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How you two manage your bank accounts can not only make or break your money but your marriage. How do you know if joint or separate bank accounts are the right way to go?

Find out how you can find the best system for you two!

Why How You Manage Your Bank Accounts Matter

This week's marriage and money tip is absolutely crucial if you two are serious about dumping debt and getting financial freedom.

The two of you have to decide what's the best solution going forward with your finances and your marriage.

While each couple has their own individual way of mixing things together there are generally three ways to divvy money up:

  •  Joint
  • Separate
  • Hybrid

I'm going over some of the benefits as well as a few things to consider so you two can find the best solution for you.

You can watch this week's marriage and money tip here or read the highlights below.

Should We Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?

The first one is using joint accounts for your day to day finances.

You guys are going all in. You are opening a joint checking account, closing your individual checking accounts and savings and you are focused on being on the same page.

One of the big benefits of this system is that you both know what's coming in and out of the accounts. It's harder to keep secrets when you guys are sharing these accounts.

Work together to make sure that you're getting some good rates sometimes with savings accounts when you combine them you get a higher balance that you qualify you for better returns.

Something you should be aware of is how you deal with more individually based expenses.

What do I mean?

Include Fun Money into Your Joint Budget

Even the most in sync couples have their own personal hobbies and interests. We sometimes like to spend money on those things and maybe our spouse doesn't quite get it.

Maybe you like to travel and your spouse is a builder. Maybe you're into tech and your spouse is a foodie chef.

For those expenses, you have to find a way to fit them into your budget so you two can still be you.

Some couples take out the money every paycheck or maybe you keep tabs on the spreadsheet for when you or your spouse wants to use.

Just have a system where you two can have your individual expenses while still working as a team.

The next way you can handle your finances is with separate accounts.

You guys are both paying the bills, but from your individual accounts and you split them.

For some it's a way to ease into merging finances down the road, others feel like this gives you more independence and control.

What you do want to be aware of with separate accounts is if you're a couple and you make about the same amount splitting it 50/50 may make sense with your budget.

However, if there's a big difference with your amount of income look at splitting the bills proportionally.

So let's say all of your monthly expenses come out to $4000.

You make $4,000/month and your spouse makes $2,000.

If you split it 50/50, your spouse has nothing leftover and they may resent have a bigger burden.

With proportional contributions though, you put in $2,680 and your spouse puts in $1,320. That leaves both of you with spending cash.

Another thing to consider and talk about – even if you two decide to go the separate with finances route, you have to be upfront about your accounts.

I would say money dates are even more crucial so weekly might be the best way to go. It'll allow you two to stay on the same page and minimize

Finally, you two can go with the hybrid route with your money.

Perhaps when you get married you decided to keep your individual accounts and then open a joint account.

We did this.

It's possible to get the best of both worlds. You can still spend on the things you enjoy without having your spouse over the shoulder and yet you keep most of your money together.

Even though you have individual fun money accounts it really does pay to sit down and make sure you review all the accounts on your money dates.

There's a difference between separate and secret.

Thoughts on Joint or Separate Bank Accounts

I personally feel that having joint checking and savings for your mutual expenses and goals is a practical and easier way to manage your money together.

However you decide, though, please make sure you:

  • talk about how you want to handle your money and why
  • get on the same page with your goals
  • have a regular time (weekly or monthly) where you both review all the accounts

If you two are still working out how to handle your finances, please check out my book Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money.

It's a 4-week guide to get you two on the same page and set up an automatic and easy to maintain a system that fit you and your goals.

That's my take, I'd love to hear from you. What's your system with your accounts? Why and how did you come up with it?

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..

2 comments add your comment

  1. Hybrid(ish) but mostly shared.

    My wife and I agreed that when we got married, we signed up to work toward our goals together, as a single unit. Honestly it’s just easier housekeeping to have everything combined. Less administrative overhead, less figuring stuff out…simplicity is great and helps us focus on other things.

    That being said we do have a “fun money allowance” right now but that’s likely to go away in the future. It’s only $100 a month and she can spend it however she wants, I can spend my $100 however I want. If I want to buy $100 worth of pez dispensers, that’s my choice.

    I fully expect that will go away over time but it’s helped us ease into the idea of ‘our’ money since we were both so used to being very independent with our finances.

    I think every couple needs to figure out what’s going to work best for them and their comfort levels. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here.

    • We’re the same way. It’s our money; the individual accounts are for our little hobbies and interests. Still, when we look at the big picture on our money dates those accounts are included as well.