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The Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Accounts

February 18, 2020 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

The Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Accounts

From figuring out the best way to go about saving for retirement, to overcoming debt, to figuring out how to reach your long-term goals, getting savvy about your finances can sometimes be a long road.

Navigating the world of money is hard enough as it is, but it can get extra complicated when it comes to learning how to approach finances with a partner.

If you’ve found yourself struggling to organize not just your financial health but your partner’s, then you know that things can sometimes get tricky. When it comes down to deciding whether it’s time to create a joint bank account to help with money logistics, it can be a good idea to take a look at the possible joint account benefits and drawbacks.

Creating a financially sustainable future isn’t always straightforward, and every couple’s circumstances are different. So, when it comes to making financial decisions, such as opening up a joint account, you may want to consider educating yourself on things to keep in mind before heading to your local bank branch.

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of joint checking accounts and/or savings accounts, and share some of the possible motivations behind enmeshing your finances with your significant other.

What Is a Joint Bank Account?

Simply put, a joint bank account is an account that’s shared between two people.

While some couples will open an account and put all of their combined cash into it, other couples may choose to open up a shared bank account in addition to their pre-existing individual accounts.

Shared accounts can be both checking and savings accounts, and which account you choose—if you choose to create one at all—will depend on your specific goals and circumstances.

Sharing a financial account can come with some great benefits, as it generally provides each account holder with a debit card, a checkbook, and the ability for two people to deposit and withdraw funds into the same account. It can also come with some potential drawbacks.

One of the biggest decisions a couple will make is whether they decide to treat their money as a shared asset or as separate entities. As with any discussion about money, every individual or couple will have different goals and experiences, so it’s helpful to take a look at both sides.

What Are Some Pros of a Joint Bank Account?

There are many potential joint account benefits, which is why so many couples choose to open a shared account when they get married or start cohabitating.

Because so many things in a relationship are tied in some way to finances, a shared bank account could be the key to smoother decision making and better money management.

For couples who are married, living together, or sharing a lot of common expenses, such as rent, groceries, a car payment, or a mortgage, having a shared pool of money can be a smart tool to help manage shared costs.

In this sense, one of the biggest potential pros of a shared bank account is sheer convenience. Instead of having to transfer money through an app or write your partner a check for your portion of a shared purchase, a shared bank account connects both partners’ accounts through a common account and can make payments more seamless.

Another possible benefit of a shared bank account is transparency. When a couple has siloed finances, it can sometimes feel like both individuals are in the dark about how each person is spending their money.

A big advantage to a shared account is that couples may experience fewer surprises.

Whether you decide to open up a joint account solely to tackle shared bills and payments or to combine your finances altogether, a joint bank account can be a useful way to experience giving your partner a closer look into your financial life.

The transparency that comes along with this decision can sometimes strengthen a relationship.

When it comes to joining all of your money into a single account, another potential benefit is saving on banking fees that would have otherwise been charged to maintain several different individual accounts.

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What Are Some Cons of a Joint Bank Account?

Though joint bank accounts may come with some appealing benefits, there are also possible drawbacks that you may want to keep in mind before making your decision.

For one, opening up a joint bank account can be a big step, and it may be important to decide whether or not your relationship is ready.

Of course, this may look very different depending on whether you are thinking of opening up an additional joint account to pay for rent and groceries or deciding to merge all of your accounts. This transparency can also come with hiccups.

For instance, it may be more difficult to buy a surprise gift for your significant other if they have full access to your transactions and bank statements. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that things could get increasingly complicated in the event of a breakup or divorce.

What’s more, the exposure to one another’s spending habits could potentially be murky territory and lead to money-related arguments. If you’re suddenly able to see everything your partner spends money on, there is a chance that you may not approve of how they are managing their money or even find yourself feeling resentful of any expenses you feel are extravagant or unnecessary.

Because of the openness that comes along with sharing a bank account with a partner, it may become increasingly relevant to have regular conversations and check-ins about your budget and financial goals to avoid any feelings of resentment or frustration with your partner’s spending habits—or vice versa—and how they impact your financial big picture.

Managing a Joint Bank Account with Your Partner

If you’ve looked into the pros and cons of joint checking accounts and decided to open up a joint bank account with your significant other, it may be a good time to discuss the shared financial goals you have as a couple.

As you discuss whether to open a new joint account, to keep your own separate bank accounts, or to merge all of your accounts into one, you may find it useful to set goals that make sense for your situation.

You may also find that it’s helpful to ask yourselves how a joint account might help you to achieve your current goals—whether that is paying off shared debts, making investments together, weathering potential financial emergencies, or streamlining shared household accounts and purchases.

In addition to making financial logistics more streamlined, opening a joint account may also help you and your partner practice better communication about money. And though there may be some initial rough patches when it comes to disagreements about one another’s spending habits, there is a chance that the increased transparency could actually strengthen your relationship.

But which account should you choose? There are a number of options, including an online bank account through SoFi. With SoFi Checking and Savings®, you can spend, save, and earn all in one place—streamlining your finances.

Whether you decide to merge all of your finances or just combine them for certain expenditures, a joint account may play a role in developing a solid blueprint for successfully working together towards the financial goals you have for the future.

With SoFi Checking and Savings, you can open a joint account for you and your partner so you both have access to your money when you need it.

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