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Joint Bank Account Tips for Newlyweds

Jun 25, 2018

Money stresses can weigh down a relationship, but there are many benefits to merging bank accounts for newlyweds. Before saying “I do,” consider our tips for opening up a joint bank account.

Tips for Opening up a Joint Bank Account

Joint Bank Account Tips for Newlyweds 

Be Open About Your Debts

As a couple, you are taking on responsibility to pay your partner’s debts with the income you share. Don’t guess at your significant other’s debt or credit history. Talk openly about your financial situation so there are no surprises. Are you in credit card debt, or do you still have student loans to pay back? It can be difficult to discuss some of your financial burdens, but be as candid as possible so you can plan your financial future together.

Discuss Roles and Responsibilities

To be on the same page in a joint account, communication is key. A lack of communication can lead to resentment. Determine the roles and responsibilities for who will handle paying the various bills. Based on what works best for you as a couple, one person might manage all of the bills with shared money from a joint account. While you may assign one person to handle paying the rent each month and use the other person’s paycheck for the utility bills, make sure you’re holding one another accountable and communicating constantly because you’re in this together. Making each persons’ responsibilities clear will keep each individual accountable and will open the lines of communication.

Create a Budget

Track expenses over the past few months to determine an appropriate budget. Once you’ve nailed down the necessities (rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, car insurance, cellphone bill, etc.), identify certain expenses that each of you can cut out. If there are splurges you can’t live without, be willing to compromise with your partner. If a daily coffee run makes your significant other happy, then meet him or her halfway when creating your budget.

Share Your Assets

The purpose of a joint bank account is for you both to have access to the same assets. Take on a “what’s mine is yours” mentality. Just as it’s important to discuss your debts, make sure your partner knows what assets you have and be open to sharing. Communicate and check in with each other often to ensure you’re sticking to your budget and not overspending the assets you share.

Joint Bank Account Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Finances are simplified – The work that goes behind managing a bank account is simplified down to one account that you can manage together.
  • Increased deposit insurance – The NCUA insures each depositor $250,000, so a joint account is insured for $500,000.We provide additional insurance (ESI) for another $500,000 per joint account
  • Transparency – Each member of the account has access to all expenses and deposits, giving a single view for the couple’s financial activity.
  • Combined skills – Each of you may possess a certain skill for managing money; one may be timely with payments, the other may be good at tracking expenses.

Cons

  • No protection as an individual – If the other member of your account does anything malicious or careless, such as depleting the account, you are not protected.
  • Joint liability – Mismanagement of the account, such as the scenario above, would make the other member legally and financially liable.
  • Divorce/Separation – In the unfortunate scenario of divorce or separation, the account would continue until it is closed by the joint group.
  • Preexisting bills - Student loans and credit card debts must now be paid from a joint account. This requires changing preexisting payment arrangements to be debited from the new joint account.
Erin Elis 
Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
eellis@PFCU.COM
National Association of Federal Credit Unions 
PFCU is a proud member of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions
National Credit Union Administration 
Your savings federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. Government Agency.
Excess Share Insurance Corporation 
Additional insurance of up to $250,000 on your savings accounts is provided by Excess Share Insurance Corporation, a licensed insurance company.
Equal Housing Lender 
We do Business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

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Please note that the amount of money contained in your investment accounts are considered non-deposit products and therefore, are not NCUA insured, not credit union guaranteed, may lose value, are not guaranteed by any government agency. Since they are not a deposit of the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, investment accounts do not qualify for Excess Share Insurance (ESI). Securities, Financial Planning and Insurance products are offered through LPL Financial, and its affiliates, Member FINRA, SIPC. LPL Financial and Philadelphia Federal Credit Union are independent entities.