Are you currently married?
Are you engaged?
Are you planning on getting married one day?
This blog is for you!
When getting married, one of the most common financial decisions to make is whether to join your bank accounts, keep them separate, or a combination of the two. This can affect their financial stability and relationship. While some couples believe that joining bank accounts is a sign of commitment and trust, others prefer to keep their finances separate. This blog will explore both options, analyze their pros and cons, and provide guidance.
What this blog covers:
- The decision is YOURS.
- Joining bank accounts
- Keeping separate bank accounts
- Multiple bank accounts
- Other types of accounts
- How My Financial Snapshot helps!
The decision is YOURS.
First and foremost, the decision is YOURS. No one cares about you more than you, especially regarding your finances. There are pros and cons to each of these options we detail below. Seeking guidance from financial experts, friends, and family is fine, but remember, the ultimate decision is yours.
Joining bank accounts
One of the most significant benefits of joining bank accounts is transparency. Couples can see each other’s income, expenses, and debts when they combine their finances. This level of openness can lead to better communication, trust, and teamwork. A shared account can simplify bill payments, budgeting, and financial planning. For example, they can contribute to a joint account to pay for shared expenses such as rent, groceries, and utilities.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to joining bank accounts. One of the most significant risks is that separating the finances can be difficult and contentious if the marriage ends. If one party has misused the funds or taken more than their fair share, it can lead to legal battles and further emotional stress. Additionally, if one partner has a poor credit score or has incurred significant debt, it can negatively affect the other partner’s credit.
Keeping separate bank accounts
The most significant benefit of keeping bank accounts separate is autonomy. Each partner has control over their own money and can spend it as they see fit. This can lead to a sense of independence and self-reliance. Additionally, it can help maintain good credit if one partner has a poor credit score or significant debt. If one party has a business or side hustle in one bank account, that may be an account that needs to be kept separate.
However, the downside of keeping bank accounts separate is that it can lead to less transparency and communication. It can be difficult to track shared expenses and lead to disagreements about who should pay for what. Additionally, planning for the future or saving for joint goals like buying a home or starting a family can make it more challenging.
Multiple bank accounts
If each partner has multiple bank accounts, it can complicate matters. It’s vital to ensure that both partners are aware of all the accounts and the amounts of money in them. It can be helpful to consolidate the accounts into one shared account or to create a separate joint account for shared expenses.
Other types of accounts
Bank accounts are the most common type of account people discuss because that is where paychecks are typically deposited and expenses outflow. There are other types of accounts it is important to discuss and agree on.
- Credit Cards
- Peer-to-peer payment accounts (Ex: Venmo, Cash App)
- Retirement accounts (Ex: 401K, IRA)
- Investment accounts (Ex: Etrade, Robinhood)
Retirement and investment accounts are typically separate from checking and savings accounts. However, it is essential to discuss these accounts and decide whether to combine them or keep them separate. It’s also crucial to designate beneficiaries on these accounts to ensure that the assets go to the intended person in the event of death.
How My Financial Snapshot helps!
Money can be a difficult subject to talk about before marriage or within marriage. But what if it wasn’t, and how can using My Financial Snapshot help? If you are unaware of where all of your finances are, it can be difficult to make the best decision and can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication down the road.
How can My Financial Snapshot help you easily figure this out and have a productive conversation to help you make the best decision for your marriage?
Complete a personal financial statement together.
My Financial Snapshot has a “Snapshot Tool” that helps you build a personal financial statement. A personal financial statement will show you where all your accounts are, investments, and debts on one page, as well as itemized detail pages breaking everything down in an understandable way.
Once you update your Snapshot together, you have transparency of where all of your accounts and information is, which can help you make decisions about what to do. It is also easy to update your Snapshot as often as you want.
Make a budget together.
My Financial Snapshot has a “Budgeting Tool” that lets you budget for your income, investment & savings, and expenses. You can see where your separate income is coming from, look at expenses that will be joint, and figure out the best way to go about paying for these expenses.
Healthy finances can lead to a healthier marriage.
According to a study by SunTrust Bank, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships, with 35% of respondents citing it as the primary reason for their arguments. Another study by Ramsey Solutions found that money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, only behind infidelity. Furthermore, a National Endowment for Financial Education poll found that 68% of couples surveyed reported that money causes tension in their relationship.
In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether a couple should join their bank accounts or keep them separate. The decision ultimately depends on the couple’s individual circumstances, financial goals, and personal preferences.