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February 06, 2006


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I'm curious about the effects on your credit score if you were to close your personal checking account and open up a joint account with your spouse. I recently was married and we were thinking of merging our bank accounts into one, but haven't yet because we weren't sure how it would effect our credit scores.

Good post, but since you don't talk about tax advantages (and social security advantages in case one spouse dies) I don't see anything in this discussion that would actually change our finances if my partner and I were to get married. We own a house together (and therefore save on not having two dwellings), and take advantage of every other possible "economy of scale"--one car, one set of furniture, etc. Our finances are partially combined--we have some separate savings but mostly share all earnings and expenses. And of course, we share the biggest expense either of us has ever had: our son.

I wish that discussions of the married and unmarried state would include a third category for people like us. We are not married and have no plans to get married, but I don't consider myself single either.

Here's a comment from Justin whose work firewall wouldn't let him post a comment, so he emailed his comment to me:

"My wife and I use three checking accounts. We have a joint checking account for bills and such and separate accounts for our personal spending. The way we work our system is to calculate our total expenses from several months worth of data to come up with a budget number (this includes the 10% of our income we put into savings post-401(k) and the 10% of our income that we tithe). This budget number ($136 for example) is then compared to our income to derive a percentage (68%). Then out of each of our paychecks we contribute 68% of our income to the joint account. The benefits of this system are that I am able to buy gifts for my wife without her seeing anything in a checkbook register. It also saves confusion because there is only one joint check book and it is always in the same place (in the bill box) so we avoid the "Honey, where's the check book?" scenario. Granted this approach will not work for everyone, but it has been wildly successful for my wife and I for over 5 years."

I'm with Claire - what's the impact of 'shacked up, not married'? Would their net worth increase as quickly as the married group? Or would it be a bit lower, possibly from the "mine and his" attitude that is (theoretically) less present among those who chose to commit to marriage?

I don't know for sure...but I'd say those in the "shacked up" but not married category are more prone to breaking up (Statistically, that's just a fact). I suppose those who manage to stay together for more than 10 years would have most of the advantages married people have. Still seems like a good idea to me to get married, if only for the financial/legal benefits (Social Security benefits if you've been married 10 years or longer, hospital visitation, and probably a whole bunch of other things as well).

I laughed at the "I-no-longer-have-to-impress-her/him" factor. Actually, the spending to impress has never impressed me, but rather made me think one was foolish with their money management.

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