couples

5 people on the 'money chat' they had before they got engaged or married.

Financial Planning Association of Australia
Thanks to our brand partner, Financial Planning Association of Australia

There’s no doubt prenups have a bit of a scary connotation. We often hear about them in the context of big high-profile divorces, like that of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos. Planning for the worst time of our lives when we’re often at one of the best can also often leave us feeling conflicted.

But the reality is, money is the number one cause of divorce in Australia, according to Relationships Australia. And ignoring the ‘money chat’ only makes it worse, with two out of three couples who avoid talking about money arguing about it instead.

Prenups aren’t for everyone. But figuring out how to talk about money early on in your relationship can help you avoid the need for it too.

Mamamia spoke to five people who are engaged or married about how they organised their finances with their partners before their wedding and whether they considered a prenup or a different financial agreement.

Here’s what they had to say:

Janine

“My partner and I combined our bank accounts as it was the best way to save for a property and get the best interest on our savings.

“We have always said that if anything happens between us we will go 50/50 – we don’t have that in an official document but we both know each other and know we would keep that true no matter what – no nasties.

“It also helps that neither of us will inherit billions, so didn’t need to worry about a prenup.”

pronup
There are many ways to figure out your finances before you tie the knot. Image: Getty.

Katie

"My partner and I have our own accounts as well as an extra joint account as we're saving for a property. We both deposit the same amount each week/month so it's super clean and easy (in case I decide to pursue Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson!)."

Adam

"On the flip side, my partner and I keep our savings separate but have a joint account for holidays and clearly delineate who pays for what for each month so it evens out. We contribute the same amount to the mortgage each month.

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"We are not married, but in a long-term de facto relationship - it's been our choice not to get married because we'd rather use that money towards our mortgage and avoid the expensive costs of a wedding!"

Briony

"We get paid into our personal accounts (and each have our own personal savings) and then each transfer money into a joint account that is used for rent, joint savings for property, food and going out.

"Although we totally trust each other, I like having a personal account. It's nice if we want to buy gifts for each other or use the money to go on a girls trip or make an expensive purchase."

Justine

"Before my husband and I got married we would split all bills 50/50 and go grocery shopping together but pay separately. After our wedding, we began saving for a house and the split was less strict. We kept separate savings accounts while saving for the deposit together.

"We would talk about how much we had collectively saved, and it was assumed he would be able to save more than me as he earned more and had less expenses as a man - I’m quite high maintenance when it comes to hair and beauty-related expenses!

"Once we bought the house and signed the mortgage, we opened joint bank accounts and share the credit card. Now everything is mashed together, especially since I’m on maternity leave. This process worked great for us and I wouldn’t change a thing."

So if it's not a prenup...what is it?

If you're like any of the people we spoke to, you may also prefer not to formalise your finances under the banner of a scary-sounding "prenup".

For a more positive spin, you might want to think about creating a "Pronup", which sets out a plan for a shared vision around your finances.

A Pronuptial Agreement is a written financial plan that you can put in place with your partner to set out your financial future together, with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professional.

"It’s about taking the time to discuss your goals for the future and creating a plan so your money can fund your individual and joint dreams," says Dante De Gori, CFP® professional and CEO of the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

"A Pronup is right for every couple, regardless of whether you're de facto or married, same-sex or mixed-gender, young or advanced in years. It's a great way to talk openly about money and life goals with your partner with the support of a professional trained in helping you get there."

"It’s about taking the time to discuss your goals for the future and creating a plan." Image via Getty.
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Come on, how different is it to a prenup?

A “Pronup” is not the same as a prenup or postnup.

"A prenup is a legally binding financial agreement between two people who are getting married," says De Gori.

"It records what assets and debts each person brings into the relationship and states what will happen if you separate or get divorced and details how your finances will be divided."

That's why we all get freaked out by it, because it's essentially a defence mechanism pre-empting future divorce or separation.

A Pronup is more of a proactive plan a couple can make together to help build their financial situation for the long term. It's not a legally binding contract, but a mutual agreement. It's a good way to keep your financial goals on track.

"It’s an opportunity to get on the same page with your finances, reiterates your commitment to your shared dreams, and creates pathways to achieve individual goals such as starting your own business or funding future education if you decide to have kids. It will make your money work harder to unlock your long and short-term goals," says De Gori.

"A Pronup is also a powerful way to take an active role in your household finances, enables you to ask the silly questions, dares you to dream about that overseas holiday or making a house you long for a home, and empowers you with the knowledge of financial literacy."

That could make for some interesting conversations, but they're worth having earlier than later.

Have you and your partner thought about a prenup, Pronup or something else? Tell us in the comments section below.

To find out more about a Pronup, head to the Money&Life website. That's where you’ll find three useful articles and a free eBook, ‘Pronup: A Plan for Staying Together', that offers tips for having money conversations in your relationship and how to get a Pronup with a CFP professional.

This content was brought to you with thanks by our brand partner, Financial Planning Association of Australia. 

Financial Planning Association of Australia

No matter where you are in your relationship, combining your finances and planning for the future is simple with a Certified Financial Planner® professional.  When you choose a financial planner who holds the global CFP designation you know you’re in safe hands, working with a professional who will put your interests first. With over 5,700 Certified Financial Planner professionals around Australia, making the right decisions about your financial future is easy. Start your journey to a financially secure future and visit  MoneyandLife.com.au today.

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