Our life, my money

Many cou­ples like to keep fi­nances separate, writes

The Western Star - - MONEY SAVER - So­phie Elsworth

FAIL­URE to trust a part­ner’s spend­ing habits and lack of pri­vacy are the key driv­ers be­hind those in com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ships choos­ing to fly solo with their fi­nances.

Fi­nan­cial heartache can rip cou­ples apart but new find­ings show seven out 10 Aus­tralians who are loved-up, do share bank ac­counts.

But de­spite this plenty of cou­ples choose to keep their fi­nances off lim­its from one an­other.

New re­search by fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion ME, which quizzed 2000 cus­tomers on their at­ti­tudes to­wards shar­ing their hard-earned cash, found:

■ Of those in re­la­tion­ships, 71 per cent have a joint trans­ac­tion ac­count.

■ Of those with separate fi­nances, 36 per cent want fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence, 13 per cent want pri­vacy and 11 per cent don’t trust their part­ner’s spend­ing habits.

Tribeca Fi­nan­cial’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ryan Wat­son said to help re­la­tion­ships flour­ish it’s “re­ally im­por­tant” cou­ples are on the same “fi­nan­cial page”.

“We ad­vise our clients to set up a cash­flow struc­ture which pools money for house­hold bills and gen­eral ex­pen­di­ture while main­tain­ing separate bank ac­counts for each part­ner for their own dis­cre­tionary spend­ing,’’ he said. “It provides for the best of both worlds.”

Mr

Wat­son said from his ex­pe­ri­ences, clients who share com­mon mone­tary at­ti­tudes have an im­proved fi­nan­cial well­be­ing.

The key events in a cou­ple’s re­la­tion­ship that trig­ger the need to com­bine fi­nances and open a joint ac­count in­clude ty­ing the knot (52 per cent), mov­ing in to­gether (19 per cent) and pur­chas­ing a home

(17 per cent).

ME Bank’s spokesman Matthew Read said join­ing fi­nances is more prac­ti­cal for many cou­ples rather than keep­ing cash separate.

“It’s eas­ier to track spend­ing and man­age bud­gets but the down­side of that is one per­son tends to take con­trol and the other per­son ends up hav­ing noth­ing to do with it,’’ he said. “The other per­son suf­fers; they don’t know what goes on and they don’t learn any­thing about money.”

Mr Read said a good al­ter­na­tive is for cou­ples to share their main bank ac­counts but to also main­tain a separate trans­ac­tion ac­count.

“You can hive off each month with what you are al­lowed to spend and then that gives you the in­de­pen­dence that peo­ple some­times want,’’ he said.

But it ap­pears many do get the guilts when spend­ing – 38 per cent of those who join their fi­nances feel bad when they spend money from their ac­counts for their own pur­poses.

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