Married Folks: Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?

17 Replies

Just curious how the DIY REI married crowd handles banking. Is your money merged? Is your money separated. Do you take a hybrid approach? Does being a RE Investor influence that decision?

Wanted to take an informal poll of the BP community.

My wife and I are 100% merged. While I have specific accounts for my businesses, neither my wife nor I have any individual bank accounts. It's been working for us for 25+ years. Seems like the simplest arrangement to me, but I know other people work with other arrangements. 

Whats working for you, and why?

Medium facebook2Paul Allen EA, PIM Tax Services | [email protected] | (757) 407‑4189 | http://pimtax.com

@Paul Allen

My wife and I have individual accounts and a joint account. We both know how to budget and manage money so it does not lead to arguments. Also if my wife wants to go to the spa or I want to go drop cash at a sporting event its not even a question, we go do it and I do not care what she spent as she earned it, saved it and manages her money well. 

We also have business accounts that are completely separate from our personal - we actually keep them at a completely different bank that we do not even have personal accounts with. 

@Paul Allen

My wife and I run our personal accounts completely merged like you. It works for us. All our spending is done on credit card and paid at the end of each month. Credit card companies have great online services that make tracking your spending very quick and easy.

My partner and I are not married but are in a very long term relationship. We have one joint account for house expenses, food, our dog, bills, entertainment, everyday expenses, etc. We both have individual checking and savings account for our own enjoyment/spending. We save together for RE. We don’t nickel and dime each other, what’s mine is his and vis versa. It works really well for us.

Joint on everything. That's the definition of marriage.

My wife is an accountant by trade so she handles the accounts. However, we recently created a new business account that is specifically for me to operate the investments and save up for new investments. She determines how much to put in there based on income and budget. Once the funds are loaded, I know they are free to spend.

Medium copy of logo 03 aw sqr clrNathan G., American West Realty & Management | [email protected] | (307) 587‑9608 | http://www.rentcody.com | WY Agent # 12499

My husband and I each had long term accounts prior to marriage that we both wanted to keep for the business relationship with the bank, but we added each other to them.  Then we opened a joint account together for business to run our RE holdings through.  

I am a PLLC as a Realtor, so I have a separate account for that, but it ties to a trust that he is a beneficiary to, so it is as if he were on the account too.

What we DID do, that I would suggest when it comes to RE investing, is we obtained loans separately to maximize our buying power.  Since conventional loans will only allow you to hold 10 loans, we started taking turns purchasing properties so that our max would be 20 instead of 10.  We get to utilize the same account for reserves and down payments (which instead of having to show enough for all properties, just has to show enough for the person purchasing at the time).  Again, we have a trust that both of us are on, so each of the properties go into LLCs that the trust owns.  Since we are both the beneficiaries of the trust, it is all under 1 umbrella.

We have separate accounts because we have different investing styles; she is more conservative and I am riskier.  However, we have a joint account for household and everyday living expenses.

Hi @Paul Allen ,

*poof* a random lender appears

Not directly related to your question, but related to REI.

Scenario: Once in a while I'll have a married couple where one spouse, for whatever reason, wants to be on the mortgage  alone without the other spouse. All of the down payment funds are in the other spouse's account that just has their name on it.

Problem: Down payment "gifts" cannot be used for investment properties, primary residences only. It is absurd that Fannie considers transfers of funds within a marriage to be a "gift," but alas I am not the dictator of the universe and cannot change this at present.

Solution: Just what @Cara Lonsdale said, have both names on the accounts even if it's understood between the two of you that this one is "mine" and this one is "yours." She also highlights several other benefits like doubling the amount of gov't subsidized mortgages you can get, and more easily satisfying reserve requirements (which can become a Major Issue from property #7 onward).

*poof* a random lender vanishes

Medium logo behlChris Mason, Bay Equity Home Loans | [email protected] | 415‑846‑9211 | https://www.bayequityhomeloans.com/chris-mason | CA Lender # 1220177

Joint accounts on all, but separate mortgages. Well said @Chris mason!

Originally posted by @Chris Mason :

Hi @Paul Allen ,

*poof* a random lender appears

Not directly related to your question, but related to REI.

Scenario: Once in a while I'll have a married couple where one spouse, for whatever reason, wants to be on the mortgage  alone without the other spouse. All of the down payment funds are in the other spouse's account that just has their name on it.

Problem: Down payment "gifts" cannot be used for investment properties, primary residences only. It is absurd that Fannie considers transfers of funds within a marriage to be a "gift," but alas I am not the dictator of the universe and cannot change this at present.

Solution: Just what @Cara Lonsdale said, have both names on the accounts even if it's understood between the two of you that this one is "mine" and this one is "yours." She also highlights several other benefits like doubling the amount of gov't subsidized mortgages you can get, and more easily satisfying reserve requirements (which can become a Major Issue from property #7 onward).

*poof* a random lender vanishes

 And just as an add on...when you have both names on the accounts, even if you purchase separately to take advantage of more conventional loans, all you have to do is submit a LOX (Letter of Explaination) that the other spouse has permission to use the funds for their RE purchase.  So, you don't even have to worry about the "gift" issue.

We have a joint savings account for REI and business accounts together, but several separate accounts for personal and household expenses. After being 100% merged with my first marriage, I just can't do it again.

We have no "mine" and "yours," just "ours". It's been that way since we married in 1979, and I can't imagine doing it differently.

Joint and seperate for banking. Although you remind me there are business accounts he should be on although he has never logged in to some accounts. Intended as seperate are some small amounts of personal money from family eventually to do something in thier memory. Now Stock accounts are seperate. It is a challenge to get anyone in my house to deal with banking besides me but should they need to they can.

We are merged on everything except two 401k accounts. He is self employed, and for a while, we both participated in a self-directed solo 401k through his company. Those accounts are separate because they're still active, but we invest out of them. So some of our loans are mine and some are his, and it gets a bit confusing.

Medium fbprofileMindy Jensen, BiggerPockets | [email protected] | https://www.biggerpockets.com | CO Agent # FA100049656 | Podcast Guest on Show #129

We keep everything seperate, but that is because of the pre-nup as we got married after I built my REI business. We have a joint checking but 90% of things come from our individual accounts. My first marriage was 100% joint and I am not sure I will ever do that again.

Medium second city real estate logo   white close upBrie Schmidt, Second City Real Estate | [email protected] | http://www.ChicagoBrie.com | IL Agent # 471.018287, WI Agent # 57846-90 | Podcast Guest on Show #132

Not officially married yet, but might as well be. Joint on everything. Complete transparency. To each their own, but I could never be in a marriage any other way. This is "our" goal "our" life. We are a team.