Joint Bank Accounts: the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Joint Bank Accounts: the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Recently, a friend asked a question or two about he and his soon to be wife’s bank accounts. He asked for my input on using separate accounts, one joint account, or both.

I told him, “I have no clue. It’s something you and your fiancé would have to look into.”

His question got me thinking on the topic at hand. How should you handle you and your partner’s finances? What’s most efficient? What causes the least amount of issues in relationships?

Marriages and serious relationships from previous generations had their finances located in one joint account. Times have changed and now most millennial families have two parent incomes. With money arguments being the number one predictor of divorce, it’s critical to understand what you and your significant other are getting into BEFORE the ship even docks.

Like most complex things involving the human race, deciding how to manage bank accounts all depends on the people involved. Find out what’s right for you and your spouse/significant other in this week’s blog post!

The Good

Before starting a joint account, a line of consistent and honest communication must be established. Trust is everything in a relationship, finances included. This takes time, but once solidified, helps minimize the tough situations that occur while using joint bank accounts.

Shared joint accounts shows who contributes what and more importantly, who’s spending the most and where it’s going. Having a joint account can either reassure your trust in your partner or do the exact opposite. But there are a few benefits, some more prominent than the other, when using a joint bank account. 

Small things like Venmoing money back and forth becomes eliminated. All bills, groceries, and miscellaneous daily living expenses can be paid together through one account. But these are minute positives.

Like I’ve said before, two income households bring in more money to the relationship. If you two are both wise, this can be extremely advantageous. The number one benefit of using a joint account is being able to set and fulfill financial goals together. Two incomes can reach financial goals quicker than most single incomes any day of the week, IF done correctly.

The Bad

I find that most millennials strive to be independent, meaning joint bank accounts cause control issues. People in relationships that aren’t used to being monitored 24/7 and questioned about big ticket purchased items might find joint bank accounts to be a headache.

The solution most couples have been implementing are using both joint and separate accounts into their financial relationship. If all financial spending isn’t in sync between the two of you, and you both don’t feel the need to monitor each other’s spending, then separate bank accounts are a way to go.

Separate bank accounts tend to reduce the amount of arguments about money. If all savings goals are met and bills are paid through the joint account, then why not enjoy your hard earned money in your separate account. Your partner won’t be able to monitor these transactions, which can be good or bad, depending on your relationship.

The Ugly

Joint bank accounts cause more headaches when relationships begin to break down and eventually fall apart. Someone will come out on the shorter end of the stick financially. There’s no way around it with joint accounts. Someone’s likely to start spending money and drain the joint account dry.

As far as marriage (including common law marriage), be very aware that all assets are considered community assets, regardless of having your own separate accounts or not. The only thing that might be spared are inheritance passed down from deceased relatives. It’s just something to consider before opening that joint bank account with your significant other.

After doing some more thinking on the topic, I honestly still don’t have a firm opinion on what’s best. If my friend would ask the same question again, I’d probably give him the same answer. However, I do hope that this blog post has shed some light on this quiet, yet common issue couples face today!

And as always, don’t forget to like, comment, share, or subscribe!

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

Book of the Month:       “The Book on Making Money” by Steve Oliverez

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