The number is three. Here are the accounts and the reasons why.
The Wife’s Separate Account: Every woman needs her own money and does not need to be beholden to her husband to make purchases that she wants for herself. In his sermon, the pastor mentioned shoes, but as a personal finance coach, I think women should have a separate account to treat themselves to anything that strikes their fancy as long as her financial obligations and commitments to the family (savings goals, debt-elimination goals, retirement goals) are met.
The Husband’s Separate Account: Similarly, a man does not need to be “hen-pecked” about money. We all know about the whipped man that hands over his paycheck to his overbearing wife every two weeks and then is left with a pittance of an allowance to enjoy his life. Not cool. Not cute. Men, like women, desire to have nice things and to splurge on things that they want. If he is handling his financial responsibilities to the family, as the pastor said, “let the man be.”
The Family Joint Account: The first two accounts allow for the healthy independence that we all need in a marriage. This family joint account ensures that there is the intimacy and dependence that characterizes marriage and differentiates it from a roommate situation. I believe that married couples need at least one joint account to pull resources, determine goals, and work towards financial freedom. Some of the specific accounts could be earmarked for education, vacation, savings, joint and retirement.