Feature

The emotional value of joint accounts

And more of the week's best financial insight

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Mortgages sinking underwater

About 1 in 12 homes purchased in 2022 are already worth less than their mortgage, said Gabriella Cruz-Martinez in Yahoo. A new analysis by Black Knight found that "among 450,000 underwater borrowers in the third quarter, nearly 60 percent had mortgages originated in the first nine months of 2022." That means that about 270,000 homebuyers got in at the peak of the market this year and "already owe more than their house is worth." Last year, red-hot demand caused home prices in many places to soar above ordinary property values. "At least 10 percent of June purchase originations — when home prices peaked at $438,000 — are now underwater." Mortgage rates have risen above 6.5 percent, curtailing demand, and nationwide home prices have fallen 3.2 percent from June's high.

The emotional value of joint accounts

Why don't more couples join finances? asked Julia Carpenter in The Wall Street Journal. A 2022 survey found that only "43 percent of couples said they have only a joint bank account." More than a third share a mix of joint and separate accounts, while nearly a quarter "keep their finances entirely separate." This flies in the face of numerous studies that have found that "pooling resources" is better for milestone purchases like "buying a house and saving for retirement." It also improves accountability. One study by researchers at the University of Colorado found that people spending from a joint account were less likely to make fun impulse purchases "and instead fell back on more 'utilitarian' options." This understandably produces "greater relationship satisfaction."

Networking in the work-at-home age

Conferences are working hard to attract the work-from-home crowd, said Rani Molla in Vox. Business events have always been primarily for networking, but companies have begun to recognize their importance as "occasions to convene teams" that "don't see each other as often while working from home." So conference organizers are "leaning into aspects of the events that aren't as easily broadcast online." That includes hosting events in sunny locales for what the industry calls the "bleisure" crowd, those "tacking vacations onto work trips." One software sales conference in San Diego boasted paddle boarding, outdoor yoga, and lawn games. Another software company recently held a small confab in a Napa, California, wine cave.

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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