Makin' Money

Popping the question: Joint or separate acounts?

Chris Farrell Feb 3, 2011

There’s no shortage of potentially incendiary moments when it comes to money and relationships. One of the tougher issues for couples to deal with is whether to merge finances into joint accounts, keep money separate, or mix it up.

How a couple handles checking and savings accounts often involves much more than coming up with the most practical choice. A good solution requires navigating through the difficult emotional touchstones of independence and togetherness.

Stacy Rapacon at Kiplinger.com offers a practical take on the question:

The right answer will be as unique as you are. “There is no magic bullet,” says David Fleisher, president of Firstrust Financial Resources, a financial-planning firm in Philadelphia. “But the healthiest of relationships that I see are those who ensure that both people are on the same page.”

What I like about her story is how she concretely lays out some very different strategies by couples. Here’s the takeaway,

The common theme you should take away from all their money-management stories is that they talked about and agreed upon their strategies.
And remember: One conversation is never enough. Your relationship will evolve throughout your life together, and your financial plan must adjust accordingly. So be sure to review your finances periodically — “once a month, or even as infrequently as once a year, for ten minutes, might be all that’s necessary to keep healthy household finances and a healthy relationship,” says Fleisher.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.