Ten money issues you should discuss with your partner

2013-08-07 10:00

Talking to your partner about money is usually uncomfortable for women, but there are some discussions you have to have

Type of marriage agreement?

1 Get advice and make sure you understand the financial implications of your marriage contract – especially in terms of your partner’s debt.

Does he have a budget and stick to it?

2 This will give you an idea of his attitude towards money and whether you are involved with a spendthrift or hoarder. Also use this opportunity to discuss how you both contribute to the household finances.

Does he have sufficient risk cover?

3 Men have a sense of invincibility and some hate the idea of someone profiting from their death, but if you rely on him financially or have children, this is a non-negotiable. Even if you are financially independent, who will cover his income if he is unable to work?

How much debt does he have and why?

4 This will give you an idea of his money-management skills, but is important as his debt could leave you financially vulnerable. If his debt is out of hand, help him to find a way to get it under control. Let him know being financially secure is sexier than the latest BMW.

What is his credit rating?

5 This will affect your ability to buy a home together. If he has a poor credit record, you may not qualify for a home loan. Again, use this opportunity to work together to get your finances in order.

Where does he see himself in five years?

6 Are these in line with your ambitions? It is far easier to reach your goals if you share them with your partner. This could be paying off the house in 10 years or taking a year-long sabbatical.

Does he have savings?

7 You don’t want a partner whose only emergency fund is his credit card. What happens if he loses his job? Is he making sufficient provision for retirement? If you are a stay-at-home mum, is that retirement provision enough to support you in retirement?

Separate accounts or joint accounts?

8 A woman should always have her own bank account into which her salary is paid as joint accounts get frozen when the principal holder dies. You may, however, want to have a joint bank account for household expenses.

Does he have a valid will?

9 Make sure he has updated his will to include you and that everything isn’t about to be left to his mother! It is always best to have an adviser draw up your wills together so you make the most of the tax provisions.

Does he support children?

10 A lot can be said about a man who looks after his children – it sets a good precedent. But also be aware this obligation needs to be included in his budget, and it will also have ramifications for estate planning and the pension fund.

– additional information by Natasja Norval Hart, member of the Financial Planning Institute

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