Are you planning on tying the knot?
It pays to go into love and money matters with your eyes open...
Here are some tips on managing finances with your partner once the wedding is over.
Talk to your partner about money
- Relationship goals
- Current financial situation
- Attitudes to spending and saving
- The financial controller
Take action together
If you're serious about sharing your finances, here are some things to consider:
Use both your names -
- Put both your names on services like electricity, gas and water. This will make you equally responsible.
- Putting joint assets and liabilities, like your home and the corresponding loan, in both names means you will both have an ownership interest in the asset and both be responsible for the debt.
- Think twice before putting your name on a loan that will only benefit your partner.
Share costs -
Insurers will often give family discounts on multiple policies, such as for Life, TPD or Trauma insurance.
Plan for a shared future -
- Get your partner to work with you on a household budget. This will help you see how much money you can save or invest in your shared goals.
- You may be able to split off some of your super contributions to your spouse. This may be beneficial to your retirement plans. If you have a non-working spouse you may also be able to claim a tax offset for after tax spouse contributions.
- Make a will and keep it up to date.
Review Your Beneficiaries -
Go through each of your accounts (including superannuation and insurance) and ensure the beneficiaries listed are accurate and make sure your estate is divided in the way you wish it to be.
Know the facts about sharing money
Don't be blinded by love - be aware of how much money is coming in and going out. Here are some facts you may not be aware of:
- A joint loan doesn't mean you're only liable for half the debt. If your partner defaults, you may be liable for the whole amount, including fees, interest and charges, even if your relationship ends.
- If a utility service such as electricity or gas is only in your name, then it's your sole responsibility to pay the bills.
- Think carefully before you guarantee a loan for your partner or family members. If things don't go to plan and the borrower can't repay the money, you could be asked to repay for any loan you've guaranteed, including fees, interest and charges. For example, if the guarantee is secured against your home you could risk losing it.
- Ignorance is not a defence. Signing papers you know nothing about, just because your partner told you to, does not make you any less liable for any loans or guarantees you may have agreed to.
Take care of yourself
If you earn less income than your partner, you may feel you don't have a right to make decisions about where the money goes. Talk to your partner about how you feel. You should work as a partnership, including when it comes to money.
- Get a prenup
- Get organised
- Keep all your financial information, including receipts and records for tax, in one place so you both know where they are.
- Get informed
- Get professional advice