Two-thirds (66%) of Brits have a joint bank or savings account with their partner. It can feel like a big step for many, but the commitment often makes sense when you reach a certain point in your relationship. Joint accounts, like any bank accounts, come with rules and regulations of how they can be used. But you should also have your own set of “house rules” to help you avoid arguing over the contents of your joint account. Here are our top tips on how to keep your joint account stress-free.
If one of you has a poor or limited credit history, then keeping your finances technically separate might be a wise choice for the time being. Opening a joint account means you will be financially associated with that person. When you apply for credit, even on your own, and are credit checked, companies will be able to see who you are associated to and may check their credit history as well, to see if your association’s commitments may impact your own ability to pay back what you borrow
46% of people admit to lying when it comes to money. Of that, 11% is linked to how much debt they’re in. If one of you has debts that you’re struggling to pay back or has had money troubles that have affected your credit rating in the past, it’s only fair that the other should know about it before you commit to joining your finances together.
If you are the partner with the less-than-admirable credit score, planning for a joint account might be just the motivation you need to improve it. Check out the Money Advice Service for loads of free, impartial advice on how to build up your credit score.
Take joint control
Opening a joint account is meaningless if one of you is going to take control and the other stay out of it. A joint account is a big commitment but one that you should enjoy together. In most cases, one partner is usually more financially focused, so it’s only natural for them to take initial control of the account. However, checking in with each other regularly to make sure you’re both comfortable with how your joint money is managed and spent, and to plan for any big expenses you have coming up, is a good idea. Plus, if the worst were to happen and you split up, you could be left floundering with no idea of how your money is usually spent.
Set up “budget meetings” (from the sofa) as often as you need to, to talk about your joint accounts openly. Use this time to look over your account and discuss whether you need to change anything or want to start budgeting for other things like holidays, weddings or other events. Think of it this way – the more you know, the less you’ll have to worry about, which should minimise any money arguments!
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In our recent study, 32% of participants claimed to check their partner’s bank balance weekly, with 49% saying they would check their post and 44% admitting they would check a loved one’s phone!
Having your personal accounts looked into is a violation of privacy in most people’s eyes. Your joint account should eliminate this need for snooping, as you’ll both have complete access. Treat this as the only account you need to be concerned with when it comes to your significant other. Imagine how you’d feel if you found your partner going through your personal bank statements.
If you’re concerned about your partner’s spending habits, speak to them! There’s probably a good explanation as to why they’ve been acting differently (such as stress at work or a surprise they’ve been planning), and identifying the issue means you can address it properly.
Take a look at our other articles for more advice on budgeting, hacks and lots more!