Pros and Cons of Joint Accounts

Joint Accounts: Do the pros outweigh the cons?

A relationship will naturally progress to a place of sharing – you share your food, your time, your friends and yourself with your significant other. But should you share your finances? Is a joint account the right next step in your relationship or marriage? Consider the following list of pros and cons of having a joint account.

Young couple looking over their finances

The Pros of Having a Joint Account:

  • Convenience of Bill Pay. Having a joint account can make paying bills easier. If you share a joint account, paying for rent, utilities, a car payment or insurance is more convenient. Also, when making purchases, neither of you has to worry about who pays – you both are!

  • Equality in the relationship. When you both share the same account, there is a sense of equality established in the relationship. Each of you has access to the same account information, and you both have access to purchases made with the account.

  • Save on fees. Sharing your finances will help you to avoid fees on your account. By pooling your money, you can meet the minimum balance required to avoid fees or penalties.

  • Teamwork. Having a joint account can be a good way for you both to combine your savings goals, and keep tabs on how much progress you’re making.

The Cons of Having a Joint Account:

  • Lack of privacy. When entering into a shared account with a significant other, you automatically release any privacy you had over your finances. Buying gifts can be difficult when your partner can see what you’ve purchased. However, you can circumvent this by using cash!

  • Acquiring debt. When you enter into a joint account, both of you will be responsible for future transactions. Any past debts that your significant other has would still belong to the original holder. Although you are not required to take on the debts of your significant other, many couples pay off debts together. Make sure to talk about any debts either of you has, and any amount owed. Consider if you’re willing to help pay for any debts that may not be your own.

  • What if your relationship ends? Break-ups are difficult and separating yourself from someone you once cared for is stressful and painful. If the relationship between you and your partner ends, you’ll need to divide finances and create new accounts.

Communication is key. Remember, these points can be helpful in deciding whether to enter into a joint account, but they are not conclusive. Talk to your partner about what is best for both of you, or seek advice from a Certified Financial Planner regarding your finances.