Managing money in your relationship

Working out how to manage your money with your partner or spouse is tough, but it’s essential for creating a healthy relationship.

For many couples, money is a very difficult topic to discuss and as a result, it can become a source of conflict.

According to a recent report by ING1, one in five Australians keep financial secrets from their partner.

Here are five rules to help you and your partner manage your finances together.

Know each other’s beliefs about money

You and your partner should take time to find out what your attitudes are towards money. For example, do you prefer to save most of your income or spend it?

Understanding how you and your partner view money allows you to work together to accommodate any differences you may have and find common ground.

Be transparent about your financial situation

A recent survey by Mortgage Choice2 found one in five Australians did not know how much their partner or spouse earned. In your relationship, you need to be transparent about your earnings, savings and your spending habits. Clarity builds trust and strengthens your relationship.

Always be aware of what you are signing

When it comes to signing any documentation, such as joint credit cards and loans, you and your partner need to be clear on the financial responsibilities and implications.

Make sure you read any terms and conditions and that you understand everything before signing anything. If you're not sure about anything, seek the advice of a financial adviser, solicitor or accountant.

Set financial goals

You and your partner should regularly talk about your financial goals and create a shared vision for your money. Do you want to go on an overseas holiday, do you want to have children, or do you want to buy a home? These goals will influence the way you and your partner manage your money.

Create a budget

Take some time to draw up a budget together, taking into consideration your incomes and planned spending. You should review it regularly to make sure it’s working for your goals and current financial situation.

1 ING Direct’s 2016 For the Love of Money research paper.
2 Mortgage Choice’s 2016 Annual Diversified Survey.