If you are familiar with banking, you have probably heard of a joint checking account. If you were recently married or are considering opening one for you and a loved one, you should weigh both the pros and cons of this type of account.
There should be a great deal of discussion, thought, and research dedicated towards considering this option before making a commitment. If you have reservations, it’s understandable. Depending on who you open an account with can lead to either a new found trust for someone else, or a series of headaches and a torn relationship.
The pros and cons of a joint checking account should be analyzed by both parties involved.
Multiple sources of income
A big benefit of a joint checking account is that when both people make regular contributions, there are more funds available in the account. This could make it easier to avoid paying for things like overdraft fees.
Work towards financial goals
Chances are if you decided to open a joint checking account with a spouse, family member, or close business partner, you have some type of financial commitment both of you must uphold. Creating a joint checking account can further solidify that bond and obligation and help you feel comfortable in sharing financial goals. The two of you could create these goals together. A big benefit of a joint account is that it holds you both accountable to actually meet financial goals.
It is crucial that you trust the other person you are opening an account with. See if you can successfully manage a joint checking account for at least one year. Both people involved can feel at ease in knowing the other person is a responsible individual when it comes to money management.
Be aware that if you open a join account, the money is accessible without limitations. So the only time you want to open a joint checking account with someone is when you have absolute trust that they won’t take advantage of you. The other account holder could easily wait for you to make a big deposit and then take out all of the money and close the account.
Irresponsible children could empty an account
Opening a joint account with a child may sound promising to help teach him or her the value of money, but this can quickly backfire. Your child could splurge on things like shopping or an expensive meal. Think twice before opening a joint account with a child. You may first want to test him or her with a credit card that has a manageable limit, or even with a prepaid card. Once they prove themselves worthy and can show they are responsible with spending, then you may want to consider opening a joint account.
Opening a joint account with an irresponsible person can force you to deal with debt collectors. These people could threaten the funds in the joint account if one person uses the account as collateral after defaulting on a loan. Poor management of the funds could also lead to a delinquent checking account. Negative marks on the checking account could result with both parties ending up in ChexSystems, which is a network is comprised of member financial institutions that regularly contribute information on closed checking and savings accounts.