Few newlyweds are excited by the topic of money in marriage, but it’s easily one of the most fundamental parts of any relationship. Getting married means joining hands with another human being to run a household, raise children, and plan for a lifetime of shared experience. All this will inevitably require an enormous amount of time and money.
As in any collaboration, planning in advance can help you and your spouse avoid conflict when it comes to spending and saving money. If you’re curious about combining finances with your spouse, here’s how a joint checking account can help your marriage.
A joint account reduces conflict and miscommunication
More than 70% of couples aged 25 to 34 have arguments involving money. Of all the things you share in marriage, talking about your financial health as a team is one of the most critical. Combining your finances into a joint checking account encourages open dialogue between you and your partner. By working from one balance and a shared record of transactions, you pave the way for a more harmonious relationship.
Creating a joint account doesn’t mean you have to surrender all of your financial independence. Many couples simply split their paychecks, with a predetermined portion going to the joint account and the remainder staying in personal balances. This way, you can pay together for necessaries like rent while keeping some funds for your personal needs.
A shared balance makes it easier to save together
Joint checking accounts also help couples focus on common financial goals. Without a shared place to keep track of your contributions, it’s far harder to make progress towards things like eliminating debt or saving up a down payment for a family home.
One of the many benefits of marriage is gaining the help of another person to attain goals you would never reach alone. With a joint account, you’re simply formalizing that process and setting up a means to ensure your timely progress towards those goals.
United accounts also means you’ll be viewing your resources as one unit. When you combine finances into one joint checking account, it is no longer a conversation about “your money” or “my money,” but a conversation about “our money.” Viewing your income as a single entity strengthens your partnership for the long haul.
Gaining transparency in your spending habits
No one is perfect, which means both you and your spouse may have moments of weakness when it comes to frivolous spending. A joint checking account will provide transparency for both of you. Keeping each other accountable is another change that can be painful at first but proves enormously helpful to your marriage in the end.
Being able to see your finances summed up in a single balance is more than convenient—it’s a strong symbol of the joint investment you’ve made in your lives together. While it’s easy to dismiss this kind of bookkeeping as cynical or unromantic, the hard talk about money is essential to a healthy marriage. In fact, it should actually create greater freedom and trust in your relationship, not less.
One place, one budget
When everything is combined into a joint checking account, it makes it easier to budget with your spouse. Having a monthly budgeting meeting can help your marriage by going over the month’s spending and how much income you brought in. Together, you get to make choices on what to do with your money moving forward. Joint checking accounts can simplify the budgeting process. Have a discussion about how you want to allocate money inside of your joint checking account.
Bills: A joint account is perfect for automating your biggest bill payments, such as utilities and rent. Be sure to include non-recurring bills, such as medical bills, as they arise.
Debt: Bringing personal debt into a relationship isn’t ideal, but a joint checking account can help couples who have made the generous decision to share their burdens. If fairness is an issue, it might make sense to adjust your individual contributions to reflect who owes more.
Fun: Don’t leave out the fun! A joint checking account promotes shared finances for entertainment, too. If you enjoy hitting up concerts or exploring a local beer fest, a joint checking account makes it easy to pay for things that you and your partner enjoy doing together.
A better way to protect your deposits
Not only are you working shoulder-to-shoulder in your finances by using a joint checking account, you also receive a few perks. Joint checking accounts provide $500,000 in FDIC coverage or $250,000 per co-owner. Both you and your partner have access to the account, regardless of who deposits money into the account. Most importantly, you are simplifying financial responsibility. Combining finances doesn’t have to be complicated in your marriage. It can actually be a little fun when you are united in your finances.