How should couples handle joint email addresses?

by @edent | # # # | 5 comments | Read ~274 times.

For years, my email address was registered with our electricity supplier. I got the monthly bills sent to me. My wife's email was used for the water supplier. This made sense when we were a young couple with separate finances - but now we're a smug an old married couple, with a joint bank account, it's a bit annoying.

We both want to see the bills, and we don't want to rely on the other forwarding us an email, or sticking the PDF into a shared folder.

Moving house gave us the opportunity to change all our joint billing accounts. Here's our slightly convoluted setup.

  1. We bought a new domain name. As all good projects start.
  2. I set up an auto-forward catch-all address. So "anything @example.xyz" is immediately forwarded to my email and my wife's email.
  3. We use BitWarden password manager - that lets us share passwords with each other.
  4. One of us signs up to a new service as servicename-2019@example.xyz, generates and securely shares a new password, and we both receive the confirmation email.

Why are we doing this?

  • One of us could die. It would be extremely annoying to be locked out of an account during a period of bereavement.
  • We're jointly responsible for most of these things. It seems silly to split accounts arbitrarily.
  • If my phone breaks while we're on holiday, my wife still has a copy of the hotel reservation.
  • Neither of us want yet another email account to check.

Reasons not to do this

  • If the domain gets hacked / breaks / is blocked or disabled - we'll have lost access to everything.
  • We might get divorced. Decoupling things could be harder. Or one of us could lock the other out.
  • Surprises and presents are still done on our personal accounts.
  • Hard to send from a joint email without setting it up specifically.
  • It makes us look like one of those weird old couples who have a joint Facebook account.

What other people do (A.K.A. Market Research)







How do you handle this?

Leave a comment in the box. One comment per couple, please 🙂

5 thoughts on “How should couples handle joint email addresses?

  1. epc says:

    We had a shared address for years (for our dog). About five years ago we registered a new domain, cleansed the domain registration of any identifying information tied to us, and set it up on a shell account. The shell mail setup allows addresses to be “delivered” to multiple mailboxes, so we each have our own mailbox, and there’s a third “archive” mailbox that gets all mail as well. We don’t use catchall forwarding, instead have addresses along the lines of @example.com and some generic ones like “pets@example” and “cars@example”. Also gets around badly written apps that reject something-something@example.com or something+another@example.com addresses.

    The logins for the mailboxes are 20+ character userids with 60+ character passwords. If/when they set up MFA I’ll add that as well. If/when “autos@example.com” shows up in a password dump, that’s useless to try logging into the mail service as the userid to log in is something like u9mszjddlwyufhud0jooxhijk1gmxyxc@example.com.

    We explicitly didn’t want our banking, car, mortgage, etc emails going into our regular email, so I block retrieval from Google.

    Zero consideration about what happens if we divorce. More consideration about what happens if one of us is incapable of providing login information for household accounts (we’ve both had to deal with estate issues when the deceased didn’t write down any login information, as was “good password practice”).

    Passwords and other sensitive information are shared in a paid password manager.

  2. L1 says:

    Very similar to what you’ve done – a domain with catch all, with aliases configured for utility providers etc. to forward to both individual accounts

  3. lr. says:

    my husband does not internet if at all possible, and does not have a smart phone, so everything goes under my email and then is shared with him as needed.

  4. Diederik says:

    We’re also using domains and subdomains. Terence@diederik.nl will go to my mailbox, while terence@wij.diederik.nl will also be forwarded to misses. Works most of the time....

  5. JayneHilditch says:

    I do it all. It’s a trade off against bin duties and dead mouse removal (we live the sticks, there are many of them). I’m taking that as a win!

    On a more serious note, your observation about bereavement admin is one I encountered when my father died. It brought home how important it is that I leave a trail that is not locked down with a single point of failure in me personally.

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