Separate bank accounts? Shared property? Find out how to successfully manage your money.

Money management tips for couples - Women's Health & Fitness

Step 1. Be brutally honest with each other

Step one's not fun, but it's a solid foundation and will serve you for years.

Have 'the talk'
First discuss your relationship goals so you know whether you're on the same page about that trip to Corsica. If he's making his own lunches to fund a man cave, one of you will be disappointed.

Audit your accounts
It's icky to admit you spent $10k on clothes last year, but to get a handle on where your dosh is going you need to be (brutally) honest. Tally your wages, savings, separate and shared assets (and any passive income) and debts. Then visit those goals – the big wedding and private school – knowing what you've got to work with.  

Budget together
Just because he wouldn't miss drycleaning doesn't mean you have to go to work wrinkled. It's worth having a clear picture of what you will and won't sacrifice on shared time. Save a barney when he refuses to rent that holiday house. (What's the point when you'll only be watching the cricket?)

Elect a leader
Failing to formalise who's going to handle finance matters like mortgage repayments and day-to-day needs means things can slip through the cracks. It can also lead to resentment if one of you is shelling out a bigger piece of the pie.

Step 2: Get it together

Bring your cashola into line with your goals and lifestyle.

•    Put both names on services like electricity and gas, to ensure you share the responsibility.  
•    Put both names on the mortgage or Land Rover loan.  
•    Make sure your name’s only on a loan that’s genuinely mutual. You don’t want to be liable for payments on a motorised hangglider. A joint loan doesn’t always mean you’re only up for half the debt if your beau defaults.
•    Make a will (or revise the one you made when you were dating that surfer dude).

Step 3: Economise

Many things work out cheaper for two than one.

•    Couples’ health insurance may work out to be less expensive per head than individual policies.  
•    Ask your boss to pay part of your super to hubby or de facto (say, a five-four per cent split). You may be able to claim a tax deduction for the four per cent you don't see.

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