10 ways to start a conversation about money

It’s easy to feel like talking to your partner about money isn't very romantic. In fact, for many couples, money is a regular source of tension and fighting. But it doesn't have to be. Carving out the time now to talk to your partner about your financial situation can help avoid future arguments and set up your finance future.

When to have the money conversation

Moving in together, getting married, having a baby or planning to buy a house are all great reasons to talk to your partner about money. But if you're in a committed relationship you shouldn't wait for a big life event to have the chat.

Avoid having the conversation if you're having a disagreement. Try to make the time in advance, and commit to creating an open, honest and non-judgmental space to talk.

Plan ahead

Schedule time to be alone together with no distractions and take a look at our conversation starters below to help you prepare.

And if you're organised enough to bring copies of pay slips, bank statements, bills, a list of your regular direct debits and any other funds coming in or going out of your accounts, you'll be able to start writing a budget together.

Top ten money conversation starters

1. What is your current financial situation?

List all of your debts, savings, assets, shares and superannuation. Make a note of what is shared and what belongs to you individually.

2. What does being 'financially comfortable' mean to you?

Does it mean covering all the bills with a little left over for going out? Or does it mean being able to afford a new car every five years?

3. Will you have joint accounts for all spending and saving, or will you keep individual accounts for discretionary spending?

Think about ways for you both to retain some independence by keeping a personal account.

4. What are your financial goals?

Would you like to buy a house, go on an overseas holiday, invest in a rental apartment, or retire by age 60? What are the timelines for these goals? Are they shared goals? Are you likely to achieve your goals if your current financial situation continues? How can you work together to achieve your goals?

5. What are your money management styles?

Are you a spender, saver or sharer? Do you have similar or different styles? Putting it out in the open will help you both be aware of potential issues when it comes to your money.

6. How much is too much to spend without checking with each other?

For example, you might set a limit that spending anything over $100 requires you to check in with your partner. Talk about if this includes personal spending or is it just for joint funds.

7. Do you have equal say in how the money is spent no matter who earns more?

This is potentially a tricky topic. Does someone earning more money have more of a say in the budget, or have more discretionary funds at their disposal?

8. If one of you is unemployed for a period of time (e.g. on parental leave, injured or out of work) will the other partner contribute to their superannuation?

There can be tax benefits to making voluntary contributions to your spouse's superannuation, find out more from the ATO.

9. Who will take care of which parts of the finances?

Will one of you take care of the bills or are you both responsible? Who will do the budgeting and tracking? If one person is responsible for everything, how will the other person contribute?

10. What will you teach your kids about money?

Will your children get pocket money? How involved will they be in the family budget?

Your to-do list

At the end of the conversation, decide on the things you need to do together. It might include:

  • scheduling another date in the future to check in on your finances
  • setting a budget and financial goals
  • consolidating bank accounts
  • putting both of your names on bills
  • making time to talk to a financial planner
  • checking if consolidating health insurance and other bills will save you money
  • researching voluntary superannuation contributions
  • filing all of your financial information in the same place, so you both know where it is.

Know the facts about sharing money

If you make the decision to join finances with your partner there are some things you should know.

Debts

Having a joint loan or credit card doesn't automatically mean you're liable for half the debt. If your partner defaults you could be up for the full amount, even if your relationship has ended. And cancelling joint loans and credit cards isn't always a straightforward process. Think carefully before agreeing to act as guarantor on a loan or applying for a joint loan or credit card with your partner.

Prenups

If you or your partner bring assets to the relationship, or support children from a previous relationship, it’s worth considering entering a binding financial agreement (BFA), also known as a prenup. BFAs clearly state who gets what when the relationship ends.

Get professional advice

If you're considering a BFA, you're concerned about having the money conversation with your partner or you need more advice on your unique financial situation, it's a good idea to chat to a financial planner or financial counsellor.

Start a conversation with QBANK

The team at QBANK are here to help your everyday a little easier. Need help consolidating your accounts or help with a savings plan, call us on 13 77 28.

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