There’s an old saying that goes, “Two heads are better than one,” and it’s a saying that we’d tend to agree with most of the time. Having more than one mind or opinion can help make well informed decisions better.
If you’re then wondering whether a joint bank account is a good idea, you wouldn’t be the first to see the financial benefit of that old saying. There’s no doubt that two people saving together can help their funds grow better and quicker, too.
A shared bank account requires an equally shared responsibility, or there could be disagreements as to how the money should be used. Let’s look at how a joint bank account could be beneficial to you and your partner, when used correctly:
Two Accounts Are Better Than One
If two heads are better than one, why aren’t two bank accounts? We each have different attitudes towards money, have unique spending habits, and perhaps even have debts we’re carrying. Rather than going through the process of closing personal accounts and opening one account, consider having both.
You and your partner can enjoy financial independence with your own bank account, while sharing a joint account for household/joint expenses. This means you can freely discuss how much money you will each contribute towards the account, what to spend it on, how much to save each month, and how to best use it, without feeling trapped.
- You can both track your monthly expenditure.
- You can plan expenses, budgets and saving goals easier.
- Less banking fees from not having to send each other money.
- Allows for transparency and accountability.
- If main account holder dies, the account is frozen until the account holder’s estate is “wound up”
- You are both liable if the account gets overdrawn.
Before you jump into a joint account, you and your partner must honestly discuss your financial status. Discuss any debit orders, car repayments, loans, family obligations and other individual expenses.
Build Good Financial Habits
Whether you have one account or separate accounts, it is always good to make a habit of saving. The sooner you start saving, the faster you get to your target goal and the less you’ll eventually have to put aside each month. With two people, you can set even higher target goals.
There are different ways that you can build good financial habits:
Make a Budget
Set a specific day every month where you and your partner draw up a budget together. Building this habit helps you both stay disciplined when it comes to using the money. Also, use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to create a system that works best for you.
Set Attainable Goals
The best way to build the habit of saving is by setting attainable financial goals. These are goals that you know are possible and won’t cause you financial strain. Remember, you’ll be putting part of your salary aside every month, and you don’t want to overburden yourself during those early saving days.
Rather build up your sense of affordability as you both grow confident in your ability to save. Even if both of you have different attitudes towards money and spending, you should still work towards one goal, together.
Here are examples of financial goals you can work towards:
- Short-Term Savings: Household appliances, deposit for a car, holiday
- Long-Term Savings: Retirement fund, trust fund, school/tertiary fund
- Emergency fund: Money set for any sudden financial emergency.
It is important that you are both on the same page when it comes to these financial habits, whether one person is a spender and the other a saver. Be realistic and have a realistic plan on how to handle finances.
Shared Account Equals Shared Responsibility
At the end of the day, you are each responsible for the account, its use, and any benefit you gain as well as any risks.
It is only fair that you and your partner remain transparent and honest at all times if you are going to open a joint account. Remember, a joint account lets you both know exactly where the money is being used.
Stay safe by protecting you pin, passwords, and all personal information that could be used to access your account. Use two step authentication provided for by banks and banking apps and use secure devices on secure internet connections to increase your safety.
It is far more ideal to have your own account, and then still contribute towards a joint account with your partner. This gives you your financial independence while working towards equally managing a joint account, and your financial goals.
United African Stokvel is always looking for ways to help our members. This blog is intended to help our members think about their finances in a different way. This information is not intended to be a substitute for a financial advisor, you should consult with a financial advisor before relying on this information.