His, Hers and Ours: Finding Financial Success in Marriage

posted 3/12/2013 in General

An understanding of you and your spouse's finances is key to financial success.

You have said your "I do's" and have promised for richer or poorer, now it is time to make another important decision: do you keep individual checking accounts or join your funds into a joint checking account?  This decision still remains an individual one and there is no "one size fits all" approach to money management. Each couple is different and needs to discuss which would work best for them. 

There are many things to consider when making this decision:
Each spouse has the same access to the joint money.  You are pooling your income together and making decisions together.  A couple needs to be able to talk openly about their income, expenses, financial goals, and everything associated with running their financial household.  There are also advantages to pooling your income into one account.
You may incur lower fees for higher balances and you may earn interest you may not in a lower balance account.  Having a joint checking account also makes bill paying easier. Since the money is all pooled into one account bills are paid out of one account, you don't have to spend time deciding who is responsible for which bill. The most important thing in deciding to have a joint checking account is that you need to be open with your partner and be able to designate who is responsible for balancing the account and paying the bills.
Committing to spending your life with someone is a big decision, along with that is deciding if you want to keep your money separate or joint.  When having a joint account there is no privacy, your partner sees exactly where the money is being spent, and you may lose the feeling of having your own money.  In an individual account you have the freedom of managing your money.  The downfall to individual accounts is that you will have to discuss with your partner how you are going to divvy out the joint expenses, whether its split 50-50 or based on your income.   
If you think both types of accounts sound like a good idea, you could take the His, Hers and Ours approach: each spouse  has an individual  account along with one joint account.  This would give the individual the privacy they are looking for but make it easier to pay those joint bills or save for those big ticket items, like a dream vacation. 
The key to having successful money management in your marriage is to remember to be flexible and to communicate with your partner.  There is no one right answer. You may have to try different ways to manage your money until you find the one that works for both of you.  Remember, continued communication, trust and willingness to compromise are keys to finding happy marital money management. Contact any of our branches to see how Lincoln Savings Bank can help!
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