The Case for (and Against) Spouses Having Joint Checking Accounts
Finance experts say you should definitely have a joint checking account with your spouse…or maybe not.
If wedding bells were ringing for you this summer, you may be in the thick of trying to figure out how to blend your beloved’s financial life with your own. One of the most fundamental decisions a couple faces is whether to treat money as a joint asset or something to be managed separately.
Here’s why you may want to have a joint checking account with your spouse … or not. (Click here to read the whole article.)
- Joint checking accounts promote trust. Financial Planners say joint accounts help prevent money secrets between spouses and encourage couples to communicate about financial goals.
- Separate checking accounts promote autonomy. While joint accounts may keep couples talking about their money, separate accounts allow each partner to retain their financial independence.
- Joint checking accounts offer a clear financial picture. I’m quoted as saying,
“I believe all money should come into one account and all bills should be paid from it because it provides a clear picture of finances,” says Kelsa Dickey, a financial coach and owner of Fiscal Fitness Phoenix. Too many bank accounts can muddy the waters and make it difficult to properly track spending and pinpoint areas where a family’s budget could be improved.
- Separate checking accounts offer less ammunition for money battles.
“[Separate accounts] allow people to spend according to their personality,” Dickey says. “Some people may spend every day, while others hoard it for big purchases.”
- Joint checking accounts mean money is never out of reach. Couples may want to keep joint accounts because they ensure both spouses can access money at any time.
- Separate checking accounts mean money may not be touched by others. Putting money in separate accounts can also be useful if one spouse has considerable debt. Money from a joint account could be garnished, but the spouse without debt can keep their money out of creditors’ hands by leaving it in their name alone.
- The best arrangement may combine joint and separate accounts.
“Put all money into a joint account to pay the bills,” Dickey says. “Then, you can have individual spending accounts.” This arrangement requires couples to work together to pay household bills while giving them an agreed-upon amount each spouse can spend as he or she wants. Even though these accounts are meant to be used individually, Dickey recommends putting both spouses’ names on the account in case one person becomes incapacitated or passes away.
At the end of the day, couples need to make a decision that works best for their marriage. If you
need help, schedule your Couple’s Eureka today!