Savings accounts are deposit accounts held at a bank or other financial institution, and they offer a safe and reliable way to stash money away both for the short and long term. Most people will typically have individual savings accounts but may start exploring the option of combining their savings with their spouses after marriage.
Married couples may opt to pool their savings together because they want more cooperation and have shared savings goals.
Once you decide to combine your savings, the easiest way could be to move your savings to your spouse's account and start depositing future savings there as well. By channeling your savings directly into your partner's individual account, you create a sense of unity in your financial endeavors.
Saving money in your spouse's individual account requires a high level of trust and cooperation. And while it can work, it might involve some sacrifices as you will have less access to the money because the account isn't yours.
However, some banks will let your spouse add you as a signatory to their savings account and remove the hurdle. This approach allows for joint access to funds without necessitating the creation of a wholly shared account. You will typically be able to conduct transactions, withdraw funds, and manage the account with your partner.
While this solves the problem, your spouse will remain the designated/primary account holder. This means they may have the power to revoke your signature at any time, transact without your permission, and set restrictions on what type of transaction you can't make.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive approach to managing your combined savings, you can consider a joint savings account. A joint account goes beyond the signatory privileges; it can provide you and your partner equal ownership rights, ensuring that no single individual holds unilateral control over the shared account.
A joint savings account is similar to an individual savings account, except that two or more people co-own the bank account, in this case, you and your partner.
Both you and your spouse will have the same access to the joint savings account and equal rights. In other words, any account holder can see the transactions on the account, deposit and withdraw money from it, and set up standing orders and direct debits. However, this will depend on the joint account terms and your agreement from the onset.
When opening a joint savings account, couples have the opportunity to establish the terms and conditions that govern the account. This includes specifying the level of access each account holder will have, the types of transactions allowed, and any restrictions that may be put in place. For example, the account can require joint approval for withdrawal of more than Ksh100,000.
Joint savings accounts can offer multiple benefits for couples, including:
While joint savings accounts promote collaboration and transparency, they can also have some drawbacks, including:
The choice between joint and separate savings accounts is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Different couples have varying needs, and the key to financial success lies in finding a harmonious balance that aligns with their unique dynamics.
A joint savings account might appeal to couples with common financial objectives that require consolidating their savings, who prioritize transparency in money matters, and who aim for financial unity.
On the other hand, couples with different saving and spending attitudes, who value financial autonomy and want to create boundaries, have previous obligations such as debts or prioritize personal aspirations or projects, will likely find separate accounts more appealing.
In situations where financial independence is valued but shared responsibilities are acknowledged, a dual or hybrid approach can be beneficial. Combining a joint account for shared expenses and savings with individual accounts for personal spending strikes a balance, ensuring both autonomy and collaboration. This approach acknowledges the importance of individual financial freedom while fostering a sense of shared responsibility.
A joint account can efficiently cater to common financial goals like buying a home or planning family vacations. In contrast, individual accounts allow the flexibility to allocate funds towards personal endeavors without compromising joint objectives.
The decision to opt for joint or separate savings accounts is nuanced, requiring careful consideration of individual preferences and shared financial goals.
The first step is to identify shared and individual financial goals and then choose how to consolidate personal goals into mutual objectives or how to prioritize different aspirations.
Next, evaluate the importance of financial unity in your relationship. You can keep your finances separate, maintain a high level of transparency, and avoid financial infidelity.
You and your partner might have different views about saving together and opening joint accounts. Therefore, you will need to express your concerns clearly, avoid confrontations, and be ready to make compromises.
When deciding between joint and separate savings accounts, consider the following factors:
Saving money together can be a convenient way for couples to manage their savings together. However, before you start your journey, consider defining the account’s purpose and establish clear rules/guidelines around how and when to use the account.
Consider setting limits, such as the maximum withdrawal amount per person each month. Additionally, outline guidelines for withdrawals without informing the other partner and address consequences for rule violations. These rules will help ensure transparency and keep both of you on the same page.
If you and your partner can't find a suitable solution or are at loggerheads about how and how not to combine savings, consider talking to experts to help you find common ground.