Love & Money: Are Joint Bank Accounts a Good Idea?

couple discussing joint finances

Every single day couples across America find love, get engaged, move in together and get married. After couples decide to spend their lives together they have to make another very important decision; they have to decide if they are really going to share everything in their lives.  If you’re in a committed relationship you now have to decide if you want to share your daily life and your money with your loved one.

Depending on where you stand on the subject there are valid reasons to argue both sides of this major financial (and life) decision.  So let me ask you a personal question…do you want to share your money with your spouse?

The Pros of Opening Joint Bank Accounts

Double the income equals double the savings. If you and your spouse have set short term or long term goals together, having both incomes deposited into the same account helps your savings add up quicker – or at least appear to add up quicker.  This is a major advantage of opening a joint bank account. The key is to make sure that you and your spouse are both on the same page when it comes to spending money that goes into a joint bank account. If one spouse spends more than the other it could lead to disagreements in the relationship.

Someone is always watching. If you are a spender and your spouse is a saver, having a joint credit card or bank account can help you think twice before you swipe that card.  The fact that your spouse will see every single transaction could prevent unnecessary spending or over spending.  Sometimes the watchful eye of big brother can help decrease our spending and increase our savings. Are you more careful about your purchases if you know your spouse is checking the credit card statement? I know that I am.

The Cons of Opening Joint Bank Accounts

You may not always agree.  When you have a joint bank account you and your spouse both have to agree on how you want to spend your money.  Unfortunately you may not always agree on how much to spend, when to spend or where to spend your hard earned money.  Money is the biggest cause of stress in a relationship and is often the root cause of many breakups.  The way to avoid letting money get in the way of your relationship is to be open with your spouse about how you want to spend your money and always consider the other person before you make a purchase.

Over spending can lead to bigger relationship problems. This was probably the biggest struggle in my relationship after my boyfriend and I graduated from college and both started earning full-time incomes. We were each so excited to not be broke students anymore that we both spend our entire pay checks within days of getting the money.  We didn’t take each other into consideration with our purchases and as you can imagine, this put a huge strain on our relationship. Money was only the problem on the surface, the underlying problem was that we were both living (and spending) like we were single, when in fact we had joint bills to pay each month and neither one of us had the money to pay them. This was a big problem.

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Published November 25, 2013 Updated: November 21, 2013
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