Should couples have joint accounts?
22 January 2016, 16:48
Nairobi - Living in Kenya is sort of like a session of ‘Things Fall
Apart’ but in real life. For the past two days I have not been able to write,
and even right now I am not at my house because KPLC (Kenya Power and Lighting
Corporation) is having a moment. We have
rain; we get swept away by floods. We have rain; KPLC breaks down and casts the
rest of us in darkness. We just thrive in unpreparedness.
Anyway, for what you actually want to read about, joint
accounts. It is always a serious discussion for couples; especially married
couples. Do you have a joint account or you ignore your partner when they
suggest it and pretend you are perennially deaf? Because there is going to be
the wife that is going to be mad that you do not want to or the husband that is
mad because you are not taking a larger chunk of the bills. That is just the
way it is.
First of all find out
why they want a joint account?
It can start off as the both of you pouring a chunk of your
earnings to the account until one of you starts getting excuses until they just
stop contributing. Is the account for emergencies or is it going to be used to
pay off the bills equally. Is it for household expenses or for emergencies?
What is that account for? A partner might want a joint account yet they earn
nothing or the one that wants one but so that you can enable their spendthrift
ways. You find out the reason for the account; emergency, bills and household
expenses are good reasons for a joint account.
If on the other hand they just want a piece of your pie and
they do not contribute yet you take care of whatever needs taking care of-then
you get veto power. You can say no because you want to and it is your money.
If your partner takes care of their share of what needs to
be sorted out or ultimately takes care of you and then some; then it is not
your right to demand to know what they earn. It is just a matter of privacy and
boundaries which a lot of people are touchy about. Here, you can start creating
problems in your relationship by insisting on something that is not wearing you
It is not a good idea
to have a joint account if….
If your partner is a spendthrift, they do not know how to
save or spend money; they are impulse buyers and like buying ‘white elephants’.
You cannot control them while they are out of sight or their purchasing habits
but you can control your money side of things. So if you know they are not good
with money, do not extend their habits by agreeing to give them your card or
pin numbers. Let them spend their own and when they are done, they can stay
like that. At least you can still sort out what you need to. The problem with
sharing with such a spouse is that by the time you notice they dug into yours
as well; they have fed into those habits so bad they get the whole family in
trouble. At least you can still have yours if you are good with money. That is
why a couple is advised; if you are going to marry, do not marry someone who
has the same flaws as you do like such. If you are poor with money, marry
someone who is good with money that way your kids will not suffer.
You do not have to
put your whole salary into a joint account; just a portion
Like I said, joint accounts are a good idea when it comes to
emergencies and household expenses. You sort out the problems without haggling
but most people do not like the idea because they think they have to put their
whole salary. As a couple you can agree on what amount can go in from each of
you based on your salaries and then you keep the rest for yourself or whatever.
You can still hide what you earn because that is what most of you want. You
just take a portion of what each of you agree to and deposit it and keep mum
about the rest.
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