Along with savings accounts, checking accounts are one of the foundational financial products consumers set up as they start to establish their finances and even build credit.
A checking account is likely to be the financial account you rely on the most for everyday money management, and it is also connected to many of the other accounts you will set up in the future, including credit card accounts, savings accounts, and investment accounts.
But have you ever considered how many checking accounts you might need? The right answer can depend on both your personal circumstances and your financial goals. Here’s an overview of what to consider when determining how many checking accounts are ideal for your situation.
The Bare Minimum: Why You Need at Least One Checking Account
A checking account is one of the most important financial products you will ever use. Checking accounts are a helpful and often necessary resource for paying bills, receiving direct deposits, making debit card payments, and performing a wide range of other daily tasks that are necessary for managing your finances.
Without a checking account, you might have difficulty taking care of basic financial tasks, from paying your bills to qualifying for other types of financial products. A checking account also helps you establish a financial history if you’re newly independent, paving the way for greater financial success in the future.
Related: Does a Personal Check Expire?
Should You Split Bills and Other Spending into Separate Accounts?
Looking for a better way to manage your spending and stick to your budget? Some financial experts recommend setting up two checking accounts: one dedicated to paying your bills, and the other for funding discretionary spending such as shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and travel.
By separating these spending categories, you can enforce stricter budgetary limits and prevent your leisure spending from cutting into your financial obligations. Although this approach isn’t always necessary, it’s worth giving it a try if you think it can improve your money management and spending habits.
Do You and Your Partner Manage Your Finances Together or Separately?
If you’re married or in a long-term relationship, you may face the decision of whether to combine your finances or keep them separate.
Although combining finances is the default choice for many couples, there are a number of reasons why you might want to keep them separate, from maintaining your financial independence to accounting for different income levels and spending habits.
If you want to keep your finances separate, it’s obviously important to maintain separate bank accounts. But even if you decide to combine your finances, you might consider keeping those bank accounts open until your trial run with combined finances proves to be a success. If a combined approach ends up creating problems, you can easily move money back into its respective account.
Do You Run a Small Business?
If you operate a small business or consider yourself self-employed, it’s a good idea to set up a separate checking account—even if you file your taxes as a sole proprietor.
A small-business checking account will make it easier to manage your finances and track revenue and expenses separately from your personal checking account. You might also be able to enjoy certain benefits as a small-business owner, including easier access to loan products such as a business credit card. And if you track expenses for your small business, a separate account will make it easier to monitor your spending and make sure you’re employing prudent financial management.
No matter how many checking accounts you may need, it’s always easier to keep those accounts at the same financial institution. Your local community bank is a perfect place to start when you’re seeking checking accounts that offer great perks, low fees, and an overall great customer experience.
Looking for more money management tips? Download A Complete Guide to Budgeting today.