There are several key moments in every relationship, from your first date to your wedding and your first home. And with every life event, couples are faced with a multitude of choices, like changing names and where to build a life together. One of the biggest decisions for many couples is whether or not to open joint bank accounts.
We outline the benefits of both joint and separate accounts for couples to help you decide what’s best for you:
What’s Mine is Yours: Benefits of Joint Accounts
There are several benefits to merging your finances with your partner. When your money is in one place, both partners have access to it and can pay bills or make purchases without needing to swap cash or use a mobile transfer service. It also gives you two sets of eyes on your accounts to monitor for suspicious activity or fraud.
Similarly, a joint account can give you a fast picture of your combined finances, making it easier to ensure that you have enough to pay bills and determine if you can afford date night. And because your partner can see your transactions and vice versa, that joint account may help you to curb unnecessary spending and keep your spending habits in check.
While no one wants to think of a time when their significant other will no longer be with them, it’s a very important consideration when managing finances. With joint accounts, the surviving spouse can more easily and quickly access funds without needing to go through the legal system.
Independence: Benefits of Separate Accounts
Combining assets is not for everyone, and that’s OK! If you and your partner are happy with your current arrangement of separate accounts, why fix what isn’t broken?
For some couples, the loss of independence associated with joint accounts is a major drawback and they prefer to keep their funds separate. Separate accounts also makes it easier to surprise your significant other with gifts or other presents without arousing suspicion.
If one partner makes more than the other that can create uncomfortable situations when accounts are shared because one of you may feel that you contribute more than the other. Similarly, one partner may have debts, such as student loans and credit cards, or financial obligations like child support. For some, it may feel more comfortable for those expenses to come out of a person’s individual account, rather than the joint account.
With separate accounts, the financial aspect is less messy should your relationship end. If you keep your assets separate, your ex-partner cannot withdraw any money and leave you with less cash or worse.
Best of Both Worlds
Some couples find that a balance of accounts, both joint and separate, gives them the best tools to manage their money.
Each relationship and person is different and regardless of your account status, it’s important to communicate about finances with your partner. We work with couples at all stages of their relationships and lives at Rockland Trust. Our bankers can help you and your partner determine how to best meet your financial goals and achieve the key milestones that mean the most to you.
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