Pros and Drawbacks of Having a Joint Account

Darryl Bachmeier
Nov 18, 2020
Finance


As a disclaimer, this article will not touch base on love in marriage. Rather, it’ll explore one marital challenge that couples used to face at the beginning, and even throughout their marriage - joint versus separate finances.

We are regarding marriage as a union where two people become “one” both in Biblical and practical contexts. You cohabit, share assets and liabilities, and procreate.

It is interesting to note that marriage does not alter each other’s person. Rather, it celebrates each spouse’s uniqueness by complementing each other. What unites them in marriage is accountability in decision making, as well as mutual stand in major issues.

Getting married is a huge milestone for two people individually and as a couple. But after the excitement weans, the reality creeps. There are many things that you need to face together moving forward, and from the moment you signed your marriage certificate, you are in for a lifelong of compromises.

Perhaps one of the major issues that couples face in marriage is finances.

People have different views about money and may have baggage that they can bring into their marriage. If you have such, it is best to discuss it with your partner right away to avoid bigger conflicts and to start the remedy early on.

Debt, student loans, mortgages, and other financial obligations must be laid on the table. These things, if not dealt with accordingly and early on, will give birth to complicated problems. Instead of you and your partner looking forward to the future, these things will drag you down.

Meanwhile, marriage includes joint financial decision making and responsibility. Up to what extent is up to the couple. May it be a cultural or lawful thing to do, but having joint responsibility in finances is an almost automatic and valid point of serious discussion among couples.

Money matters are one of the leading causes of marital conflict. A survey from SunTrust Bank in 2015 reveals that 35% of their respondents are pointing at money as their primary cause of concern and conflict in their relationships. Other key findings were pointing out money as a source of conflict for spouses, but it reveals a lot about how issues surrounding finances can affect a relationship.

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Early intervention can help set your marriage on a better course. Which one is better - joint or separate finances?

Why Joint Account? Or Why Not?

For some, it becomes automatic to have a joint account when they get married. It becomes a symbol of mutual financial responsibility and lifelong accountability.

Here are the other pros of having a joint account:

Accountability

Some couples experience a stronger sense of accountability in terms of purchases and financial management. Having the two of you contribute financially to the household gets you to feel more responsible and adult-like.

Meanwhile, managing one account provides transparency in your financial management flow. For some, transparency builds a sense of discipline and wanting to become a better money handler or spender.

Also, your marriage can take advantage of the strengths of each other when it comes to money. One can assume being either the fund manager or the budgeter depending on his or her strengths.

Ease of access

Getting a joint account is more practical and easier to access for both parties. Joint accounts come with a card and bank book for each spouse, making it easier for both to track all the ins and outs of money without having to consult each other. Paying bills is also easier with online banking.

Joint income stream

Having a joint account may mean a centralized source of cash for your household. With two depositors, it doubles your family’s spending power and credit score and can help when it comes to big-ticket purchases that need bigger funding.

Meanwhile, it also makes both spouses accountable for the household’s whole expenditure.

Income protection

In the unlikely event that one spouse passes away, the one left will not have a hard time accessing their family’s funds. Accessing a deceased personal account is a complicated process and becomes burdensome for the heirs.

Meanwhile, not everyone finds a joint account accommodating of their personalities or preferences.

So, for these couples, here are the drawbacks of a joint account:

Lack of financial freedom

For independent earners, they are willing to share most of the aspects of their lives but not money access. Most couples have already agreed on this beforehand and having separate accounts is their most sensible option.

As a compromise, they can create a separate joint account for household finances. But they can keep another account for their personal expenditures.

More complicated financial issues in the event of separation or divorce

Some couples are more realistic about their expectations in their marriage. Thus, they consider getting separate bank accounts to protect their income or savings in the event of separation or divorce.

Final Thoughts

Your decision boils down to whichever choice you are most comfortable with as a couple. Having joint or separate finances does not wholly embody the accountability and transparency in your marriage. Instead, it’s simply more of preference and which works best in your situation, lifestyle, or comfort level.

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