One of the most important decisions a married couple can make is whether to manage their money separately or as a joint asset. Tradition dictates that married couples should keep their money in one account because what’s his becomes hers, and vice versa.
Most financial experts would say that the stakes are high, and it’s not a decision that should be made lightly. So we’ve listed down the pros and cons before making that decision to open a joint account.
The pros of having a joint account with your spouse
It’s easy and convenient.
A joint account is easier to use because both you and your spouse have access to the account. You can withdraw money from the account anytime, especially if the other spouse is unavailable or unreachable. Except of course if the joint account requires both your signatures.
A joint account also makes it easier for you to prepare for both scheduled and unexpected expenses and pay for them in a timely manner.
It fosters transparency and promotes trust.
Having a joint account with your spouse opens the lines of communication when it comes to money and other financial issues. It helps you remain on top of your finances and eliminates the possibility of one day finding out that there’s no money when all the while you thought there was.
There will be no financial secrets because you will know just how much the other earns, how much you are spending on things, and if there are things that you should change about your spending habits.
With a joint account, you will have a clear idea of what’s coming and going into your bank account without having to ask your spouse about it.
Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
When you regularly withdraw cash, write checks, or make online payments from your joint account, you can see and check just how much money is being spent each month. If there are any withdrawals or deposits that your spouse never mentioned to you, you can see them in your bank statements as well.
It means shared responsibility.
With a joint account, you and your spouse can share in paying for household expenses, like utilities and groceries, as well as your home mortgage and car payments.
If your budget is tight, you’ll know just how much you’re supposed to spend, or just how much you need to earn to make your payments.
When your spending activities and account information are visible to you both, you may also feel less tempted to splurge on things you don’t really need or purchase items on a whim.
The cons of having a joint account with your spouse
Another person has unrestricted access to your account.
Because your spouse has access to the account, they can do anything they want with it. But if you trust each other completely and are both financially responsible, this should not be a problem.
There are joint accounts that require both you and your spouse to sign before a transaction can be approved, so this can be an option. There’s an added level of security, although it can be inconvenient when you need to make an urgent withdrawal.
There is no privacy.
The stability and security of your joint account relies on the stability and security of your marriage, of course.
Once you open a joint account, you are sharing your financial information and giving your spouse access to your money.
A joint account means letting your spouse know how much you earn, how much you spend, and what your spending habits are like. For others, this thing wouldn’t bother them. But for others who want some degree of privacy when it comes to their own money, this can be problematic.
When the relationship doesn’t work out, joint accounts can get messy.
Real relationships have real problems. Sometimes, no matter how much you love each other and try to work things out, a relationship can just die a natural death.
When this happens, joint accounts can end up in trouble, too.
If there’s a significant amount of money in your joint account, you need to talk about what you will do with the account and how you’re going to split the money according to your individual contributions.
Sometimes this is an easy task. But if there’s too much hurt or anger going around, this can be a real challenge.
When should you open a joint account, then?
Do you have the same financial goals? Are you saving up for a big expense? Are you working to save money so that you can finally be debt free?
If you answered yes to all these, then you can open a joint account. It’s recommended if you and your spouse have already talked about your financial boundaries, money expectations, and financial goals.
Having a joint account makes a lot of sense because you will have one account to pay for all your recurring costs.
It’s also a good way to keep a tally of who paid for what, making it easier for you and your spouse to discuss your finances and your spending habits.
Before you open one, though, you should be aware of your spouse’s financial status. A joint account is the last thing you want to have if your spouse is deep in debt with no stable income or no plans of settling their debts.
To have a joint account or not will always spark a heated debate. No matter what the advantages and disadvantages are, the decision to open one will depend on how stable and honest your relationship with your spouse is.
A joint account is a good idea if you want to share financial responsibilities and work together as a team to be financially stable and financially independent.
If you don’t like surprises when it comes to your finances, you should definitely get a joint account and pool your resources.
Having a joint account does not mean that you can no longer have your own separate savings account. You should not feel obligated to share an account if you’re not happy or comfortable with it.
Every marriage is different. Figure out what works best for you and your spouse and your combined income. Work out your own way of settling your financial obligations and putting away money for your savings.
After all, the goal of having a joint account is to save together, clear debts, pay bills, and get full transparency.