Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 8, 2008
When it comes to personal finance there really never is a one size fits all answer. Yet at the same time I still have a problem with couples that keep separate finances once they are married. I personally think this is setting yourself up for failure. That’s not to say separate isn’t a bad idea if you are just starting out as common law, but marriage usually indicates a certain commitment which just makes sense to join the accounts.
The reasons I like joint accounts is:
- It turns conversations from ‘mine’ to ‘our’ or ‘we’. It’s a subtle thing, but it does matter. It’s helps to create a deeper commitment to your relationship and reinforce the couple concept in your mind. I think this is half the reason you get wedding gifts. It greats a bunch of new stuff that you automatically think of as ours, rather than your old stuff and my old stuff.
- Simplification. With just one main chequing account it is easy to setup all your pay cheques into one account and all the bills on auto debit out of that account. It removes any chance of missing a bill payment and cuts out a lot of potential fights of who was suppose to pay what.
- Helps to reduce inequity. I’ve had several friends comment over the years that don’t I resent being the one in the relationship that brings in the most of the money? No. I’ve almost never thought of how much of it is mine compared to my wife’s. Why? The joint account. It just turns into ‘our’ money when it goes in. Also I’m grow up enough to realize that money is just one way to contribute to a relationship.
- Reduces any chance to hide things. Relationships fail when you can’t trust the other one. In money it’s harder to hide things when everything passes through one account. So by going joint you are offering to stand financially naked in front of the other one. This provides a level of trust that is hard to beat.
In there defense some people like to point the following drawbacks of joint accounts:
- “You don’t have any money that is just yours.” Not true at all. We personally keep spending cash as buy what you want money and all birthday money is strictly just for the person who gets it.
- “You can’t buy a gift without them knowing.” Again, not strictly true. We personal just tell the other one not to look at the Visa statement the month before their birthday and two months before Christmas. Or you could just get separate credit cards and keep the joint chequing account.
Well that’s my thoughts on the issue. So what about you? Do you use a joint account or not? If not, why?