Are you two looking to dump your debt faster and start building wealth? See how joint accounts can help you can do both with a lot less stress!

Joint Accounts – The Way to Go?

Are you two looking to dump your debt faster and start building wealth? See how joint accounts can help you can do both with a lot less stress!

There are strong feelings on the pros and cons of sharing checking and savings as a couple.

I totally get it. We’ve had some really good, deep, (and sometimes long) discussions on how we wanted to tackle our finances together.

Even though we’ve found a lot of common ground through the years, we still each have a different take on money.

And we actually love that.

We feel that our perspectives allow us to make better decisions, not just with our finances, but our marriage.

The tricky part, though, is finding a way to manage your money on a day to day basis.

And for us, we have joint accounts.

In today’s episode, I’m going over:

  • 3 ways joint accounts can make money easier to manage as a couple
  • how you can determine if separate accounts are harmful to your relationship
  • figuring out a system you love

Hope you enjoy!

If you want to hear from another couple on how they manage their money, check out my interview with Derek and Carrie Olsen.

Resources to Manage Money Together

Want to make talking about money less stressful? Here are some fantastic resources to get you on the same page and mastering your money faster!

3 Ways Joint Accounts Can Build Up Your Marriage and Finances

If you two are thinking about merging finances, here are 3 ways having joint accounts can help you grow your relationship and wealth together!

Less Hassle with Bills

By combining our money into one pot, we can simply schedule our bills from a central location.

Mortgage, utilities, and savings are scheduled and we only check on the accounts just to verify everything has been paid.

Using an online bank has made it even simpler to stay on top of our finances. You may also want to use your local credit union or community bank to see what they have to offer.

You may find better benefits and fewer fees.

More TransparencyAre you two looking to dump your debt faster and start building wealth? See how joint accounts can help you can do both with a lot less stress!

Having joint checking and savings is handy for us because we both can see where we can improve on with our finances.

It’s a safety net to protect both of us – two heads are better than one so we can catch any crazy double charges that may pop up from a bill.

We can also bounce ideas off of each other on how to better optimize our system and save some money.

Makes You Face Issues Upfront

When you two share bank accounts, it also makes you more aware of the big issues in your marriage (money and otherwise).

I know for some couples, that possibility alone seems to push them to separate accounts, but believe it or not, this can be a wonderful opportunity for your marriage.

Having the money talk can be a turning point for the both of you.

Derek Olsen from Better Conversations on Money and Marriage made an insightful remark about  how joint accounts can help the two of you with your marriage:

Combining money within a marriage does not cause problems, it might uncover a few and dealing with them now is a good thing.

Most problems are already there, not created. There is no sense in avoiding what is already there.

With financial problems being a huge factor with marital stress and divorces, its crucial to try and get things sorted out sooner rather than later.

Are Separate Accounts Bad?

Does that mean that individual accounts are toxic to your marriage? Should you close all of your individual checking and savings?

My answer is – it depends on the two of you and your personal situation.

Personally, we have checking accounts that we use for personal expenses like gifts, lunches out during the week, and small purchases here and there that make us happy.

For my husband, it’s coffee visits and for me, it’s usually books or trips.

That said, we do have access to one another’s account if we need to get to it.

We talk about all of our accounts during our monthly money dates so we’re on the same page. I think that’s key.

If you two decide to keep some accounts separate, it really helps to share all your numbers, even if it’s just on the spreadsheet. It’s impossible to work together if you’re in the dark about key accounts.

However you decide to handle your accounts, make sure there’s a plan in place should something happen to one of you. Emergencies can happen at any time and you don’t want to have this added stress of your spouse not being able to access finances as needed.

Thoughts on Joint Bank Accounts

Enough about us, I’d like to hear from you. I know we have different approaches to our finances.

How do you manage your finances? Do you combine most of your money? Why or why not?

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About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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22 comments add yours

  1. It is much easier when you start out with one account. You can always have separate savings accounts. Over the years, one of us was paying the bills and acted as gatekeeper. It helps when both parties ar einvolved in your personal finances.

    • Thanks KC! Great point – even though someone may take care of the day to day tasks for the accounts, it’s best when both are involved.

  2. I’m a fan of combining accounts. It really seems to be an “all in” approach to marriage, and is how my parents did it (which is probably why I’m strongly in favor of that approach. Aside from the financial benefits, I think the intangible aspects of truly operating as a partnership are really valuable. The one exception could be people marrying later in life who decide to keep premarital assets separate, which can make sense.

    • Every couple has to decide for themselves what works best. I’m with you – fan of combining finances. At the very least, it can be practical and productive to have joint accounts for day to day finances that both share and long term goals such as retirement.

  3. I think having one bank account (or combining finances) fosters a team mentality that you’re doing things together for a common good. I’m a big proponent of the whole “making two lives into one” thing when you get married. 🙂

    • Combining finances has helped us tremendously. I believe that couples who are trying to figure out what to do should ask themselves, why or why not? Just talking about it can allow you two to work through fears and concerns. Communication is key.

  4. We actually started the process of combining all of our finances well before we were married, which made the transition fairly seamless and gave us one less thing to worry about as we had our wedding and started married life.

    • Thanks MB! We also also combine before the wedding, starting off with a savings account for wedding gifts and upcoming expenses like our first apartment.

  5. We budgeted separately but side-by-side until we married, and then combined all our accounts (and debt, when we still had it), and it works beautifully for us. We view homemaking duties as having equal value to earning money, so it doesn’t matter to us who does which, as long as it happens. We each give everything we can, and take only what we need, so there’s always something extra left.

    When I hear about the money troubles some other couples have, it makes me so grateful that we have such a clear, agreed-upon way of doing things in our marriage.

  6. When we married I was still in university with virtually no income and he was just beginning his career. We bought a tiny home 4 months into our marriage and the only way we could manage it was to pool all the available resources and live very frugally. We’ve just carried on that way ever since. Both our pay deposited in one account; all the bills paid from there. Any excess transferred out regularly to our retirement accounts and to make extra mortgage payments. Once a dollar lands in the account there is no more tracking of who it belongs to. It’s all seen as the communal family resources. Keeping one master spreadsheet with everything mapped out is enough never mind tracking two sets of books and some arbitrary division of expenses. Overall his salary has always been higher than mine but since I am the family’s Chief Financial Officer I’ve actually contributed far more than the difference financially over the years. Left to his own devices he’d be contributing to his retirement accounts automatically through work into the same funds he selected as a new grad. There would be no ongoing research, no rebalancing – he’d pick once and never give it another thought regardless of his age or market conditions and hope it all worked out and he’d get to retire at some point. Same with the mortgage. He would have signed the papers and paid the standard payments for 25 years. My management of increased regular payments, increased frequency, and regular lump sum extra payments means it will be done over 10yrs early with a massive savings in interest. There’s nothing wrong with doing it the easy way (put everything on autopilot and never think about it again) but with two good incomes and my personal interest in finances, there was the opportunity to do a lot more than just what was required.
    I agree with other posters that if you marry later in life and have significant assets and inheritance issues for existing children to consider, then some combination of separate and joint arrangement is likely best (along with a good prenup to document what each had prior to the relationship).

    • Blaze-

      Wow, great insight.
      I just love the way you explain how you are contributing in other ways besides being an equal financial contributor. You are bringing some valuable skill and and strategy to the table.

      Thanks for sharing.

      -Derek

  7. Having just gotten married this summer this is something I just went through. We decided to combine everything just because it’s easier to manage and removes any arguments over what’s “mine” and “yours”…it’s just “ours”.

  8. I haven’t actually had any experience doing joint finances, and definitely plan to!

    We’ve talked at length about managing our finances together, but having one joint account for bills and family expenses, while still dedicating some leftover money into two separate checking accounts. One for each person, where they can spend it however they like with no judgement!

    This gives us the mindset of we are together and family, with family money goals, while still being able to buy some of the things our partners may feel are unwarranted.

    There is a disclaimer there – this is only if we have extra money left over to spend 😀

    • Yeah, for us going joint has made things go smoother in terms of day to day spending.

      I think the heart of this issue is whether a couple is planning and budgeting together. We feel like joint accounts helped us to shift into the mindset sooner.

      Having mutual goals and supporting one another on personal ones can help strengthen a relationship and in many cases, your finances.

  9. I really have no idea how couples manage their finances with separate accounts – boggles my mind. It would seem a joint account(s) would be the recipe for marital harmony.

    • For us, I’d have to agree with Derek – having to share our accounts in a way forces us to confront issues sooner rather than later. If we want to avoid double dipping, we have to at least mention a purchase we have in mind.

      And personally, we think of that as a good thing. I can’t remember any major or important deal we missed out on because we had to run it by each other.

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