Joint Vs. Separate Bank Accounts — The New Couple's Dilemma

12 May 2020
 Categories: Finance & Money, Blog

When a couple gets married, they make many adjustments from single life to living as a couple. But that transition can be challenging. Nowhere is this better illustrated than the decisions about having joint or separate bank accounts. What are the pros and cons of each, and how can you make the right decisions? Here are a few answers to get you started as a family.

The Pros and Cons of Separate Accounts

Everyone wants to feel that they are in control of the money they earn and what is done with it. Maintaining your own bank account is one of the biggest ways to enjoy this natural benefit of adulthood.  You did, after all, work hard for that income and should be master over it. 

Separate accounts can also be very helpful if one partner has any financial or legal difficulty in their past which might put their money in jeopardy — such as from garnishments, liens, unpaid taxes, or child support. And if your income alone is the basis for any qualifying loans, governmental programs, or grants, it may be best to keep it separate. 

Unfortunately, maintaining only separate accounts can leave each partner feeling like that money is theirs alone rather than part of a cohesive team. This may cause hard feelings, a lack of shared planning, failure to reach family goals, and protectiveness about their funds. 

The Pros and Cons of Joint Accounts

Joint accounts, on the other hand, necessitate the use of shared planning and joint goals since the money is pooled. Both spouses can handle all transactions and know what exactly the family has to work with and what its true obligations are. Accounts can build up faster and everyone can share in the bounty no matter what their own personal income potential is.

Owners of joint accounts may suffer from feeling judged about their spending or feeling that they don't have freedom of choice with what they've earned. They may, in turn, judge how the other spouse spends their funds. And both will suffer if one partner is a bad money manager.

How to Come to a Decision

Clearly, the choice between separate and joint accounts is complex and unique. And, given that money is one of the biggest sources of friction in many relationships, you may not be able to come to a good solution on your own.

Instead of arguing over this and delaying the achievement of your goals, consult with a professional in couples' money management. With some coaching from an independent third party and trained pro, you're sure to overcome the obstacles and find the best solution for your marriage.

Reach out to a couples' money management coach today to learn more.