Joining hands in marriage also means joining financial obligations, but is joining your bank accounts the right choice?
Not every married couple has joint checking accounts. Every couple is different, and like any financial decision, there are pros and cons of joining or not joining accounts.
The Benefits of Joint Bank Accounts
Joint bank accounts have many benefits, helping married couples stay on track with their finances. Here are the benefits to consider.
• Creates a feeling of trust and provides transparency – Couples need transparency with finances. When you share a bank account you are both on the same page. No one can hide transactions or make financial decisions without the other knowing.
• Puts everything in one place – When you have multiple checking accounts, it’s hard to get a grasp on what you have. With all your money in one place, calculating your net worth and making important financial decisions is easier.
• It’s easier to pay bills – Whether you have one spouse in charge of bills or both, it’s easier to know what money is available and how to access it to pay the bills. This is especially important if one party falls ill or can’t manage the bills.
The Downsides of Joint Bank Accounts
There are always downsides to every financial decision. Here are the downsides of joint bank accounts.
• It can feel offending – If you’ve established your career and achieved high stature, you may find it offending to join your money with your spouse. Keeping your money separate may help you feel important and as if you’re still a financially independent person despite being married.
• It’s easier to hide transactions – If you’re looking for full transparency, you may not get it with separate bank accounts. If only one person is on each account, the other can’t see the transactions, which can lead to feelings of secrecy in the marriage.
What to Consider with Joint Checking Accounts
Before you choose separate or joint checking accounts, consider the following:
• Does one spouse have a considerable amount of debt? If they wind up with their wages garnished, you could lose your savings too. Keeping separate accounts may be ideal in this situation.
• Do you identify financial independence with managing your own money? Some people don’t like anyone else to take over the money they earn. It may feel like an invasion of your privacy.
• Do you want to be protected if you split up? We all like to think about the happily ever after, but that’s not always the case. With separate accounts, it’s easier to divvy up fairly between parties and not feel like you were ‘taken to the cleaners.’
Joint checking accounts have their pros and cons. Think about your situation with your spouse and if you would get along better sharing finances or keeping them separate. Fortunately, you can change your mind at any time and switch up accounts, so you aren’t ‘stuck’ with your decision.
Try out the option you think is best and see how it works for your marriage. Money is one of the top stressors in any marriage, so make the decision carefully.
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