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LIFE GUIDANCE: MARRYING YOUR FINANCES

Should you say "yes" to joint accounts?
Young couple sitting at a kitchen table looking at a laptop computer

First, discuss what's right for you.

As you begin your life together, it's critical to discuss your financial attitudes, goals and habits, while being honest about any assets or debt you bring to the relationship. It's no longer a given that joining your lives means merging all your finances, especially if this is a second marriage. You'll have to decide what's best for you as a couple.

Compare and find the best solution for your situation. Joint Accounts Separate Accounts Hybrid: Joint + Separate

Pro's

- Makes managing expenses easier
- Allows both partners to monitor balances & expenses
- Fewer financial "surprises"
- Combined assets can put you in a stronger borrowing position
- Streamlines legal affairs
- Transparency can build trust

- Can preserve independence
- One partner may have significantly more assets
- Can protect one partner from another's debt
- Simplifies asset division if you separate

- A joint account can provide funds for common expenses & goals
- Individual accounts allow each partner to retain autonomy

Con's

- Different spending habits can cause conflict
- If one partner accumulates debt, creditors could pursue joint assets
- Visibility could ruin a surprise gift

- Can be challenging to split expenses 50/50, which may cause strain
- Complicates access if spouse passes or becomes incapacitated

- Multiple accounts may be more effort to manage

 

Once it's official, be sure to update:

Account Name Changes
Address Changes
Account Beneficiaries
Payroll Information
Tax Withholding
Health Insurance Options
Auto Insurance
Property Deed
Emergency Contacts