The decision to join your finances with your romantic partner is a big decision, and rightly so. Money is cited as the number one cause of relationship breakdown in Relationships Australia’s, Relationship Indicators Survey, 2011.
It is therefore wise to proceed cautiously when mixing money and love.
In the first article in this series, I shared five key considerations before deciding to join your finances.
Firstly, if the thought of joining your finances makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it yet.
Fully joining your finances should not be a foregone conclusion, just like it’s no longer assumed that couples will formally marry or have children.
For couples who do choose to combine finances, I recommend to pace yourself – join your finances at the pace you join your life.
For example, from early on share the costs of each date. This is a good way to gently get a sense of how your new flame relates to money and spending.
- Are they showy, frivolous or frugal?
- Are they brave enough to speak up when your awesome activity idea is out of their financial reach?
- If you’re the brave one speaking up, how does your partner react?
When planning your first big holiday together set up a joint saving account and each commit to regular, automatic deposits.
Take the same approach when saving for other big life events such as a home deposit, engagement party or wedding.
If you choose to live together manage your money like housemates, sharing the rent, groceries and joint entertainment.
(Don’t rush to move in though because there are significant consequences in the event of your relationship ending or premature death. I’ll explore that in my next article.)
With each step, keenly observe your partner and yourself and how you navigate your inevitable differences in money management. If alarm bells ring, either get professional help or get out.