Should My Partner and I Have Separate Bank Accounts?

Should My Partner and I Have Separate Bank Accounts?

July 6, 2020

Tagged As: Personal

There are a few money-related issues that many people simply don’t talk about in public. One of those is how to handle finances with your partner. If you’re in a long-term, committed relationship – whether married or unmarried – there can be an unspoken assumption that you have a joint bank account. And, to be sure, there are certainly advantages to combining your finances.

But where some couples might find financial security in combining their funds, others could realize they’d prefer their money to be their own. There’s nothing wrong with either choice! It all depends on the factors that matter the most to you and the dynamic of your relationship. Here are a couple questions to consider to help you make the right choice for you and your partner.

How important is your independence?

Being able to trust your partner with money is one of the foundations of a healthy relationship. But you can have confidence in their financial judgment without necessarily sharing a bank account. That’s why it’s important to think through your preferences, and consider how important financial independence is to you.

Do you and your partner feel like you would want to ask each other for permission to make purchases from a shared account? If not, you have a great deal of trust in one another, and that’s amazing! But if you do think you’d like if your partner asked before spending money from your shared account – and vice versa – would that arrangement be sustainable for you in the long term?

There are also benefits to being financially independent. Both of you will need to understand how to manage money – a skill that is always useful – rather than the common joint-account-scenario where one person ends up being in charge of the finances.

Are your financial philosophies compatible?

If one of you wants to travel the world with disposable income, and the other wants to save every extra dollar, you may have some reconciling to do before opening a joint account. That’s not to say that every difference in your financial philosophies is cause for concern. But you should definitely sit down with your partner and discuss your approaches to money, how important it is to pay down debt, what kind of lifestyle you want to maintain, and other similar questions.

It’s also good to share things like your credit score. That way, you and your partner can make an informed decision on whether combining your finances could have an unwanted impact on your ability to make big-picture purchases like a house or car.

What do you each bring to the table?

Think about more than just your previous savings (though those matter, too). Another important aspect to consider when combining your finances is whether you or your partner have a large student loan, credit card debt, or other financial commitments. If you merge your accounts, creditors may be able to go after your shared funds in the event that a loan goes unpaid for too long.

Are you comfortable with being completely committed?

Nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario in a relationship. But it’s important to know about the possible risk of having a joint bank account: both people have unhindered access to the funds within it. It’s possible for one person to legally drain the account without the other person’s knowledge.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t trust your partner. But even the most committed of couples won’t have all of each other’s money stored in one bank account. It’s best to keep a separate account, maybe for personal expenses, maybe for an emergency fund. The choice is yours.

Would your contributions and expenses be equal? If not, does it matter to you?

The two-income household is becoming more and more common, especially during uncertain economic times such as these. So it’s possible that you and your partner could both contribute the same amount to a shared account over a given period of time. But if one of you makes significantly more money than the other, would you contribute according to a percentage of your income, or a flat amount? Would you consider it unfair if one person spent more than the other from your shared account, regardless of how much both of you put in? These are the sorts of questions to ask about contributions and expenses from your shared account.

There is another way around this dilemma: you and your partner create a shared account to pay for only shared expenses, or use it to accomplish your shared goals.

What are you shared goals?

Maybe you both have student loans or other debt that you aim to pay off, or hope to save for a dream house, or even want to take an exotic vacation. If your goals align – whatever they may be – it might make sense to have a joint account to achieve them.

Achieving your goals in a joint account is simple within Hills Bank Online. That’s because we’re introducing Goals: a new feature that lets you enter saving targets and start automatic transfers to fulfill them. Simply enter the dollar amount it will take to achieve your goal and your targeted end date, and Goals will take care of the rest. You’ll see a visual reminder of your saving every time you log into your account, letting you know whether you’re on track. It’s the perfect way to save for a romantic getaway, a starter home, a new car, or a rainy day.
 
Once you have your shared “goals” account set up, simply log in to Hills Bank Online and click the “Start saving” button in the goals dashboard. You’re on your way to achieving your shared goals! 

How do I set up a joint account?

Our bankers are ready to help. You can open an account online, get in touch with a banker on the HERE by Hills Bank app, or stop by one of our 19 locations to set up you and your partner’s joint account in no time.