Considerations Every Couple Should Make Before Opening a Joint Banking Account
First comes love, then comes marriage then comes…a joint account?
It may not be romantic, but for many, it’s true. In fact, according to a recent Bankrate survey, 77 percent of married couples choose to open at least one financial account together. And it’s easy to understand why. If you're married; living with your partner or in a relationship with someone you trust, opening a joint account together could be a much more convenient approach to managing shared bills and budget for expenses.
However, a joint account can also cause a lot of conflict in a relationship if both parties aren’t on the same page. Having an honest conversation about finances and other important considerations can be tough but it’s also the key to successfully managing your money with your partner.
Check out some of the important considerations every couple should make before combining their funds below!
What are your long and short and long-term goals and how are you financially planning for them? Opening a joint account is oftentimes an important step in planning for the future with your significant other so it’s important to talk about your vision and hopes for what’s ahead. Discussing both your personal and shared financial goals will help you decide the best way to combine funds, manage an account and practice similar financial habits.
2. Financial Obligations and Debt
Combining your finances also means potentially combining your financial responsibilities. Before you start the process of opening a joint account and committing to how much of your paycheck you’ll be contributing each pay period, it’s important to be honest about any debt you’re carrying or financial obligations you’re committed to. This may include student debt, credit card bills, child support, car payments or medical expenses.
If you are carrying debt or any of these financial obligations, it will be important for you and your partner to decide if paying for these expenses will be a joint or individual effort. Discussing these details in depth will help a couple create a financial plan that will work for their needs.
3. Spending Habits and Financial Attitudes
You may know your partner’s favorite pizza joint and television show but how well do you know their spending habits? Are they a penny-pincher or an impulse shopper? A gift-giver or a gambler?
Successfully combining your money means understanding how your spending habits and financial attitudes will work together, the expectations you both have and the compromises you’ll both have to make. Your habits don’t have to be identical but both parties should know have a full understanding of their partner’s relationship with money and how those habits may affect them and their shared funds.
4. It’s not for Every Couple
While sharing a bank account can simplify managing your finances, remember, combining funds isn’t right for every couple. In fact, an increasing number of couples are choosing to keep their finances separate. If you and your partner don’t feel comfortable sharing an account, or you’re struggling to work together in blending your goals; habits and attitudes, don’t feel pressured to take the plunge. Instead, feel confident to discuss other financial arrangements that could work for your relationship.