If you were to ask any divorce lawyer the question, ‘what is the number one reason that people appear in your office?’, more often than not the answer will be money.
Simply put, the more conflicts a couple has about money, the more likely that the relationship will come to a swift end. So what can couples do to prevent and eradicate any potential financial feuds.
1. Honesty is the Best Policy
Transparency is key when it comes to money in your relationship. It’s important that you lay out your financial information on the table for your partner to see, including your income, spending habits and your current assets and liabilities. By being completely transparent with your partner, you are letting them know that you expect the same from them.
Finding out later on that your significant other has mountains of credit card debt will not make for a pleasant dinner table conversation.
2. Divide and Discuss
In many relationships one partner may earn a significantly higher salary than the other and therefore cover more of the regular expenses such as mortgage repayments or electricity bills. While there is nothing wrong with this arrangement, it’s important that you openly discuss this to avoid a situation where the higher income earner is simply expected to cover all expenses and begins to feel like they are being taken for granted.
This leads on nicely to tip #3.
3. Fair Division of Labour
Be sure that you discuss openly which partner will take care of certain aspects of your life together, whether it be cleaning the house, cooking meals or saving towards your retirement. Most importantly, ensure that it’s fair, otherwise you may create a situation where one partner feels like the other is not pulling their weight.
4. Keep Something for Yourself
As you’re setting your budgets and planning your financial future together, be sure to set a little aside for yourself each week or month. This could be to go out with friends or treat yourself to something small each week that makes you happy. This ensure that both partners feel that they’ve maintained some autonomy when it comes to their own financial situation.
5. Talk About Money
Money is often viewed as a ‘taboo’ subject like politics or religion and is far too rarely discussed openly at home. The more openly you talk about money with your partner, the less likely you’ll be to face financial arguments in the future. If you prefer to keep a schedule, set some time aside each week or month to discuss finance with your partner and stick to it.
6. Create a Shared Financial Vision & Plan
Far too few people have any sort of plan in place when it comes to their own finances, and this is critical for couples to plan for together. If you’ve walked down the aisle and committed to spending the rest of your lives together, why would you not have a clear financial plan to achieve your combined financial goals. Sit down with a financial planner and start mapping out your financial plan and ensure that the goals you outline are agreed upon by both parties.
7. Ignorance isn’t Bliss
It is common in many relationships for one partner to be the ‘money manager’, which is perfectly acceptable, however not if the other partner simply ignores everything that’s going on. Remember that it’s your money too, and you should have an equal say in how it’s spent, managed and invested. It is both partners’ responsibility to show an active interest in the financial wellbeing of the family and remain aware of how your money is on track to achieve your financial goals.
8. Enjoy Your Money Together
While the ‘best things in life’ might be free, quite often many of the activities we’d like to do are not. Whether it be travelling to new countries, visiting a theme park or heading out for dinner, be sure to enjoy your money together as a couple and be comfortable that your joint budget allows for it.
To ensure that a relationship lasts the distance, each partner is required to commit, invest and put in the time and energy to form a sustainable financial partnership.
To Your Financial Success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Independent Fee-Based Financial Adviser with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to international and local professionals in Singapore.
Book a complimentary consultation here.
Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.