A joint account can make or break marriage. Couples must be able to discuss some of the pitfalls associated with having a joint account. Money matters are a delicate subject; they can turn a happy home into a nightmare. A joint account may also lead to openness in a relationship and can help spouses build trust.
Couples who open a joint account and take out a loan through the account must realize, the bank, holds both parties liable for the loan, regardless of used the money. Both are entitled to the account and are equally liable in case they are unable to pay. If one party is not satisfied with the arrangement, he or she may opt out by notifying the loan holder, but only after the loan has been paid.
Some couples have other personal accounts in addition to the joint account. I have personally witnessed a few instances where one spouse has ripped of the other, by emptying out the account and leaving the other to pay off the loan. This sort of behavior often leads to divorce.
I have also witnessed couples, who have used the used the joint account, as way to build trust in the relationship. This practice encourages accountability and financial discipline amongst each other.
Couples should set some ground rules that both must follower. For example, how much should be deposited in the account each month, how much can be withdrawn and what should we use it for. It should be made crystal clear, how the money should be spent in the beginning: new home fund, vacation fund, college tuition, etc.
Things to consider when before opening up a joint account
Your spouse must be a person of character in order for the account to be a successful venture. Remember, this not only a business venture, it’s also a test of your relationship as a couple. Keep these tips in mind before you open the account.
1. Set a goal
Have an idea about how much money you want to save in the account and don’t waiver from that goal.
2. What is the contribution amount?
Both parties need to agree on a set amount they’re willing to deposit and when. Make sure both parties are comfortable with the amount of the deposit.
3. Pick an institution
Make sure utilize you an institution that is convenient for both of you. The bank or savings in loan should be easily accessible for both of you.
4. Open an individual account
It is important to have a personal account that doesn’t interfere with the joint account or any bills. This is a savings account and that alone. This is not for miscellaneous spending.
5. Know the rights survivorship
Must joint accounts carry rights of survivorship. If one of the joint holders dies, the survivor automatically has rights to the money. On the flipside, the survivor will also be liable for the decease’s debt.
In conclusion, if you trust someone enough to share your life with them, you should trust them enough to share your money. Remember to always be open and honest with your spouse, and expect the same in the return.