‘Til death do us part, or ’til debt do us part?
As of the 2011 Census, 48.7 per cent of Australians were married. Once you factor in people that have since separated, divorced or otherwise lost their loved one, only 34.3 per cent of us over the age of 15 have never been married.
It’s a big commitment, and is more than just an emotion- and lifestyle-based one. When you get married, you are also sharing your finances with the one closest to you however, this can put a strain on your relationship.
With recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that there can be as many as 118,000 marriages registered in a single year, we think it’s important that couples get off on the right foot financially once they’re married. So how can you do that?
Set your goals together
If you haven’t done this by the time you get married, then after the honeymoon it might be time to set some long-term financial goals. This might be gathering together money in a savings account for a home loan deposit, or perhaps for another honeymoon further down the line.
Whatever the goal, make sure you work together to determine how you will achieve it. As the Australian government’s Family Relationships site notes, “be willing to negotiate around your differences with respect and generosity. You are not going to get your own way all the time.”
Don’t hide the problems
Relationships Australia often surveys couples about the struggles they face, and one such piece of research revealed that nearly 85 per cent of people think financial problems are likely to split couples up. Meanwhile, approximately 10 per cent think that financial struggles actually keep couples together.
However it impacts your relationship, it’s important to be direct and honest about debts. They could be personal debts from a long time ago or a simple mishandling of finances on one person’s part, but individual debts can become joint debts when you’re a married couple. Clearly communicating any issues and solving them together could be a crucial first step in your married life.
Don’t be afraid to get counselling
We don’t mean marriage counselling – hopefully newlyweds don’t need any of that. What we mean here is financial counselling. Entering married life could mean you have to adopt a different financial outlook, be it saving more ahead of a birth or working more while your significant other perhaps completes a degree or applies for another career role.
A financial counselling service can help you set new, clear goals and find ways to achieve them. It could be just what you need to kickstart your new life together on the right financial footing.
Check your tax status
If you have just registered your marriage, you may need to check up on some tax details too. For example, according to the Australian Taxation Office you might need to supply PAYG statements, foreign income details or child support details that your spouse has.
The same applies for losses on a rental property or superannuation deductions. Doing your taxes is never particularly enjoyable but with the right preparation and the right information, it can be a breeze. Newlyweds should check what they need to change on their taxes. Maybe wait until you’ve had a relaxing honeymoon and holiday though.
Getting married is one of the biggest decision you step into, and it can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and enrichment of each other’s’ lives. On top of that, you can double your buying power when it comes to achieving your financial goals. Once you’ve tied the knot, tie up your financial goals and move forward into a happy future!