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How to start combining your money in a relationship

While you might be drunk in love, it’s important to stay sober when starting to combine your money in a relationship.
While you might be drunk in love, it’s important to stay sober when starting to combine your money in a relationship.

Bite-size read:

  • If you’ve found someone you love and who loves you back, you’re very lucky.
  • As you spend more time with your partner, you’ll use money with them for joint or shared expenses.
  • Make sure that you agree on what shared expenses are upfront and stay in control of your money when you start combining finances in a relationship.

First comes love, second comes the joint expenses.

Relationships can add huge value to your life when you’re with the right person. And if your relationship continues to go well, the joint or shared expenses start to add up.

A joint or shared expense is something that you both pay for or benefit from.

This could be date night where you might split the bill. It’s also a conversation about who pays for the groceries when you go to the supermarket together. How you split the rent if you live together and who pays for home furniture. You do need to be mindful when making these choices to ensure you’re making financial choices you’re comfortable with.

 

Here’s 6 ways to start combining your money in a relationship:

 

1. Know your financial situation and theirs

Before you even consider combining your money, you need to have the talk. You need to be comfortable talking to your partner about money. That extends to being comfortable articulating your financial situation and knowing their circumstances too. Having this chat upfront will avoid issues like sexually transmitted debt or being legally responsible for their debts if you enter into a long-term de facto relationship with them.

 

2. Open a joint account

If you’ve got multiple joint expenses, it can be helpful to open a joint bank account. This will likely be a checking or transaction account as it’s money for spending on day-to-day expenses. You could also consider opening a joint savings account for long-term joint savings goals like a house deposit. Given we rarely change bank accounts, take the time now to find a competitive account with low or no fees that works for your circumstances.

 

3. Discuss and agree on what a shared expense is

We’re all raised with different ideas about money and how we should use it. For that reason, it’s really important that you talk to your partner about money and their idea of shared expenses. Some expenses like power bills when you live together are easy discussions to agree on as you both use power at home to charge your phone or watch TV. However, other expenses like groceries and what is or isn’t included in your shared supermarket shopping trip such as personal hygiene products might require a longer conversation to agree on.

 

4. Contribute regularly to your joint account

For your joint bank account to be useful, you’ll need to put money in it. Discuss what your individual budgets look like and how much you can and want to spend on shared expenses. Then set up regular contributions to these accounts to fund your shared expenses. If you want an easy life, take the time now to also set up an automatic transfer so you don’t need to think about it.

 

5. Stay in control of your money

You may trust your partner with your life but that doesn’t mean you should trust them with your money. Financial abuse can happen when one partner gives up all financial control to the other. Make sure you each retain your own money so that you have agency over your financial decisions. That includes retaining joint and equal control over your joint account.

 

6. Plan for both your retirements

If you’re in a long-term partnership, you’ll want to sit alongside each other in the retirement village. Make sure you can both afford that seat by planning for both your retirements. That includes contributing to each other’s retirement accounts if one of you has to stop or reduce work to care for the joint decision to have a family.

While you might be drunk in love, it’s important to stay sober when making money choices.

That includes how you manage money with your partner in a relationship. The conversations you have about money early on will come to define your financial behaviours within your relationship. Invest the time now to start combining money with your partner in a way that will pay off later.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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