Relationships Australia says that financial stress is the main cause of relationship breakdowns in Australia…
I don’t think we need to be rocket scientists to know that what Relationships Australia is saying is totally true. Many women I speak to are starting over at an older age, after not working, being the main carer of their children and aging parents and then also leaving the financial decisions up to their partner. Nowadays, not getting involved with your financial life, to be blunt, is just not worth the risk. As we get older, it gets harder to financially recover. If you do leave your financial life, or even part of it, up to another person then you are risking not only your overall wellbeing but your financial wellbeing. I’m not talking about making a conscious decision to be a full time mother or parent at all. Many stay-at-home parents I know could easily be CEO of a large multinational. They are amazing and amongst the most skilled people I know. I’m talking about not getting involved in your financial life!
It is so important to get involved with your own money and your money, together, as a partnership.
So, here’s a quick snapshot of the 20 ‘money talks’ that are important to have with your partner now, before you marry or move in together!
I’ll give you more detail on each one over the next couple of weeks.
- Tell each other your money stories
- Tell each other your money secrets
- Share your credit scores (so romantic)
- Talk about debt (what you owe now and both of your attitudes towards debt)
- Do you want a pre-nuptial or finance agreement (it’s ok to have one!)?
- Will you have separate bank accounts, a joint bank account or a mix of separate and joint accounts?
- Decide who will (and how) you will pay the bills
- Talk about estate planning (your wills)
- What do you both think about giving (gifts to loved ones, charities, your time)?
- If you have kids (or if you’re planning to) who will be the carer and who will be the provider? Or will you both be!
- What do you both think about working when there are caring duties involved?
- What do you both think about owning your own home, saving and investing?
- If you’re in Australia, talk about superannuation or if you’re elsewhere talk about your pension funds! Also talk about retirement (no matter how old you are)
- What are both of your attitudes to insurance?
- Sit down and do a spending, saving/investing, giving and debt plan. Make sure you plan for some fun together (and apart)
- If you, your partner or both of you have children from previous relationships what are the financial, legal and personal obligations and expectations for your children?
- If either of you are or both of you are from different cultures or religions are their financial obligations, expectations or differing attitudes to raising children or working?
- Do you have hobbies and/or interests that cost money like for example travel, foodie, skiing, trainsets, photograpy, fashion?
- What are both of your attitudes to spending money – recycling, vintage or expensive clothes, labels, furniture etc?
- What are your expectations around earning money – where you earn, how you earn, education, the man does the work?
Finally, make a commitment to talk about money on a regular basis.
I’ve just married for the second time and I’ve learnt, apart from my career experience and qualifications, a few things about money and relationships. With all of my money experience I can still say that talking about money stuff with my partner has been tough and it still can be. Sometimes it’s like running nails down a blackboard. It’s excruciating at times. But we still do it and I have to say that, weirdly, we always feel more connected after an honest talk about our money. So, my next articles are about money and relationships. If your partner is not willing to consider money talks or some variation of them then it’s not a great sign! I can’t tell you what to do but I can suggest that you could start by running through the 20 talks listed above on your own and learn about your relationship with money. Sometimes, particularly in relationships, things just take time. Be aware though!
Some places to find help or more information.
Talking about money can be really hard. If you are feeling overwhelmed, I’ve listed some organisations and websites below that could provide you with further support and information.