Essential financial planning for couples

Moving in together is a big step, but it’s more involved than just picking up your partners clothes from where they left them on the floor.  Talking about how you’ll manage your finances as a couple is integral.

According to Rita Cool, Certified Financial Planner from Alexander Forbes Financial Planning Consultants, it is important for a couple to discuss and define their financial goals and objectives. Once this has been done a couple can find ways to work together to ensure that they reach their goals.

Cool explains that relationships are complex, and says “add money to the mix and things can get even more tricky”. “Be open and honest with your partner about how you are currently managing your money. This is important, especially if you intend to have joint ownership of property and assets outside of marriage. If you are not married it is advisable to consult a lawyer to draft a ‘cohabitation agreement’.”

This will outline important information about the structure of the financial side of the relationship. The agreement will also make allowance for children, the untimely death or disability of a partner and even though you may not want to think about it, what will happen should the relationship not work out.

If you are getting married you need to decide which marriage regime you are going to use for example in community of property or anti nuptial contract with or without accrual.The way you set it up will affect your financial affairs for as long as you are together and you could be held liable for your spouse’s debts if you are married in community.

As a couple you’ve set your financial goals, but it is just as important for you to have your own personal financial goals, even though you are in a relationship. “Maintaining financial independence helps, especially if the relationship ends or a marriage dissolves by death or divorce,” says Cool.

She suggests trying to maintain your financial independence outside the relationship. “If you are married you should try to have a personal budget that is separate from the household budget, because in that way, you are able to attain your personal financial goals.”

“Always remember that any life changes such as marriage or divorce are important times to meet with, and review your financial planning, with your financial adviser.”



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