Opening a joint account

Opening a joint account with your partner is a big decision. There are both benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to consider carefully before going ahead.

Before opening

Before you open a joint account with your partner you should have an open and honest discussion. Make sure you trust each other and are willing to communicate frankly about your finances. Talk about your goals: if one of you wants to save for a house and the other for an overseas holiday, a joint account may not be a good idea. It is important to ensure your views on money management are aligned. If one of you considers $300 a lot to spend on new shoes, but the other thinks that’s reasonable, then you may not be compatible for a joint account.

Create a budget and a savings plan. Have a look at your spending and earning behaviours and, finally, make sure you are honest with yourself. Do you have any secret spending habits? Make sure you know your own finances before bringing someone else into them.

Pros

Pooling your money in the same account can mean fewer fees and administration. If you live together it can make paying rent and bills easier to manage. If you have a savings account you can earn more interest and have greater investment potential.

Cons

Joint accounts also have their drawbacks. You will no longer have privacy surrounding your spending. Both parties have equal access to the funds, regardless of how much each individual contributes. Furthermore, if you split up and close the account, the funds have to be divided equally. If the account is overdrawn, or if it is a credit card account or loan, both parties have the debt in their name and on their credit history.