Just married? How to intertwine your finances

MMM cheque imageOn our honeymoon, my husband and I wondered if marriage would in any way change us as a couple – after all, we’d lived together for more years than I’d care to remember. But when we came back home, we discovered that there was a lovely new sense of security and permanence. We felt more of a team, ready to take on the world.

And as this team of two, we found we wanted to join up our finances even further than just the joint current account we had for our household bills. So we closed our separate bank accounts and opened up a joint savings account too, so we could squirrel money away for our next property move.

But while completely joining up our finances was the obvious answer for us, some couples choose to keep their bank accounts (and their names) separate. In fact, only a third of couples actually have a joint bank account at all, according to the Daily Mail.

Many want to maintain their financial independence – or perhaps feel their personal styles of money-management don’t match and wish to avoid arguments. Some may have been married or in long-term relationships before and may be more mindful of their long-term financial security.

That aside, many co-habiting couples choose joint bank accounts to manage the family finances. So what are my top tips about joint bank accounts for newly married couples?

Should we get one?

Joint bank accounts can be a great idea for married couples – for a start, it might be a good place to put all those cheques you were given as a wedding present written to Mr and Mrs! It’s much easier to budget with a joint account and, if you set up some simple ground rules, it can lead to fewer arguments over whose turn it is to pay for dinner.

Should you completely merge your money?

Even if you’ve had a joint current account before, once married you may be tempted to merge your money completely. This has its advantages – there’s no question about where your money is and there’s not much to juggle. It can be handy for managing times when one of you is earning a lot less than the other, for example if one partner is on maternity leave or is made redundant.

What should you discuss?

Before you pool all your resources, think carefully about your attitudes to money. If one of you is a saver and one is more of a spendthrift, a joint account can be a real source of friction. You may decide you hate the thought that you can never buy anything without the other person knowing. And getting birthday presents for the other partner can be tricky.  Bear in mind, too, that both of you are responsible for an overdraft on a joint account.

How can you make it work?

If you decide a joint bank account is for you, you’ll need to work out how to run it. You may decide to pay in a percentage of each salary, keeping the rest of your money in separate accounts. You may just pay both salaries into one account and get a regular standing order as pocket money. If you pool all your money, make sure you discuss big purchases that need to be made ahead of time.

Shop around for the best deals

If you decide a joint bank account is for you, don’t forget to shop around. You could pick up some great incentives for switching, or find an account with a more competitive rate of interest.


Issued by Barclays Bank

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