At some point in your relationship, chances are you might end up talking about sharing money. Every couple is different, but here are some tips to make sure it's right for both of you.

A few facts to know

Even if you have a strong relationship, there are still some important details to consider before joining finances. Money Smart's guide to relationships and money makes some key points:

  • If your partner defaults on a joint loan, you may have to pay for the whole amount – even after your relationship ends.
  • If a utility bill is solely in your name, it’s your responsibility to pay it.
  • You need to think realistically before becoming a guarantor on your partner’s loan. If they can’t repay it, you may have to.
  • You’re liable for any papers that you sign, so make sure you read through everything before you move forward.

To share or not to share?

A shared bank account is a big step in your relationship, so it’s important to discuss what type of account will suit you best and seek financial advice if need be.

You might decide that you want an everyday account to help budget and manage your funds. Or, you might want a savings account or term deposit to earn interest to help you get to a savings goal.

Merging accounts

If you decide to close your individual bank accounts, you’ll want to get in touch with all the companies you have automatic debits or deposits with, and give yourself enough time to move these over.

Another account to merge might be your health insurance. As always, it’s a good idea to seek financial advice before making these decisions.

Credit cards

A credit card can be a great idea if you both have similar financial goals. Before you rush into this, have a think about what you’ll actually need it for.

You can read about adding an additional cardholder to your credit card account here.

Debts and loans

Sharing finances often means making joint decisions about managing your debts. It also means having honest discussions about current loans, as well as your spending and saving habits – good and bad.

If you have assets and investments you want to protect, it may be worth entering a binding financial agreement (BFA), also known as a prenup.

A wedding budget that works for you

For many couples in Australia, getting married is one of the most exciting events in their lives. But as every celebration is different, your best approach is to think realistically.

This starts with setting a budget that’s built around you. You don’t want to drain your savings, go into debt or compromise any other financial goals, such as buying a home.

From the engagement ring to the reception, the costs of a wedding can stack up. But there are many ways to boost your funds too, such as financial contributions from parents and gift donations from friends.

To get a more detailed overview, it’s worth reading our article on budgeting for weddings. After considering everything, you might find that a personal loan for your wedding can help you check off your wedding planning list and achieve your dream day.

Buying, renting and merging your homes

When it comes to buying a home, a big consideration will be investing in a mortgage. How much you contribute to this will often depend on how much you’re earning.

During the process, you might find it’s something you’re better off doing separately, or that renting is the better option until your finances are in better shape.

If you’re already a homeowner, you might consider renovations as a way of starting your life together. With the right budget in place – or a personal loan to help you out – it could be more cost-effective than buying a new home.

Having kids together

According to recent estimates, the minimum cost of raising a child in Australia starts from $140 a week1. However, it’s also been estimated that the average, middle-class Australian family will spend more than $406,000 on each child, from birth through to finishing school1.

It’s clear that having kids is a major financial consideration. From pre-natal costs and navigating parental leave, to upsizing your house and paying for childcare – there’s a lot to consider.

Important Information

1 New estimates of the costs of raising children in Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 17 April 2018.

The information contained in this article is correct as of July 2018 and is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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