Marriage – Joint vs. Individual Checking Accounts

Should husband and wives have a joint checking account or should they have single accounts which they manage individually? There are a lot of conflicting opinions on this topic.

It’s my money argument

Some argue whatever amount of money they earn with their job is their money. They typically take responsibility for paying some of the bills (usually divided equally with the other spouse), but the rest of their paycheck is for them to use in whatever way suits them best.Joint vs Individual Checking Accounts

Become one in your finances argument

Others argue that once you’re married you become one in your finances. This camp will tell you it doesn’t matter the source of the income (your check or mine), it all gets deposited into one account and we manage it together.

So, what is the right answer?

Having a joint checking account

Well, since my wife and I got married we’ve had one account. I can tell you this has worked quite well for us. I’m the family CFO (who would have guessed), so once the checks are deposited, I pay the bills, etc.

We make this work because we each have a virtual envelope of money every month in which we get to use for spending money and clothes, so there is never discussion or concern about one of us spending more than the other.

We also do our best to make time each week to talk about money so that we can make sure we’re on the same page regarding expenses and how we’re managing our finances.

As you can tell, my wife and I are definitely in the camp of having a joint account. I try to encourage couples who are learning to manage their money to think about this approach and consider that once they became married, they also became one in their finances.

Other reasons to to a joint checking account

Prevents overspending

Having the money in one account can help prevent over spending. Each spouse can hold the other accountable to spending decisions when reviewing account statements. This is an important act of stewardship if you’re a Christian.

One account to track and  balance

You only have one checking account to track and balance. Having multiple check cards (if you use them) and statements is too much to keep track of in my opinion. Keeping it simple is a usually a good approach given it’s difficult to stay organized when life gets busy.

Visibility to money

Both spouses have visibility to the money. I recommend having a family CFO, but both spouses have responsibility to know the status of their finances. I think this becomes more difficult with two accounts individual accounts each person manages.

Even though I’m strongly for the joint account, I can’t say that I’m right. However, I do think there are more compelling reasons to have one account. I think it’s fair to say that each couple needs to work together to find the approach that allows them to conduct wise personal money management and to be a good stewards, if thinking about money from a Biblical financial standpoint.

What are your thoughts or experiences with single or joint accounts?

About Jason Price

Jason Price is a family man saved by grace, passionate about faithful financial stewardship (1 Cor 4:2 NIV), soccer and the Pacific sun.