It is natural to share things when you’re in a serious relationship, close acquittances, or family.
This is why the pros and cons of joint bank accounts are a topic every relationship and alliance should pursue in their quest for togetherness.
Although creating joint accounts or merging bank accounts signifies unity and trust, it is vital to consider the facts before taking that colossal decision that is powerful enough to make or mar your bond with your partner.
What Are Joint Bank Accounts?
Joint accounts are pretty much like your regular chequing account. The only difference is that it belongs to multiple people.
The account holders of this account have the same rights. They can deposit and withdraw funds and carry out other transactions with or without permission from other holders.
Irrespective of the above, it is possible to set up a safeguard. This is the option of having two or more signatories for every withdrawal and cheque.
However, this option removes all the rights to have a debit card or conduct online transactions.
Having two signatories may sound like a chore, but it is useful when you want to keep track of funds leaving the account.
Joint bank accounts aren’t just for married couples. They are most likely to be created and used by nuclear and extended family members, business partners with a decent level of trust and familiarity with one another, or co-owners of assets.
Most merged accounts have automated rights of survivorship- This means that after an account holder or signer dies, the other signer (or signers) retains ownership of the account and the money in it.
The surviving account holder can continue using the account with no interruptions or queries.
In cases of alleged foul play in the event of death, the account may be put on hold, especially when the other signer is a suspect.
Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Accounts (Pros)
1. Ease of Bill Payment
When sharing rent and utility bills, it is way easier to write a check and have it come out of a joint account—the same for other bills such as car and insurance payments.
When the money is shared, one doesn’t have to fret over who buys groceries or dinner- both of you are.
2. Effortless Legal Process
If an unfortunate event occurs, such as losing a partner who you share the account with, you won’t have to go through rigorous legal processes to gain access to their money.
You won’t have to bear the burden of securing funds during your mourning period.
3. Financial Transparency and Teamwork
There would be no secrets when it comes to online transactions. You can keep track of every cent of your money.
Transparent dealings such as this help you and your partner know how money is being spent and, in effect, check and balance your spending habits, alongside paying taxes.
This will also help when planning and saving for more significant financial goals and expenses.
4. A Sense of Togetherness
Sharing something as personal as bank accounts signifies uttermost trust. So many people feel obliged to share that part of themselves with their loved ones or partners with whom they are close.
As you grow closer to your partner, agreeing to share your expenses in the same account is exciting. It can add a strong layer of unity to your relationship if handled correctly.
Couples with lesser work or a stay-at-home spouse looking after the kids might find a joint account as a fair way of sharing funds, even if their incomes are unequal.
6. Saving on Bank Charges
Joint accounts might also lessen penalties and fines. Most financial institutions have a minimum balance required to waive fees.
For instance, if the bank requires at least $2,000 in the account, your collective earning money may help you quickly reach and move past that threshold.
Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Accounts (Cons)
1. Lack of Control
In situations with no safeguards, such as individual signatories before funds are moved out of a joint account, you cannot control how your partner or the other party spends your money.
If your partner or co-owner decides to be extravagant, you both will feel the sting on your financial health.
This problem can lead to many fights, which may even be physical if not contained—issues like this spring up in cases where one party earns or deposits more money than the other.
2. A Co-holder’s Debts
Before forgoing your separate bank accounts and merging with your partner, you two need to open up about how you feel about paying your partner’s debts, which may include student loans, credit card debts, and other expenditures.
If you earn more than your partner, you need to be sure that you’d be comfortable with parts of your income going into settling your partner’s debts.
Talk to your partner when you are not confident you will be okay or have mixed feelings about the whole arrangement.
3. No Privacy
The alternate problem to spending being transparent is having no privacy. You must have a separate account to surprise your partner with gifts and unplanned trips, especially when it involves massive amounts.
Your partner would be alerted the minute you make a purchase, thereby blowing up your surprise.
Having a joint account may look like roses and diamonds, but just like roses have thorns and diamonds are hard, you’d be compromising your independence.
4. Termination of the Relationship
There’s that heart-wrenching feeling when you realize that your partner has drained all the funds in your account and eloped, leaving you with pain and heartache.
Separation is always challenging, especially when you and your partner have a lot of shared expenses.
The stress of splitting up the account and the difficulty of carrying the entire burden yourself is monumental.
It is as sad as it is educating. It will be horrific when you realize you cannot trust your partner the way you thought you could, but at the same time, you’d learn a lot about yourself and more about the relationships you have in your life, saving yourself from financial abuse.
5. Potential Money Spats
If your expenses come from the same pot, you need to discuss all costs with your partner before venturing into the money mine.
It may be exhausting, especially when your partner isn’t readily available to attend to your needs.
Potential disputes can occur when things are not adequately discussed.
These are general points on the pros and cons of joint bank accounts. Although inconclusive, they will help you and your partner decide if a joint bank account is right for you.
Discuss them with your partner and make financial decisions you feel are best for you.