On the happiest day of his life, Heartland Boy heard this,
“Your money is my money. My money is my money.”
Heartland Boy was momentarily stunned. Why she never warned Heartland Boy earlier? Did she just add a new chapter into her protocol of a Singaporean marriage?
Honestly, should married couple have a joint bank account? Well, for they say that a happy wife is a happy life, Heartland Boy obediently set up a joint bank account and dumped all his savings into it. To be fair, Heartland Girl’s proposition does have its merits. It just needed some fine tuning and a huge adjustment of expectations. Indeed, it is important for married couple to have a joint bank account.
1. A Joint Bank Account Promotes Communication
Setting up a joint bank account immediately opens the lines of communication on financial topics between the married couple. When a married couple communicates openly, it improves the foundations of their relationship. Each will learn intimately on the earning power and spending habits of the other. This is a critical ingredient to a successful and happy marriage, especially since money is the main cause of divorce in Singapore these days.
In addition, the mere existence of a joint savings account forces the spouse to talk to each other honestly on financial issues. This helps to mitigate the chance of any dark financial secrets hiding in the closet.
2. A Shared Bank Account Gets The Household Expenses In Order
Having a joint bank account immediately allows the couple to examine the overall finances in the family. Only when both adults in the household know exactly what is going in and coming out of the household financial account would there be a realistic chance of formulating a budget and sticking to it. It can be difficult as it forces two individuals to brutally expose their daily spending habits to each other. For instance, Heartland Girl would like to have her food and products to be organic. That was something that took a while for Heartland Boy to get used to. However, it was worth the adjustment. With the joint bank account in place, Heartland Boy would know immediately if money meant for the household has been siphoned off to buy Barbie Dolls!
Therefore, by paying the common household expenses through the joint banking account, it helps to reconcile all the purchases made. Expenses are always sorted out and organized. Here are some financial bloggers who have made a conscientious effort to monitor their household expenses. (My 15 Hour Work Week and Agedashi23cents)
3. A Joint Bank Account Promotes Mutual Financial Responsibility
Since sharing a joint account between a couple helps to monitor and track household expenses, it also highlights areas where expenses can be pulled back. The mutual decision to reduce expenses also helps the family to work together towards other financial goals such as insurance, retirement funds etc. It wouldn’t be surprising if having a joint bank account makes saving for the long-awaited dream vacation easier.
More importantly, the joint bank account drives homes the point that both adults are financially responsible for the household. The married couple becomes more financially mature and that will go a long way towards achieving financial freedom.
However, there is also a compelling reason why some married couples will choose not to establish a joint bank account.
1. A Joint Bank Account Creates Emotional Barriers
The primary emotional barrier comes in the form of trust. There is no guarantee that the other half would not embark on a wild spending spree, or worse, abscond with the entire savings in the joint bank account! The more likelihood is that the spouse decides to purchase something really expensive first before informing the joint bank account holder. That can be equally frustrating as well.
The next emotional barrier is the loss of independence. Some view that getting a joint bank account means giving up the freedom to spend as they deem fit. What Heartland Boy would recommend is for each party to still preserve his or her own bank account. At the same time, the joint bank account should only be used to pay for common expenses such as household bills, child’s education etc. In this way, each party would still retain a great degree of independence and designate his or her own bank accounts as “personal spending allowance”.
Conclusion of Joint Bank Account
In their short journey as a married couple, the Heartland Couple has a joint savings account and still retain their own existing bank accounts. This helps to lay the groundwork for a healthy marriage built on strong financial fundamentals. By the way, the last time that Heartland Boy checked, no suspicious invoices were made to Mattel just yet.
Finally, once you have made the decision to combine finances, it is equally important that you start on the right foot. Do check around for the best joint bank account for married couple that meets your household needs. The new and improved DBS Multiplier Account can also work tremendously well for couple who have a joint account with either DBS or POSB bank. Couples who are saving up for long-term big ticket items can rely on the Citibank MaxiGain Savings Account.
Note: This is another article by Heartland Boy on how you can achieve the minimum spend required on your credit cards to earn cash rebates.
In our household, we each have our own personal account and also a joint account. The joint account is for joint expenses like mortgage, PUB bills etc. We don’t control each other’s spending as long as the joint account is topped up in suitable intervals (we both have variable incomes, so not wise to inject every month). That joint account used to be from scb, but since they are not sincere in having us as customers (haha), we closed the account. Now, our ‘joint account’ is actually an accounting account, meaning that it’s not a physical account. It’s just that I tracked the amount that is joint and which is personal from the software YNAB, so it’s better this way.
I don’t think it’s terribly impt to have a joint account, to be honest. It’s just part of our system, but I’ve heard other systems that works for different couples too.
we are using Citibank step up account because we both have Ocbc 360 as individual accounts. I shall check out YNAB! Thanks for the tip.
Budget Babe says
I’m with Heartland girl! Gonna add it into the gatecrash vows my fiance has to make before he can fetch me from the room HAHAHAH
Haha, do take note that he can sign anything you want him to sign, but because it’s under duress, it’s not going to count 😉
I agree with your plan of having a joint account while maintaining the individual accounts of both parties. Like LP’s, our joint account is for the deduction of “common” expenses, like utility bills, insurance GIROs, kids’ tuition fees, etc, for ease of management.
The bottom line is there has to be trust between the partners, because if the trust is not there in the first place, any slight breach would bring down the whole relationship.
Agreed. Trust is absolutely essential. Great to know that it has worked well for you thus far!
For almost 36 years of our happy marriage, we operated on our own accounts. We just agreed on division of household items to be paid by the parties. In the event of grey areas, we communicated. We did not have any problems, should I put in haha…..’thus far’?
We are now retired. Life is about give and take. Both parties must put in efforts to work on it. There would be many personal habits irritating to each other e.g. Squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom or centre?
No expectation means no frustration.
Indeed you nailed it right. Communication is essential in managing the finances between a couple. My thoughts are just that a joint account forces the couple to communicate. But if a couple is already communicating healthily, then the advantage of a joint account gets diminished.
Lazy Singaporean says
How do you guys decide how much to put to the account individually?
Hi Lazy Singaporean,
We started with an equal initial contribution but the subsequent monthly contributions depends on the earning power of the respective party.
but multiplier account cannot be joint account. Actually I dont understand why so many “good” bank accounts (like DBS multiplier and UOB one account) doesnt allow joint?
you are right. multiplier cannot function as a joint account. May i refer you to this article on how you can create a joint account to boost the interest rates on your multiplier?
Hi I’ve check the terms and condition for DBS Multiplier acc, Under M part 1.3: “In the event that there are more than one account holders under the Multiplier Account, you will not be eligible for the higher interest rate.” . Judging from this I guess it meant that there won’t be higher interest for joint account holders right? Can anybody clear this up if they chances upon the bank?
Why not consider the setup in this article?