Family finances: Joint accounts

Consumer Report

(NBC News) Many couples who’ve decided to share their lives together are still struggling with one aspect of that agreement: just how much financial freedom should each partner have to give up.
Sharing a single bank account with your partner still makes sense with most couples, but if that account is the only account, there can be a downside.

“You might not want to have a joint banking account if one of you have a credit problem or is deep in debt,” says Investopedia chief editor Caleb Silver.  “You may want to separate your accounts so you not both dragged down into that debt spiral.”

Silver says taking a hybrid approach has become popular.

“You can have a joint account, but still have a separate account on your own to do the things that you want to do on your own and manage your own finances,” he says.

That approach also works when helping other loved ones.

“Sometimes it makes sense to have a joint account with an elder parent if you are taking care of them, taking care of their health care bills or paying their bills for them,” Silver explains.

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