The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai
My husband and I are big believers in combined accounts for married couples. We share a checking and savings account. Our paychecks are deposited into the same account, and we don’t have any “his money/her money” accounts.
For us it works better, though I know that is not the case for everyone.
However, even if you are like us and prefer to keep your accounts together, there are times when it makes sense to keep certain accounts separate:
With the current low home interest rates, some people who have older student loans or loans for graduate school may consider taking out a HELOC and paying off the student loans, essentially combining their student loan debt. This is not an advisable move.
Student loan interest is tax deductible, while a typical consolidation loan’s interest is not.
Further, if one of you should die, the student loan debt for that individual would not have to be repaid (unless you live in a community property state or you are a co-signer on the loan).
Finally, if you get divorced, you are not responsible for your spouse’s student loan debt and vice versa (barring living in a community property state or if the loan was taken out when you were already married), but that wouldn’t be the case if you took out a HELOC to pay off both of your student loans.
Combining health insurance seems smarter, but doing so is not always cost efficient. Before combining insurance, look at the overall cost. How much do you each pay individually to have health insurance? How much would you have to pay to add your husband or wife to your insurance?
But don’t stop there. Also look at how much you will need to pay in deductibles and co-pays for each policy. Finally, consider whether or not your doctor is covered with your spouse’s policy.
If you both have superior credit scores and good incomes, you should apply for a home loan together. However, in some instances, applying for a home loan based on one spouse’s income and credit score is advisable. If you have a low credit score or a low income and high debt, you may want to have your spouse qualify for the loan.
This doesn’t mean that your name won’t be on the deed; all it means is that the amount you qualify for will be based on your spouse’s financial data or vice versa and that your spouse may only have his name on the mortgage. You and your spouse can be on the property deed together.
Even if you prefer to combine accounts when married, in some cases such as the ones listed above, keeping accounts separate may be a better option.
My Question to You
If you and your spouse have combined accounts, are there any of the above accounts that you keep separate because it makes more sense financially?