MoneyWise Live | September 10, 2018

Separate or Joint Checking Accounts?

Show Notes

In Mark 10:7, Jesus tells us “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. But if you’re of one flesh, why have separate bank accounts?  Should husband and wife have separate checking accounts or separate finances entirely?  Steve Moore and Rob West discuss becoming one financially on this edition of MoneyWise Live.

Why wouldn’t newlyweds set up joint accounts?

Sometimes one may enter the marriage with a lot of debt and some newlyweds think keeping separate accounts will protect the other  from the bad credit history.  A common myth is that when you marry, your credit histories are automatically combined into one and that’s not the case.  If one of them applies for credit in his or her name only, only that person’s credit history is taken into account.

Most couples make a huge financial decision within a few years of marriage - buying a house.  They’ll have to put both names on the loan application in order to meet income qualifications and that’s when the other spouse’s credit history will be taken into consideration possibly having a negative impact on whether they get approved.  But in neither case does keeping a separate bank account affect the outcome.

The Bible doesn’t tell us that spouses should share one account so we have to step back for the bigger picture so here are some points to remember:

  • Marriage is about two people becoming one.
  • Marriage is a partnership that requires trust and openness.
  • Joint checking and savings accounts promote transparency.
  • It keeps us out of the “mine” and “yours” mentality.
  • It helps to ensure we are not hiding purchases.
  • A joint account simplifies bookkeeping and tracking your spending.
  • You don’t have to worry about not having enough money in one account or the other.

Next, Rob and Steve answer some listener questions at 800-525-7000 or via email at

  • If your spouse just passed away and you're considering selling your house and moving into a remodeled apartment at your son's house, are there any things to watch out for in this scenario?
  • If you owe $50,000 in student debt and are having trouble paying it back, is loan forgiveness a good way to get relief?
  • Can you move money from a 401(k) to a 529 without penalty?
  • If you have about $50,000 of debt, should you consider selling your house to pay it off or keep chipping away at the debt?
  • If you're just about to get married and start a family and want to get life insurance, should you consider term or whole-life?
  • If you have a large amount of money that you intend on using for charity, should you leave the money in a brokerage fund or is there a smarter place to keep it? 

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