finance

"We didn't get a prenup": 16 women share how their finances changed after marriage.

There comes a time in any relationship where you have some serious conversations about your future.

For some couples, those talks will be about marriage and kids, while for others, they might be about long-term career goals or purchasing a home. 

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But no matter your situation, every couple in a long-term relationship (whether married or de facto), will at some point discuss their finances.

We spoke to 16 women to hear how their finances changed when they got married or had 'the conversation' about money with their partner. Here's what they had to say.

Rachel

"We shared everything. When we were living week to week with no savings at all (in the '90s) we had a rule to consult the other if we wanted to spend $50 or more on a non-essential (e.g. a new pair of shoes, playing a season of sport, etc). It was really hard, but we made choices and sacrifices that ultimately grew our trust, respect and love."

Sophie

"We completely combined finances, but I've had a separate account since pre-marriage which I don’t actively use but still exists. When we started a family, I stopped working and became completely financially dependent on my husband. That has been the case for six years now. I keep a secret money stash of $5000 in my old account just in case. We got together very young (18) so our wealth was built together."

Jo

"We have a shared account for bills, groceries, etc. We also have our own accounts. We both contribute to the house and our kids' expenses. Neither of us has to justify what we spend our money on and neither of us need to ask each other for money. It works for us."

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Stephanie

"We still had separate accounts when we got married but combined when we decided to save [to] buy our first house. It just became easier to track our saving and spending. We still had one or two accounts that were separate as I already had an investment property and my husband had a credit card, otherwise, everything else ended up combined."

Lee

"Combined accounts from the moment we got engaged! We've always had that and zero issues."

Dylin

"I will always earn and keep some of my own money. We put some of each of our pay into a joint account for bills and our mortgage is also paid evenly. There is intergenerational family violence in my family and women stayed partly because they didn’t have their own money. My late grandmother told me to always have some of my own money because you never know if you might need it. And I’ve never forgotten it. I also have friends who have to 'ask' their male partner to spend money as it's all in a joint account. I’ll never ever ask a man to spend money. All that being said, I’m not married because I don’t marry people but 20 years in, two kids and joint assets I’m in a 'marriage' relationship. And I will always have some of my own savings. I think all women need to."

Emma

"We have separate everyday accounts and joint savings and mortgage accounts. We transfer money into the savings every week, split the bills and the rest is our own to do as we want."

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Ruth

"We combined everything and have no prenup. His money is mine and mine is his. We can both buy whatever we like but we are both really careful about money and always discuss medium or large purchases because it is the other person’s money too."

Sarah

"We still have everything separate (married three years) but it's never been a problem. We both really got into shares last week through Commsec separately, so it's fun talking about what we have, which has gone up, and what we're looking into. We both work full time - I'm more of the investor (more shares and crypto) and he's more of the cash saver. We didn't get a prenup but we own a house together."

Julia

"We're getting married in December. We plan to combine everything but each fortnight we will both receive an equal amount of 'play money' into our own accounts. We have separate interests: he likes mountain bike riding weekends away and bike stuff, while for me, I might spend it on haircuts and lunches out with the girls. And if one of us goes on parental leave, the one working will contribute to the stay-at-home parent's super."

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Meghan

"We left everything separate but we think of our money as combined."

Maisy

"We combined everything... except, my grandma always told me to have my own money, just in case. I still have a separate account with a few thousand dollars. I only feel a little bad about it. My husband is amazing and would never leave me destitute if we broke up. I have given up a lot to birth our children, including my own income and superannuation. The toll on my body was massive and no price can be put on that."

Hayley

"We each have our own spending and savings accounts and combined bills and savings accounts. It works really well for us. We actually started doing it this way when we first moved in together and continued after we were married."

Danni

"We chose to combine everything. It has worked out well for us, especially once we had children. My husband earns more than I do but only because he works a lot of overtime, whereas I am on a stock standard salary. It evens out because with all the extra weekend work he does my workload increases at home too, so we find it fair to have it all together."

Asten

"We combined finances. My husband has made much smarter choices than I would have made. We go through expenses every month and I dine out A LOT but he just jokes about it. We follow 'The Barefoot Investor' so we have open and honest conversations on our red wine and garlic bread nights (you’ll know what this is if you follow it)."

Kim

"32 years old, married for five years. We both still have our own bank accounts, as well as shared ones. They’re all with the same bank, under the same login so there are no secrets, but we simply don’t touch each other’s accounts. They’re kind of just discretionary spending accounts. We divide all income between the three as required and use the shared accounts for shared expenses - priority goes to the shared account though. Whatever is leftover, regardless of who earned that income, gets split. I keep the private investment portfolio I came to the marriage with - but have also diversified it so that it has the structure of a family trust; with myself as sole trustee. All property, including investment properties, are in both names. No prenup."

Feature image: Getty.