Is One Joint Account Enough For Me And My Spouse?
Being wedded means that you and your spouse are a team, and that you should tackle your issues in life in a similar capacity. This includes the planning of your finances – more specifically, having joint accounts.
However, there are many factors to consider when opening a joint account: How much should each party contribute? How many joint accounts should a couple have? What are joint accounts even for?
To help you and your significant other have a clearer idea on joint accounts, we’ve enlisted the help of Mr Joseph Tan, Financial Services Manager, to shed some light on these questions.
How many joint accounts should I have?
It is ideal for married couples to have 6 accounts in total – 3 personal and 3 joint accounts. Your personal accounts should be a mirror of your joint accounts. It’s important that couples do not just throw everything into one joint account, because it becomes extremely difficult to track the ensuing mess of transactions that is sure to follow.
What are the 3 joint accounts I should have?
As a general rule of thumb, your 3 joint accounts should be classified accordingly:
1. Joint Expenses Account
This is a good way to keep track of how you and your partner are contributing to your household. As you and your partner begin living together, it makes sense to contribute together towards shared household expenses such as paying the bills, utility fees, and purchasing household necessities like groceries.
2. Joint Savings Account
Having a savings account is a representation of the goals that you and your partner shares, such as buying a house or a car within x number of years. It’s also a tangible process through which you can track and attain said goals because by keeping them constantly within your line of sight, they are less likely to change or shift.
If your financial plans do not encompass these new, changing goals, you may have to go back to the drawing board, which would only consume more time and effort.
3. Joint Emergency Account
“In sickness and in death.” No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios. However, unfortunate things can befall anyone in life, and it’s imperative that you and your spouse are ready to deal with the challenges should they arise.
Not only do joint emergency accounts help you deal with rainy days, but they also aid in making you and your partner’s insurance claims accessible to one another. Furthermore, joint emergency accounts also help to efficiently facilitate the distribution of assets and estates in the event of you or your partner’s death or incapacitation, because banks have been known to withhold money in sole accounts for a period of time in such situations.
If you’re unsure how much needs to go into this joint account, having at least 3 to 6 months worth of rainy-day-fund is a safe bet – that is the average amount of time needed to find new employment.
How should my partner and I divide our contributions?
You and your partner should sit together to come up with a working system to manage your finances. To help you out, here are 3 basic ways that you and your significant other can divide your income:
1. Delegation of accounts
One way for you and your partner to divide your income is for you or your partner to each be in charge of different accounts. However, this is not recommended, as there would be an imbalance and lack of clarity formed in the relationship. For example, the person in charge of savings might not be familiar with the expenses, and misunderstandings may arise.
Another way to split the contribution to these joint accounts is through giving an equal amount each. It sounds perfect on paper for two equals to give equally in a relationship, but do take note that for couples with significantly dissimilar incomes, this would mean that one of you would be feeling pressured to give up a much bigger portion of your income to match the amount that the other is contributing.
3. Give enough
The most ideal situation is for you to sit down with your other half and plan for a way to contribute reasonable amounts that are proportionate to your respective incomes. This way, both you and your spouse can stick to this commitment without feeling too much pressure to match up to your partner. Marriage is not a competition after all!
However, it is important to note that these methods of splitting a couple’s joint account may only be suitable for couples who hold separate jobs. For couples that own or run a business together, it may be difficult to distinguish work from home life, which means that they should consult a neutral third party, such as a financial planner, to help them with their finances.
In the end, joint accounts exist as tools that can help to align your goals and strengthen your bond with your partner through the management of your finances. By making your finances accessible to one another, you facilitate a new kind of openness in your shared living with your partner, which will help both of you grow!
Note: This is provided that the joint account is not pledged to a liability of the bank, such as an overdraft.
For more advice on opening joint accounts as a couple, reach out to Financial Services Manager, Joseph, at 9853 0208.
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Financial Services Manager, Joseph Tan and Associates
- 51 Scotts Road #03-11 Singapore 228241.
- 9853 0208 / 6572 6967