Are you getting the most out of your financial plan as a couple? If you are both working, your combined income may automatically exceed that of a single person. Yet money can also bring problems; in particular, it is the issue that couples are most likely to argue about.
Money, in short, can be a two-edged sword for couples. However, with a robust financial plan which unites you both together, this can be transformed into a precise tool which cuts through the obstacles to your joint financial goals.
Below, our Carlisle financial planners offer a short guide to financial planning for couples in 2023-24. We hope these insights are useful to you. Please contact us for more information or to speak with a financial adviser:
t: 01228 210 137`
e: [email protected]
Communication, communication, communication
Around 44% of British adults avoid talking to their partner about money. Many do not know exactly what their partner earns or how they spend their money. It seems that the subject is taboo for many couples.
Perhaps some individuals feel unsafe to talk to their partner about money. The subject of joint accounts can be particularly sensitive as this involves being financially vulnerable with each other. If there are different attitudes to money in the relationship, or disparities in earning power, then the issue can be even trickier.
Despite the challenges, however, the evidence shows that couples are generally happier if they are open and honest with each other about money. The discussion helps you to learn from one another and overcome financial problems as a team. It gives you greater insight into your loved one’s mind – how they view and value money – opening the chance for deeper intimacy.
One good place to start is to create a budgeting plan together, suiting both of you as much as possible. From there, you can grow more confident towards crafting a joint financial plan which moves you both towards longer-term goals.
Establishing mutual goals
Do you both have the same vision of the future? Do you both want children? Where do you want to live and how do you want to spend your time (e.g. in retirement)? It is unlikely that there will be a perfect alignment between the two of you on these questions. Yet you should be able to identify some core, shared goals that excite both of you.
Having one or two financial goals will give you a joint sense of purpose – something you can work towards as a couple. From here, you can start to discuss other important questions about how to achieve them. For instance, how much should you save and how should you invest? Maybe you need to relocate to access better employment and/or property options.
Talking about tax
You will make more efficient progress towards your shared financial goals if you both optimise your tax plans. This puts more of your hard-earned income and investment returns back into your own pockets. Couples, in particular, have an advantage over single people on this subject.
Take the capital gains tax (CGT) allowance (the Annual Exemption). In 2023-24, this lets an individual earn up to £6,000 from capital gains without facing tax. Your partner is also entitled to his/her own Annual Exemption.
So, combined you could earn up to £12,000 in tax-free capital gains. Moreover, if you are in a marriage or a civil partnership, you can also transfer assets between you – allowing you to maximise the other person’s tax-free allowances if you have already fully used your own.
The importance of a backup plan
We all hope that our relationships will last for a long, happy and healthy time. Yet none of us knows what the future holds. Perhaps one of you gets seriously sick or injured in an accident. Maybe one you dies prematurely or you separate. These are not happy scenarios to think about, but having a plan for them will help you both cope if they transpire.
One of the easiest areas to start this discussion is your will. Having your own will helps to ensure that your property, possessions and assets go to the right people, in the right manner and timing, when you die. This is even more important if you are not in a civil partnership or marriage, since the surviving partner is not automatically entitled to the deceased’s estate.
If your finances are closely entwined, it is a good idea to consider your protection plan as a couple – especially if you have dependents (e.g. young children). Options to explore here include life insurance, income protection, critical illness cover and private medical insurance. These policies can help your household to maintain financial stability if someone is unable to work due to a medical condition, or pass away.
If you would like to discuss your financial plan and retirement strategy, then we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with your Financial Planner here at Vesta Wealth in Cumbria, Teesside and across the North of England.
Reach us via:
t: 01228 210 137
e: [email protected]
This content is for information purposes only. It should not be taken as financial or investment advice. To receive personalised, regulated financial advice regarding your affairs please consult your Financial Planner here at Vesta Wealth in Cumbria, Teesside and across the North of England.