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Question: My boyfriend and I are talking about marriage. We’ve taken your advice and had several very honest conversations about money, since we know finances are a big cause of fights. We’ve settled a lot of things, but we have this weird sticking point: My boyfriend insists I get rid of my Bank of America account and sign up with his credit union.

My boyfriend really really hate “big banks,” although it’s not like any of these banks did anything to him — he’s been with his credit union forever. (His dad was in the Army, so he’s with PenFed.) I don’t mind opening another account, but I like that Bank of America has ATMs and branches everywhere. While this won’t break us up, it really is the biggest fight we’ve ever had. What do I do?

— Katey in Arizona

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Howard Dvorkin on how to get out of debt fastIn my 20-plus years as a CPA and financial counselor, I’ve met with many couples whose relationships were stretched thin by money fights. I must admit, however, I’ve never seen a couple argue over Bank of America.

First, let me acknowledge you both make some excellent points…

  • PenFed is an excellent credit union. In fact, it offers one of the nation’s best credit cards. Earlier this year, Debt.com called it “the credit card for people who hate credit cards,” since it imposes no fees whatsoever.
  • Bank of America isn’t an evil empire. I know many people who are quite happy with big banks. Debt.com editor Michael Koretzky has his mortgage there, because it actually worked out to be the best deal at that moment.

With that said, your boyfriend needs to learn how to compromise. In matters of love and money, I’ve learned this from counseling more couples than I can even count: It’s not about complete agreement on the details, it’s about philosophical agreement on how to save and spend.

Your boyfriend is doing you a favor by encouraging you to join his excellent credit union. Just the other day, I was reading a new study called the Credit Union Satisfaction Index 2015. The biggest finding: 90 percent of credit union customers are satisfied with the overall service. That’s high for any industry, but it’s actually up one point from 2014.

Meanwhile, banks rated only a 782 out of 1,000, according to JD Power. That translates into just over 78 percent.

Still, pressuring you to leave Bank of America isn’t a sound decision financially or emotionally. If you’re in the 78 percent, and not paying fees to Bank of America to keep your account there, this episode is a good lesson in more than money. It reveals how your relationship will proceed on all kinds of issues where you two differ.

You’re offering a healthy compromise by moving some of your money into PenFed. If your boyfriend wants to convince you to move the rest, the best way to do that is to put your money where his mouth is: Prove over the course of a year just how much money you saved and made by making the switch. If that adds up, you sound like a smart enough women, Katy, to make an objective decision.

 

Have a debt question?

Email your question to editor@debt.com and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a  CPA, chairman of Debt.com, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC