As a couple, there are many shared expenses you would have to pay for. This includes monthly household utility bills, home insurance, loans, petrol and household groceries. We also have our own personal spending on transport, food and other indulgences.
When it comes to splitting the bill for these household expenses, it could be easier to have a shared bank account held by both parties. However, there are also some couples that prefer not to open a joint account.
We look at the pros and cons of having a joint account and having only individual accounts.
Having A Joint Account
My money is your money too.
A joint account is an account shared by both you and your spouse. Having a joint account is a collaboration between you and your spouse to handle your expenses as a single unit. The funding for this account would come from both parties. This could be a fixed sum every month, or a percentage of your salary depending on what you both agree upon.
Pros: All household expenses, shared items and meals are paid for through this shared account. This makes it easier to settle any bills you have to foot as a couple. It is also easier to keep track of your spending as a couple and work towards future financial goals.
Cons: It could be difficult to draw the line between what counts as a shared expense and what is a personal expense. Having a joint account also means that everything you spend on can be seen by your other half. If one half earns a significantly larger income, there might be issues
Many couples opt to maintain separate bank accounts on top of their joint account. This means that each person still has their own bank account. You are able to pay for common bills and expenses through the joint account while not feeling bad towards the other party when you spend on other purchases.
For example, you might not want your spouse to end up having to pay for your night out with friends or the new pair of shoes your purchased.
Not Having A Joint Account
Some couples opt not to open a join account together. This does not mean that you are not being honest with your spouse or that you are not willing to share the money you earn. This could simply mean that both of you respect each other’s personal finances and see the importance of having individual bank accounts.
Pros: There is no need to go through the hassle of starting a joint account and deciding how much each party should contribute each month. Both halves can also have their independence and privacy with regards to their personal spending.
Cons: It might be difficult to decide who pays the bills when. One person could also end up paying for more bills than the other.
Without a joint account, what can happen is that either party will take turns to pay for the expenses. For example, utility bills can be paid for by the husband on odd months while the wife pays for bills on even months.
Of course, each couple is unique and have their own ways of handling their finances. Whether to have a joint account or not should be a decision agreed upon by both parties. Couples should also decide on what the joint account will be used to pay for. Ultimately, trust and respect are the most important when making this decision.
DollarsAndSense.sg aims to provide interesting, bite-sized and relevant financial articles.
Learn together with like-minded Singaporeans at the Personal Finance Discussion SG Facebook Group by discussing a range of personal finance topics.
If you have not done so, subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available anywhere else.