Ask Zeta: "Should we wait until we're married to open a joint bank account?"

Aditi Shekar
February 2nd, 2021 | 3min
Photo by Jae Escobar
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"My partner and I are engaged. Should we wait until we're married to open a joint bank account?"

Congrats, that’s a big step forward! The question about when to combine finances is one we get often, mostly because the rules and protocols for this have changed quite a bit between our parents generation and ours.

Getting engaged or getting married are solid milestones but in our research at Zeta, we’ve found that a joint bank account is most helpful for couples with two key characteristics:

  • You have multiple shared expenses together (eg. rent, utilities, food, etc)
  • You have a deep level of trust between each other

Why these two things?

First, joint accounts are a great way to reduce the back and forth accounting between each other. When we meet couples, many of them might be Venmo’ing money to each other or even keeping tabs on a spreadsheet. A joint bank account can help remove much of that coordinating, leaving you to spend your time on more fun things! This also means that with a joint account, automating your finances (if you’re into that kinda thing) can be done especially for the really boring stuff like paying bills or funding your account.

Secondly, trust is key here as money in a joint account is co-owned by each of you (meaning either of you can take all the funds out irrespective of what you each contributed). So if you’re nervous about your partner having access to the money in your joint account, then you might want to hold off until you’re ready. That said, if you’re sharing other stuff like your life’s possessions, you might be at that point where you’re also game to share money.

At the end of the day, a joint bank account is a great way to start building a shared approach to finances, giving you both something to discuss and build habits around.

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The Zeta Joint Card and Joint Account is offered by LendingClub Bank, N.A., or Piermont Bank, Members FDIC. Zeta Help Inc. is a service provider of the issuing bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at the issuing bank are combined and insured under an FDIC Certificate, up to $500,000. The Zeta Joint Debit Card, provided by MasterCard, may be used everywhere where MasterCard Debit Cards are accepted.