Managing your money as a couple
15th November 2016
Some couples never talk about their money at all, while others never seem to stop. Either way, handling joint finances is a major source of stress in many households. Whether you keep your finances separate or share all your resources and debts, the trick to avoiding arguments is to understand each other. That's going to take work, but in the long term it could save more than just a few pennies. You've got some decisions to make, and if they're going to be worth anything you'll have to make them together.
One of the first things you'll decide is whether or not to pool your money in a joint account. There's no real right or wrong about this, so it all depends on your situation. On the one hand, you're going to be sharing bills anyway so a joint account can help keep things simple. You've got to go in with both eyes open, though. You'll be sharing the responsibility for debts and overdrafts, for one thing. You'll also have to agree on how much you'll each be putting into it, and what you'll each be taking out.
If you decide not to use a joint account, you've got some more hoops to jump through. You're keeping your earnings separate, but someone's still got to pay the bills. If you want to avoid a lot of stress and headaches, you'll need to talk about this right from the outset. Getting trapped in a situation where only one of you has a clear picture of your finances is a bad move. You won't be able to plan properly, and you'll be making crucial decisions with one hand tied behind your back.
If one of you is in debt, then it's something you'll both end up having to deal with. There's no point keeping secrets about this. You're only storing up trouble for yourself and your partner. Honestly though, having a secret stash of money your partner doesn't know about can be almost as bad in relationship terms. Managing your money can be a tough job. Doing it when your left hand doesn't know what your right one's doing might just be impossible.
Opening a joint savings accounts can also be a good move, particularly if you're saving toward a specific goal. That might mean a holiday, a new car or even just a rainy day fund. Whatever you're saving for, having you both pulling in the same direction puts you in a stronger, safer position.
However you decide to organise your money, remember that your partner can be your strongest financial ally. Managing your cash can be a lot of work, particularly if you're claiming a tax refund or filing a Self Assessment return. At RIFT, we understand that you're not always going to be able to talk to us yourself. That's no reason to miss out on, or delay getting, your tax refund from HMRC, though. Keep your partner in the loop, and let them deal with the paperwork you can't If you're away travelling for work, for instance, you can nominate your partner to speak to us. You'll be in a better place financially, and a healthier position as a couple.