Opening a joint account can be a good thing to do under the right circumstances. Assuming you have already done the hard work of agreeing on your financial goals, a joint account can help you put your visions into action. It can strengthen your relationship by improving communication and trust and give you a sense of shared accomplishment.
Before you jump in, you should be sure that opening a joint account is the right move for you. Money arguments can create permanent damage to the relationship and your mental health. It is not a step to be taken without careful thought and consideration.
Do You Share the Same Saving and Spending Habits?
- What are your attitudes toward money?
- Do you share the same values and goals?
- What is your credit history?
- Do either of you have personal debt that could impact the future health of a joint account?
If you place a higher priority on saving than your intended joint owner, you might not want to open a joint account. If you are serious about managing money and the other cannot pass up a good sale, you may find yourself in a constant state of friction.
How Well do you Communicate?
Before opening a joint account, assess your communication styles:
- Is a joint account going to help you improve your ability to communicate, or will it cause more conflict?
- Are there things you need to improve so that you can easily talk about managing the joint account?
If you decide that one of you will be the primary manager of the account, be sure to set aside time each month for the two of you to discuss the status of the account.
What Kind of Joint Account is Best?
Opening a joint account requires tremendous trust. You will not be able to control each other’s access to it. Can you be sure that one of you will not overdraw the account, creating a negative balance and the avalanche of problems that follows?
If you do not have a high level of trust, it might be better to open a joint account that requires both of you to sign on all transactions. It is not the most convenient approach, but it will eliminate the arguments.
If the trust is there, you can open a joint account that allows either of you to withdraw funds without permission from the other.
Opening a joint account means that all transactions are visible to both of you. The positive aspect of this reality is that there are no surprises. Both of you can see the flow of money in and out of the account.
If you prefer to hide expenditures from time to time, you might consider maintaining a separate savings account. The joint account can be for emergency savings, monthly expenses, and payments on credit cards or loan accounts. You use your separate account to purchase the things you want.
Legally, the assets in a joint account are accessible to either person’s creditors. If the relationship should end and the other person has amassed personal debt, his or her creditors are legally able to access the funds in your joint account.
Who is Responsible for What?
Will the joint account be used to pay monthly bills? If so, who is responsible for paying the bills on time? Who will be responsible for monitoring the account balance?
Managing Security Risk
With a joint account, you need to be twice as careful about the security risk. Both of you can potentially expose your account to cybercrime. Decide how you will protect passwords, identity, and all online banking information. Agree that the PIN and other access information will not be shared with anyone else and set up additional safety systems, such as two-factor authentication.
Bottom Line: A joint account can be a convenient way to build trust and mutual responsibility for reaching your financial goals.
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Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer.