They say never to discuss money, politics, or religion. But for many people, sharing your life with someone inevitably means sharing your finances too.
Upon entering into a committed relationship, many couples combine their finances by opening a joint savings account together. This type of account is helpful when two people are working together toward common financial goals. But just because this has happened historically doesn’t mean you are obliged to do it — it may not be right for you. Here’s what you should know when it comes to joint savings accounts.
What is a joint savings account and who is it for?
A joint savings account is a standard savings account to which multiple people can be granted access. Traditionally, couples use these joint accounts to pool their income for the sake of common goals, such as paying off debt, saving for a down payment on a home, or taking a vacation. Some couples also use it to draw funds for shared expenses.
Even though most joint accounts are opened by married couples, they can also be used by those who are not romantically involved. For example, you may need to take care of an elderly parent later down the road and help them manage their money. Sharing in this responsibility instantly becomes easier when you become a co-owner of your parent’s savings account.
What are the benefits of a shared account?
If the owners of a joint savings account are financially responsible, this kind of bank account makes it easier to work together to manage money. Shared accounts allow couples to budget and to see how they spend their money in great detail. Most importantly, joint accounts create a sense of accountability. When both partners are accountable to each other, they are less likely to splurge and make unwise money decisions.
Another advantage of a shared savings account is having extra FDIC or NCUA insurance coverage if your bank or credit union offers such insurance, as each depositor is insured up to $250,000.
Open up a dialogue with your partner — before opening a joint savings account.
Because money is a sensitive subject for many couples, you and your partner should seriously consider the following questions before opening a joint account:
- Do you agree on what joint funds will be used for?
- Have you agreed on the amount each co-owner will contribute to the account?
- Have you set ground rules to establish who will withdraw funds, when this will happen, and for what purpose?
- Have you determined how you will communicate with your co-owner(s) if you need to take money out of the account?
- Is each co-owner responsible with money and in good financial standing?
- Do the co-owners have similar spending habits?
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you’re in good shape to open a joint account. As you communicate with your partner honestly and effectively about the guidelines you set for your money, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of joint savings without the tension.
Many couples prefer to retain individual bank accounts when their partner is deeply in debt or has a history of mismanaging their money. This financial independence gives the other person a sense of security, financial ownership, and peace of mind knowing they can control their earnings.
Find an account that meets (both of) your goals.
There are about a dozen types of savings accounts to choose from, many of which can be opened online in just a few minutes if your institution offers online account opening. The best account to open depends on your goals (e.g. saving for retirement, earning interest on savings, saving large amounts of money, or working to pay for college or pay off college loans). Check out this list of different types of accounts available and which one might be best for your situation. And if rewards are your thing, look no further than Kasasa reward accounts
It’s no secret that finances are one of the top sources of friction and discord in relationships. If you and another individual are considering opening a joint bank account together, take the time to carefully weigh the pros and cons. As you gain a full understanding of the benefits and workings of a joint savings account, you’ll be able to make a good decision for your relationship and your financial well-being.