The Money Problems You Encounter In Every Relationship, And How To Deal With Them
Let’s face it, talking about money can be super awkward. You know what’s also awkward? Dating. So it’s no wonder the quandary of who pays for the first date is one that we’re still not settled on.
There are no hard and fast rules here. But at the very least, be prepared to pay for anything you order.
Sorting out the bill on the first date can be an interesting indication of how things will play out with finances throughout your relationship. We all have different expectations of how we’ll treat expenses in a relationship. The first date is a good clue as to whether your partner shares those values. No rules, just do you.
How Do You Share The Load?
Again, this is a compatibility question. The best way to settle it is to sit down with your significant other and hash it out. Don’t just take your feelings into account; lay out your finances. What is your income and your expenses? Do either of you have any debts?
There are a bunch of ways to split your expenses. You could go 50/50, or proportionate to income. You could take it in turns: one of you buys groceries one week, one the next.
Just like paying for the first date, there are no hard and fast rules. Communication is key here: no-one wants to feel like they’re being ripped off by their partner.
Generally over the long-term, this might change as your circumstances change. Promotions and job losses, parental leave, heading back to uni – all of these can switch up your income, and how it’s split.
How to split your stuff
Personal admin is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re going through the painful process of ending a relationship. Yet taking action now can prevent pain further down the road.
If your pay was going into a shared account, switch it back to your personal account. If you’ve been paying joint bills, work out whose responsibility they’ll now be and sort out any direct debits.
As for all the stuff you’ve accumulated as a pair, aim for fairness above all else. You might not be married, but if you’re in a de facto relationship many of the principles that apply in the case of a divorce will also be in play here.
The relevant laws weigh the various contributions of a partner when deciding who gets what – including non-monetary contributions like childcare or house work.
Ultimately, communication will help make this process a hell of a lot easier. That’s not easy when you’re going through a break up, but it’s worth a try.
In it for the long haul
Planning a future together
So, you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and they want to spend their life with you, too. Amazing! Perhaps getting married is part of that equation, and if so there are some things to keep in mind.
We’re not here to talk about weddings specifically – spending your life together is about so much more than the wedding day.
If you’re not into the idea of marriage, or if the law excludes you from getting married, that doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from planning your future and working out how to reach your shared financial goals.
Sit down together and get clear on your goals. Make it a date – grab some wine, put some tunes on and get the notebooks out. Want to have kids? Okay, now that you know that, you can both start saving. Like the idea of round the world adventures with your significant other for the rest of your days? Then put your heads together and figure out how you’ll fund it.
If you do get married, it’ll affect your finances. Be sure to create a Will (or update it to reflect your married status), tell your insurance provider and update your super.
Ready to take your relationship to the next level? Let a Westpac Choice joint bank account take you there. It’s perfect for shared expenses and building your life together.