Think beyond the romance this Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re tying the knot, planning to propose, or declaring your passion for the very first time, February 14 is often a game-changer in the love stakes.

But finding your soulmate doesn’t always mean your financial situations and aspirations are in sync.

Debts or a poor credit rating can be an indicator of financial patterns that will continue to dog your future together.  And at worst you can find yourself saddled with your spouse’s or de facto’s debts long after the relationship has ended.

So, what do you need to be wary of when you’re meshing your financial future with someone?

Number one: understand that you will be 100 per cent liable for any joint debts if you don’t make the repayments. If repayments are not made on a joint mortgage or credit card, the lender can take action against either party and require them to pay back the full amount; and there can be other ways you can be left seriously out of pocket when a relationship ends.

Car loans

If your partner has a poor credit rating you may agree to take out a car loan in your name while the car is registered in your partner’s name. If the relationship ends your ex can take the car and you’ll still be liable for the loan repayments.

On a smaller scale, this can also happen with a phone. You may still be liable for the contract payments while your ex-partner gets to keep the phone.

Rental agreements

Signing a lease for a property in your name only can backfire if your partner leaves and you’re left covering the entire rent.

Drawing down on the mortgage

Your partner may use accumulated extra savings without consulting you.

Using the joint credit card

Unexpected items appearing on the joint credit card.

Unexpected spending 

Using money earmarked for paying bills or debts for other items without your agreement.

Putting assets at risk

Your partner’s gambling or poor financial management may put your share in a home or other assets at risk.

Taking on legal responsibilities 

Being asked to be a director of a company, part of a self-managed super fund, or guarantor of a loan all come with legal responsibilities that can impact your financial future.

So, how can you prevent your partner’s financial habits and decisions from derailing your financial future? For starters before agreeing to any joint arrangement ask yourself how you would be impacted if you split up. Likewise, if you take on a debt on their behalf.

Here are six other actions you can take to protect yourself:

  • Talk to us – we can help you.
  • Make sure you stay informed about your joint finances. Read bank statements and understand how money is being spent.
  • Don’t sign anything without reading it thoroughly and getting advice
  • Ensure joint accounts require both parties to sign for transactions
  • Understand your partner’s business and monitor its finances
  • Register any assets – such as a car or a phone – in the name of the person who is on the loan agreement or contract.

The material on this website has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained on this website is General Advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs. Before making an investment decision based on this advice you should consider, with or without the assistance of a securities adviser, whether it is appropriate to your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances. In addition, the examples provided on this website are provided for illustrative purposes only. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this website, Infocus, its officers, representatives, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy in, or omission from the information contained in this website or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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