Financial Planning
Couples need to talk money

New research from Westpac shows couples are struggling to discuss their financial matters.

Westpac's Finance and Separation report shows that choosing to avoid discussions about their finances is a recurring theme among couples who have - or are considering - separation.

According to the report, couples who rarely speak about their finances are more likely to report not being in a financially healthy position.

Westpac financial expert Kate Holloway said Australians need to have more open conversations about money, noting informed people are in a better position to deal with their finances regardless of the status of their relationship.

She added couples who spoke regularly about their finances were more "financially compatible" and noted 43% of Australians in committed relationships were having those discussions.

"Being informed is empowering and puts you in a much better position for success, no matter what relationship stage you are in," Holloway said.

"Planning a future with someone you love is, in many cases, as much a financial commitment as a personal one.

"From discussing how to manage joint finances to making sure you're staying on top of your account balances - there are practical considerations every couple should discuss."

Westpac's report also highlights people are unsure of their finances when separating from their partner, with 65% saying they "didn't know where to start. The bank suggested not knowing where to begin might be why 58% of people considering a separation procrastinate looking into their financial matters.

"Negotiating the financial side of separation can be complicated, and seem incredibly overwhelming during an already tough time," Holloway said.

"Our research reveals that two thirds (65%) of those considering a separation were hesitant to go through with it due to the fear of having to financially start over.

"So should the unfortunate happen, and you decide to separate, having a strong understanding of your finances can allow you to navigate your financial situation quickly, which can have significant benefits."

For couples separating, the bank said it paid to begin working on their finances as early as possible, given 84% of people who finalised their separation going on to achieve something financially significant within a year of their separation. The bank said 28% of people paid off their debts, while 33% had sorted out their finances within the year.

Read more: FinanceSeparationWestpacKate HollowayPlanning
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