Why Two Names Are Better Than One

Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

When my husband is home he typically handles our finances. When he is gone, I become responsible for that role. I've gotten better at this over the years. I made plenty of mistakes along the way. 


Now with the amazing invention of USAA Web BillPay®, my job is so much easier. If there is a recurring bill in our household, it gets entered straight into BillPay. I schedule the payment and Bam!...the stress of having to remember what to pay and when is G-O-N-E!


When our spouses are far from home, it is so important we have access to our bank account to take advantage of services like BillPay and more. Having access means you are able to handle financial issues and make necessary changes if needed.


Account Authority

Adding a second name to a checking account provides access for both parties. There are many ways to handle a joint account. You can each have two separate accounts and one joint account for shared household expenses. I've known several spouses who have this arrangement and it works for their family. Talk with your spouse and discuss which option is best for your family. Keep in mind if your spouse's name is the only one listed on a policy or account, they are the only person with the authority to change it to a joint account. If you decide to have a joint account, be sure to make this change before they are deployed.


Put It In Writing

A marriage license doesn't always guarantee access to your accounts. Once you decide to have a joint account, you'll need to contact your financial institution directly to ensure both of you have access. Additionally, it may be best to allow transactions to be authorized with just one signature.


Plan Ahead

While you might prefer to spend the precious time before they depart talking about something other than your finances, getting a plan sooner than later can be a wise decision. By getting all the household financial questions out in the open you'll then be able to better concentrate on enjoying each other's company. Topics you may want to discuss include financial obligations, monthly expenses and due dates to cover financial commitments while your spouse is away.


One of the other great things I love about having access to pay bills online, being able to pay them from my mobile phone. It is really easy and gives me peace of mind. I've even scheduled a payment to cover the one-time fee of a repairman. Knowing that I had the ability pay most bills that might come my way or update our insurance coverage while my spouse was under the ocean or downrange kept my stress level in check.


Have you had to navigate a deployment and your household finances? Did you have a joint account? Please leave a comment on this post and let us know what you think!


Source article: Joint Accounts: Two Names Better Than One


Resource: USAA Web BillPay