Sally McMullen is Finder's credit cards and frequent flyer editor by day and a music maven by night. Her byline can be spotted on Yahoo Finance, Dynamic Business, Financy and Mamamia as well as Music Feeds and Rolling Stone.
Couples and their finances
How involved are Australians when it comes to marrying their money?
Like everything else in our lives, we're more in tune with our personal finances than any other point in history. So, when it comes to having a special someone, it might be assumed that we're just as open to the idea of a joint bank account.
As it turns out, 1 in 3 Australian (or 36 percent) couples prefer flying solo when it comes to their hard-earned cash.
finder.com.au recently compiled a survey of 1,043 Australians, which asked them about their money habits and how likely they were to open a joint bank account or credit card with their other half. Here are the key findings from our survey.
Across the board, we're not very open with our money at all
Only 1 in 5 couples have a shared savings account that they regularly use with their partner. The official statistic is closer to 21 percent, but that's still a pretty dismal figure. We're not much better with joint credit cards either – only 1 in 4 (a sound 25%) of Aussies partners shared their plastic. If we're saying I do about anything, it doesn't look like it's about our finances.
Which states have the most loved-up joint accounts?
Ranked by shared bank accounts, the list is as follows:
- Queensland: 52 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 27 percent shared a credit card
- Western Australia: 42 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 28 percent shared a credit card
- New South Wales: 40 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 25 percent shared a credit card
- Victoria: 40 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 27 percent shared a credit card
- South Australia: 38 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 19 percent shared a credit card
- Australian Capital Territory: 33 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 28 percent shared a credit card
- Tasmania: 21 percent of couples had a shared bank account, while 17 percent shared a credit card
Which generations are most open with their money?
The findings revealed that Baby Boomers were the most likely to share a bank account, at 51 percent of couples. Only 31 percent had a joint credit card. Gen X were next up, with 39 percent having a joint bank account and 25 percent having a shared credit card. Gen Y came in at most financially independent, with only 29 percent having a shared bank account. Just 15 percent of them had a shared credit card.
While there are certainly benefits to having a shared account, the statistics are also driving home a key point: tying your finances to someone else is going to be risky. Like most other aspects of a relationship, it's going to take a lot of trust, require a level of empathy and will almost certainly lead to at least one argument during the lifespan of the coupling. Luckily, there are some key ways to minimise this risk.
Tips for minimising financial fall-out
While it's never going to be perfect – again, just like everything else in your relationship – it's certainly possible to keep the boat sailing calmly for as long as possible. Here are some of our key tips for managing joint accounts – and money in general:
- Communication is key. Constantly and openly discuss your financial goals and progress to ensure you both remain on the same savings route.
- Create a budget. Monitor your spending; separate requirement costs from luxury costs. While it’s important to consider areas you can save in, it’s also important to allow yourselves some ‘play’ money. Being too strict can result in arguments that have the ability to prevent your joint savings from succeeding.
- Establish a deposit habit. Decide on a set amount you’ll both deposit per week, fortnight or month. Determining a set amount can increase motivation to reach savings goals.
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