Joint Bank Accounts: Yes Or No?

Posted by Jill Boynton on November 14, 2019

I recently worked with a young couple in their 30’s who have been married less than one year. I noticed that they keep separate bank accounts. When they have a shared expense one spouse will pay it and note it in “Splitwise”, an app that tracks expenses and splits them according to your instructions (for instance 75% to me and 25% to you.) At the end of the month Splitwise will show them who owes money to the other. That money is then sent to the spouse’s bank account via Venmo.

In this electronic day and age, do couples need to have a shared bank account? It is certainly easy enough to settle up and move money to and fro. But the mentality of “your money” and “my money” still remains. When a couple marries, should it be “our money”? Will keeping separate bank accounts eventually lead to money arguments?

In my experience the answer is “maybe.” I have seen a couple who has been married for over 30 years and still keep separate accounts, and it works great for them. I’ve also seen money arguments between spouses when finances are kept separate and the lower earning spouse has less discretionary income than the higher earning spouse.

Regardless of how a couple shares expenses it is important that they discuss the issue and come up with a strategy that is satisfactory to both of them. How will they pay joint expenses, how much is saved for an emergency or to a retirement account, how is debt being paid down – these are issues that both parties should be in agreement on how to handle.

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