If you’re married or in a long-term relationship, talking honestly about money is a high priority.
Your money should be a tool for you and your spouse or partner to live the kind of lifestyle you want, and so discussing your finances openly with one another is inevitably going to play a role in your ability to achieve your goals.
This is especially important when you consider how much of an issue money can be for couples. In fact, according to figures from marriage and relationship website Marriage.com, finances are the number one cause of stress in a marriage, with another study finding money issues to be the third-leading cause in all divorces.
Read on to discover three key reasons for why it can be so useful to talk about money with your spouse or partner.
1. Financial difficulties can negatively affect your relationship
The first reason that you should talk about money is to prevent it from causing issues in your relationship.
According to a study by insurance provider Aviva, two in five people in the UK admit to so-called “financial infidelity”, with 38% of people having secret accounts that their partners don’t know about.
Of these individuals, 15% even admitted that they had this money to pay off debt that they had concealed from their partner.
Most worryingly of all, the Aviva study highlights how money can cause friction between couples:
- 26% of couples said they argue about money at least once a week
- 5% said they argue about money every day
- 27% of people argue about bills
- 18% argue over having too much debt.
Meanwhile, having open, constructive conversations about your wealth could be the first steps in preventing money from becoming an issue between you.
This gives you the space to talk about any financial problems you’re facing in an open, judgement-free way, and help you to find solutions so these complications don’t hold you back.
2. Planning together can help you make the most of your money
A key benefit of talking about money as a couple is it can actually help you to plan and make the most of the wealth you have.
For example, there are certain allowances and exemptions that can benefit couples in particular, such as the:
- Marriage Allowance
- ISA allowance
- Capital Gains Tax (CGT) exempt amount
Below are details of each of these, and how planning for your wealth together can help you make the most of them.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, you can make use of the Marriage Allowance to transfer part of your Personal Allowance (that is, the threshold of income you can earn before tax is due) to your spouse or civil partner.
To be able to make use of the Marriage Allowance, one of you must not pay Income Tax or have income below the Personal Allowance, which currently stands at £12,570 in 2022/23. Meanwhile, the individual receiving the unused Personal Allowance must pay Income Tax at the basic rate, meaning their income must be between £12,270 and £50,270.
You can transfer £1,260 of Personal Allowance from the lower earner to the higher earner, saving up to £252 in tax each year. While this isn’t a huge amount on its own, it can still contribute towards making you more tax-efficient overall as a couple.
ISAs are tax-efficient saving and investment accounts. Depending on the type of ISA you choose, you can save money as cash or invest it in a range of assets. Any money held within an ISA is then entirely free from Income Tax, CGT, and Dividend Tax.
The amount you can hold in ISAs is restricted by the ISA allowance, limiting how much you can contribute to these tax-efficient accounts each tax year. But crucially, this counts for each adult, meaning you and your spouse or partner each have an ISA allowance you can make use of.
In the 2022/23 tax year, the ISA allowance is £20,000, and it will remain at this level in 2023/24. So, if you and your spouse or partner each hold money or investments in ISAs in your own names, you can tax-efficiently save or invest up to £40,000 between you.
CGT exempt amount
The CGT exempt amount allows you to realise tax-free gains from non-ISA investments.
Just as with the ISA allowance, the CGT exempt amount counts for every adult. That means if you and your partner each hold investments in your own names, you could both make use of the exemption, essentially doubling your tax-free threshold for realising gains.
In the 2022/23 tax year, the exemption is £12,300, although this is set to fall to £6,000 in April 2023, and £3,000 in April 2024.
So, with this exemption to fall by more than half this year, and again later down the line, it underlines the importance of planning together to make the most of it.
3. You can target your goals together
Perhaps the biggest benefit of all of being open and talking about money with your spouse or partner is that it can allow you to discuss your goals for the future.
Ultimately, this is what financial planning is about: using your wealth to live your desired lifestyle. But, if you and your spouse or partner don’t discuss your money, how do you target your desired lifestyle? And what if you each have certain goals you want to meet but have never told one another about them?
By talking about money, you can organise and make decisions about your wealth together, with your individual and joint goals in mind.
This brings two advantages with it:
- It can focus your decisions with your money, refining the choices you make so they go to target these goals.
- Both of you can be satisfied that your individual goals are treated as equally important, working together to ensure that you each get to do what will bring you the most fulfilment in life.
An open and honest dialogue over money is perhaps the most sensible way to ensure that you’re both on the same financial page, working together to achieve your targets.
Get in touch
If you’d like help creating a financial plan that works for you and your spouse or partner, please do speak to us at Cordiner Wealth.
Email email@example.com or call 0113 262 1242 to get in touch with us today.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.