QUESTION: A listener asks Dave and marriage counselor Joe Beam if she should get a joint checking account with her fiance to start saving for the wedding, or do the money separately. Joe mentions that trouble can arise if the two don't complete the engagement. Dave talks about how dangerous it is to mix money before marriage.
ANSWER: That's why we tell people to not live together or buy houses together. From a money standpoint, you just get yourself all entangled. I've even seen horrible situations where one of them passes away before the wedding in a car wreck. Then you're all tied up with the person who was going to be your mother-in-law but never was.
I would not have a joint checking account for purposes of the marriage unless you were in a very unusual situation where everything and everyone around it is very strong. Also, it needs to be a situation that, if the money just went away, you're not going to die over it. It's better in most cases to have two separate wedding accounts that you constantly talk about together. You can create the same thing as a joint account just by communicating.