Should You Use Separate or Joint Accounts?

The right answer is up to you and your honey. But you can crib from these couples’ money-management strategies.

In every serious, long-term relationship, you reach a special moment when one of you has to pop a very important question: joint or individual accounts? (To be clear, this query is not fit for first-date chitchat; merging your finances is as big a commitment as exchanging keys or vows.) The right answer will be as unique as you are. “There is no magic bullet,” says David Fleisher, president of Firstrust Financial Resources, a financial-planning firm in Philadelphia. “But the healthiest of relationships that I see are those who ensure that both people are on the same page.”

You just have to talk out your financial goals and agree on a plan that works best for you and your mate. Be sure to consider your respective money attitudes and behaviors when deciding your strategy. Ask each other: What bills need to be paid regularly? Are you a stickler for paying bills on time, or do due dates tend to slip past you? What short- and long-term savings goals do you have? What are your spending habits? And of course, you’ll want to address these 4 Critical Money Questions to Ask Before You Get Married.

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Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor,

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.