Managing your Bank Accounts
Managing your Bank Accounts — The Importance of Discussing Money Matters with your Spouse-To-Be
Discussing money matters is one of the most important preparations a couple can make before exchanging vows.
Discussing money matters is one of the most important preparations a couple can make before exchanging vows. Will you have separate accounts, a joint account or both? Who will pay the bills? What outstanding debts do you have? Will you each have a monthly allowance for fun money and if so, how much will it be? There are no right or wrong answers — every couple must come up with a system that works best for them. One thing’s for sure though, it’s a good idea to agree on an initial plan before you walk down the aisle. It’s also crucial to be completely transparent with your spouse-to-be about your current financial situation.
Joint account, separate accounts or both?
By the time most people get married they have been managing their own money for a while and have had a taste of financial independence. If this sounds like you and your partner, there may be some advantages to having both joint and separate accounts, particularly early on. It could help you ease into combining this aspect of your lives until you get a better sense of your partner’s money management style. Couples who take this approach often pay shared expenses like rent, groceries and utilities from a joint account, while discretionary expenses, such as clothing and gifts, are paid from the individual accounts. On the flip side, consolidating all of your accounts into a single location can make it easier to track what’s coming in and what’s going out, but with two people dipping into an account it can make monitoring more difficult.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In most marriages, there is a higher earner, and keeping separate accounts can sometimes create feelings of unfairness. It also means more accounts to keep track of and potentially more account fees. Whichever approach you take, the most important thing to remember is that you’re a team and your marriage is an equal partnership. Just like everything else, compromise and communication are key. Your joint financial management style, like your relationship, will evolve over time.