Joining finances with your partner is an exciting step to take in your relationship. However, it’s not as simple as heading to your bank, saying you want a joint account, and becoming financial partners for life. There are a lot of caveats and steps that come with opening a joint account with your significant other that many don’t realize until they have to do it. The process can be both tedious and time-consuming.

Here’s everything you need to know about opening a joint bank account to decide if this is the right financial decision for you.

What is a joint account?

A joint account is essentially a checking account that is run by multiple people. This is a common financial solution for many committed couples who are looking to share their money. You can each can interact with the account as if it were your solo account. The money in this is equally yours as it is your partners. That is why it is important to only open a joint account with someone who you trust.

Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Accounts

Having a joint bank account is definitely the traditional choice for serious or married couples. A survey done by TD Bank in 2016 found that 76 percent of couples share at least one bank account.

Pros:

  • Holds the symbolism of joining together as one and sharing a certain level of trust

  • Each partner has the ability to access the money separately when they need it

  • Having all earnings in one place also makes paying bills and completing other financial tasks together a simple process

Cons:

  • Partners coming in to the account with debt and/or other tough financial situations

  • Complications if the relationship is to end

  • Don’t have separate accounts to save for personal goals

How do we get one?

 

Step 1: Pick a bank or credit union that you and your partner want to use together. Mutually agree on a choice that will fit both of your needs.

Step 2: Make the decision of whether or not you wish to keep your seperate accounts. This choice is ultimately up to you and your partner. Having your personal account will give you a sense of independence, but it will also make paying bills more complicated. Learn more here.

Step 3: Gather the documents you will need. Make sure to bring forms of identification: driver’s license, passport, or state ID. You will also need your Social Security Number. If you do not have a SSN, you can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Apply here.

Step 4: Find your bank online and look for next steps. Every bank is different when it comes to opening accounts. Some will have you come in to sign papers, others allow you to do so online.

Step 5: Make a deposit together. You will need to put in the minimum amount to start an account. Find out how much you need and decide how you would like to divvy up this cost.

Why should we get one?

Opening a joint account allows you to have equal ownership with your partner. Sharing your finances makes paying bills and saving money together extremely simple. This is a common method of sharing money especially among married couples.

It is important to be aware of the legal responsibilities of opening a joint bank account. This is not a process that should be taken without careful thought and consideration. Combining finances with your partner also means less independence, tax issues, joint liability, and other caveats that make many couples decide to keep their accounts separate.

Learn more about joint and separate accounts here to decide what financial decision is right for you and your partner.