Be happier and remain together by being more involved in your money
Money has a well-deserved reputation for being able to drive a wedge into even the strongest relationships.
Research from the US shows that, on average, couples argue over financial issues about three times a month, whilst local research by Relationships Australia found that financial stress is one of the four main reasons why relationships suffer.
Don’t be afraid to talk
One of the big problems with money, is that discussing it is a taboo subject between many couples. But breaking this taboo, and talking about money and how best to manage it when you are a couple, really helps your chances of remaining together for the long term.
Talking about your money from an early point in your relationship can short circuit aggravation and bad financial habits before a small problem becomes a big one. This can mean less blame-throwing about who racked up a big credit card purchase or who blew last year’s Christmas budget. It will also be easier to change bad money habits before they become an entrenched feature of your combined lifestyle, and most importantly, you’ll get a feel for whether you’re financially compatible and heading in the same direction or if you’re two future candidates for divorce!
In addition to encouraging couples to be open with each other about money and to discuss how to manage it – including talking about subjects like budgeting, spending and investing, another thing that‘s important is that both sides of a couple remained involved in their money matters.
While one person often emerges as the main money manager and bill payer in a relationship, I caution against handing over complete control of the household finances to your spouse or partner. Maintaining a savings account and even a credit card of your own lets you preserve your ‘financial identity’. In other words, it gives you a documented record through your account statements of the way you save and handle credit. This will stand you in good stead if the relationship doesn’t last the distance and you need to apply for a loan or any type of credit in your name in the future. The longer you wait to take an active role in your personal finances, the bigger the surprises may be further down the track – including, potentially, years of mismanagement.
Even if you’re happy for your partner to handle the money, be sure to keep track of key information like who you hold your mortgage with, how much debt you owe in total, what assets or investments you own and whose name they’re held in.
By starting out your relationship talking openly and honestly about household finances, and remaining involved in them, you’re giving yourselves a much better chance to grow both your relationship and your wealth.
We can help
If money is causing an issue in your relationship or if you have decided to go your own way, an ipac financial adviser can help you see money issues clearly. Why not get in touch by calling 1800 626 881 or by using the ‘contact us’ tool.Money, Marriage & Divorce by Paul Clitheroe AM, Published by Penguin, 2 January 2015