Marriage Decisions: Separate Or Joint Bank Or Checking Account?

When a couple gets married, one of their financial talks should consist of the topic of having separate or joint bank accounts.

The wedding is around the corner and you have booked the caterer, the reception hall and the band. The deposits have been paid, the dress has been hemmed and the tuxedo has been ordered. Other than the wedding essentials, what else is there for the happy couple to take care of? It is easy for a couple to get caught up in the details of the wedding planning and overlook some of the major discussions that should take place before the actual signing of the marriage certificate. Aside from the topics of children, living arrangements and finances, in general, the couple should also discuss one other major financial topic: should they keep their separate bank accounts or create a joint account?

Separate Bank Accounts

Many couples choose to go the separate bank account route. One reason couples choose this option is because it is probably the simplest way to go, at least on the front end. Before the couple became a couple, the woman probably had her own account and the man probably had his own account. They paid bills, wrote checks, kept savings, both on their own. Many couples feel that if something isn't broke, why fix it? Couples who keep separate bank accounts will need to come up with some method to pay their joint bills, save for retirement, as well as pay for extra expenses or entertainment. There are many questions to consider, such as who will get paid more, will both members of the couple continue to work, if they had been working previously, will one member of the couple pay certain bills while the other member of the couple pay certain other bills, and will the bills be split up in such a way that the member who makes the lesser amount of money not be financially strapped all the time? Couples who have separate bank accounts love that they do not have to "ask" their partner if they can buy certain items or withdraw money for different expenses. There is also no way that one member of the couple will have full control of the household money.

Joint Bank Accounts

Other couples decide to create a joint banking account right from the beginning. This option, while consisting of a little more work on the front end, can be pretty easy to manage once it is all set up. Many couples choose to create a joint bank account because they feel that two hands in the financial pot will cause more turmoil than it is worth. Sometimes one member of the couple simply does not want to deal with the financial transactions and is willing to hand over this responsibility to their spouse. With joint bank accounts, both partners have all of their money deposited into one single account and all household bills and expenses are paid from this account. This account will also hold all entertainment money and general household funds. Some couples do not like to go this route because they feel they have to be accountable to their partner for every single transaction they need or want to make. However, one way to bypass this is to have each partner withdraw their portion of the spending money at the beginning of the month and use this in whatever way they choose.

Combo Bank Accounts

What I mean by combo bank accounts is that some couples choose to have one joint account where all household bills and expenses draw from and two separate bank accounts where they can put their portion of their spending money. This way, the couple has the ease of the joint bank account with the independence of the separate bank account.

© High Speed Ventures 2011