Finances can become big issues for couples. A good way to prevent money from ruining a good relationship is to have open and honest communication about finances prior to entering any type of commitment. A couple of key points that couples should discuss of before taking the next step are:
- Whether either partner has any existing debt
- What is the basic money management style of each spouse (i.e. spender versus saver)
- The total amount of assets they bring into a relationship
- Agreeing on long term financial goals such as buying a home, saving for a vacation, planning for retirement, etc.
With those things out in the open, a course of action based on compromise can be developed by both parties. Open communication will help both parties to figure out the general financial plan, as well as what type of checking accounts you should have, whether it be separate checking accounts or joint checking accounts.
Statistically speaking, people are getting married later in life. Many people establish their independence and character prior to getting married so it is quite difficult for many to brush off their identities, including their own checking accounts that they established, just for being with their significant other.
A better strategy is to open up a joint checking account together. Both spouses could make contributions to the account and take equal responsibility for properly maintaining it. A joint checking account is an extremely helpful tool couples can take advantage of for paying off their debt in a timely fashion. When the bills are due, instead of two people investing the time and effort to split everything down the middle and authorize the payment using their individual checking account, a joint checking account can help expedite the matter.
As long as multiple checking accounts are handled properly, they can also be a helpful tool for couples. Aside from the traditionally joint, household checking account, individuals can have access to their own assets. Consider if two people enter a long term relationship, one with a stellar credit history and the other with substantial debt. The person with the debt may want to take the responsibility of paying down the bad credit on their own and out of their own pocket, thus having access to their own individual checking account can be beneficial to the relationship as a whole.