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Evolution: a “generational change” for younger married couples

If you’re a New Jersey member of America’s vast baby boomer group, there’s statistically a good chance that you’re not too enamored of go-it-alone financial strategies for marrying couples. That is, many relatively older Americans believe that a true marital commitment requires a single pot of money poured into a joint account absent any “mine” and “yours” markings.

Your sons and daughters likely think a bit differently about that.

Such is the bottom line takeaway from a recent Atlantic article spotlighting a clear trend in the thinking of younger married couples across the country that diverges greatly from time-honored assumptions.

One of those core beliefs is that the concept of separate finances between partners must vanish once a marriage license is signed. A “we are an undivided team now” mentality has long pervaded American married life, which is one reason why marital contracts – both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial pacts – occasionally garner bad press.

A good amount of anecdotal and empirical evidence now suggests, though, that legions of Millennials are ditching the views of prior generations and seeing strong reasons for keeping their finances separate following marriage. And they say that fostering such independence promotes rather than undermines marital stability.

“I like knowing that I am also contributing to this relationship,” says one young married spouse. “It’s my work – it’s my money.”

Many Millennials worked hard and for several years prior to marriage to forge a career and get financially ahead. They are justly proud of that and seek to retain some financial independence after the wedding cake is gone.

“It’s about wanting to maintain one’s sense of identity, individuality and autonomy,” says one commentator in the Atlantic piece.

Whatever works to promote marital success is obviously salutary. If partners can find the optimal strategy for managing post-marital finances, their union is strengthened. There really should be no controversy or debate at all concerning separate-versus-joint considerations.