Joint or separate accounts for couples: which is right for you?

Many newlyweds wonder about the best way to manage their finances. Below is some important information about joint and separate banking accounts.

Joint or separate accounts for couples: which is right for you?

Joint accounts

Joint accounts are ideal for couples who want streamlined finances.

  • Both partners deposit their entire paycheque into the joint account, and usually household expenses are managed from this account.

The upside:

Account management is easier with joint accounts, as transactions are easily tracked.

  • Joint finances reinforce a sense of teamwork and shared accountability, and can also help streamline legal affairs.
  • In the event of an emergency or untimely death, the surviving partner automatically receives their account balance without delay, rather than having to jump through legal hoops to obtain access to their partner's personal account.

The downside:

The downside is really no more than other inconveniences managed by couples.

  • For example, the responsibility of managing the account may be placed on one partner.

Separate accounts

Separate accounts is an option with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The upside:

Financial independence is the big plus of separate accounts.

  • There is minimal adjustment to make when you get married or move in together.
  • Untangling finances in the event of a separation is easier with separate accounts.

The downside:

A difference in income levels may may lead to avoidable resentment.

  • Legal matters can be trickier with separate accounts, and you would definitely need a will to ensure that upon your death your spouse receives money from your accounts.

The middle ground: joint and separate accounts

The best of both worlds for many couples is having one shared account and separate individual accounts.

The upside:

With this setup, both partners maintain a degree of financial independence, while still experiencing a sense of teamwork and joint responsibility from paying for things from a shared pool of funds.

  • The joint account encourages communication about finances, while the personal accounts avoid the sense of having to justify every small purchase.
  • In the event of a separation, each partner has some personal funds so neither is left stranded with no access to financial resources.

The downside

Tracking all purchases, managing money and paying bills can be time consuming and confusing with different accounts.

  • It is wise for partners to sit down and discuss all options in order to pick the best option for their relationship.
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