Opening a joint account with your boyfriend? Here are 6 tips

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So, you and your partner are starting to plan for your future together and have decided to open a joint account. Although you may be comfortable sharing personal financial details such as your earning power and spending habits, it is still a good idea to draw boundaries when it comes to sharing a bank account.

Setting the expectations clearly from the start will also help to reduce conflict which may affect your relationship. Here are six tips that you should keep in mind when opening a joint account with your boyfriend.

Fix the contribution amounts

manage roles

Elsa Lim, finance coach and founder of www.moneyfitcoach.com, suggests discussing who should be the primary and secondary contributors, and how often the account should be topped up.

“Women must learn to talk about money and tell their partners what they expect out of the arrangement—without arguing and feeling embarrassed, pressured or intimidated,” she says.

Establish the types of expenses covered 

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Elsa warns that the both of you might not always see eye to eye when it comes to expenses, so it’s important for the both of you to establish the types of expenses that the joint account covers.

“You also have to be clear about what spending habits you will not tolerate, such as gambling or other unhealthy addictions,” she says. For hobby expenses, Elsa recommends setting up separate personal accounts.

Manage roles and responsibilities 

Everyone has their strengths, and Elsa advises playing them to your advantage.

“Perhaps you’re good at budgeting while your boyfriend is good at investing. Or perhaps he’s a spender while you’re a saver. You may decide that all investment matters come under his care while the household budget comes under yours,” she says.

She adds that ground rules and acceptable spending should be established, particularly if one partner is a bigger spender than the other.

Save the (money) date 

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Elsa suggests making regular appointments with your partner to discuss financial matters.

“These are ‘date’ nights where you and your partner discuss and track all matters pertaining to money management, family expenses and spending plans. Agree to create a safe space to talk about all matters of financial concern and review,” says Elsa.

Make sure your goals are the same 

Be it saving for a wedding, your new home, a dream vacation or just paying for household expenses, make sure that you and your man agree to the same goals and purpose for setting up the joint account.

Both of you will have access to each other’s money so there needs to be higher levels of accountability and responsibility for the communal money.

Even if priorities change, such as one party needs help with paying off a debt, you must seek the other party’s consent before using the funds in the joint account.

Check on the account regularly 

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You can never be too careful when it comes to your money. You may trust your partner (that’s why you decided to open a joint account with him), but it is still prudent to do regular checks just to make sure that things are in order.

Even if he is more financial-savvy and you feel safe leaving him to manage the finances, you should still keep an eye on the expenses and any irregular withdrawals.

This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.