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Spend Carefully

How to manage money with your partner

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-03-10 00:00

Estimated reading time
9 min

In this article

  • Learn the 3 main discussion points to talk about
  • How to set a goal together
  • Ways to maximise your superannuation
  • Tips for living off one income

So, you’ve found your person hey? Maybe you’ve got a dog together, or a few adorable kids.

Perhaps you’re saving for a holiday, or a new house. Regardless of your life stage, when you’re in a committed relationship, talking about (and planning for) the future of your money matters.

Below is a simple guide to 3 of the main discussion points you may need to talk about.

1. Goal planning for couples

What exciting thing do you want to achieve together? Each goal could be big or small, long-term or short-term. Whatever your goal, it helps to make it SMART. That is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

Think about potential scenarios (and what you would do if they occurred)

Once you’ve outlined your goals, consider the scenarios that might impact your ability to achieve them. This could include personal financial changes such as a raise or pay-cut, or external impacts such as a recession.

For example, let’s say one of your goals is to buy a house in the next 12 months. Some scenarios could include things such as:

  • Property prices falling
  • Property prices rising
  • You get a raise at work
  • You, or your partner, become unemployed.

Make sure you’re ready

Before jumping in and making your goals happen, you might want to review your savings plan and budget to see if they align – and make any adjustments if needed.

In the context of the example above, this might mean checking with your banker to ensure you’re saving enough for both a house deposit and an emergency fund (just in case!).

Use our Savings Calculator

Use our Budget Calculator

2. Superannuation

You might be in a position where your partner is a stay-at-home parent or working part-time. If your partner is a low-income earner or doesn’t work at all, making contributions to their super can be a smart financial move. Not only will you be growing your super together, but you may also be able to take advantage of a tax offset and maximise the amount you can hold across both super funds.

There are certain eligibility requirements you and/or your partner will have to meet. And you should be aware that how much you can contribute, as well as the tax offset you will receive, can differ. For more information and to check your eligibility, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.1

As a brief summary - you have two options when it comes to making contributions to your partner’s super: personal spouse contributions and contributions splitting.

Spouse contributions

You can boost your partner’s super by making personal contributions on their behalf. These are considered after-tax (or non-concessional) contributions, meaning they count towards your partner’s non-concessional contributions cap.

Contributions splitting

Contributions splitting is another way to grow your partner’s super. Not only does it help boost the amount sitting in your partner’s super account, but it can also benefit you if your super balance is set to exceed the individual limit.

You can split up to 85% of your before-tax (or concessional) super contributions with your partner. Before-tax contributions include superannuation contributions made by your employer, as well as salary sacrifice contributions. They can also cover any voluntary superannuation contributions you’ve claimed as a tax deduction.

Carefully consider what is right for you. For more information about how these options work – including information about eligibility, benefits and limitations, please click here.

3. Living off one income

Learning to live on a reduced household income right now? There are some steps you can take to make this new situation work best for you and your partner.

Review your finances

Take a moment to reset and review your current financial situation together. Begin by getting an overview of your total income and expenses to figure out your household’s cash flow.

You could do some good old-fashioned spreadsheeting. Or, you could use our Plan Your Spend tool or ANZ Spendi in the ANZ App. Alternatively, try logging into your online bank account to get a record of your transactions.

Revise your budget

Significant life events for your household, or a ‘new normal’, means finding new ways to manage money. Discuss with your partner where you might cut costs to find quick wins. Can any expenses you’ve listed be reduced or removed?

You might consider the following ways to cut living costs: 

  • Asking for reduced rent or mortgage repayments
  • Contacting your electricity, gas and water provider to ask if you’re eligible for a utility rebate or enquiring about applying for financial hardship assistance
  • Cancelling or consolidating unused subscriptions
  • Placing a cap on takeout meals and entertainment per month

While this isn’t a comprehensive guide for managing your money in a relationship, it’s a starting point to get you and your partner thinking about your finances, together. And it may help you to start setting financial expectations, including financial goals for the short and long term. 

To get an in-depth breakdown on planning your budget, check out our Financial Wellbeing Check-In guide

How to manage money with your partner
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The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

1. Taxation law is complex and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.