Whose bank after marriage?

My boyfriend and I talk about marriage and our future fairly often. (If only he would propose already!!!) 

one of the questions that we brought up and haven't found an answer to yet is which bank will we use once we are married. He is BofA and I am WF and we both like our banks/accounts. We have had our accounts since our teens and don't really want to give it up. What is the best way to handle that when going into marriage? We both agree we want everything to be joint, but how do we do that from separate accounts?

We have alot of other topics and  big questions we haven't figured out yet either, like buying a house right away or saving for a while first. (Also where to live, CA IS TOO EXPENSIVE) But little things add up I guess. 

sincerely, 

Likes to Plan Ahead

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  • Actually, I would recommend keeping your individual accounts, and making a new one to be  your joint account. Granted, you still have to decide which bank! But with my wife and I, we each have our own personal account and then we have the joint account. Each period, we each get an "allowance" of money that we can spend without having to consult with the other - she likes yarn and coffee, I like board and dice games. 

    The nice part about that arrangement, though, is that we can then buy each other birthday/Christmas gifts out of those accounts. Keeps them secret, but also makes them slightly more meaningful in that we know it "cost" the other person to give the gift. I.e., if she buys me a game, I know that's money she didn't have to spend on yarn!

    Reply Like 6
      • duwie
      • duwie
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Router (8b33f3d07c2f) I'm getting married in December, the fiancee and I have been merging our salary for the past 4 months, and it has been lovely however we have a few small fights here and there about how myself or she may spend x amount of money. I've searched the internet far and wide about how to decide from a merged salary to allocate "personal"/"fun money for HIM and HER"...

      Any suggestions?

      Reply Like
    • Aquamarine Beat (7534f9a7648a)  as OP you know I'm not married yet, but I was thinking along the lines of 10% of your paycheck goes to your personal account, just like 6% goes to 401k, then the rest goes to joint account. Most direct deposits let you deposit into multiple accounts, and can easily do it by percent or $ amount. I of course don't know if that's considered fair, since salary might not be the same, but that may actually make it more fair. Idk experienced ppl have any thoughts? 

      Reply Like 1
      • duwie
      • duwie
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Drum (1d39fb44f280) Yea, I was thinking 10% but as you guessed, salaries aren't the same - it's mine that is greater *covers face*, it sometimes doubles hers. Oh, we are citizens of Jamaica so no 401K and all those fancy terms/accounts :)

      Reply Like
    • Aquamarine Beat (7534f9a7648a) My parents were similar to that, so my dad had his fun account that got a portion of his paycheck and then mom got the rest to pay all the bills and everything plus whatever she wanted. But my dad wasnt very involved with the finances, so it was very one sided. 

      Maybe if you guys discuss and decide on a certain amount "allowance" each month like the other people mentioned? the amount would really depend on what it is going to be used for. If most everything is paid for from the joint account, the allowance doesnt need to be that high. At the same time it will depend on how much you can afford to leave out of your budget. You wont be using that money for any budgeted items, so you can't pick a number that will make you fall short of your budget. 

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      • Troy Miller
      • Budgeter, FPU Leader, Programmer, Dad, Husband
      • yort
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      This is exactly what we do. In our case, I make "all" the money because my wife stays home - but even before we had kids, her income was considerably less than mine. However, as we are married and therefore a team, we both get the exact same allowance, and it is an amount that is budgeted out of the main budget every month along with everything else.

      Reply Like 4
    • Lavender Router (8b33f3d07c2f) yes. Us too. My husband stays home with our kids but all the money has always been our money. 

      Reply Like 1
      • Orchid Mantis
      • Ecologist on hiatus
      • Orchid_Jackal_9a45b17ee
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      We do an allowance too and it works great for us. "Fun money" goes into personal checking accounts every month outside of YNAB, and the rest is family money in a joint account. We each have a personal credit card too that must be paid off in full each month from the personal checking accounts.

      I'm home with the little ones right now, and I do all the family finances. The allowance allows him to fund his hobbies (drone, scuba diving, guys night out) without making me the gatekeeper. Before we did that, I either a) felt bad about saying no or b) said yes but then resented the purchase.  Now I just smile or roll my eyes. It's up to him; I have no say. And I have my portion to spend without feeling guilty too. It's very peaceful. Also allows us to buy gifts for each other. 

      Reply Like 1
  • If you are both using YNAB, you can merge finances without necessarily changing your accounts. Since YNAB doesn't care where the money is located, your money will all pool together. So if his account has $2000 and yours has $3000, you'll have $5000 to budget. You budget that money, then each person refers to the appropriate categories when making purchases. I'm single, but I know many YNAB couples have a his and hers spending money category for those purchases you've agreed will be separate. 

    So say of that $5000 you budget $400 to groceries. Boyfriend is at grocery store and wants to spend $100.  He looks at the category--$400 left, okay. He double-checks the account he's going to spend from, $2000, okay. And he buys $100 of groceries. The purchase is deducted from the joint budget, but just hits his account. When you need to rebalance money, you send it back and forth between the accounts. 

    You might find over time that you'd prefer to only have one account, or to use a credit card for most of your spending and only deal with your checking account once per month, but I thought I'd point out that a joint account is in no way a prerequisite for using one joint budget. 

    Reply Like 4
    • Tan Major (faac422e1003) my thoughts exactly. It all goes into “inflow to be budgeted” regardless of where it came from. 

      Reply Like 1
  • We have done the exact same thing as Lavender Router (8b33f3d07c2f), because we both have had our accounts at different banks since childhood. 

    We chose to have our joint account at my husband's bank, since my employer offered us company discounts on insurances if we had the account there. We had no strong feelings either way, so that decided it for us.

    We still have our childhood accounts, where our 'allowance' is deposited on a monthly basis - but all collective spending goes from the joint account(s). Technically, we don't need the separate accounts, but we like to have the ability of spending money (on ourselves or the other) without it being visible to the other. Makes surprises and gifts much more fun. 😉

    Reply Like 1
  • While the above suggestions would totally work I think I would forget to make sure all of the money was in the proper account. 🙈 Maybe I just don't like that many things to think about before a purchase. 

     

    For us, we switched to my husband's Credit Union. I didn't LOVE the idea of switching but looking back now, I love the CU. They were awesome when we purchased our first home. 😊 Have you guys thought about switching to a completely different bank?

    Reply Like
      • Troy Miller
      • Budgeter, FPU Leader, Programmer, Dad, Husband
      • yort
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Trumpet (4b5b3ad01b58) Fwiw, all our money gets deposited into the "joint" account, and then we have automated transfers for our allowances to our personal accounts, so no management necessary.

      Reply Like 1
    • Lavender Router (8b33f3d07c2f) That definitely sounds painless. I was just thinking of paying all the bills or going shopping wondering, "where is this money going to come from?!" Haha

      Reply Like
  • Others have already said all I would say on the bank account front but just wanted to chip and say it’s the 21st century if you want to marry him then you propose to him 😉 (and if you’ve always dreamed of the beautiful ring you can still have it, my now husband still wanted me to wear an engagement ring as a symbol of our engagement even though I proposed) so set up the YNAB category and go for it 😛

    Reply Like 2
  • Someone give in, or decide on a bank different than the one each of you have. 

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  • I would suggest reading this before making a decision: https://www.youneedabudget.com/our-controversial-stance-on-joint-accounts/ .

    As for whose bank to use, take some time to compare banks, or even credit unions and see what works best for both of you. 

    Reply Like 3
  • My husband and I just changed both of our separate accounts into joint accounts by adding each other to them. We also agreed to have everything joint. You can always decide to close one of the accounts if you want to reduce the number of accounts you have in the future.

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  • After a decade of marriage my wife and I found that having some of your own resources (time, space, money) in the marriage can be a great thing, that allows the resources you share together to be more enriched.  You can apply a similar approach to your individual, time, money, and space.  The important thing is that you are transparent about how you use that time, money, and space, whether you use it for yourself or for your spouse, or for both of you.  

    When it comes to money it is like all of your resources now -- shared -- like it or not.  I've helped many of our close married friends get started with YNAB, and in most all cases, they all had maintained separate accounts, income streams, and budgets.  The problem with this is that now you have two budgets that are interdependent and competing -- not really the idea of marriage right, i.e., to be a team.  If you don't treat them this way, you can actually create a substantial amount of stress and pressure in the relationship.  

    One of the things YNAB has done for me and my wife is get our money free of dependencies and get us on the same page.  We won't always make our budget goals, but that is life.  We talk about the budget together, we make adjustments together, and we allocate a portion of our money to each other for our own uses, but we still know how each individual spends their allowance (transparency), and this is about building trust.  How you do this is up to you.  Gifts and surprises are one of those things we know we hide from each other and for good reason until the gift or surprise has been given.  In my opinion, this is the only thing you should hide from your spouse -- hiding anything else is just not a good trend.  Separate accounts can work well for allowances, or they can be something that is inherently setup to keep things hidden, even if that isn't the intent.  For instance, all of our income flows into a single joint account.  From there we make decisions and portion out any allowance.  This means nothing is hidden from one another on our overall income, and we have a team effort on how we use that income.

    I'll end with this.  Your money and your budget must reflect both of you, and you are both different.  Sounds like you are a planner.  So am I.  My wife is more spontaneous.  To account for this difference, I plan for spontaneity (including in the budget), and don't overdo the planning around my wife because it can exhaust her.  You will find techniques like this that you apply to your differences.  Build your accounts to match how you budget.  When we first started using YNAB about six years ago we realized we had a tangled mess of accounts.  Working with YNAB caused us to adjust our account and financial vehicle setup.  The budget really provides the form for your finances -- build your accounts around how you budget and use your money.  Create a test budget and play with different setups to see what works for you, and don't try to force a contrived budget setup around your existing accounts.  Best wishes to you both, in your budgeting, and more importantly, your future together.

    Reply Like 4
  • I like having his/hers/ours bank accounts. As for how to divvy it up? All the household categories that have to be made and the sinking funds, go into the joint account. The rest gets divided in half and put into the individual accounts.

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  • I would recommend taking a look at getting an online savings account. The interest rates tend to be much higher (1-1.3% vs. the typical .2-.3% you'll see at most brick-and-mortar banks). 

    As someone whose been married for a little over a year, I would highly recommend a joint account. You can manage everything from YNAB, even if you're with different banks, but it's much easier if you ever need to actually go to the bank if both your accounts are together. 

    Reply Like
      • Wendy
      • wendy
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      We did the same - we got an online account through Ally, which has great interest rates, it's easy to pay bills from, and they reimburse ATM fees, which is really awesome since there are no physical Ally banks. (We used CapitalOne 360 for a time, but Ally's rates were better.) Plus, with an online bank, you do still have to have a physical bank to link to, so you could keep your long-standing personal accounts. It's good to do that anyway because when you go to buy a car or house, you'll have options at banks where you have lots of history. If you do get a joint account, make sure you look up what your personal banks require for minimum balances and monthly activity (if any) to avoid any inactivity or low balance fees. 

      After we first got married, we kept our income streams separate for a little while, but eventually we did decide to merge our money, and it ended up being a LOT less stressful that way than trying to worry about who owes whom, or making sure he or she pays such and such bill on time, or whether there's enough money in the shared fund to cover bills. I found I was resentful when I felt like I was paying for more than my share (for instance, he eats twice as much as me, so why was I paying for half the food?) because I made less than him, so when I was having to pay more for these necessary things, I had much less than him to play with for my own goals. And when I had to cover half of some home maintenance thing, I had nothing left for something I may have been trying to save up for, or even for doing something fun with him. (Like if we were saving for a trip, he could contribute his portion, but I couldn't, and that felt crappy.) But with combined funds, I don't worry about things like that. It really was like magic. We're a family, and with all money in the same pool, it allows us to pursue investment goals that we may not have been able to do on our individual incomes. 

      That said, we do have our own categories that we fund with some money every month, and that is for whatever we want it to be, without having to ask permission or worry about what the other person thinks. 

      I think it very well COULD work to keep separate income streams by using YNAB to track all shared expenses, giving you a really clear picture of how much each of you needs to be sure to deposit in the shared account each pay period, and then you can maintain your own budgets separately. But as you have conversations about your shared goals - trips, retirement, other investments, home buying... You may find that the shared goals take up more and more of your incomes, and it may be easier to just combine everything and give yourselves an allowance that can be saved or used for whatever you want it to be used for. 

      Reply Like 1
  • You should both switch to Ally or Capital One 360 online-only banks. We've been screwed over by both WF and BoA more times than I care to count. We switched to an online bank around 2004 and never looked back.

    Plus the online banks have checking accounts that earn mor in interest than their savings accounts, and their savings accounts even more interest.

    As for finances, I have found that pooling resources and combining into a single budget makes all goals happen a lot faster. But it also means discussion and compromise... and that's good for a relationship so that the finances do not breed resentment. We have no "his" or "hers" other than our spending money categories, and we both get the same amount added each month to those.

    Reply Like 2
  • I'm with norules in the "pool resources and combining into a single budget" camp.  We've been able to accomplish so much together, more than we ever could with separate finances as a married couple.  But that just works for us.  

    We use USAA but that's only because we're military.  If we we didn't have that as an option we'd have an online bank.  However, USAA's savings rates are pretty pitiful and we'll shift most of our emergency fund elsewhere soon so it earns a bit more.

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  • I've been married for . . . let's just say . . . a while and my wife and I don't have a joint account; checking, savings or credit card. We do, however, have a joint budget along the lines of what WordTenor describes. We have two "fun money" categories - his & hers - which get funded with the exact same amount each month no matter how much each of us contributes to the total income (I'm sure there were some vows to that effect when we got married . . .so long ago I can't remember!)

    Every other category is funded based on agreed priorities. The result is that it doesn't matter where the money resides, who earned it or who spends it, as long as the spending is within category limits. The discussion each month regarding how we fund the categories really helps us understand each other's priorities, needs and wants. 

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