Love can be so beautiful. The first date, shared vacations, the dream wedding, maybe even having children together – and what about your first joint account? That’s something we’d rather not think about: joint finances. How can you raise the subject of keeping an account on your honeymoon? Who should get how much in case of divorce? Maybe we should have drawn up a prenuptial agreement after all? Such matters are rarely considered, or are often postponed.
No matter how in love you are, don’t forget your finances
Even if it is not a priority for the moment, anyone living in a partnership should discuss basic money matters with each other to set the course for a stable financial future. In partnerships, women – unintentionally, but frequently – draw the shorter straw financially: women work part-time more often than men – and this has implications for the couple’s joint finances and for pension planning for women. Especially if the couple has children. To this day, women are sometimes reluctant to take responsibility for long-term financial decisions, and instead leave them to their partner. This is not least because they believe he has greater expertise in the area. At least these are the findings of the UBS Investor Watch study.
Joint financial decisions: a good basis for an equal partnership
According to our study, couples still make only one in 10 long-term financial decisions together. Yet 88% of all women surveyed say that they actually worry less about their financial future if they plan their finances extensively with their partner. And that pays off for both parties: 9 out of 10 women say that couples make fewer mistakes if they tackle their wealth planning with their partner. 9 out of 10 women who are divorced or widowed also admit that they were surprised financially when their marriage ended. Women also tend to invest differently from men – so why leave all the investment decisions to their partners? It pays off to take responsibility for wealth planning in a partnership and to get actively involved – no matter what stage of the relationship you’re in. We’ve put together a list of critical questions here to help you get started.
7 financial topics that couples should discuss together
1. Bank accounts
How many accounts do we want to have for managing our finances: do we want separate accounts and a joint account? What amount should each spouse or partner pay towards the joint household expenses each month?
Who owns how much? Who earns how much? Are there any debts? Which matrimonial property regime (community of acquisitions, community property or separation of property with a marriage contract) makes the most sense for both of us?
What is our household budget like and how do we manage it? How do we divide up the regular costs for the shared apartment, the shared house and other living expenses? What rules do we want to introduce for major purchases? Do we buy items together or do we take it in turns to pay? What counts as a major purchase?
How do we invest our money? Do we invest together or does each person have their own investment strategy?
5. Home ownership
Would we like to buy our own home in the near or distant future? What about a vacation apartment? Will one party inherit property from their parents? What would happen to it?
6. Insurance and pension planning
How are we insured? How are we covered in the event of disability or death of the partner? What pension benefits will we receive in old age? If one party can contribute less to the household for a while when children arrive, who will fill the gaps? Is there a power of attorney in place?
How does getting married affect our tax situation? How much tax do we have to pay? What does home financing mean in terms of taxes? What are the tax implications of our pension?
An unexpected windfall – what would we do with it?
“What would you do if we suddenly had a million francs to invest?” Before you get down to serious financial issues, it’s also worth discussing a question like this together, purely hypothetically. Because this is where crucial attitudes come to light: how does my partner handle money? What wishes and dreams does he have? Are we compatible? What’s more, it allows couples who don’t otherwise talk about money to approach the topic in a less serious way.