Discuss finances with your loved one

19 February 2013

Put the dinner in the oven and the accounts on the table - because tonight you're going to run a fine-tooth comb through your finances in a bare-all, economic showdown.

OK, fine, enjoy dinner and spare the monetary blushes for now. But don't put it off for long, because a couple talking through their finances is often overlooked and can lead to emotional - and financial - ruin.

1. Open up

There's no point in even talking about it if you're both not going to be completely honest about your finances. Be clear about what you've got coming in, where it's going and if you've got any substantial debts or savings that could steer your discussion.

It's also worth mentioning any extraordinary expenses that could affect your bank balance in the future, such as investments, inheritance or a penchant for vintage cars.

2. Budget together

Once everything's out in the open, you need to talk about the future. If you decide to keep your finances as separate as possible, that's fine, but even then you will need to discuss who pays for what. How are the bills going to be split?

If possible, share the responsibility for any mortgages or debts, so nobody feels like they have to shoulder a greater burden.

How to write a budget

3. Discuss the future

While your cards are on the table, you might as well talk about the inevitable. If you're married, your spouse will be your next of kin.

However, if you are not married, it's important to discuss what will happen if one of you dies, because your relationship will not be legally recognised.

Make sure you have your wills in order and discuss whether your life insurance is sufficient to ensure one of you can live comfortably without the other – paying off the mortgage, for example.

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