When managing a joint checking account, plan a household budget to make sure you can always cover high-priority expenses, advises Bank of America. Review the account periodically throughout the budget period to accommodate unexpected expenses and to keep your projected goals on track. Grant each account holder a monthly allowance for personal spending to encourage trust while preserving financial independence. Discuss short- and long-term goals such as paying off loans or building your savings to prioritize your spending.
Use a spreadsheet to track the budget and expenses, Daily Finance recommends. Be upfront about your existing assets and debts so you can jointly decide how to merge your finances and handle obligations. If losing financial freedom is too difficult, consider using separate accounts for individual purchases and a joint account for shared expenses such as rent, groceries and utilities. However, avoid a pay structure that may cause overdraft, such as one partner using checks while the other makes electronic purchases.
Another option for a complete merge of finances is to link subaccounts to the main joint account, funding them with programmed deposits, notes Daily Finance. For example, you could maintain a pleasure account for personal spending allowances and a savings account for long-term needs such as retirement. Use a separate aspirational savings account for joint ventures such as vacationing or buying a home or car. Avoid an unequal distribution of personal allowances, as it can cause an imbalanced power dynamic.