Should You Rent a Safe Deposit Box?

by TTMK on April 14, 2014 · 2 comments

should you rent a safe deposit boxWe often have some really important documents and possessions that we simply don’t want to lose.  These are physical papers or jeweler, for example, that we simply can’t scan and store a copy on the cloud.  Rather, we really want to make sure that we keep the items safe and untouched so they won’t get lost.

Enter the safe deposit box!

For me, renting a safe deposit box has worked out quite well.  A big part of this is that it came free with my account!  That sure makes it a little bit less of a decision.  However, that won’t be the case with many people, and that’s where it becomes a decision that merits some assessment.  In my case, I think it would still be a worthwhile purchase.

In my situation, it’s been a place to keep some important documents I don’t need to have laying around the house.  In addition, there are a few other items in there as well.  Whatever the case, each person might have his or her own reason to consider a safe deposit box.  But what are the factors to consider?

Here are 4 pros and 4 cons to having a safe deposit box:

Reasons why a safe deposit box rental might be a good idea

Your home isn’t in a totally safe area.  Now, of course no town or even neighborhood is going to be 100% perfectly safe and risk-free.   But a secured vault area of a bank would seem to be a more safe location than the typical home.  Someone would have to get into the bank, get into the vault, and then access the boxes.  That’s multiple tough steps, right there.  Not to mention that it would seem to be tough for someone to access your safe deposit box during business hours, as each box generally has its own key and the box holder has to show identification before accessing it.

You don’t have easy places to hide things at home.  Even if you consider yourself to be creative in terms of hiding things, the bad guys are probably not entirely dumb.  Plus, a safe might be able to be carried out without too much trouble

Saving money on insurance.  It’s possible that insurance on certain items could be lower if they are located in a safe deposit box instead of at home.  Saving money is a good thing, right?

Reasons not to rent a safe deposit box

You won’t have immediate access.  If you need the documents or valuables, you’ll be able to get them during business hours.  That might not be all that convenient, and is a factor to consider.

You get nervous without your valuables in your immediate possession.  If not having things with you at all times can make you worry, maybe that safe deposit box rental isn’t the best option.

Lack of FDIC Insurance.   This is specific to the U.S., but my understanding is that while funds in accounts can be insured, items in safe deposit boxes might not be.  Worth keeping in mind.

Cost.   Yes, I realize that I noted that I didn’t pay a fee for mine.  However, some people might have to pay depending on the financial institution they’re dealing with.  If you’re paying $50 per year, for example, you want to make sure that it’s worth it based on the value of actually having it.

My Questions for You

Do you have a safe deposit box?

Why or why not?

Do you have any other advantages or disadvantages for us to consider regarding renting one?

separate financesFor many couples, there is the age-old question: should we combine our finances or should we keep separate accounts?

Many people, myself included, tend to prefer the idea of combined accounts.  It seems less divisive, and more unified – acting as “one”, so to speak.  Is that the hopeless romantic side of me?  :)  However, any others find that completely suffocating, and just need the feeling of freedom.  The desire to have some individual autonomy is often strong in many people, and that’s a part of their individuality.

However it’s done, I think that there is one important factor for people to keep in mind if taking on separate accounts.  It may not be something anyone really wants to think about, but perhaps it should at least be somewhere in the back of your mind.

What is it?  Well, it’s the reality that your separate accounts might really be marital property no matter how much you want to keep it for yourself.

I’m not a legal expert (see one in your location if you need specific advice), so don’t take it as such.  But my understanding is that marital income is general marital property.  At least in the sense of income from wages earned during the marriage.  If you earned it, the money belongs equally to your spouse.  And vice-versa.

For example:

Let’s say after marriage you arrange direct deposit of your paycheck into a bank account in your name only.  And your spouse does the same thing in his account.  Then, you divide up expenses based on your own method of doing so, and pay from your separate accounts.  Or, perhaps you each transfer funds into a joint account and pay joint bills from there.

Either way, you end up with residual funds that are in a bank account in your name only.  Again, presumably based on money that was directly earned by you, and direct deposited into the account.  Let’s say that the two of you agree that the leftover funds are for each of you alone, based on what is in the respective bank accounts.

Then, let’s say that the relationship meets an untimely demise.  As I said before, not something people want to keep in the forefront of their minds, but you never know – crazy, unplanned outcomes can happen to people.

In this case, you just might find out that money in each account is marital property.  So if one person had $50,000 saved and the other had $10,000 saved, it would mean $60,000 of marital property to be divided.  It very well might be that each person walks away with $30,000.

What if the “separate” accounts included funds that were already there, from before the couple got married.  In this case, these funds just might be considered commingled.  Thus, even if you think it’s separate, it might not be.  It could be joint property.

Yes, I know that these aren’t exactly exciting things to think about.

However, it’s good for people with separate finances to keep in mind.  For all the feeling of individual autonomy and control that separate accounts provide, it might all be more psychological than anything else.  Ultimately, a marriage is more than two independent people cohabitating.  It has some legal and highly non-romantic aspects to it that almost make it like a business in certain respects, and each person might want to consider acknowledging that facet of it.

I think that keeping this reality in mind can at least put things into perspective for a couple when deciding on what “his” money is and what “her” money is.  Because ultimately, it just might be both of yours anyway!  Which should provide some more motivation to accept the need to compromise on finances when in a relationship!

My Questions for You

Which do you prefer: separate accounts, or totally joint finances?

Do you ever think about the notion that regardless of the action of keeping separate accounts, much of it just might be joint anyway?

Do you have a money story to share, or a question on money and relationships that you would like to ask to readers?  Please visit the Submit Your Story page to learn more about how to share.

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