Mixing money with love
The days of the sole breadwinner looking after all the family finances without any involvement of their partner are long gone. With two-income families more often the norm, both parties in a relationship should have a say in the financial situation and an understanding of what is going on.
Pre-nuptial agreements don’t sound very romantic but they do make sense, particularly where one partner has considerably more assets than the other before marriage. Such agreements have had a formal legal standing in Australia since 2000 but it is important that both partners seek legal advice as these agreements can be set aside by the courts if found to be unjust or unreasonable.
Even more important than a legal agreement is a full and open understanding of joint financial affairs, and mutual agreement of how income will be shared and expenses paid.
Whether you are already living together or planning to, some of the important points to discuss openly include:
1. Make a budget for income and expenditure that you both agree on.
2. If you are planning a wedding, who will pay for what?
3. Be sure to cover the costs of any children from previous relationships.
4. Will you have joint bank accounts and credit cards, and how will bills be paid?
5. If one partner is expecting an inheritance, or some other lump sum, discuss how it will be used and whether it will be kept in one name or shared.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 50, like most issues that arise in relationships, the best way to avoid future problems is to have open discussions on financial matters early in your relationship, allowing love to flourish!