I'm 24 and he's 26, but pitching that kind of idea is one that could make anyone, no matter what age, feel weird.
Money is supposed to be this private thing no one talks about.
We treat it differently; since we became serious, we were always open about money. We're a little bit obsessed with talking about it, actually.
One Sunday, we were driving home from a weekend getaway and had just finished going over who ended up paying for what on the trip. Even though we talk about money frequently, I couldn't help but notice my mood change as we tried to fit logistics into what was a stress-free weekend.
I realized it would be the perfect time to pitch the idea of a joint bank account. Nervously, I threw the idea out there. After all, it's a huge move for a couple that met online and has only been together for a year.
Surprisingly, he didn't stop the car and make a run for it. He was super into the idea.
You're probably thinking a joint bank account is way too serious for an unmarried couple, but here's why I know it's a smart move.
Putting money aside now means we get to have more fun later.
Our joint account is only for vacations, and it's happily growing. We each contribute $100 a month and will use what's needed to cover gas, lodging and anything else we share on vacations. If either of us couldn't make a payment for whatever reason (this hasn't happened yet), we'd be open about it and it would't be an issue.
Being open about salaries, debt and financial goals has only brought us closer together. Money is emotional; that's why so many people are touchy about it. We knew this going in, but we were also ready to take the next step as a couple.
Creating it made us put everything out in the open.
Opening it together was an interesting process. We looked up bank accounts on sites like Nerd Wallet to figure out the best option for us.
We signed up under his name, but he had to list me as his fiancée so I can have access to the account.
No, there's no option for "girlfriend" on these things. That was a little strange.
Checking the "fiancée" box alone made the weight of what we were doing hit us. Plus, I had to give him my social security number and checking account info. Giving him access to all of my information was a little scary, but also made us feel like a real, grown up couple. It has definitely brought us closer together.
We don't stress about paying each other back.
As I mentioned before, the account is only for vacations. The rest of our money is still separate.
We average one trip per month so far. No, we don't jet off to other countries, but we hop in my car and leave New York City for the weekend whenever possible.
Dave and I like to keep everything even. We both happen to make the same salary in two completely different industries. Some girls want the guy to pay for everything, but I've never really been that way.
Keeping track of who is paying for what gets excessively annoying. If I book an Airbnb on my card, he has to Venmo me what he owes every time. If he decides to pay for gas, I'll have to Venmo him.
Our joint bank account solves that issue.
Without mutual trust and respect, we couldn't have made this move.
I trust my boyfriend, and that's the most important factor at play here. If I didn't trust him or know him to be a responsible person, especially with money, we wouldn't have gone down this road at all.
Since we both have access to this account (and I have a debit card for it), either one of us could just take the money in there, but we both trust each other not to do that.
If Dave and I ever break up, we would split whatever is left down the middle and go our separate ways. It's not complicated. We made this agreement before opening the account.
And if we stay together and hit other relationship milestones, like moving in together and getting married, this joint bank account (and our open conversations about money) will just make those transitions easier.