Discussing how to properly manage finances as a couple is vital: a lot of couples – whether married or not – have planned on opening joint savings accounts thinking it’s easier and more practical.
But according to a survey, 20% of couples regret combining their finances. With a lot of horror stories about joint accounts, is it really a good idea or will it bring more conflict to a relationship?
First of all, a joint account is essentially a banking account but with two account holders. Couples can use it to pool their money together which is helpful with both saving and spending.
With a joint account, they can pay for shared household expenses. So decisions on who pays for what will be avoided. Best of all, it’s easier to keep track of spending habits which is useful when creating a budget together.
Even then, pooling resources can lead to conflicts, especially if the couples’ spending habits don’t align. Here are some of the real-life couples’ take on creating joint accounts:
It could be challenging to determine what counts as a shared expense and what a personal expense is. For some couples in Singapore, their joint accounts pay for utilities, groceries, and housing loans.
But what about other expenses like hospital bills?
Some couples admit to not using their joint account for certain expenses, which sometimes leads to one of them paying for most of these expenses alone.
That said, experts suggest putting away money into a separate saving account for unforeseen expenses. Additionally, spouses or partners should actively plan their budget – even if they are reluctant to.
Several couples in Singapore admit feeling uncomfortable over joint accounts because their spending habits are easily placed under a microscope, with each account holder seeing every single transaction.
No matter how much a person loves his or her partner, it’s still surprising to discover their spending habits. However, this could lead to judgment and resentment especially if one partner contributes more than the other.
A good way to address this problem is to have a separate spending account. This gives both parties more freedom to spend on what they want. They can use their joint savings account strictly for communal expenses only, providing them more independence and privacy which many couples prefer.
With a joint account, couples don’t have to decide who pays for a particular bill. But in households where spouses or partners have different incomes, one of them may feel they’re contributing more – or less.
This could lead to feelings of insecurity. To address this issue, some couples in Singapore decide on a contribution percentage.
For example, each individual will contribute at least 20% of their income. But for this strategy to work, open communication about financial issues is vital.
Several couples from Singapore share that deciding to have a joint account requires trust.
And Rightfully so, because a joint account means all account holders have unrestricted access.
That said, both parties should be financially responsible.
There are joint accounts that require both parties to sign before withdrawing money. Some couples choose this option as an added security measure, but it could be inconvenient when they need to make a quick withdrawal.
Some relationships fizzle naturally. That is also a reason why some Singaporean couples are hesitant to open a joint savings account.
If things don’t work out, a joint account could get messy.
Couples need to be practical and discuss what they will do with the account – how they will split the money. But with the pain and anger brought about by a breakup, this can be challenging.
Why Should Couples Open A Joint Savings Account, Then?
28% of millennials in a relationship have separate bank accounts. But research suggests that couples who pool their resources into a joint account are less likely to break up. Here are some of the reasons why:
Save Up Towards Shared Financial Goals
Some couples open a joint savings account to save up for a house deposit or a holiday. Having one savings account where both partners put cash into will help reach that goal faster.
According to Samantha, an account manager, a joint account gives her and her partner a sense of responsibility for their future. It acts as a reminder that their financial decisions will not only affect them as individuals but their future as a couple as well.
Plan for Retirement
Aside from pooling resources for utility bills, groceries, and so on, a joint savings account can also be used to plan for retirement.
For couples pursuing financial freedom, this provides a sense of security. Jayeeta M., a lifestyle content manager, says that maintaining an open communication with your spouse or partner will help in successfully planning for retirement.
Here are some questions couples need to consider:
- Do they plan on staying in their home during their retirement years?
- Do they want to travel internationally upon retirement?
- How much money do they need in retirement?
Streamlined Legal Affairs
Under the right of survivorship in Singapore, jointly owned assets can be passed to the surviving spouse. So in the case of a joint account, the surviving spouse retains access to the funds. There’s no need to refer to a will or undergo a legal claim.
However, couples are advised to talk to their bank officers about how survivorship works. The bank may freeze the account until the surviving spouse presents the necessary documents.
Perhaps one of the biggest life decisions for couples – aside from saying “I do”- is sharing finances. It is a complicated process: there is no “one size fits all” answer to questions on whether a joint savings account is a good idea or not.
Some couples find that a joint bank account gives them more security, while others feel more comfortable with a combination of joint and individual accounts. That said, couples should have open and honest conversations about their financial expectations.
Trust is a valuable asset when it comes to a joint savings account.
If couples or individuals need financial assistance to kick start their future plans, then 1 Fullerton Credit may have what they need. 1 Fullerton Credit is a low-cost and flexible loan provider that caters to individuals with different financial situations.