Recently I came across an article about couples and their bank accounts. Specifically, should you join together your finances when you join together your lives?
I know, not the most romantic of topics. Nonetheless, money and how co-mingled you want that part of your lives to be is important to discuss before you say “I do.”
The article stated that according to a recent American Express survey, 31 percent of people who are married or living with a significant other have separate checking accounts, and 23 percent have their own savings accounts.
Some people may view separate accounts as an indication of lack of trust or lack of unity. But think about it: Especially in this day and age of endless ATM debit swiping, keeping a separate account helps lower the chances of accidentally overdrawing on the account the next time you or your intended goes to the store for a pack of gum—and an extra $40 in cash. I remember my parents judiciously reminding one another to log in this check or that check when one of them used a check and the other held the check register. I can only imagine that the overdraft fees would be off the charts had they tried to do this with debit cards!
Checking and saving accounts are only one financial topic to discuss. And some couples may decide they want to keep some things separate and others joined (a joint checking account for house-related bills, for example). It all depends on the people involved. One thing you do want to ensure is that in the case of a spouse’s death, the surviving spouse has access to the deceased’s accounts.
I know. I know. Pretty depressing and heavy for a website for the newly engaged! The takeaway: discuss money. Over and out.