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Sr. Member
Dec 19, 2009
899 posts
531 upvotes
Ottawa

Banking when married

Getting married this summer so wondering what people do in terms of merging bank accounts, using the same credit card, paying bills etc.

It's obviously a very personal thing but just wondering what has worked well for people.

Our initial thought is to keep our own credit cards but have a shared chequing account and we pay our own credit cards from that pool of shared money in the chequing account...that way we can track what's coming in and what's going out.
97 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 16, 2016
1464 posts
1122 upvotes
Hamilton, ON
mikek33 wrote: Getting married this summer so wondering what people do in terms of merging bank accounts, using the same credit card, paying bills etc.

It's obviously a very personal thing but just wondering what has worked well for people.

Our initial thought is to keep our own credit cards but have a shared chequing account and we pay our own credit cards from that pool of shared money in the chequing account...that way we can track what's coming in and what's going out.
Myself, and many other individuals, keep separate banking accounts despite the fact we're married. There's no "right way" to do things, obviously keeping your own credit cards is a must but as for the chequing thats something you'll have to decide.
Deal Addict
Aug 17, 2008
4124 posts
928 upvotes
Sask.
Congrats!

We have joint everything. All money earned goes in together, all bills get paid out of that account. Joint credit cards as well.
Jr. Member
Mar 2, 2015
101 posts
27 upvotes
Toronto, ON
mikek33 wrote: Getting married this summer so wondering what people do in terms of merging bank accounts, using the same credit card, paying bills etc.

It's obviously a very personal thing but just wondering what has worked well for people.

Our initial thought is to keep our own credit cards but have a shared chequing account and we pay our own credit cards from that pool of shared money in the chequing account...that way we can track what's coming in and what's going out.
Joint BMO Investorline (checking included) - all deposits / payments from this account
Joint BMO WE MC (1.75% cashback) for expenses (paid automatically using pre-payment from account above)

2 statements to read and balance/budget each month.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
35620 posts
21677 upvotes
Center of Universe
Create one joint account for bills and what not and keep the rest separate and as is.
Works for me and we never argue about spending more than the other.
Member
Dec 2, 2014
448 posts
175 upvotes
London, ON
For us I had my wife added to my account as all she had was a chequing account (we started dating when we were teenagers and merged finances earlier than we probably should have). I had her added to my credit card as well and we've had this setup ever since.

As you can probably tell I handle all the finances which has it's positives and negatives. Even though she doesn't show any interest in our personal finances I make it a point to check in with her prior to making any savings contributions, big purchases or loans.

I don't know if I could recommend this setup, having one of you manage managing all the household finances, but I am honestly straining to think the last time we fought about money (we very rarely fight in general though). Don't know if any of that helped :(
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 10, 2015
1766 posts
610 upvotes
Elgin, ON
My wife and I sat down together, and drafted up a budget, to agree on how we were going to spend and save our earnings.

After you do that, it does not really matter how you spend the money (shared or separate credit cards), or where you store the money (separate or joint bank accounts.)

We try to stick somewhat close to our budget, but it mostly serves as a guideline for us. We share bank accounts. If we wanted to track individual spending to the dollar, separate accounts / cards would be a helpful tool I think.
Deal Addict
May 14, 2010
1038 posts
97 upvotes
Halifax
This really depends on the 2 people. Are you both savers or spenders? Are you opposites when it comes to money? What does each person envision for the future? What are their long term financial goals? Is ether person bringing large money or debit into the marriage?

Now that all being said what works for my wife and I is joint everything.
Deal Addict
Mar 8, 2013
2706 posts
1402 upvotes
You definitely each should have a credit card as the primary holder, so you can both build credit histories. Not to say that you cannot each have a secondary card for the spouse. My personal opinion is that in addition to a joint chequing account, you should each have a separate credit card and bank account. Maybe you have family in need and you want to be able to regularly send money without involving the spouse. There are many reasons, not the least of which is on marriage breakdown, you want to have an account that cannot be cleaned out by the other. Discuss these things before you get married.
Sr. Member
Oct 11, 2010
976 posts
322 upvotes
Charlottetown
We pool our money together and have a joint credit card but also individual credit cards. Whatever you do, at minimum I would recommend that you have at least one account/cc that is yours only, this is especially handy if you need to buy gifts etc without the spouse knowing
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 9, 2007
13902 posts
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Think of the Childre…
natalka wrote: Congrats!

We have joint everything. All money earned goes in together, all bills get paid out of that account. Joint credit cards as well.
What happens when you're divorced?

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 10, 2015
1766 posts
610 upvotes
Elgin, ON
Cheapo-Findo wrote: What happens when you're divorced?
Lawyers, division of resources, stuff like that.

There is probably another thread discussing that.
Deal Addict
Aug 17, 2008
4124 posts
928 upvotes
Sask.
Cheapo-Findo wrote: What happens when you're divorced?
Almost 27 years married, nah, not going to divorce.

Even if a couple were going to divorce after having everything joint, that doesn't matter.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
12223 posts
8631 upvotes
Edmonton
rkjredflag wrote: Lawyers, division of resources, stuff like that.

There is probably another thread discussing that.
This... Just because you have separate accounts doesn't mean it's not marital property anyway.

C
Jr. Member
User avatar
Apr 24, 2016
131 posts
43 upvotes
vkizzle wrote: Create one joint account for bills and what not and keep the rest separate and as is.
Works for me and we never argue about spending more than the other.
Smartest way forward I think and I will recommend to my kids.
We pooled everything 25+ years back and I’ve always regretted it.
Newbie
User avatar
Mar 7, 2011
26 posts
6 upvotes
When we got engaged we got a package from RBC - offers joint chequing, savings and US chequing. chequing we used for wedding expenses and will continue to use that for household expenses. The joint savings we used for wedding/engagement gifts and continue to make regular deposits its to cover big planned purchases and vacations. we also have a joint CC so that we can pool reward points and use for travel. Individually we each also have chequing accounts and personal credit cards. + separate TFSA, RRSP etc.

Ultimately though it all comes back t the budget we have which includes, fixed as well as variable expenses for the home as well as both of us.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2263 posts
1018 upvotes
Alberta
mikek33 wrote: Getting married this summer so wondering what people do in terms of merging bank accounts, using the same credit card, paying bills etc.

It's obviously a very personal thing but just wondering what has worked well for people.

Our initial thought is to keep our own credit cards but have a shared chequing account and we pay our own credit cards from that pool of shared money in the chequing account...that way we can track what's coming in and what's going out.
We have joint bank account where our pay gets deposited and all goes out from that account invcluding investments resp etc.

As for credit card I suggest keeping an old credit card active if it has no annual fee. But get supplementary cards for the rewards ones so you only pay one annual fee. For example my wife had an avion card in her name but when I got the capital one aspire I got a supp card for free so she cancelled her avion. Why pay two annual fees?
Deal Addict
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Dec 14, 2007
3102 posts
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We have joint everything. Doesn't make sense having his n' hers paychecks. Too much chance for resentment. Also, having one master account where all the money goes and all the bills get paid from is less complicated.

SO... One chequing account, one LOC.

THAT being SAID. What we've done is created three savings accounts.

One account is a holding account. Every paycheck, the bulk of saving money gets automatically deposited into that one ( pay yourself first ). When it reaches a threshold every few months, we move it over to our financial advisor and rebalance the portfolio.

The others two accounts are essentially a modest allowance ( these accounts could be just done in cash as well ):
One account is mine.
One account is hers.

The exact same amount of money gets deposited into those accounts weekly. If there's something that one of us wants, it comes out of that savings account. The amount you choose depends on what those accounts get used for. Start it low and increase if you need to. It could be $20 / week, it could be $50 or $100. When you want that shiny new iPad, you pay for it from that account ( assuming it isn't a family expense ). If your wife likes to make her lunch and you like to eat out, it comes out of that account. If one of you has a Starbucks addiction, it comes out of that account.

There are a few ways to manage this of course. You could have a specific credit card that you pay off with your allowance account. You could deal only in cash, which is actually preferable.

Essentially, your marriage is a joint-partnership with a 50/50 ownership, so treating each other as financial partners of that marriage keeps things on equal terms. That's my 2¢.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 2, 2010
791 posts
5300 upvotes
Mississauga
When my husband and I were first engaged and he wanted to stop renting and move in with me, we drafted up our budget and made our money plan first.

We planned on sharing our expenses 50/50 so we added up - monthly mortgage cost, house insurance, groceries, utilities, entertainment expenses, misc joint expenses and contingency, etc.... then divided by two. It worked out to $500 each per week. So every week, I put in $500 and he puts in $500.01 so we can easily see that each of us is putting in the agreed upon amount into our joint account.

We also set up a separate joint account for travel savings and we each put $50 per week into that account.

Anything above that, we keep in our separate accounts for our own personal expenses. That includes our own clothing, cars, etc. If he has a high paying job and makes a lot more, then he can splurge on an expensive watch or car. If he doesn't have enough left over after joint expenses have been paid, then he can go get a higher paying job. Same is true for me.

We have never ever had to borrow money from each other. We each buy what we want or save for what we want out of our own personal accounts. Our bills are paid and periodically we take nice vacations. We have been happily married for 20 years. This is what works for us.
Temp. Banned
Aug 7, 2011
6623 posts
991 upvotes
Vaughan
Joint everything. Nothing separate.

I believe in jumping all-in with a marriage, not holding back. Having things separate is like keeping your foot outside the door.

Not knocking people who do it, just my personal opinion.

We've never had any issues with buying things we want, or anything else.

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