I am not officially a certified marriage counselor, yet over the years when speaking with countless number of couples, I certainly felt like one on many occasions. If there are two topics that can lead to unrest within the home, they are love and money.
What I want to do today is offer ideas that will hopefully assist you in avoiding the conflict MONEY can raise.
Common goals besides money:
The first step I take in creating a financial plan is to understand the goals the clients have. You too need to discuss the goals each of you has with each other and pro-ceed to explore common ground. It is so important to be on the same page so to speak as to what is important to you as an individual but also as a partner in this re-lationship.
Consolidate a money goal list:
Once an overall picture for life style, priorities and exact goals are created, it is im-portant to set up an action plan for the financial goals you have. If you note that you have come to agreement on the financial goals for the household, you should feel comfortable in opening up joint accounts. The simplicity and convenience of hav-ing one account for both, simplifies the record keeping and in the event of a loss or incapacity, leaves the surviving spouse with full access to the account alone. How-ever, avoid the conflicts that could arise if there is no agreement on priorities by simply opening up two separate accounts in each partner‘s name and assign fi-nancial responsibility to each.
Before continuing I want to note a few important features of a joint account that sometimes eludes consumers:
- Once a joint account is opened with anyone in the world, each has 100 percent rights to that account.
- Account co-owners can spend, give away or transfer funds to other accounts, without the consent or knowledge of other account holder(s).
- In many cases, the “wronged” party can get back some of the money, but legal action is required.
- As a joint owner you may unintentionally subject your assets to the claims of someone else’s creditors.
- Know that there is no protection for either party with a joint account if the other person comes in and withdraws all the money.
- There is nothing the bank can do to protect either party.
There are other issues that need to be addressed with joint accounts but here are some ideas to protect yourself in a joint account:
- Keep minimal amounts of money in joint bank accounts for day-to-day use.
- While they are more common with commercial accounts, set up criteria for account transactions requiring two signatures through the bank.
- Use online banking to monitor account activity.
With so many uncertainties around us today, handling your own money should not be one of them. Ultimately opening up a joint account with a loved one can in fact be a simple process to initiate and maintain, as long as open communication and expectations are set ahead of time. Make a date to go out and discuss these matters away from the TV, computer and phones. Focus on each other and the goals at hand. Open, honest discussion between loving adults is an incredibly empowering occasion. Take full advantage of it.
An accredited CFP ®, Ronit Rogoszinski is a graduate of Citibank’s elite management program, who became one of the youngest managers in the bank’s New York region in 1990. Shortly after, she became a registered Financial Advisor for Citicorp Investment Services, an achievement which launched her current successful career. Now in private practice, helping both individuals and business owners gain control of their finances has been her primary goal. Ronit Rogoszinski has always been on a personal and professional quest to demystify personal finance, money management and investing for individuals and business owners. She has presented at many seminars in addition to holding one on one consultation to help clients better understand their finances and get closer to achieving their financial goals through specific recommendations and advice.
A graduate of Queens College’s Scholars Program, Ronit holds FINRA series 7 and 66 registrations and securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial a Registered Investment Advisor and Member FINRA/SIPC and is New York certified in Long Term Care insurance. She speaks fluent Hebrew and boasts a large international clientele. As the proud mother of four children, Ronit understands firsthand the demands we all have in our fast paced lives. Yet, her calm, personal and relaxed nature helps to put her clients at ease while remaining focused on the job at hand realizing and bringing them closer to their financial goals.