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Money may not buy happiness in a relationship, but talking about it may reduce stress.
Relationships Australia says financial stress and money worries can be key issues for couples experiencing relationship problems or separating.¹
Yet almost one third of people who enter in relationships had not discussed their personal financial situation prior to committing to their partner, a 2019 survey by Relationships Australia found.
Source: Relationships Australia, January 2019: Finances and Relationships.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s MoneySmart website² says talking to your partner about money is important whether you have similar or different spending styles.
It says four key issues to discuss are:
Source: ASIC, February 2019, MoneySmart, Relationships and Money.
When couples have different priorities about money, it may lead to stress and relationship issues. An earlier 2015 survey by Relationships Australia³ found almost 85% of respondents thought financial problems were likely to push couples apart.
Of the respondents who thought this, almost one third thought this was due to people’s different priorities and expectations, one quarter thought it was because there was too much stress, while around one in five thought financial problems caused fights.
It might sound like a recipe for disaster, but different money personalities don’t have to be a relationship deal breaker. The key is identifying and understanding the differences, MoneySmart says. And not being blinded by love, but being aware of how much money is coming and going out.
“Understanding how your partner approaches financial matters will make it easier to create a money plan that suits you both.”
One issue that may be unavoidable may be the question of shared or separate accounts. Separate bank accounts may help a partner in a relationship feel in control of their individuality and have some financial freedom without feeling judged. However, joint finances may deliver family or couples’ discounts, better access to credit, improved cost control and foster a stronger partnership.
For couples serious about sharing finances, the deal also means sharing responsibility and costs.
Putting joint assets and liabilities like your home and mortgage in both names, for example, means both partners have an ownership interest in the asset but both are responsible for the debt.
A joint credit card may be suitable if both partners share the same financial goals and trust each other. However, if your partner goes on a spending spree, both are responsible for repaying the debt. If you can't repay the debt, it will affect your credit rating as well as your partner's.
Money talk can be challenging, but it can also strengthen a relationship. Planning your best future means being invested in outcomes today. Take the time to learn more about QSuper or your QSuper account.
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1. Relationships Australia, January 2019: Finances and Relationships, accessed 28 May 2019 at https://www.relationships.org.au/what-we-do/research/online-survey/january-2019-finances-and-relationships
2. Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), February 2019, MoneySmart, Relationships and money, accessed 28 May 2019 at https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/families/relationships-and-money
3. Relationships Australia, August 2015: Impact of financial problems on relationships, accessed 28 May 2019 at https://www.relationships.org.au/what-we-do/research/online-survey/august-2015-impact-of-financial-problems-on-relationships
4. QSuper Balanced Option only. SuperRatings SR50 Balanced Index (60-76) median based on cumulative returns compounded annually after fees and for initial $50,000 invested over the period to 28 February 2019. Based on funds open to the public. Past performance may not be a reliable indicator future performance.
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