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Joint bank accounts . . . ?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
OK, so my fiance and I live apart right now, but we have lived together, in high school -- long story there, and will be moving back in together in May.

So, we're getting married next year, and we're trying to figure out how to work our finances, both for now and after we get married. We basically split everything we pay for already. Currently, our accounts are totally separate, and we're trying to figure out whether to merge our accounts now, or wait til we're married.

Eventually, we want joint one Savings account, which we're planning on going ahead and doing now, since we get better interest rates with higher balances, so it's best to have it all together. We want separate credit cards, plus a joint one. And, we were thinking just one checking account, since you have to have a minimum balance that ties up money, so it's pointless to have any more money tied up like that than necessary.

So, for now, should we keep our separate checking accounts AND have a joint one? Or, just have our separate ones, and "owe" eachother money, depending on who spends more each month? Or, have one joint one, but do all of our individual spending on the individual credit cards, and then settle it all at the end of each month? Does anyone have any advice or ideas that I haven't thought of?
post #2 of 15
Hubby and I have separate and a joint account. I pay certain bills (mortage and protery taxes) and he pays all of the others. The joint account is a high interest saving account and we use it to save for trips or RRSPs or lump sum payment on the house. We both deposit into it, but don't bother with who pays how much.
post #3 of 15
Set up a household account and each of you deposit and equal amount each month. Use this one, for household expenses.

Financial advisors don't reccommend having everything jointly, if you're not married. If it doesn't work out, someone can get stuck with a lot of bills and hassles.

If you're renting though have the lease and utilities in both names. That way, you're both responsible and, again, if things don't work out, you're both protected.
post #4 of 15
I guess it depends on the circumstances and what you are most comfortable with. Roger and I just put our money all in together when we bought the house last summer. He takes care of all the bills (which I like!). I am not one for keeping track of finances, etc. and anything I want or need, etc, I take the money for it. Obviously within reason, though, since I don't want to break us!
post #5 of 15
when dh and I bought our first home (we were engaged) we got a joint account. It was just easier with bills and all. I will open my own business account pretty soon though...but he will still be on it.
post #6 of 15
Bill and I keep our own bank accounts. He owns the house (my ex trashed our credit) and I write Bill a check every month, for a stipulated amount.

Since we can't get married, he's protected me by making me beneficiary on everything.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Right now, we have separate accounts, but since I'm the only one with a credit card currently, I pay a lot of the bills, even though we live separately. So, he owes me and pays me back every month. It's a pain in the butt, having to keep up with all that, but I'm meticulous, and have a very strict budget, so I need to have my accounts balanced in order for everything to match up right. It seems easier to just have one account, to me, but I don't know for sure since I haven't done it.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
This is kind of nosy of me, and you can tell me to butt out, but why can't you get married?
post #9 of 15
I am the widow, of a disabled veteran and, if I get married again, I'll lose my pension and medical insurance. Bill would be more than happy to support me but I insist on paying my own way. Besides, with two incomes, we can have some "extras".

Legislation has been passed, in the House of Representatives, to allow remarriage, after age 55. Hope it passes the Senate and the President signs it.
post #10 of 15
I'm engaged, and we have our bills seperate, some have his name, some have my name. I am not bound to any contracts, so if something DID happen, a few simple calls would satisfy my problem and he would have to get new accounts open in his name if he wanted something like oh say electricity, lol!
He however, has a credit card bill, motorcycle bill, and his car bill with HIS name on it only, so that's his deal, and I like it that way, even if we were married.
We have one account at a federal credit union in VA, it was his account, and I joined up on his account about a year ago, I only have access to the checking, the savings and loans are all his.
We have no monthly fee's there, even if we have $0 in the account, it's nice!

Which is why we are able to have ANOTHER account at a different bank up here in MD, were lucky that we don't have to pay for 2 banks or 2 accounts.
His name is the only one on this new checking account, my name will be put on as soon as we can find a free lunch to get together and go down to the bank.
I don't make much money right now, so it either gets cashed or the small amount goes into the bank and quickly used up. So I don't worry about bills or him running off with my money, etc.

Most people advice against joint accounts until you are married, but I guess it depends on how you feel, how much money YOU have going into that account, say you bring home $3,000 every month he has access to, and your worried about him withdrawing it and breaking up with you some day, then maybe you should have seperate accounts.
Me, I put in a lowsy $300ish every month or a little more, I care not about loosing a small sum like that if it came down to it.

Find a good bank, I think we only have to keep like $100 or $500 in our account at all times, other wise it's an additional $10 a month, no big deal.
post #11 of 15
We have a "free checking" account so our minimum balance is...don't overdraw the account.

We have a joint account mainly because there's really only one income (mine) and hubby is an idiot with money, so if I gave him even his bills to pay for he wouldn't. It works for us.

My advice would depend on how good your fiance is with money. It took a while for me to "train" hubby that he has to tell me EVERYTHING he does with the check card/debit card. That got us in trouble more than a few times, but like I said he's an idiot with money. It's a totally foreign concept for him. That's really the hardest part, especially if you both have a checkbook or debit card. Make sure everything goes in the register so you don't get in trouble.
post #12 of 15
Bill and I can sign on each other's accounts, in case of an emergency and we know each other's PINs. He put me on his account at the credit union, too.
post #13 of 15
We know eachothers pins as well.
While our bills have seperate names on them. I'm normally the one that fills them out and sends the check in even if they are his bills, he is sooo forgetful, he will go for months with out paying his bills, he just forgets. I even have to open his mail, because other wise he NEVER would, adn we would get even more behind on bills.
He's good with telling me things he bought on which account, I balance the check book daily
post #14 of 15
When I was married, we had a joint account. I think I wouldn't do that again. I lived with a guy after that. We had separate accounts and split the bills in half. A lot also depends on if one half of the couple makes a lot more than the other. I have seen plenty of heartache when one (usually the husband) dictates how money can be spent.
post #15 of 15
I'm a little touchy, since my ex trashed our credit. Our house was foreclosed on, credit cards maxed and cancelled, bounced checks, all over the place. He made $4500/month tax-free! When I got a job, I cashed my paycheck and paid some bills and bought groceries. Since everything was joint, MY credit rating sucks! I make him pay my alimony by cashier's check.
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