When you’ve finally decided to step on the gas and drive full speed towards adulting, in one way or another you are bound to hit some major life changes – one of which is settling down with your partner. And don’t say you didn’t see that coming! You know this day would come eventually, but have you considered planning your finances for your ever after? With that said, planning for marriage isn’t all hearts and all things pretty, there’s a lot of practical things that you need to consider before you say I do. And it takes a great deal of talking.
Money talk, sweetheart. Yes, you heard it right.
The Importance of Financial Planning for Marriage
Jumping onto the marriage bandwagon isn’t just simply about kissing your single life goodbye. There are important adjustments that you will have to make in order to make life as a married couple work. And you will need to make them because no one ever decides to go into marriage only to see it failing eventually. This is why planning for marriage, not just the wedding, is very crucial. And one of the more important points of discussion is how couples should handle their finances.
If both of you are working, will there be equal contribution for the expenses? If that’s still a grey area, you may both need to sit this out and to lay down the list of the expenses that you’ll be covering on a regular basis. But if your answer is yes, then the next logical thing to do is to create a joint account where you can set aside part of your earnings for your household expenses.
The Importance of Joint Accounts
Having a joint account may seem risky, even sketchy for some but if you’re tying the knot with someone whom you want to spend the rest of your life with, isn’t there anything riskier than that? And that’s just how it is. You need to have some level of trust with another person to share your life with him/her. And this goes beyond finances, we’re talking about your very dreams and future on the line. There may be a lot of questions about joint accounts popping on your mind. So let’s cover some of the basics.
- What are Joint Accounts?
These are just your regular savings account with an additional name next to it (i.e. your spouse’s). This is ideal for couples who plan to allocate their earnings to cover household and other shared expenses such as medical fees and childcare. There are two types of joint accounts: joint-alternate and joint-all accounts.
- Joint-alternate account: This allows for both holders to make transactions individually, but both share equal liability. If you’re all about convenience and practicality, then this type of account suits you.
- Joint-all accounts: This type of account requires consent or approval from either account holder before any withdrawal or transaction is made. Couples who wish to play it safe usually opt for this type of account.
Note: Do be careful when you sign up for any of these accounts, and make sure you read the “joint and several liability clause” as this will allow the bank to hold either any or the both of you liable if anything goes wrong (i.e. issuing a cheque with insufficient account funds).
- Which bank should I open an account with?
There are plenty of things to consider when choosing the right bank to open an account. If you are simply eyeing to open a joint savings account with the purpose of accumulating your funds for future use (i.e. your children’s university funds and family vacation getaways) then consider getting the CIMB’s StarSaver Account that offers one of the highest annual interest rates at 0.8%. It also allows you to make free withdrawals within the Southeast Asian region on top of unlimited free cheque books.
However, if you want a savings account for more all-around and practical use such as for paying the bills, groceries, insurance premiums, bank loans and other investments, you can look into other accounts such as the Standard Charter Bonus$aver, OCBC 360 Account, and UOB One Account. While these accounts give higher interest rates, they often require you to take advantage of their respective bank’s credit card and to use payment schemes such as the General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO) for your bill payment and other bank transactions.
On top of the given terms and conditions, take note that these accounts have capped interest rates based on the funds that you place in your account. Let’s take the OCBC 360 Account as an example, you can only tap this account’s bonus interest rate once your savings have reached $70,000.
Finally, after you’ve looked at the numbers and benefits, do not leave out your convenience. If you each have a personal savings account, consider the ease of transfer of funds from your personal savings to your joint account. Also, consider your experience with banks – this is where your preference comes into play. After all, getting a joint savings account means you’ll be in it for the long haul.
When everything has been said and done, opening a joint savings account should be about convenience and practicality. Planning how to handle your finances early on allows for more breathing room for other important things that you wish to focus on in your marriage.