In a relationship, you will likely know your partner inside and out, from their interests to their dislikes, and their life goals. But how much do you know about their finances? For most couples, having the “money talk” and talking about debt, spending habits and savings is not an easy task.
In Malaysia, there were more than 50,000 divorces in 2018, with couples citing financial problems as a cause*. Across the world as well, couples say that money issues are the biggest cause of stress in their relationships**.
Finding a way to manage your finances that suits both of you is essential for a strong and happy relationship. But how do you even start the conversation?
Here are some considerations that can help.
How should we split the household bills?
Whether you’re moving on to the next stage of your relationship, or planning a wedding, you might want to decide who will be responsible for settling monthly household bills and who will pay for repairs, car loans or the mortgage.
How much should we save and invest for the future?
Talk about your income and the things you want to save for, such as children, furthering your education or yearly vacations. You can also talk about how to best invest for your future - whether it is Unit Trusts, buying assets and more.
Having this conversation can help you and your partner make a savings plan that works for all of your goals.
We’ll soon face everything together, so let’s see if we have debts
PTPTN loans, personal loans and credit card debt - marrying your partner can mean marrying their debt as well. Now is a good time to discuss what debts you and your partner have and work out a plan to manage them.
Talk about each other's spending habits too, and see if there's anything that can be improved for your new life together.
Should we open a joint account? What do you think?
You share much more when you're married, and that can include bank accounts. Talk to your partner about whether you'll set up a joint account and how much money you both should contribute into the account.
If you decide to set up a joint account, discuss what type of account is best for your future. You can opt for a current account that offers good interest rate with an overdraft facility that you can fall back on should the need arise.
What are your career plans and how can I support them?
Your jobs and your joint finances go hand-in-hand. Talk about career plans and any changes (such as a promotion or a relocation) that might come up in the future. These will affect your income, expenses and spending habits.
Your joint finances are part of your marriage and life together as a couple, so be sure to keep discussing your finances throughout your marriage. You can start by sharing this article with your partner.
This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy among Malaysians. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve our well-being. This, in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.