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“I have been with my partner for more than 5 years – should I have a joint bank account with him?”

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Lisa

Having a joint bank account if your finances are closely linked can be very useful, especially if you live together and share expenses. It is very convenient to be able to pay bills, or write cheques from one account. Many couples have a joint account which is used to pay for shared expenses like rent, food, electricity and telephone bills.

When you enter into a relationship, you have separate financial positions. But as you move towards a more serious partnership, it is natural to want to merge everything. You and your partner would have to decide how you would like to manage your finances going forward. A joint bank account can be a good idea if it is used with the right intentions. It’s about both partners being open about their personal situations, respecting the purpose of the joint account – not for one partner to do all the depositing and the other to feel entitled to all the withdrawals!

In the majority of relationships it’s common for one party to have different beliefs around money that the other does not. For instance one will be more of a spender and the other more of a saver. This can cause a lot of conflict. One is not more right that the other, rather its about being clear the values each of you have around money and manage your finances in line with this.

When you decide to open up a joint account, you must realise that it is a big step and the responsibility that you are taking on should not be taken lightly. There needs to be a lot of trust between the two of you. The risks involved are that either of you have the right to make unlimited withdrawals, regardless of who deposited the money. You can withdraw freely, without permission from your partner.

Before opening the account, you should set clear objectives of what the account is going to be used for and how you are going to manage it. Remember that by agreeing to a joint account, you are liable for any withdrawals and overdrafts that occur on the account, even if you were not the one who did it.

It’s also important to note that if you have been in a relationship more than 3 years all of your assets are joint unless you have contracted out of the Property Relations Act.

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2 Responses to “I have been with my partner for more than 5 years – should I have a joint bank account with him?”

  1. Peter L says:

    Whilst what has been said earlier is logical and a joint account is certainly a step to cement the trust of the relationship, I believe that each partner should retain a sole personal account where some personal funds can be retained. The reason is to avoid misunderstandings especially when one partner want to ‘splurge’ a bit on what may be considered ‘unnecessary spendings’, then if the payments are made from the sole accounts, this situation can be avoided as it must be made clear from the start, that activities from sole accounts should not be a subject for disputes.

  2. Lifes bitter experiences says:

    A joint account is only useful for joint paying of bills etc. I made a terrible mistake of having a joint account for everything, well hundreds of thousands of dollars dissappeared over 20 years. Have three accounts, one the other half knows about, a joint account and one in a small bank somewhere only your mother knows of. When the relationship goes down you have a little emergency fund you can withdraw and hide the cash. This advise was given to me and I ignored it, and paid dearly. That soulmate in 10 yrs could be a raving sociopath as mine was

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