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How Do You Talk to Your Partner About Joint Checking Accounts?

Key Takeaways

  • Joint accounts give both parties equal access to the funds in the account.
  • You can use a joint checking account for bills and mutual expenses, and then use individual accounts for your own purchases.
  • Linking your joint checking account to a joint savings account helps protect against overdrafts.

Talking about money is awkward for couples, especially newlyweds. Chatting about how to open and manage a joint checking account can be even touchier.

Typically these are conversations you’d like to avoid, but skipping them will only result in more complicated conversations in your relationship down the road. Get the money talks out of the way now so you can get back to talking about fun things, like which restaurant to try this weekend, or what TV show you want to watch next.

Here are some talking points to help the discussion.

Decide what you want to get out of the joint account

Outline your reasoning behind setting up the joint checking account and why you feel it’s a better option than separate accounts.

In the eyes of the law, money in your joint account belongs equally to both of you, so you’ll both have full access to all available funds. You’re also equally responsible for things like maintaining the right balance to avoid overdraft fees and making sure that automatic payments never exceed the amount of available money.

Keep separate accounts for personal spending

One option to consider is opening a joint account for mutual expenses (bills and shared purchases) while maintaining separate accounts for individual spending. This option still gives you both a sense of financial independence, but allows for the simplicity of a joint account to draw from as a couple.

Decide ahead of time which purchases should be made out of the joint account. Things like bills, cleaning supplies, and grocery purchases easily fall into this category. Still, there could be purchases where the line is a tad blurry. Should it be covered by the joint account or your individual one? Have a discussion with your significant other before making the purchase so you’re both on the same page.

Take advantage of online banking options

Online banking tools can be effective ways to gain access to your finances quickly and easily from your computer or mobile device1. You can also set up alerts to notify you when balances are below or above a specified amount, or when payments are due. Most accounts offer automatic bill pay options that you can set up online.

Keep in mind that if you’re going to go this route, you and your partner must take extra care to pay attention to the money going in and out of the account. Check in regularly to ensure there is enough money to make your purchases before doing so.

Make sure both of you are present for the big decisions

Request to have the account set up so that both parties’ signatures are required anytime a withdrawal is made through a teller. This ensures you aren’t caught off guard if major changes are made to the account.

Link to a savings account

While not a requirement for opening a joint checking account, having a joint savings account is a great way for you and your partner to plan for the future together. Plus, it can also be used as a safety measure to catch accidental overdrafts.

What to remember

Opening a joint account is a major financial decision, but when used properly, a joint account can add clarity and collaboration to your money management. Have an open and honest discussion with your significant other about your spending habits and how you’d like to use the account. That way you’re all on the same page and can work toward your goals — together.

More information

Interested in opening a joint checking or savings account? Learn more about your options here, or you can call 1-877-360-2472.

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