Written by Katrina Daniel Wednesday, October 07 2009
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Joint vs. separate checking accounts: The good, the appalling, the OMG!
“Marriage is unity,” says 42- year-old Randy Lichaa, of Rutherfordton, N.C. He thought setting up a joint checking account would bring him closer to his wife. “I didn’t want a ‘me’ and a ‘her;’ I wanted an ‘us.’”
That sounds very romantic, but in Lichaa’s case, it turned out to be a bad decision when his marriage went from bliss to bust.
Twenty-eight year old Justin Brock of Duncan, S.C., says creating a joint account was easier for him and his wife because when they first married, she didn’t have a job or credit. Brock wanted her to have access to checks and money without having to wait for his signature.
Then, once his wife got a job, the couple decided to keep the joint checking account. “It just seems easier, Brock says. “This way we sit down together, figure it out, and get it done.”
A joint checking account can make life easier for married couples, says Peter Tiffany of Bradshaw, Gordon, Clinkscales, an accounting firm in Greenville, S.C., “In terms of building a team framework for marriage.
“I think joint accounts tend to put couples together in terms of being responsible to each other for their spending, not competing against each other, and being more able to work toward common goals,” he says. “This, plus having equal access to information about the account activity can be very helpful.”
Joint checking accounts are a good way for couples to learn together, says financial adviser Pat Sutphin of Landrum, S.C. “It gives the couples an opportunity to work on their financial life, to create a household budget, and to share equally in all money-making decisions.