What to know before you open a joint account
23 May 2019
We surveyed over 1,500 Australians in relationships about their money habits, which led us to an important finding: when it comes to joining your finances and bank accounts, communication is key.
There were some interesting results, which includes:
- Eight in ten couples have joint finances.
- Of these, 55 per cent say they share the responsibility for managing joint finances with their partner.
- 40 per cent say they themselves are mainly responsible and only 5 per cent say their partner is mainly responsible, suggesting a misconception around the distribution of responsibility in the couple.
- One in five think their partner lives beyond their means and say they have opposing views about how money should be managed.
1. Ask yourself if a joint account is right for you
Talking to yourself about whether joint finances are for you could be a good first step. Ask yourself if you and your partner are ready? Is it right for you? How would you like to see finances managed between you and someone else?
2. Discuss money with your partner
Next, talk things over with your partner. Chat over breakfast, while walking the dog, or even during the ad-break of your favourite show. Set aside some time to chat about your expenses, money habits, and goals.
It’s important to talk openly. It’s also vital to listen to your partner. 20 per cent of couples have opposing views around their partner’s spending habits, so this could be your chance to question each other’s spending habits. Do they really need eight different magazine subscriptions? Or do you need to update your smartphone every time a new model is released.
You might have both mutual and individual goals. Maybe you’re saving towards a house deposit together, but your partner is also putting aside funds for a trip with friends, while you’re looking to upgrade your car. No matter the situation, discuss how it can work, and what you can and can’t commit to.
3. Plan how you will manage your money together
After getting an idea of each other’s spending needs and areas for improvement, chat about whether a joint bank account is right for you. Whether you’re saving to renovate your home, planning for a family, or looking to upgrade your car – money is always a big factor.
Perhaps you’re not worried about joint saving, but you want to combine your everyday expenses (think household bills, rent, groceries, petrol, and even your streaming account). There are plenty of different account types, so be sure to pick one that is right for you, and plan how and when you’ll use it.
How couples share expenses
Another thing to consider is whether you and your partner will contribute to a joint account equally or relative to your incomes.
3. Manage your finances as a couple
There appears to be plenty of disagreement when it comes to taking responsibility for managing finances. 55 per cent say they share the responsibility for managing these finances with their partner. Meanwhile, 40 per cent say they themselves are mainly responsible and only 5 per cent say their partner is mainly responsible. There is nothing wrong with one person taking charge of your finances if that has been agreed upon between the two of you. Planning with your partner can be important ensuring that you both stick to your individual and joint duties and goals.
It is also a good idea to think about how you want to access the account. While this may depend on the account that you choose, most accounts allow individual access without your partner’s consent. If this isn’t the way you want to set your account up, you might need to mention this when opening the account.
Don’t forget there is risk with joint accounts. It gives someone else access to your funds. Make sure you’re ready to allow this control to someone you trust.
4. Decide whether you keep your own account
You’ll also need to decide whether you keep your own personal account as well as opening a joint account. It depends on how you want to manage finances, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting some financial independence while also sharing a bank account with a loved one.
5. Save money, spend & enjoy
If you’ve chosen a joint bank account, then it’s your responsibility to stick to your plan, as it affects the both of you. If something changes, or you’re struggling to meet the commitments you made, be open and honest with your partner! You can always go back to the drawing board and readjust.
Save the disagreements for picking which movie to watch on Friday night! Equipped with these tips, you and your partner can enjoy an argument-free joint spending or saving experience.
- Deciding between Savings Accounts or Term Deposits
- How to save money with a savings account
- Saving for your trip of a lifetime
Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Deposit Products are issued by Suncorp-Metway Limited ("Suncorp Bank") ABN 66 010 831722 AFSL No 229882. Please read the Product Information Document for Personal Deposit Accounts before opening an account. Fees, charges, terms and conditions apply and are available upon request.