When you’re in a long-term relationship, money talk can pop up. It could be anything from who’s covering date night dinners, to sharing household costs. After a while of splitting the bills, it could feel easier to start a conversation about bringing your finances together, so that you’re both on the same page.
Whether you’re just starting to think about joint finances, or wanting to make it happen, here’s some questions you may want to think about:
- Why do we want to bring our finances together?
- Will it make things easier to manage?
- Does it mean we can start saving?
- Could we plan for a better future?
If you’re both on-board, here’s how to get started:
Share your style:
The first step to financial togetherness is to share your income and outgoings with each other, and get on the same page.
The best way to do this is to start an open conversation about your earnings, so that both of you are in the know. It can also help to share information about any credit or loans in this chat too, so that you’ve got a good picture of what you earn, and what you owe.
Then it’s time to share your spending style. If one of you is a saver and one is a spender, it helps to understand each other to be able to create a plan together that suits you both.
Set your goals:
When your finances come together so do your goals, so it’s imperative to understand what is important to each other now and in the future. If one of you wants spontaneous holidays, and the other wants a home, you’ll need to work together to prioritise, or work on how you can make them both happen. Remember to stay flexible because saving money is a journey and as you both change, your goals might, too.
Set-up your accounts:
Now that you’ve discussed what you want from your finances, it’s time to bring them together and create a plan. Depending on your goals and your spending-styles, you may decide to bring all of your finances together, or just a couple of accounts. Pick a way that works for you:
Some couples combine everything from their transaction accounts, credit cards and savings. This means that both salaries are now paid into one account. A joint-budget means you can plan for expenses such as rent, as well as your savings. Joint credit cards also mean that both of you are responsible for the debt accrued on the card (no matter who does the spending).
Creating a joint account
Other couples create a joint transaction account where they deposit a portion of their salaries to cover shared expenses like rent, bills and food, as well as a joint credit card for those sneaky date nights. Some choose a 50/50 split, others share a percentage of what they earn, but there is no right way, so do what works for you. This way, each person keeps their own bank account or credit card for personal expenses (this is great if one of you is more of a spender!)
Streamline your spending:
Whichever way you chose to merge accounts, you need to think about spending. Handy budget calculators can help you look at your spending habits, categories your spending, and give you a monthly budget after expenses. Make sure you’re both checking in, and keeping on track.
Plan for a shared future:
Once your day-to-day spending is ticking along nicely, it’s time to look to the future. Each month (after setting your spending budget) you should set a savings goal that you’re both happy with.
You can even name your savings accounts after your goals in the app, so you can get ‘future home’ feels as you see your money grow.
We hope these steps help to get you and your partner on the same page financially. While there’s a lot to look forward to in your financial future, go at your own pace and you’ll keep your wallet and relationships happy.
The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. Living Super, a sub-plan of OneSuper ABN 43 905 581 638 is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.