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Hot off the heels of Valentine’s Day, I thought it might be a good idea to ask this controversial question.

When couples first fall in love, they often see the world through rose-tinted glasses. But as the honeymoon period ends, real-life – and the complications that come with building a life together – catches up with them. There are questions of practicality that creep in and sometimes pour cold water on love’s embrace. This is how many people feel about discussing money matters and financial wellbeing together.

But with the right approach and an experienced planner as a guide, you can overcome some of the commonly held misconceptions and get back on track.

What would I advocate for Valentines this year? Most definitely, a sound financial plan.

Codependent or coordinated?

Whether out of fear or independence, more couples today are choosing to keep their own assets separate. When they start to build a financial plan, they may choose to take advice separately too.

As an experienced Financial Planner, I always feel that advice should be provided on a joint basis to make sure you don’t miss out on beneficial tax planning, using all allowances available.

“Couples” doesn’t necessarily refer to married pairs: any partnership, from unmarried couples to those that have children from previous relationships, can benefit from joint financial planning.

Clients often say that they like to keep their own affairs separate. But joint financial planning doesn’t mean that you cannot still have your own savings, bank account, income kept separately and your own risk profile. It simply helps to identify all possible benefits and savings, not just for you both during your lifetime, but for your beneficiaries who receive your legacy.

What are the benefits of joint financial planning?

As I have mentioned, joint financial planning doesn’t mean joining all of your finances together into one big melting pot. It means understanding what income, expenditure, assets and liabilities that you both have, so that we can work with you both to formulate the best plan. It’s ensuring that you don’t pay unnecessary taxes that could be avoided by utilising all allowances available to you both. Most importantly, it’s about helping you to achieve your financial goals – both as individuals and as a couple.

Financial planning as a couple is a journey where we understand what you both want to achieve, and help you to navigate through this together. Sometimes difficult questions need to be asked, but the more honesty in the meeting, the better the outcome. Your financial planner can take any of the emotion out of this, helping you to take a pragmatic approach.

So, what might I ask?

To be able to prepare a bespoke plan that meets my clients’ needs, it is vital to understand what has been saved or invested, and what pension plans exist and what do they want to do with any wealth or income they accumulate as a result. As part of building a financial plan, questions arise that can only be answered with a coordinated approach:

  • Do you know if you will both have enough money in retirement, if it is all kept separately?
  • Do you know if you could look after your partner if they need around-the-clock care, or lost their job due to illness?
  • Would one of you prefer to gift assets to the children now, but the other wants to have control of their money during their lifetime?
  • Do you have a point by which you would like to have paid off your joint mortgage so that you can embark on other things, or pursue a hobby you have put on hold? Could paying this off early form part of the plan?
  • Would your family know what your plans and intentions were for your estate if you and your partner both died suddenly?

With sound financial planning, all of these sometimes-daunting circumstances can be covered. It is nothing to be feared or fought against.

We know that nothing is more constant than change. None of us can predict life events that come our way, that may interrupt the journey that we thought we had mapped out. But if you have a plan in place, then these obstacles will have been accounted for – and even more so if they have been planned together, meaning that you can each take comfort that the other is less likely to be facing a future with fewer hidden surprises.

Now, wouldn’t that be the best gift you could give your loved one for Valentine’s Day next year?

 

Disclaimer
This communication is prepared for general circulation and is intended to provide information only. It is not intended to be construed as a solicitation for the sale of any particular investment or as investment advice and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation, and particular needs of any person to whom it is presented. Tax treatment will depend upon individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.

Please also note that the value of investments, and / or the income from them, can fall as well as rise so you could get back less than you invested. The past performance of an investment should not be relied upon as a guide to its future performance. Unless indicated otherwise, comment and opinion in this publication is based on HMRC’s tax regulations for 2020/21 tax year and future proposals.

This communication has been approved and issued by Punter Southall Wealth.

 

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