Money and Relationships…it’s a touchy subject. Nevertheless, I’m going there to tell you why you shouldn’t have joint accounts with your significant other. Money can either make or break your relationship, but it can also be the medium, if you have a good mutual understanding on it with your significant other.
At a young age, I could remember my parents arguing over money. Growing up, it seems like a normal thing. What’s quite funny, is that even though they argued, both of my parents taught my brother and I the importance of being responsible with our finances from a young age.
Ironically, as much as my parents had their ups and downs, I think they recognized that, and like any parent, wanted to teach their kids to do better. Because of this, I am now in a good place financially and even thought I was a little reckless in my early twenties, I am now far more responsible financially than ever.
This leads me to my next point. Being financially independent has also instilled in me to always be responsible for your own money. One of the first things my dad ever told me about money and relationships was to always have separate accounts.
I have always told anyone I know the exact same advice. This is not to say that you can’t have a joint account with your significant other, but it’s best to keep most of your accounts separate.
Why You Shouldn’t Have Joint Accounts With Your Significant Other
1. In the event of a divorce or break-up, joint accounts make it even more complicated
In the unruly event that you should get divorced, even if you have separate accounts, it won’t make a huge difference. However, if you keep track of your bank account and assets starting from the day you get married, then it will help greatly to sort out your financial matters.
Divorce can really suck but your finances don’t have to take a hit as well. It’s good to have a prenup to avoid any financial arguments. But of course it’s really best to maintain separate accounts, in the unfortunate event that a divorce may happen.
2. Different income levels and expenses can make joint accounts harder to navigate
Often, when couples have mutual accounts, they argue over each other’s spending habits. One person may make more money, so that person may get upset when the other, who makes less, spends more. It’s a common bad habit of having mutual accounts.
When you have separate bank accounts, regardless of who makes more money, it will lead to less arguments and more control over each of your respective financial accounts. Things like retirement accounts, IRA’s, investments and stocks/bonds should always be separated.
If you are not the one who makes more in your relationship, at least you know where you stand financially and what you can give for your part on paying bills, mortgage/rent, etc. On the other hand, if you are the person who makes the most money in your relationship, then you have may have more say over the finances and how you are splitting finances with your partner. It can go either way.
But the best thing when going into a committed relationship: lay out a financial plan and know up front what each of you can bring to the table.
3. Gift giving and different spending habits
As I mentioned, you do not want to create bad spending habits with your finances and you certainly should never bring that into your committed relationship. A good rule of thumb is to have a plan laid out for each month and know what you can and can’t spend. Even though you have separate bank accounts, it will still affect your relationship significantly if you find yourself in financial hardships.
So skip charging your credit card just because you want something. Set up a savings account for personal spending. One benefit of having separate accounts, however, is buying gifts can be a complete secret.
Now, I don’t encourage keeping secrets in a relationship, but gift giving should definitely be a surprise. When you purchase a gift, your significant other won’t be able to see what you spent on them or where you bought from. So that pretty much works itself out when having separate bank accounts.
4. Having separate accounts does not mean you should be keeping secrets
I must re-iterate this one. Just because there so many great benefits to having separate financial accounts, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any cons to this either. Assuming you are in a good, healthy, and non-toxic relationship, then having separate accounts is perfectly ok.
However, when you have toxicity and jealousy in a relationship it can cause for some major issues with snooping or feeling insecure about keeping your personal financial accounts private. While I always suggest to be with someone who makes you happy, I also know these situations are sometimes inevitable.
With that said, I only suggest having separate bank accounts if you and your partner can come to that mutual agreement of trust with each other.
Having a joint account with your significant other isn’t always the best option. Explore what’s best for you and for your relationship. Come to a common ground with your partner and always be up front about your financial situation.
It’s best to bring everything to the table in the beginning of a relationship, sort everything out and decide how much each person will give towards all of your bills. Always remember to make wise decisions when it comes to your finances.
Which option do you think is best for couples? Would you want a joint account or separate account?