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Relationship goals: Partnering on your budget

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Managing Finances

In the early honeymoon days of a new relationship, the subject of money and finances isn’t one that regularly comes up. You’re too busy getting to know one another and then exploring those exciting first milestones – first date, meeting the parents and moving in together.

However, just like plans for working towards a shared future or buying a home together, the financial side of your relationship should ideally be a priority as soon as you can make it one.

Setting your relationship up for success

A good milestone to trigger a robust conversation about relationship finances is when you move in together. Discussing how you’re going to pay for and manage the home loan or rent, bills, groceries and other expenses is a necessary part of that exciting change.

There are a few ways you can set yourselves up for success, depending on which suits you both best.

  • The classic ‘V’ arrangement – you could open a joint account (the tip of the V) but each maintain separate accounts in your own name where your salary is deposited into (the two branches of the V). After depositing a starting balance into the joint account, you both keep up with weekly or monthly deposits into the joint account to cover any shared costs and set up all direct debits to come out of that joint account.
  • The ‘transfer to me please’ arrangement – one partner takes responsibility for paying all shared costs from their single account and requests a weekly or monthly transfer from the other partner for their share.
  • The ‘all in one basket’ arrangement – you could both open a new joint account and have your salaries deposited there. As it’s a joint account, it means that any money that goes in belongs to both of you so it can be wise to keep separate savings accounts too. If you go ahead with this option, all shared costs (and individual too) can then come out of that one central account.

Each arrangement has it pros and cons and you’ll need to discuss what’s right for you both before deciding on the best one. Aligning on the best financial account set up for you both is as important as working towards a common financial goal – be it saving for a holiday, education expenses or home deposit.

Keep the conversation going

No matter which arrangement you choose, the most important thing to do is keep talking about it on a regular basis. As your individual and relationship needs change, so will your financial set up needs. If you start a family, drop an income or experience an illness, how you structure your finances will need to be agile enough to respond.

The best way to keep your financial relationship in good health is to set up monthly ‘meetings’ with each other to discuss it all. Go through your budget for the month and ask yourselves a few questions to make sure you’re still on the same page:

  • How much did you spend on shared costs?
  • What did you spend it on?
  • How much did you save together?
  • What are your joint savings goals?
  • Are the accounts that you have set up still working for you both?

The other important part of communicating about money and finances is to openly discuss your financial strengths and weaknesses. Understanding each other’s financial mindset is key. Some people are better with money than others, and some may have been brought up with no financial education whatsoever. Identifying weaknesses in both of you, and addressing them through research and education, can mean you can both take equal responsibility for the financial health of your relationship.

Steering yourselves through disputes

It’s inevitable that disagreements will arise about your finances at some point. Openly communicating about your financial relationship can alleviate stress when this happens. In this case, you’ll hopefully have identified the issue at one of your regular ‘meetings’ and can work together to resolve it.

 

  Important Information

The information on this page is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for personal advice. This information has been produced without taking into account your personal financial circumstances, objectives or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information to your financial situation and seek personal advice before acting on any of this information. See our Terms and Conditions for Savings Accounts and Payment Services for more information on our joint accounts. Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.

 

Article published March 2018