A Joint Checking account can be a great situation, or a not-so-great one strictly depending on your situation and how you view money. Many years ago, while we were just getting started in our professional lives, we decided it would be wise to get a joint account. So far it has been a great decision and made our lives easier in a few ways. We’ll uncover a few things in this article regarding the joint account so keep reading to learn more!
Joint checking overview
A joint checking account is a banking account where two or more people can have their money in one place ready to be accessed at any time. This is most common among married couples but can be used for business and family scenarios. The main reason we have one is for ease of finances and in order to keep most of our job earnings in one place. Of course, there are some trade-offs with this or any approach. The main point for most people is just easy financial management and what’s mine is yours. This is quite common in a handful of cultures but it seems as if people have become selfish with their earnings which can affect the trust of the relationship.
When is the Right Time to Have a Joint Checking Account?
As mentioned earlier, when you are married, starting a business, a family account to monitor kids’ activities are a few common reasons to have a joint checking account. For some people, it may not feel like the right time to open an account but truthfully, doing so might make the concept of saving for a big purchase or just daily living with a partner calmer.
The Mentality Behind Having a Joint Checking Account
We decided on a joint checking account because it’s easier for us to manage our money that way. We do still have our own accounts for surprise purchases for birthdays or buying ourselves something nice that we don’t want to use the joint account for. Also, if we’re wanting to build up a safety nest if a big unexpected expense comes through and we want to cover it but don’t have an emergency fund, that is a good plan as well.
What’s really nice about a joint checking account is it’s personally motivated to see multiple paychecks hit it every week or every two weeks and it just continues to grow. We are saving up for another real estate investment and taking a portion of our income and putting it towards that. Seeing that number grow consistently is really motivating since we know we’re on the same mission and are getting there faster together. Also, since I like to budget our money, having all of our money in one place makes my life so much easier. It’s OUR money, why should there be any red tape behind what my wife makes? Of course, there is a counterargument to this but from our point of view, It makes way more sense to have one central account.
Pros of a Checking Account
We’ve touched on this quite a bit already but some of the pros include;
Easy money management
Just having your money all in one place is significantly easier to keep a grasp on than any other method.
More motivating to save towards a specific goal
Seeing the money in an account continue to rise not only gives you guys motivation to keep going, but it can also bring a feeling of purpose within that. Simply knowing we’re in this together and seeing everyone contributing feels so good.
Peace of mind knowing where the money is going/coming from
No more guesswork, now you know exactly what’s happening in the accounts.
Sense of being closer together
At any moment you can log in to the account and see your spouses/family members name and remember that we’re doing this as a team. Especially as a married couple, that’s what you are, a team. It’s not mine and your money, it’s OUR money.
Easier legal approval if your partner/family member passes away
This isn’t a fun conversation to think about but if you ever have your spouse pass away. Having a joint checking account is a smoother process compared to having to get in all the accounts and hope all the assets are located for the deceased.
What if you break up?
This is a common thought for most people. But isn’t the concept built around ill-intention? If you go into this decision thinking about things not working out, you’re planting a bad seed for the future. You’re married for a reason, now don’t ignore signs around you that the person you’re with isn’t great with money. There needs to be a level of trust within the relationship or it will be hard to make it last. The same goes for the family. This is more complicated since there are more people involved typically. Even then, as long as everyone is relatively responsible with their money, a joint checking account is a good idea. If not, that warrants a conversation about the whole situation.
What If you’ve achieved Musk levels of financial status?
This is a really rare situation but if you’ve achieved massive wealth, there’s a lot more to consider regarding finances. Creating a joint checking account can be challenging with multi-millions or billions. That said, the joint checking account could simply be used for specific purposes. It could be the spending amount for the year and the rest is to be re-invested. These are good problems to have though.
What If your partner has a debt/spending problem?
This is another tough one because their spending habits can bring the whole joint-checking account down. This is where you’ll need to use your best judgment and decide if it’s wise to put ALL of everyone’s money in the account or just most of it. Again, setting the standard for the purpose of the account will be crucial. Spending/credit card problems are often best resolved by eliminating the credit card. As an alternative, use a debit card and get everything under control while you pay off the credit card.
Of course with a joint checking account, there’s no privacy. But being a family or married couple comes with some limitations on privacy. With that said, the point of marriage is to work together and make certain sacrifices. In this situation, you should have nothing to hide and therefore no issues with a joint checking account.
At any moment, one of the members in the account can take everything out and move it somewhere else. That is a tough situation but a real one. I’m not going to sit here and act like it won’t ever happen and the risks joint accounts create. That said, the pros outweigh the cons since you’re a team and need to be working together. Finances are the #1 things people fight over. Therefore, having clear rules established when setting up the joint checking account can set the standard for what to expect.
Decide for yourself
Taking into account all of the points above, make a decision for yourself on using a joint checking account. As always, please leave a comment below on your thoughts of this article. I’m not saying a joint checking account is a must-have. For us, it makes our lives much easier. Feel free to share below!