It’s never easy to have the ‘money talk’, whether your relationship is starting to get serious, or you’ve been married for a few years. After all, living together is all about juggling your schedules, time and planning for your future…together.
You're also juggling money stuff like bills, joint accounts, loans, insurance policies, credit cards and where to invest. And because the first year of marriage is where you establish patterns, learn about each other's habits, and perhaps make a few changes to your own lifestyle… It's also called the “wet cement year”.
Here’re some tips to help guide your ‘money talk’ with your partner, so you don’t get stuck (in cement) over the longer term!

#1: Understand that everyone views money differently
It’s important to begin with empathy, because everyone has a different view on money. That’s because our perspectives were shaped by our upbringing.

Kids who grow up with plenty of pocket money have different views on money to those who had to work for every penny.

It’s important to note that some people adopt or magnify the spending habits of their parents, and some rebel against them.

Same goes for your significant other – their upbringing will have shaped their view of money. Don’t expect it to be identical. And while you’re looking at the numbers, don’t point fingers if say, your significant other has all their family’s debt in their name, or has maxed out their credit cards. Instead, find ways to celebrate the little wins such as the progress they’re making in repaying that debt. Also, seek to find common ground in your perspectives and goals. That’ll help you proceed as a “team”.

#2: Agree on how you’ll split the household bills
The joint account is an oft-mentioned “milestone” of coupleship. But not all couples have a joint account and that’s fine. It’s more important to agree on how you’ll split the household bill for your groceries, petrol, and mortgage, amongst other things.

We’ve heard of couples dividing the bills up in these ways:
Equality 50-50 split
Based on how long each partner has worked
By item (i.e. one takes the mortgage, the other pays for groceries)
But if you’re thinking about opening a joint account anyway, get one that maximises the benefits for you and your significant other.

#3: Talk about the goals you want to achieve
Do you want to live on private property? Start your own business? Start a fitness regime with a personal trainer? Retire by 50? Live a kid-free life? Have 3 kids?
Speak to your partner about these things. By doing so, you avoid surprises about your significant other’s views of these lifestyle choices.
It also gives you the chance to talk about your views on emergency funds, buying a house, retirement, and saving for your kids’ education.

If you’re looking at insurance, remember that your financial priorities are shifting from a single-person focus to planning for both of you, and maybe even a little one on the way.

“We are so busy we haven’t had the time to discuss our financial matters.”

#4: Share openly about caring for your parents
As a result of your upbringing, you might also have different views on financial support for your parents. They might expect you to see them through their retirement, or have made their own plans. With rising costs, your reality is likely to fall somewhere in-between.
For most newlyweds, this translates to you graduating from looking after yourselves to looking after each other, and maybe even caring for another set of parents. This can be overwhelming. So, it’s very important to share openly with your partner about the expectations that your parents have of you – and what you’re committed to.

#5: Start planning!
Now for the fun part – getting down to business! You’ve seen the numbers, identified some goals, and (hopefully) agreed on them. When making your plans, talk in terms of “we”, not “you”. It takes some getting used to, but shifts the focus from two individuals, to a new team that’s ready to face the future.

Disclaimers and Important Notice
This article is meant for information only and should not be relied upon as financial advice. Before making any decision to buy, sell or hold any investment or insurance product, you should seek advice from a financial adviser regarding its suitability.

All investments come with risks and you can lose money on your investment. Invest only if you understand and can monitor your investment. Diversify your investments and avoid investing a large portion of your money in a single product issuer.

If you’d like more advice and information about managing your finances as a couple, please feel free to get in touch with one of our Wealth Relationship Managers.