Deciding on Joint or Separate Checking Accounts for Your Marriage

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(Guest post)

Saying “I do” means more than creating a union based on love and romance. It also means combining homes, goals and responsibilities – for better or worse. While you and your fiancé may have already decided where to honeymoon after the big day, there are some other important conversations you should have before buying your tickets. A big one is how you want to handle your finances as you begin life together.

Some couples combine their money by opening a checking account together while others maintain separate finances. There are pros and cons to each solution, but the deciding factor has to be your comfort level as a financial team. Review the pros and cons of separate and joint checking accounts to help you decide:

Five reasons separate checking accounts may work in your marriage

  1. Saver vs. spender – Mismatched financial goals can cause uncomfortable debates. If you and your spouse agree to disagree on financial goals, use separate accounts. You can spend while he or she can save with an interest-bearing checking account.
  2. Privacy in spending – If you want to surprise you spouse with a present, large or small, you can’t do so if all purchases go through a shared account.
  3. Continue to pay your personal debts – If you come into your marriage with some personal debt and don’t want to share the responsibility of paying it, maintain a separate checking account.
  4. Large income discrepancies – If you and your spouse have significantly different incomes and spending tends to spark discussion, separate checking accounts can help mitigate stress.
  5. Future financial security – While you don’t want to think about the loss of your spouse, if something does happen, access to joint financial accounts may be temporarily frozen. Your separate checking account will ensure you have access to money immediately.

Five reasons a joint checking account might be right for you

  1. Shared expensesSharing one account can make it easier to pay monthly bills. Trying to equally split the costs and pay out of separate accounts just adds to the work around the house.
  2. Trust  – After committing your lives to one another, joining financially might be the next step in your relationship.
  3. AccountabilityOpening a checking account with your spouse may actually save you money in the long run since you will likely think more about your purchases as they impact both of you.
  4. Joint financial goalsIf you and your future spouse can get your financial goals in line, opening a checking account together can help you work as a team. Interest-bearing checking accounts are a great way to save a little extra cash for major life events like your next vacation or even your first child.
  5. Open communicationSharing money also means having conversations about how you want it spent. It’s a great way to keep dialogue open about what is important to both of you.

Make the decision about your checking accounts together

The decision about how to manage your finances as a couple is personal, and there is no right or wrong answer. The most important thing you can do is open up a dialogue before tying the knot to make sure you can agree on a comfortable plan.

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(Guest post was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.)

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