You combined your household and your daily life with your husband’s when you tied the knot, but is it necessary to combine finances with him and open a joint savings account? Technically speaking, it’s not necessary, and some couples maintain independent finances with perfect ease. Because every marriage is different, you and your husband should consider your financial habits as a couple before you decide to jump in with a joint savings account.
Many couples completely combine their finances when they marry, including their savings accounts. For these households, it’s simply easier to draw from one or two accounts, and they understand both spouses contribute and spend in good faith. A joint savings account can be used as a household emergency fund, for long-term savings or simply to fund wants, such as vacations and new furniture. If you and your hubby don’t agree on spending habits and savings rates, though, a joint savings account can sow the seeds for discord in your union.
Independent and Hybrid Systems
Some couples keep their finances strictly independent of each other, while others develop a system where each spouse has an individual and joint account, and use a joint savings account as a rainy day fund. Other couples maintain separate accounts for personal use, but combine their checking and savings for a household account. If you hold separate accounts, you’ll need to set up ground rules about who pays for what, and what portion of income each spouse is expected to contribute to avoid any conflict down the line.
A Business Proposition
Regardless of whether you choose to merge your savings or not, you should look at your marriage like a business relationship as much as a personal one, according to Business Insider. As with any stable business deal, each member must contribute equally and have an agreement on how savings will be used. You can keep both spouses on equal footing in the decisions and policies -- even if their earnings are wildly different -- as a good business structure would.
If you’re thinking very long term, a joint saving account may smooth over a few bumps if your husband dies before you do. While spouses automatically inherit each other’s property when they die, you may not immediately have access to accounts held only his name while his bank sorts out the transfer. If it’s a joint account, you receive right of survivorship, and can keep using the account without any of the hassles -- and potentially problematic delays -- associated with transferring an account.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.