Today's Bride

Should You Have a Joint Banking Account?

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Getting married means sharing everything, right? Maybe even all your money? Not necessarily. You and your spouse can choose from many different options when it comes to your finances.

The first step you need to take when deciding if a joint account is right for you is make sure that there is a significant level of trust between you and your spouse. Although not wanting a joint account doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t trust them, creating one together that includes both of your incomes is a big deal. You and your spouse should have excellent communication skills, be able to be very open with each other and have similar spending habits. dreamstime_s_35581575

There are a lot of advantages to having a joint bank account. It makes it a lot easier when paying for shared bills and expenses, such as gas, electric and house payments.  And you avoid the argument of who is paying for what altogether.

Sometimes, just simply sharing an account can make you feel like you are truly married and not just living as glorified roommates. Also, if you have the misfortune of something happening to your spouse, you would automatically have their income in your name without the hassle of having to go through probate court to obtain it.

However, having a joint bank account does have its share of drawbacks. If you or your spouse have previous debt, it makes seem unfair to the other to chip in to pay it down. Another issue with this is that you and your spouse may not be informing the other of when you withdraw money or write a check. If you cannot communicate well and keep each other informed, you could end up unintentionally overdrawing your account.

If you’re getting married later in life and already have your finances established well, something to consider is that it may be a hassle for you to move a lot of money to another account or even another bank. If one single joint account is not the option for you, you and your spouse could create a shared account to help with shared bills and finances, but keep separate accounts for personal use.  The benefit of this plan is that you can keep some form of financial independence and not have to feel weird about spending money. Keep in mind, however, that having two accounts for each of you to manage can become stressful and time-consuming.

You also have to delve into the big conversation about how much each of you is going to contribute to the shared account. This can lead to problems if one of you makes more than the other. The only way to make this type of financial system work is to constantly be open to each other and communicate well about withdrawals, checks, and incoming deposits.

Lastly, the other main option you have as a couple is to keep everything separate as it was before you became married. This option can benefit everyone involved if both of you are well off financially. It’s also something that is good for couples who have previous credit and debt problems. The only problem with this type of financial set up is that it could lead to arguments. You might potentially fight about who is paying which bills and how much each of you is contributing to the household. And if you use separate accounts, it may cause an argument over large purchases because each of you is accustomed to making decisions on your own.

No matter which way you look, there is not a definite right answer when it comes to sharing finances. The best option is to talk about this with your partner, openly and honestly. You may even want to visit a marriage counselor or a financial planner before making such a life-changing decision.  We have confidence that with a little bit of planning and communication, you and your spouse will come up with the option that is best for you and your finances.

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