Should you get a joint bank account?

Pros and cons of combining finances.

Whether you’re newlyweds, saving for a house or just want to make it easier to pay bills, a joint bank account can seem like an easy solution to household finances.

However, like many money-related situations, it can be far from a straightforward decision.

RACQ Manager Banker to Member Initiatives Eszter Cathcart revealed what to consider before opening a joint bank account.

Convenience

Having joint accounts can be convenient for budgeting and paying bills and is a good way to hold each other accountable for purchases.

It’s also good to have two sets of eyes on transactions to pick up any unusual activity like fraudulent transactions or scams.

However, you need to be able to fully trust that the other account holder won’t overspend or use combined finances for their own gain.

Each account holder also has the right to withdraw money and close the account without the other’s permission which, if a marriage breaks down, can easily leave one partner with no money.

FIVE FREE APPS TO HELP YOU SAVE MONEY

THINKING OF LENDING MONEY TO FAMILY?

WHERE TO STORE YOUR SAVINGS

Savings

Having all your savings in one account can be a great way to take advantage of bonus interest when saving for a big purchase. 

It’s a good idea to talk about your saving goals and ensure you’re both making contributions that work for your relationship, whether that’s a 50/50 split or a percentage of each person’s income.

Spending

Relationship issues can occur if one person is a spender and the other is a saver.

It can also lead to a loss of independence or financial abuse if one account holder controls the spending.

One benefit of a joint account is that if one of the account holders dies, or is incapacitated and unable to make financial decisions, the other will usually be able to continue to use the money in the account. This “principle of survivorship” generally means you will be able to continue to pay the bills while decisions are being made about the other person’s estate.

Why not have both?

Regardless of your situation, it’s important that each person maintains a separate emergency fund they can use if they need to leave the relationship. This is particularly important for women who are more often at risk of domestic and family violence. 

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.