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Creating Joint Banking Accounts for Married Couples

Posted By Jim On 08/18/2006 @ 7:51 am In Banking | 23 Comments

I was having a discussion with my fiancée the other day about finances when the topic of a joint checking account came up. Essentially, she wanted a joint checking account linked to our separate individual savings accounts whereas I just wanted to keep the status quo. The idea would be that we’d each put half of our income into the shared checking account to pay for the mortgage and other related bills (electricity, cell phone, etc.) whereas our own split bank accounts would be used to cover our individual credit cards.

The reason for not going 100% joint is that in the event something happened to the other person, the joint accounts could be frozen and the other person could lose access to it and be stuck in an even worse place (so that’s the reasoning against going entirely joint).

The reason I don’t want to get a joint account is mostly due to convenience. In fact, because I was switching jobs and my primary bank had been a credit union at my former employer, I just opened up new Bank of America accounts and was about to start the process of transferring all my bill paying information to the new BoA account. I really didn’t want to open up a joint account and do it all over again to be perfectly honest. There are also other sticky wickets involved in that half of our incomes, summed, is more than our bills and so what do we do with the excess money? Siphon it off into one of our online bank accounts and just keep track of it separately?

Personally, I’m of the school of thought where my money is our money and her money is our money. Even though the bank account may have my name on it, I don’t consider paying for meals out as ME paying dinner, I just see it as the meal being paid but I happened to sign the bill at the end. Now, my fiancée doesn’t earn as much income as I do and so she always feels like she’s not putting in her fair share so she’ll want to pay for things (it’s cute) and so I believe that in part this joint checking account is a nice way of contributing (I agree, it is). So, I acquiesced, more so because she’s the boss but also because it does make sense once I get over my laziness, in that we’d just make the new BoA checking account a joint checking account by adding her on as a signatory (or whatever it’s called) and then just deal with the other bridges as we cross them (where to put the excess).

If anyone out there has any advice (feel free to post a link to your blog if you’ve written about it in the past) I would certainly appreciate hearing some other perspectives.


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