So, you’ve met that special person, dated, and fallen in love. You trust each other, want to be together 24/7 and do everything together. Ahhhh, young love.
Now you’re faced with that age old question – do you join your bank accounts? Some might even say the decision to join bank accounts is an even more significant commitment than marriage.
Now that you’re part of a couple you might be trying to decide if joint or individual bank accounts are right for you, here are some things to consider:
Joint Bank Accounts
A joint bank account is a bank account that is managed and owned by more than one person. It functions just like a standard account, except it can be accessed and modified by more than one person.
Pros of Joint Bank Accounts
It Makes Things Easier: Having joint accounts with your partner leads to more simplified budgeting and bookkeeping. With everything in one place, you can more easily monitor what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Partnership: Ever heard the saying, “What’s yours is mine”? Well joining bank accounts shows you really mean it! It can also be a way to build and grow something together as a team.
You Can Save on All the Fees: I’m not saying that joint accounts don’t have fees, but with a joint account, you can minimize the number of accounts and therefore the fees.
Cons of Joint Bank Accounts
Secrecy: One major disadvantage of having joint accounts is that, since your partner can always see where/how you are spending money, surprises can be easily spoiled. You’re far less likely to receive a surprise gift, be surprised by a vacation, or have a successful surprise party thrown in your honor. But, I can think of worse things.
Overmanagement or guilt: If one partner is a spender and one is a saver, you may be in more frequent spats, hold grudges, or undergo a power struggle around joint finances.
Messy Breakups: Joint bank accounts can cause really messy situations in a breakup. Be sure of your relationship before joining accounts.
Individual Bank Accounts
An individual account is a personal bank account that is used by an individual. It is for personal banking as opposed to a shared corporate account or joint account.
Pros of Individual Bank Accounts
Maintain Your Independence: Many people feel what they earn is theirs and that they shouldn’t be accountable to a partner for spending their hard earned cash.
Complete Control: With an individual account, you have financial security and complete control over your own financial situation.
Protect Your Assets: If one partner has multiple or higher assets, it may be wise to keep them separate, especially in instances where the other partner carries a lot of debt.
Cons of Individual Bank Accounts
Bill Management: Managing who pays what bill and from what account can get tricky when you are managing a household from individual accounts. It is necessary to make clear what bills get paid, from what account, and by who.
Trust Issues: Trust issues can arise when you are unable to easily view finances, purchases, and income with your partner.
In Case of Emergency: I know, we don’t want to think about this, but having separate accounts can pose some issues if one member of the couple is incapacitated in any way. The partner may have a difficult time gaining access to the accounts.
What works for us.
What works for us might not work for you. My husband and I have all joint accounts. We do things this way because we believe it is all our money. Also, all of our bills and credit cards are in both of our names. It is important to us that we each have full access to all of our finances.
Every relationship and partnership is different, so what works for us might not be what is best for you and your family finances. Be sure you weigh the pros and cons of joint and individual bank accounts before you make the decision for your relationship.