the broom, who am I to say that they don't have the right to jump a broom? Because I'm Black. I don't own everything because I'm Black.

Nik:

Right. I don't think it's cultural appropriation either. But I don't think it's cultural appreciation. And nor do I agree with other cultures jumping the broom. I go back to what I said earlier about going to a Jewish wedding and seeing them stomp on the glass. You will never ever, ever, ever see anybody who attends a Jewish wedding decide that they want to take that piece, regardless of whether or not they know the history or the meaning behind it because they respect that culture so much. I think that there's such disrespect for our culture as African Americans because we do have culture. People would like to make us believe that we don’t, but we do. We have a deep rich history and culture in this country and even before like you mentioned, before getting to this country. For people that think that they can just disrespect our history and our culture in that way, it offends me just a little bit.

Rich:

I didn't say that I wasn't offended. I just said that, you know, what I have learned that me stressing out about what other people do is not going to change their opinions or how they address those things. So, to me, I always look at it from the standpoint of provide education, provide a opportunity to have discussion around it, but ultimately, people are going to do what they want to do. And for me to then get bent out of shape and get my blood pressure going in my heart rate up that does nothing for me or my family. So, at the end of the day, anybody that wants to jump a broom, you know, I hope that you would research it, understand what it's really, the meaning behind it is and if you still end up all that still feel like it's something you want to do. You're gonna do it anyway.

Nik:

They're gonna do it anyway. I agree with you and to me it's not a matter of getting stressed out or getting my blood pressure up. But it is, since we do have this platform and we are speaking it is providing that opportunity to educate and a pillar to have conversation around like, this just isn't something cute that Black people do. There's real meaning and purpose behind it.

Rich:

And I think though, you know, not to get too far off topic, but reality is there are a lot of things like you said earlier about our culture that have meaning. I recently read that the purpose behind braids was that when they were taking the long journey during the Middle Passage, they would actually braid rice, beans substance so that these family members that were being stripped off to who knows where, that all they knew was we're never going to see them again, would hopefully be able to survive. And so, when you see someone that's walking around with braids, and they're not of African descent, they're not African American. To me. That is a little closer cultural appropriation, then jumping the broom. And I just think it's once again a lack of respect for our culture and the things that we bring to the table sometimes.

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Rich:

One account, two accounts, three accounts. How many accounts should you really have in a marriage? Right? I mean, who's to decide that first of all, but is it a conversation that people usually have?

Nik:

If they're not having it, they should be having it. I don't believe That we actually had a conversation around it. I think for us and our experience, it was just something that happened organically.

Rich:

But I also think that for us, we probably didn't have enough money to start more than one bank account. It costs $5 to start an account,

Nik:

Well, it used to cost like $250, you had have like a minimum checking balance, like $250, or something ridiculous.

Rich:

Whatever the case was $5, $250 we didn't have enough to start more than one bank account umpteen years ago.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

So, I think that for us, it wasn't a conversation. I mean, also, let's be real here. We got married in college, right? So, there was no income, like great income at that point. I mean, I had a little bit of income coming in, you had a little income coming in, but it wasn't like we had real jobs with you know, six figure salaries and we had all this money coming in. So, I think that also made it easier.

Nik:

Mm hmm. It does. I guess what we're trying to say right now is it's really dependent on the couple. For us. We were young, we did not have a lot of assets back then. So, it made sense for us to combine our bank accounts. And we've kind of had this conversation before many, many, many episodes ago about our story and how we started our joint bank account and how it works for us and to our benefit. But the long, short answer to your question is, it depends on the couple.

Rich:

And I think that's true. But I think that it's important to have communication around it. And to look at some of the pros, some of the cons, what really is the reason behind having separate accounts or joint accounts, or one joint account and each person has their own individual account because there's so many different flavors of this right. There's so many different ways that you can manage your finances as a couple. And I think you're so right, depending on where you are in that marriage when you get together, where you are in your own personal lives is going to impact that.

Nik:

Absolutely. For me, and this is just strictly my opinion. But I believe that finances is one of the most private areas of our lives, whether we're married or not, right? We don't even share how much money we make; openly share how much money we make in our social circles. It's just like, shhhhhhh, never tell anybody how much money you make. And we've even taught our kids, or I've taught our kids don't let people know how much money you have.

Rich:

Yeah. I asked them one day, how much money to have and that was they answer.

Rich:

Mama said don't tell nobody how much money I have. I was like, whoa, I gave you some of it. Hold on now.

Nik:

But I think it is it's just one of those areas that we treat to be very, very private. So, it really requires a lot of transparency. And I think that if you are super private about your finances when it comes to your spouse, when it comes to your bank accounts, if you are just super against having a joint bank account, I would question how does that spill into other areas of your marriage? And how does that show up in conversations, or not in conversations.

Rich:

And I'm in total agreement, you know, but because we've always had a joint account, of course, I'm a joint account guy, right? I'm pro joint account. And part of that though, is I truly believe that when a couple chooses to get married, they are choosing to not be 50/50. They're not choosing to be him and her. They're not trying to be two individuals anymore. They're choosing to merge their lives, their finances, everything about them. into one.

Rich:

And with that, when you choose to manage your money together, that you're also agreeing on what your hopes, your dreams, what's your future, what your goals look like. Because you can't have two different bank accounts, and maybe that third one where you work out of it together as a family. But how can you make sure that your dreams and your goals are going in the right direction, right financially, because that matters. And when you have your own account, and your spouse doesn't have access to it, they don't know what's going on with it. You might be amassing a fortune. You might be investing in things, you might be doing things that impact your family, but they don't even know because it's such a separatist place.

Nik:

Mindset. It's a separatist mindset. Just to be clear, we're talking about joint checking and savings accounts. We're not talking about 401Ks and IRAs and some of these other accounts that you can have this particular discussion is around just checking and savings accounts, because we can get very complex when I start talking about various assets that a couple can have, and how does that play out? But that's not what this conversation is about.

Rich:

Yeah, I mean, because you're right, you could have inheritance from a parent, and you could inherit a home. Or, you could inherit, you know, stocks or something like that. That is not in both your names because, well, when I leave stuff, I don't care who my kids married, I'm leaving it to my girls

Nik:

Period.

Rich:

I don't care how great that guy is. I don't care how knight in shining armor he appears to be. At the end of the day, my wife and I are building an empire to leave to our daughters and our grandkids someday. So, in those situations, that's a little bit different. So, you're right. This is strictly talking about your banking account, your checking and savings account, those accounts using on a daily or regular basis.

Nik:

I just wanted to make sure that our listeners are following these conversations because let's be clear, our listeners are going to be in different financial statuses in their marriages and in their lives. And we have multiple accounts, much more than just a checking and savings. So, I just wanted to make sure we offer that clarity.

Rich:

I mean, I think something that I also think about is unless you have a prenup, and I would say probably 90% I don't know, but 90% of states, if we were to get divorced, then everything's getting split 50/50 anyway. They don't care if you have a secret bank account because they're gonna find out. They don't care if you've got a little hidden checking account or savings account or if you've been amassing a fortune on your own with your own bank account name and everything and your spouse isn't on it. If you get a divorce, guess what? All that comes to light and you're gonna split it 50/50 anyway.

Nik:

Divorce, yes, but death, no.

Rich:

Oh, what happens in death.

Nik:

So, in death if I'm not a signer on your accounts or somehow a what they call it when you sign over the privilege?

Rich:

Executor or you have a power of attorney.

Nik:

Power of attorney. Right. So, if I don't have that and you die, I don't have access to your accounts.

Rich:

Well, you have power of attorney.

Nik:

I'm just, I'm just putting that out there. Divorce, sure, yes, 50/50. If you have good enough attorneys, they're going to find out about all of your assets, they just are, because that's just the nature of the beast. But if death happens in a marriage, then the fortune that you amassed by yourself in your individual bank account, does not get to go to anybody who's not on that account.

Rich:

So, it's basically stuck in probate until wills are read or until a judge figures out who the next of kin is or whatever. So,

Nik:

That's right.

Rich:

So, in reality, if you are in a relationship, let me clarify, if you're in a marriage because let's be real, don't join your bank accounts. If you ain't married, what is my wife always say if you ain't married, then what you single.

Nik:

You are single.

Rich:

So, if you are not married and you're listening to this don't be talking about, hey, boo, we should join. No, don't be no dummy. Don't join your bank accounts until he has put a ring on your finger. And y'all have said I do. Okay.

Rich:

So, anyway though, so, if you're in a marriage and you pass, you might think that your family is taken care of because you've amassed this fortune, you know, it wasn't like you had this separate account because you didn't love your wife or didn't love your husband, but because you didn't have them on the account, you could put them in a predicament where they can't pay their bills or they are struggling to make it even though there is money there. But they can't touch it right now. What Hammer say? Can't touch this. So yeah, that's something to think about because I did not know that.

Nik:

Well, the only reason that I know it is not because clearly I'm a widow or anything. But because I have had other family members close to me pass, and they had money in their bank accounts and nobody could touch those bank accounts because they weren't signers on that bank account or these people, i.e. me didn't have power of attorney.

Rich:

So, what about though I'm gonna give you a scenario, okay? Because we're assuming that everything is easy and simple. But what if we're in a situation where you're making 250,000 a year? You killing it. And I'm making my little, you know, $100,000 a year? Is it fair for us to have a joint bank account and you're giving up so much?

Nik:

Are you really giving up so much when you, when you, when you're married? When you choose to get married. You said this earlier, and I'm going to say it in a different way. You are choosing to become one unit. One unit. So, why are we going to sit here and play this tit for tat game? I bring in $250,000 a year you only bring in $100 a year. So what?

Rich:

Hundred dollars a year.

Nik:

A whole year. $100. Well, because, you know, let's just talk about relationships and marriages where the one spouse or another, and I was getting ready to say husband, but it's not always the husband anymore. Goes out and they're the breadwinner, right? And then the other spouse is at home, whether or not they have kids, whether or not they have kids, let's be clear. If one of us was making $250,000 a year or more, what would be the purpose of the other person going to work?

Rich:

To build a bigger Empire? You can build more if you have more, we can ask the same question. Why does Bill Gates keep getting more money? Why does Beyoncé and Jay Z think they need more? Like why does Oprah go to work every day? She's a billionaire. Because you're trying to build, well I believe if you're trying to build something, it does take a financial aspect to that.

Rich:

So, if you're making 250, and I'm sitting at home, no matter what I'm doing at home, it's not contributing to the point that your 250 is contributing to the building of an empire.

Nik:

Not financially.

Rich:

Right. That's what we talkin about.

Nik:

But you have to understand you're talking about building an empire, which is slightly off topic, building an empire.

Rich:

Cause you went off topic.

Nik:

How can I go off topic?

Rich:

Cause you started talking about well if one person not working? Well, if one person ain't working

Nik:

That was your question.

Rich:

No, I said, if one person is making a $250,000 a year, and one person is making $100,000 a year, so we have $350,000 coming in between the two of us, is one person losing out because they've got a joint bank account?

Nik:

And I said, No.

Rich:

And then you started talking about separate accounts or one person not working because you just wanted, you had to talk about one person not working because you feel like that is part of this topic.

Nik:

Because I do feel like it's part of this topic. Because if one person is bringing in all the money, why am I going to add you to my bank account? Why do you need to have access to my bank account if I'm the only one bringing in the income?

Rich:

Well, because like you said earlier, you're one.

Nik:

Okay.

Nik:

So, it wasn't off topic,

Rich:

But it doesn't relate to what we were talking about because that's not what you said. You started talking about if only one person bringing in money.

Nik:

Like you a pro joint account person, also. And I say that because I know what it takes to build the foundation of trust in a marriage. And if one person is off on the side doing their own thing in their own bank accounts, that does not build any type of foundation of trust.

Rich:

There are couples out there that have a family account in their own individual accounts, and their marriage is going perfectly fine.

Nik:

I think that works for a lot of people it, quote unquote, works for a lot of people like, I don't know, all the intimate details of the people that we know who handle their finances in that aspect. So, I don't know all the intimate details. I don't know if every month when somebody is paying the mortgage and somebody else is paying all the utilities, is there not any tension going on in that house.

Rich:

And I think that's what I was asking earlier. Because in an environment where you have two people, because it's very rare, very seldom that both people are making the exact same amount of money, right? Even if it's $1.50 difference, they are making separate incomes, separate amounts. So, if you have that family account, where you pay all your bills from and everybody makes their monthly deposit into it, and then you have your own account where you're able to do whatever you want to do with your finances. You know, you could find yourself in a situation where one person is truly amassing a fortune. Because they're like, well, we're both gonna put 10% of our income into the family account, and that covers our bills. Okay, well, if one person is making $500,000 a year, $80,000 a year, $60,000 a year, and the other person is making minimum wage, that 10% is hurting them way more than that person that's making those other figures that I came up with, right? And I think that's more of what I was trying to say earlier is, it's still not fair or equal, just because you're like, well, you know, I'm gonna give 50% of my income to the household, you give 50% of your income to the household, and we're gonna pay our bills, and then whatever you have left you go do what you want to do with it. You could be living two totally different lives.

Nik:

But that, it goes back to that keeping score and marriage. Why are we keeping score? Why are we creating this competitive environment between a husband and a wife, when they're supposed to be on the same page and one unit and building and aspiring and growing together? I think because, I go back to what I said at the beginning, that finances are such a private thing for people. And privacy in marriage, that can be a whole nother topic, but specifically when it comes to finances, it's like, well, if I'm completely transparent with this person, about every cent that comes into the household, that person might take advantage of me, that person might, like, I think that there's so much fear that goes around this conversation. And I always go back to why are we creating a tit for tat? It's not a tit for tat. It's not I do this; you should be doing this. I'm doing this. How come you ain't doing this. I think that that just creates unhealthy competition in conversation in marriages.

Rich:

And I don't think it's, you know, anything wrong with everybody pulling their weight though. Because to me, even from a financial standpoint, if you have one spouse that's working, and one spouse does not, if your spouse is just sittin at home watching TV all day, and not doing anything, male or female doesn't matter, how is that helping the growth of your family or helping move you all forward? And that doesn't mean that everybody needs to have a job. But like you said earlier, if one person's making half a million dollars a year, and the other person is like, well, you know, I don't know that I really want to work. Okay, that's fine, because well, maybe you're not, you know, you don't need it. But what are you doing to contribute to the marriage because there should be something you're doing to contribute to a marriage? It shouldn't just be I'm here freeloading.

Nik:

Thank you so much for tuning in to this week's episode of Naked Proverbs podcast. We want you to truly have a happy marriage. We want you to continue to thrive in your marriages and indulge in our spouses on a regular basis. Don't forget to follow the Naked Proverbs on whatever podcasting platform you listen on.

Nik:

And we will talk to y'all in the next one.

Rich:

Peace.

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