Couples’ Debate: Joint or Separate Accounts?

By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®

It’s a common dilemma for many couples: should you have joint or separate financial accounts? Instead of focusing on this issue as an “either or” choice, why not consider doing both?

You can establish a joint account to pay the household bills, things like rent, utilities and food expenses. This account can also help fund shared goals, like saving for your home’s
down payment. This way, the joint account keeps you on the same page financially, and working together as a team. Then you can each have a separate account that you control exclusively and use for your own saving and spending choices.

The key to making this arrangement work is that both parties should have full autonomy over their individual account, including the right to use it in any way they see fit.

Such a scenario reduces the need to ask a mate for “permission” to spend on various items. It also helps each party to develop fiscally healthy behaviors on their own, because each individual will be responsible for managing his or her own checking or savings account, not letting checks bounce, and not overdrawing their own account.

If you adopt this approach, even though each party is independently managing a part of his or her own finances, it’s still a good idea to agree upon a spending level – perhaps $250 or $500 – where you will at least give each other a heads up about a planned major expenditure.

There are many benefits to having both separate and joint accounts with the one you love.

By talking though this issue and being open to the potential advantages of this arrangement, you can create more financial harmony and have fewer money arguments in your relationship.



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