Combining two independent lives can be challenging sometimes, so it’s crucial to sit down and chat about all things money as soon as you can. These conversations might include topics like:
- Your best (and worst) financial habits, and how you put them into practice
- How much you earn and spend each month
- What your top financial priorities are, now and for the future
- Any debts you still need to pay off.
Talking about these topics can be a little daunting sometimes but, don’t worry, we’re here to guide you.
We work with couples who have gone from being independent souls to combining their lives. We help them to prioritise their future together by putting a financial plan in place.
But before we dive straight into how we can help you, here are three unmissable financial planning tips for couples who are taking things to the next level.
Have an honest chat about your most treasured life goals
Although it sounds counterintuitive, talking about your life goals before your finances can actually give you a better idea of financial compatibility.
By starting with your goals and working backwards, you and your partner can get an idea of what’s important to you. This way, your dreams can act as motivation for the steps you need to take to achieve them.
This “goals conversation” is especially important for couples who are taking big relationship steps soon – be it moving in together, getting married, or starting a family.
Try this exercise: sit together and each write down the three things you most want to achieve in life over the next 10 years. If your ideas are broadly similar, that’s great news! If not, this is your opportunity to open up the conversation and ensure your paths are headed in a similar direction.
Be open-minded about your partner’s habits
We all have habits we’re proud of, and those we feel less like shouting about. This is totally normal, but when it comes to money, you might feel worried that your partner will judge you for your habits.
To soothe these doubts, it could be helpful to practise non-judgement when your partner opens up about how they handle their finances. Stay calm and understand where they’re coming from, even if the way they operate is different to yours.
When you bring open-mindedness to the table, your partner might then reflect this energy when you talk about your own financial situation. This calmness could enable you to work together to find equilibrium as you combine your lives.
Work with a professional when combining your finances
If you and your significant other aren’t seeing eye to eye, or find managing your combined wealth stressful, don’t panic. This may have nothing to do with your long-term compatibility.
Often, couples come to us because although they’re united in their vision, they might disagree – or simply be confused – about how to make their goals a reality.
For instance, last year we met with an engaged couple, Darren and Sophie, who were set to retire in the next 10 years.
This couple had met in their early 40s and had already established their own financial foundations, including each owning a home and having substantial pension savings to their name. Darren and Sophie were a little concerned about combining their money after marriage, as both were keen to remain independent while building their lives together.
By sitting down with this couple and hearing their concerns, we were able to talk them through each one, providing a level of certainty and reassurance they needed to move forward. We discussed:
- Their top retirement goals, and whether they’re each on track to meet them
- How to maintain both their homes without a necessary sale
- The tax benefits (and drawbacks) that can come into play after a marriage
- Their individual pensions, and how to maximise contributions before retirement
- Areas of financial communication to work on.
In the end, we happily discovered that the couple could afford to keep both of their homes after they were married, and helped them to set retirement targets that suited them as a couple.
Despite their excellent communication skills, Darren and Sophie might have struggled to reach a firm conclusion without professional guidance – and you might find the same is true in your own life.
If you and your special someone are beginning to combine your finances, we can help you with:
- Investing as a couple
- Making the most of financial allowances given to married couples
- Buying and selling property
- Retirement planning
- Combining your earnings into a united household income.
A financial planner can help you start on the right foot as you and your loved one build a life together.
Get in touch for more guidance on financial planning as a couple
If you want to bring greater clarity to your financial situation, or you know someone who is in a difficult place and needs someone to listen then do contact me for a chat; there’s no obligation and we don’t charge for these conversations. if it’s someone you care about who’s in need of your support, or if you feel that you need advice but would prefer to have someone who’s close to you present then of course we’re always happy to welcome others to join us for a confidential chat.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can ring my office during business hours on 021245 984546. Alternatively you can text me, WhatsApp or ring me direct on 07931 171570.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate cashflow planning.