In my experience, personal finances are always a source of contention when you're married. It is particularly so when it comes to the topic of opening a joint bank account.
I believe that how married couples manage their cash is a highly personal choice. However, I will state that I believe in both combined and separate accounts and assets.
That's correct; having both joint and separate bank accounts when you're married has advantages. I'll go over how to open a joint checking account, how to open a joint savings account, and the advantages and disadvantages of joint and separate accounts.
Please keep in mind that this is merely an opinion post. At the end of the day, do what is best for you, your partner, and your financial habits.
What is a joint bank account?
What is a joint bank account and how do joint bank accounts work? Essentially, you have bank accounts that you and your partner can both access. You can both deposit money into them and withdraw money from them.
Joint banking can also be established with family members, a business partner, or others. You might even think about opening a joint account for your children when they reach the age of adolescence, such as a teen checking account, so you can teach them about money.
Joint accounts are similar to conventional accounts in that you both have complete control over the funds in the account.
Benefits of having a joint account
If you are married, the majority of your assets should be held jointly. Long-term savings, your home, and your investments are all things you should manage together.
You are a team
You and your spouse are a team in a relationship, especially a marriage. You can expand your financial portfolio more significantly as a team player than you would if your portfolios were separate. According to one study, it may also make your marriage a happier one. If you haven't already done so, it may be time to open accounts for both of you.
Legal benefits of a joint bank account
Opening a joint bank account also has legal implications. If one spouse dies, the other spouse will have access to the funds and will be the sole owner. This is known as survivorship rights.
They will not have to go through the ordeal of dealing with wills or the legal system. Having those monies available when you need them during an already tough moment can be a huge comfort.
Opening a joint account also increases your liquidity. You can withdraw money from a pool of funds in an emergency without having to wait for your spouse to send monies to you.
Better money discussions
Having joint accounts necessitates frequent communication with your partner (or at least you are forced to). When you're both contributing to the fund, it can make it easier to save for purchases, vacations, and other expenses.
This is one of the most significant advantages of having a joint account. You can both see what's going on with your shared funds and make financial decisions jointly. "Two heads are better than one," as the adage goes.
It is common knowledge that money is the leading cause of divorce in couples. When you communicate and plan together, though, all of your cards are on the table. As a result, you can minimize financial issues from a decision-making standpoint.
The cons of having a joint account
There are numerous advantages to having a combined bank account. However, there may be drawbacks if you only have joint accounts and do not maintain separate accounts.
Some people dislike having joint accounts, and this is a sizable proportion of the population. In fact, despite being in a relationship, 28 percent of millennials do not have joint accounts.
You may feel less independent after opening a joint bank account.
Having to constantly discuss money with your spouse can make one partner feel as if they have lost their freedom. If you constantly have to explain or excuse your spending habits, it may strain the relationship. It could also lead to one individual concealing purchases or opening a secret bank account, which is bad for any relationship.
Debt and credit score
Another major difficulty is if one spouse is heavily in debt and has a low credit score. This could harm the other spouse if they subsequently want to secure a loan for a car or a property.
Before opening a joint account, make sure to clarify how the debts will be handled if one spouse has more debt than the other or has a lot of credit card debt.
Having joint bank accounts can be a problem if the relationship or marriage ends. This is because each spouse has the authority to withdraw funds and shut the account without the approval of their partner. If the marriage fails, one spouse could easily leave the other with little money.
Signing a prenuptial agreement when you get married is one approach to assist in dealing with the unpleasantness of divorce before it happens.
Before you sign any prenup, make sure that you fully understand what it says by sitting down with your lawyer to go over it. Find your prenuptial agreement and set an appointment with your lawyer to go over it.
If you need to separate your joint bank account, you will most likely need to close the joint account and start your own.
What are the advantages of keeping separate accounts?
I believe in having different bank accounts for day-to-day transactions. Determine how much money you and your spouse will receive from your joint accounts on a weekly or monthly basis. Then, deposit it into your own accounts.
Groceries and shopping money would be deposited into these personal accounts. This way, you won't have to explain every single transaction to each other.
Some couples have separate savings accounts where they save for things they want to buy that are not covered by their shared finances. For example, a handbag or shoes on your wish list, your spouse's electronic toys, and so on.
If you were previously married or have a problematic family situation, you may want to keep your accounts separate.
For example, if you have assets from a previous marriage or purchased a home before getting married, you may wish to keep them separate. Having a separate bank account allows you to distinguish between what is yours and what is theirs.
What are the drawbacks of having separate accounts?
If you want to have a separate bank account to hide your finances from your spouse, think carefully. This is a dreadful thought. Separate accounts should not be used to hide money. Financial transparency is critical!
Remember that you are a team, and you should always behave in your team's best interests so that you can win together. Just because you have separate accounts for personal transactions does not imply that you should spend big sums of money without first consulting your spouse.
For example, my spouse and I have agreed to have a chat if we spend more than $500.
Separate bank accounts might potentially harm your relationship if you and your partner are not open about your finances. Separate accounts do not imply that you should keep financial secrets from each other.
When is the best time for opening a joint bank account?
If you're considering opening a joint account, you might be wondering when is the best time to do so. How do you know when it's OK to open a joint account? The first requirement is that you be married. The reason for this is that your money is still your money before you are married, and it's still yours even if you're engaged.
However, if you have specific expenses to prepare for before marriage, such as wedding fees or purchasing a new home, it may make sense to open a joint savings account to which you both contribute while engaged. However, once married, you and your spouse become a partnership, and your finances are a part of that.
There is no right or incorrect timing to start joint banking after marriage. The finest time is when you and your partner are both at ease. Some people may find it easier to accomplish this at the start of their marriage, while others may need more time. It is absolutely up to you and your partner to decide. You may elect not to open joint accounts. That is also acceptable.
It's also critical to have clear procedures in place for how you'll manage any joint accounts. Before you set it, have an open discussion with your partner.
What are the types of joint accounts?
Wondering how to open a new account? Here are some things to consider, from opening a joint checking account to how to open a joint savings account.
1. Opening a joint bank account: Checking account
What is the purpose of a joint checking account? The process of opening a joint checking account is nearly identical to that of opening a standard checking account. Personal information such as your social security number, date of birth, current residence, and driver's license will be requested of you and your spouse. This procedure can be completed online or in a bank.
2. Open a joint bank account: Savings account
Again, the procedure for opening a joint savings account is essentially identical to that of opening a standard savings account. This is frequently possible online and at banks.
Simply apply and follow the normal process, to open a joint savings account rather than a regular one. Open joint savings account to get the best of both worlds: separate checking accounts but shared savings and goals.
3. Linked accounts
Setting up linked accounts is another alternative for sharing costs and finances. This is not the same thing as having a joint account. Accounts that are linked are those that are linked to one another.
Money can be simply transferred between them. Instead of opening joint accounts, you might link your individual accounts at the same bank. If you prefer, your accounts can be held at different banks.
How do you decide what's best for you and your spouse?
Communication is essential regardless of whether you decide to open a joint bank account or keep things separate. It is entirely up to you how you choose to handle finances after marriage, irrespective of whether or not you decide to open a joint checking account.
Discuss your finances monthly to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to long-term financial goals. For example, you might want to buy a house or save for retirement.
It's an excellent icebreaker to ask each other money questions. Also, make time to budget for things you share, such as housing and groceries.
If you're not sure which strategy is best for you, try both! Before you leap in, carefully merge your funds to evaluate if creating a joint bank account works for your marriage.
There is plenty of relationship advice available, but handling your finances in a marriage is a personal choice. Whatever anyone says, figure out what works best for you and your partner and manage your money accordingly.