Moderator Emerita
Posts: 28,094
Registered: ‎04-01-2007
Re: called stupid for having joint account?!?!

Joint checking/ savings/ investment accounts are one thing. They don't report to your credit history, and there are legal protections if things go sour. It's often way simpler to keep track of stuff with a joint account.


Joint credit is entirely different. Other than a mortgage, most people can pull their own weight for credit cards, etc and don't need a co-signer (aka, joint account holder) to get an account. If you have joint credit on an account (as opposed to being an authorized user), you are eternally responsible for anything and everything on that account until it is closed, and it doesn't matter a tinker's d@mn what the lawyer said or what the judge ruled. Creditors are not affected by divorce decrees. If someone else influences the co-holder of the account to do stupid things, you are entirely on the hook for it, no matter how right or wrong.


Another scenario is if one of you gets hit with devasting expenses (think medical expenses not covered by insurance + job loss), and bankruptcy might be the only option. If you've kept your credit (again, credit, not finances) separate, one spouse's accounts won't be included in the BK, and while digging out from the financial devastation, the couple can still buy a car and so forth.


There are all sorts of stories by people who are smarter than I and more experienced than I whose credit was ruined because a deeply-trusted loved one betrayed their trust. It's bad enough getting kicked in the teeth emotionally by someone you loved. Having their misbehavior --for instance: charges they ran up while taking their snuggle-bunny to Vegas, and oh my yes, this most certainly does happen --sit on your own credit report for another 7 years will lead to serious grinding of teeth and eventual dental bills.


My rule of thumb is separate credit accounts, except for a mortgage, and joint if you want it checking/ savings/ etc accounts, the difference being whether the account reports to one's credit history. If you both want to share in the rewards program, etc of a credit card, make one of you an authorized user. All the benefits, and none of the potential time bombs.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007