1. How well do we manage our money?
Are bills always paid by the due date or do you often incur late payment fees? Do you plan ahead for big expenses or panic when the car rego bill arrives in the mail? It's vital that all couples have a household budget and if you don't already have one, there are many online calculators that can assist.
2. Are we both up to speed on the finances?
While it's okay for one spouse to be in charge of processing the bills, you should both be fully across your finances. It’s important to keep each other in the loop, so you both have a clear picture of the money situation. Be open and honest with each other about the finances and never try to hide debts from your partner.
3. Do we both have enough financial independence?
Most couples tend to have a joint bank account for expenses, such as the mortgage and household bills, because it's more convenient. However one of the downsides of having all the money in one pot is that you or your partner may feel like you've lost your financial independence. For that reason, some people like to keep individual accounts for personal spending.
4. Are we stressed about money?
Many people worry about how they would cope financially if their partner passed away or became sick or injured. Much of that stress can be alleviated by having the right insurances in place. If you're on a tight budget, remember you can access low cost income protection and life insurance through your superannuation without affecting your cash flow.
5. How do we like to invest?
Whether you're considering property, shares or term deposits, investment returns really do vary according to the ups and downs of the market. As a general rule though, the higher the potential for growth, the higher the risk. Before making any investment decisions, it's vital for couples to first understand their tolerance to risk.
6. What are our goals in life?
It's important for couples to set short, medium and long-term financial goals. One of the most important short-term goals should be paying off any high interest debt, such as credit cards. For the longer term, discuss whether you want to own your own home, be able to afford private education for your children and live a comfortable retirement. You're more likely to have a happy future together if you share similar goals in life.
Dianne Charman is an AMP financial planner and mother of two.
Dianne Charman is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706. Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.
To find your nearest AMP financial planner visit www.amp.com.au/findaplanner.