Author Topic: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?  (Read 6812 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3307
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« on: April 20, 2016, 12:01:30 PM »
Hey guys,

My wife has had her BOFA checking/savings accounts with a lot of her savings in it from when she was working (direct deposit, etc). She's probably been a customer of theirs for the longest time. In the same vein, I have had my Chase accounts that are essentially of the same nature. I've often thought about this but never took action as I didn't see much of a point in doing so. But would it make more sense just to close her BOFA account and transfer all the funds in my Chase account? The Chase account is joint btw. I don't think I'm on her BOFA account but I have visibility into it (since we use Mint and Personal Capital). I think I avoided doing it previously when she was working because I didn't want her to have to deal with changing the direct deposit and nothing was "broken" so we didn't "fix" it - now that she's not working, it feels like that account is just dormant. It would be nice to consolidate things further. But just wanted to get a second/third/fourth/etc opinion on it.

The other option of course is to close her account and dump all the funds directly into our investments with Fidelity. I guess the ultimate question is if we should close her account or not or if it's beneficial to have "extras" - we don't hide anything from each other and we don't keep "separate" accounts for specific purchases, etc.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 12:11:57 PM by jplee3 »

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 519
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 12:14:34 PM »
Ha, I wonder how many folks will click on this in hopes of reviving the epic separate or joint finances debate that rages on here every couple of months.

I would just close her account and move the money into your joint account for simplicity's sake.  One less thing to keep track of.

neo von retorch

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3650
  • Location: SE PA
    • Fi@retorch - personal finance tracking
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 12:25:44 PM »
* In my opinion, how long you've had the account is irrelevant; as long as you trust a bank with your company, you're good
* I don't think there's any benefit to "extra" accounts; these are all FDIC-insured accounts, and short of financial apocalypses, no worries
* Does your wife have the feeling of "ownership" over your shared accounts and investments? (She should, and if so there's no reason to keep an individual account.)

My wife and almost immediately consolidated everything except her IRA (individual retirement account) and closed extra accounts. She kept her checking and used it for a few things, but it's now been re-purposed for her Etsy store.

Psychstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 999
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 12:36:56 PM »
Option C: close both and open a new checking account at a credit union that offers some interest and your account and, you know, isn't the devil.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk


MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 12:38:27 PM »
If you are looking to consolidate I would consolidate into the one that is most convenient (ATM locations, ability to easily deposit, free checks, etc) and has the highest interest rate.   

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 12:48:46 PM »
I also vote to consolidate at a credit union.

(I'm doing the same thing right now, except in reverse: mine is the BoA account and we're closing her Chase account. I'd close both and switch to a credit union, but for various reasons my account has better terms than people are normally eligible for. Plus I like BoA's online banking and it's the bank with a branch closest to my house.)

* I don't think there's any benefit to "extra" accounts; these are all FDIC-insured accounts, and short of financial apocalypses, no worries

Well, FDIC insurance only covers a quarter-million dollars per account, so if you keep your balance higher than that then you'd want to go with multiple accounts. That's probably not relevant for many people here, though!

NoStacheOhio

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2137
  • Location: Cleveland
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2016, 12:59:31 PM »
BOA and Chase are two of the worst.

I had the dubious honor of photographing Jamie Dimon at a commencement ceremony a few years back. He just oozes smugness from every pore. One of the first things we did after getting married and establishing joint accounts was dump my wife's Chase accounts.

slugline

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1179
  • Location: Houston, TX USA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2016, 02:01:26 PM »
Option C: close both and open a new checking account at a credit union that offers some interest and your account and, you know, isn't the devil.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

+1    Also, OP -- have you tried discussing this with your wife yet?

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1724
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2016, 02:21:37 PM »
The simple answer, in my opinion, is "yes".  The more complex situation is that if there's some sort of disagreement between you and her about the situation rooted in the fact that she feels uneasy about using your account as the new joint account.  If that's the case, I agree with others that it is a great opportunity to get away from Chanse and into a local credit union or something similar to that.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3307
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2016, 03:23:31 PM »
Thanks all! I actually have a couple credit union accounts opened up: Andrews FCU and Pentagon FCU. Those aren't exactly the most local credit unions though. The only thing that concerns me about credit unions is the whole ATM thing - it seems most credit unions aren't going to have their own ATMs all over the place. And if I needed money and was forced to go to a Chase/BoFA/etc ATM, wouldn't I get charged additional fees?

My wife and I have discussed things and we feel that joining everything would be prudent for us at this point in time.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 03:25:48 PM by jplee3 »

GizmoTX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1446
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2016, 03:44:51 PM »
We bank with Schwab because it offers free checking, free checks, no minimum, mobile deposits, & refunds ATM fees from anywhere in the world with zero foreign transaction fees. Its brokerage fees are also very competitive.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2016, 03:45:05 PM »
Thanks all! I actually have a couple credit union accounts opened up: Andrews FCU and Pentagon FCU. Those aren't exactly the most local credit unions though. The only thing that concerns me about credit unions is the whole ATM thing - it seems most credit unions aren't going to have their own ATMs all over the place. And if I needed money and was forced to go to a Chase/BoFA/etc ATM, wouldn't I get charged additional fees?

Even though any particular credit union is likely to be small and local, they apparently share one big network of ATMs. Also, at least the ones I've looked into appear to have a policy of reimbursing a certain number (or dollar amount) of third-party ATM transaction fees per period.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3539
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2016, 04:00:26 PM »
If you and she are on board, go for it.  If you are really concerned with the ATM situation, check to see whether your credit unions are part of a larger network and/or refund ATM fees.  If not, you might keep one of the 2 Big Bank accounts open, but don't actively use it.  Keep a couple hundred bucks in it so that you can withdraw that from an ATM in some emergency, but otherwise let it sit.  (This is assuming you wouldn't pay fees on the account.)  It would take a couple hundred of your soldiers out of the battle, but that's probably inconsequential if it buys you some peace of mind.  And since it is a non-active account, you can pretty much ignore it so you still get most of the simplicity that seems to be the motivation for this change. 


neo von retorch

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3650
  • Location: SE PA
    • Fi@retorch - personal finance tracking
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2016, 04:31:15 PM »
Yes, my credit union (PSECU) reimburses you for ATM fees up to $20 on a normal checking account, and unlimited if you have direct deposit. They also are part of the networks like "Star" and whatever else. (Of course, I still go to Wawa most of the time that I need cash and get it fee-free anyway.)

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3037
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2016, 11:04:59 PM »
I like to keep a separate bank account so that I have a second debit card and access to cash in case there is a banking glitch at one of them. We get issues with banks a couple of times a year, and if there is fraud on your only debit card is can be a real pain paying bills that won't take credit cards.

Psychstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 999
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2016, 06:32:24 AM »
Thanks all! I actually have a couple credit union accounts opened up: Andrews FCU and Pentagon FCU. Those aren't exactly the most local credit unions though. The only thing that concerns me about credit unions is the whole ATM thing - it seems most credit unions aren't going to have their own ATMs all over the place. And if I needed money and was forced to go to a Chase/BoFA/etc ATM, wouldn't I get charged additional fees?

My wife and I have discussed things and we feel that joining everything would be prudent for us at this point in time.

Lots of credit unions have reciprocity arrangements where you can use other CU ATMs for no fee and often reimburse you for fees that other banks charge. Mine for example has a no fee arrangement with every other local credit union and reimburses the first $25 in ATM fees from other banks per month (which considering everything goes on credit cards we never even get close to hitting). Plus they pay 2.5% on our checking account.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1683
  • Location: SE PA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2016, 07:36:46 AM »
I say yes, for simplicity's sake, move to one joint account.  Neither one of you feels separate accounts are important to you, so why have another thing to track?  If you have the time/energy to put into it, maybe take the advice of another poster and change to another bank altogether.  There are always bonuses to be had, it seems... 


jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3307
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2016, 09:05:30 AM »
Thanks guys!!

What are some good Credit Unions you would recommend? I found a post on Consumer's Credit Union - http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/5-consumers-credit-union/

Are there others that people seem to like?

neo von retorch

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3650
  • Location: SE PA
    • Fi@retorch - personal finance tracking
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2016, 09:07:52 AM »
I have not cross-shopped them because I live in PA, and PSECU was the natural choice. I've been with them for 15 years, and I heartily recommend them. The only thing I know they don't have are a) Apple Pay and b) local branches near you ;)

But you can actually join, wherever you live, by paying $5-10 donation to a certain park/recreation organization.

https://wallethub.com/profile/pennsylvania-state-employees-credit-union-13312556i/

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1687
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2016, 10:02:41 AM »
For yields and free/reimbursed ATM withdrawls, your best bet is find a motivated community bank here:  https://www.depositaccounts.com/kasasa/

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3307
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2016, 10:12:07 AM »
Thanks! Is the general strategy here then to only keep one or two [high-yield] checking accounts around, forget about any opening any "savings" accounts moving forward and close the ones we already have, and then dump whatever is in excess of our checking accts into our taxable investment accounts (e.g. invest in the S&P 500)?

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5116
Re: Should my wife and I merge our checkings/savings?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2016, 12:57:57 PM »
We have 2 joint accounts. One is "mine" and one is "his," but both are joint.

We have, ahem, different record keeping abilities. Mr. FP didn't know how to balance his checkbook because it was never, ever in error. While I sometimes loose seventy-three cents or something. For us, it seems more straightforward to each be responsible for an account, rather than to have two people monkeying around with the same account. He does automatic bill pay, I do savings transfers and paying of any unusual bills (taxes, car insurance, etc.).