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Banking Basics

Should You Get a Joint Bank Account With Your Significant Other?

Thinking about merging money with your partner? There are some points to think through to make sure you’re confident in that next step.

Taylor Milam-Samuel • June 29, 2021

In This Article

  1. Pros and Cons of Opening a Joint Bank Account
  2. When Is It Right to Keep a Separate Account?
  3. Keeping Both a Joint Account and a Separate Account
  4. Making the Final Decision on a Joint Bank Account
  5. Joint Bank Account FAQs
  6. Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of splitting checks, divvying up bills, and trying to figure out who pays what with your significant other, you’re not alone. Half of millennials combine finances with their partners before marriage. It can make it easier to share financial responsibilities and keep track of how much money you have as a couple.

But, even though it might seem easy to open a joint account with your boo, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. In fact, when deciding what banking options are best for you and your significant other, it’s key to discuss your finances before taking the leap.

Pros and Cons of Opening a Joint Bank Account

There are both pros and cons of opening a joint bank account. While it can make a lot of things easier in your day-to-day finances, there is also trust, risk, and responsibility to consider. 

Joint Bank Account Benefits

Joint accounts provide ease of use for couples and eliminate the need to constantly send money back and forth. But beyond that, joint accounts make it easier for couples to work toward a shared goal, like saving for an upcoming vacation or a down payment on a house. 

  • You and your partner will have more financial transparency
  • You won’t have to decide which account should be linked to each bill
  • You’ll have an easy view of your total finances
  • It’ll be easier to visualize if you can meet your financial goals

Joint Account Drawbacks

Opening a joint account shouldn’t be taken lightly, because you’re agreeing to share your money with someone else. Both individuals have access to the account and can deposit and withdraw without the other’s permission. You are agreeing to share financial responsibilities, and if one person faces bankruptcy or debt collection, your shared account is in jeopardy. 

  • Your money will also become someone else’s money
  • You may feel less independent
  • You may end up spending more when you see a higher balance
  • Breakup, divorce, or other conflicts may cause a lack of trust with money, or risk financial abuse
  • You may have to close your own account

When Is It Right to Keep a Separate Account?

If you feel like there are more cons than pros to a joint bank account, it’s probably best to keep your finances separate. There are many couples that feel financially independent with their own checking and savings account. You might not be ready to be financially bound to your partner, and that’s okay. 

Or, maybe you two are still getting to know each other and haven’t yet disclosed income, debt, or money matters. 

Whatever your reason, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a separate bank account. In fact, around 28% of millennial couples choose to maintain separate checking accounts, even after marriage.

To this end, separate accounts don’t have to mean completely separate finances. With apps like Honeyfi and Honeydue, couples are able to manage their finances as a team without opening joint accounts. 

Keeping Both a Joint Account and a Separate Account

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between one or the other. Many couples choose to have both. Joint accounts and separate accounts offer flexibility and can have different purposes.

For Michigan couple Katie VanArsdall and Melissa Silvia, a combination of accounts just made sense. “We merged finances when we moved in together, but we also wanted to keep our own separate accounts because we both work full-time jobs and make money that we consider to be our money,” says VanArsdall.

“But for all of our joint bills, we have a joint account. It’s so much easier to just figure out our monthly expenses and mutually put money from each paycheck into a joint account and pay our joint bills from there. It’s made everything so much easier to have a mixture of both accounts,” she says.

Find the Right Combination for You

If you want to keep an individual checking account, you can have a joint savings account. Or, if you want to keep your own savings account, you can stick with a joint checking account.

Making the Final Decision on a Joint Bank Account

The most important thing to do before making a decision is to sit down with your SO and have an honest conversation about goals, preferences, and finances.

Grab a glass of wine or sparkling water and make time for a money date. For starters, set aside 30 minutes and ask each other these specific financial questions:

  1. What are our shared financial goals as a couple?
  2. Do we have debt we are trying to pay off or a big expense we are saving for?
  3. Do we have joint expenses and bills?
  4. Are there any money guidelines we want to implement as a couple?
  5. What will make each of us confident in sharing finances?
  6. What are our biggest hesitations on merging money?

Long story short: When it comes to joint accounts versus separate accounts, there isn’t a wrong answer. It’s up to you and your partner to decide what’s best for your money sitch. As long as you remember to keep the communication channels clear and remain open to making changes as you both see fit, you should be on your way to a healthy banking relationship.

Joint Bank Account FAQs

Still have questions? Read on for some insight to common questions about joint bank accounts.

Can you have a joint bank account without being married?

Yes, it is possible to have a joint bank account without being married. Many partners set up an account without having tied the knot.

What do I need to open a joint bank account?

To open a joint bank account, you and your partner typically need to bring an ID (like a passport or driver’s license) and proof of address. Sometimes you’ll also need a minimum deposit to open your account. It’s best to check with your bank to figure out exactly what you need.

Who owns the money in a joint bank account?

You and your partner both own the money in a joint account. You can both make deposits and withdrawals. Some banks even allow just one person on the account to fully close the account.

Final Thoughts

Opening a joint account is a big decision. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Rather, it’s what’s best for you, your partner, and your financial goals as a couple.

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