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Marriage and combining finances: Two bank accounts or one?

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When you get married, there is a long list of decisions you must make as you embark on the remainder of your life as a couple instead of a single. The most basic decision is whether or not to combine bank accounts after marriage.

While many traditional married couples have joint accounts, it can actually be easier to manage household finances when each individual has his or her own account for discretionary spending.

Instead of trying to use the same account to make your fun purchases and leaving one person in charge of monitoring the balance and spending limits, when each individual in a marriage has an individual account, they can spend freely without worrying that the other partner might have written a check or made a charge that they are not aware of, reducing the available balance and resulting in an insufficient funds or overdraft charge.

When a married couple has separate accounts, each account holder can have his or her own set of household bills that they must pay out of their account. Another option would be to open a third, joint account that each spouse contributes to for the purpose of bill payments only.

For this purpose, couples can even open a money market account or a savings account and combine savings to pay monthly bills.

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