A Joint Life With Separate Bank Accounts
When couples wed, do their bank accounts have to follow suit? To put it simply, the answer is no. In fact, spouses may find keeping funds separate a better solution.
Many folks enjoy the responsibility, empowerment and control of having separate bank accounts. They appreciate the ability to spend or save as they wish without anyone questioning their decisions each time the monthly bank statement arrives.
Likewise, couples don't always have the same philosophies about managing finances. A partner who frequently fails to keep enough money in an account to cover transactions will likely irk his or her better half who is meticulous about maintaining appropriate funds. And, when one person has considerable debt, the other may find it advantageous to keep their money separated.
Although, individual accounts shouldn't be secret accounts. Maintaining good communication about saving and spending — and the troubles that may arise — is key for couples who have shared financial goals like buying a home, raising a child or having plentiful assets for retirement.
Paying Joint Expenses
Of course, there are short-term goals to think about as well, like paying the bills. Spouses who keep separate bank accounts have to devise a sustainable plan. One option is to divvy up the bills, from large ones like the mortgage to smaller ones like the weekly groceries. Assigning responsibility for expenditures can help ensure they get budgeted for and paid.
Another route is to open a joint checking account solely to pay expenses. Both spouses can regularly transfer funds into the account. For instance, they can contribute an equal amount or a percentage of their individual incomes.
Customizing a Solution
Over time, some couples may find that they really like the convenience of having a joint checking account — and even a joint savings account. Setting ground rules for pooling money can help maintain the peace.
But deciding to commingle the majority of funds doesn't need to signal the end of separate accounts. Some spouses move a designated amount of money into their own accounts each month to spend or save as they desire.
Couples may find it takes some experimentation to determine what kind of bank account arrangement works best for them. Ultimately, joint and separate accounts can both be very beneficial options.