This post is in response to the question raised by one of DiEmptySeries’ readers on couples holding joint account.
The question of joint account between couples is a very interesting one. More often than not, it is dealt with during marriage counselling – which is one of the reasons intending couples should undergo counselling before tying the knot. Having said that, we realise that people’s experiences differ. While some say it is a controversial issue, others feel it has a straight-forward answer.
The expected response to the question of whether couples should hold a joint account would be; yes, they should, or no, they should not. However, rather than spending so much time on flogging the issue of joint or disjoint accounts, I have chosen to try and dig deeper. As I attempted to come up with reasons or common explanations for not keeping a joint account, I came to the conclusion that it is either due to lack of trust between the partners or a major issue that requires attention e.g. indiscipline in spending habits.
For those that find themselves caught up in a situation where one of the partners can’t control his/her spending, it is more important to tackle the root issue – spending habit, than insisting on not holding a joint account, for fear of misappropriation of jointly held funds.
Having a joint account in itself is not a proof of trust, but inability to agree to a joint account could be an evidence of lack of trust. How you run your family finances as a couple is down to the two of you to decide. So you can decide in agreement to hold a joint account that you both deposit a fraction of your income into while each party can do what they like with the rest. The joint account could be used to pay for the running of the home or serve as savings – the choice is down to the two of you.
If the two shall become one, and the body of the man/woman does not belong to him//her but to the spouse, then his/her money should not be an issue. I remember discussing this topic some years back and the reason for not wanting a joint account was the possibility of buying a surprise car for the spouse which she will know once you keep joint account. My response was, it is not so much about joint bank account as being transparent and open with one another.
It is possible that a couple does not have a joint account but are open and transparent with one another such that joint account becomes a non issue. The flip side of the coin is a situation where a couple do have a joint account just so it is on record that they do, but are not open and transparent with each other.
Whether joint account or not, couples need to be open and transparent with each other. Trust, in my opinion, is a very vital factor that comes to play when discussing family finance.
I hope this helps…