Money

Make a date - to talk about money

VALENTINE'S day may be behind us but it's worth setting a date to talk with your better half about money matters. It could make a valuable difference to your financial wellbeing and your relationship.

Research by Relationships Australia shows that financial stress ranks high on the list of reasons why relationships suffer.  In the US, for instance, couples argue on average three times a month about financial issues. Yet 55% of adults living with a long term partner don't set aside time on a regular basis to discuss financial issues.

There's no doubt money can be a touchy subject. When money is tight it can be very easy to start pointing the finger of blame at our partner's financial habits. But in my experience there aren't too many people that have a perfect track record when it comes to money matters, and there are good reasons to work as a team on household finances.

Relationships Australia says the trick is not to wait until you're under financial pressure to kick off a discussion about money. Instead set a date when you're both relaxed and be prepared to listen to what your better half says.

I freely admit I'm no relationship counsellor however after 30 years in financial planning I have come to recognise that some simple strategies can help couples get back on track with their money.

A good starting point is to talk about your goals - both shared and personal. Discussing things like when you plan to start a family, or what you'd like to do when you retire let you find a common target you can work towards.

Next, take stock of where you are financially right now. The process of writing down your assets (your home, investments and items of value like the family car) can create a shared sense of achievement. Balance this by writing down your liabilities - how much you owe on the mortgage, personal loans or credit cards, to get a clear picture on where you stand financially.

It's also important to discuss each other's approach to money. Our upbringing often plays a key role here so it's unlikely you will have identical views about spending, saving and paying off debt. The main point at this stage is to understand why your partner takes a particular approach to their finances, and to become comfortable discussing money freely and openly.

Sharing your life with someone doesn't have to mean giving up your own financial identity. Some couples choose to use a joint account for some expenses while having their own account for personal spending. Others choose to run their finances almost entirely separately.

There is no right or wrong way of handling money as a couple. It's a question of discovering what works best for you both - something you may never find out if you don't begin talking about your finances.

ASIC's MoneySmart website offers a range of online tools like a savings calculator and retirement planner that couples can use to set and track goals.

If money is driving a serious wedge in your relationship, it could be worth speaking to a Relationships Australia about counselling - the contact number is 1300 364 277.

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money magazine. Visit www.paulsmoney.com.au for more information.

Topics:  opinion paul clitheroe



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Burrum horsewoman Edna Cairns to be saluted

TRUE BLUE: The late Edna Cairns will be honoured at a Burrum District Active Riders Sports Day  on Sunday.

"She was just such a fantastic horsewoman."

Cane farmer to be cut off from water supply

HIGH AND DRY: Walkers Point sugar cane farmer Norm Muller amongst his cane fields on Beaver Rock Rd.

"That's our income for this year," he said.

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!