When we became partners: conversations about money – Member Journeys
You might know me from my romance & finance reflections about my dating life and how my boyfriend and I introduced the topic of money in our relationship at the time. Well, that was last year. Who would have known that my biggest learnings in finance would come after I move in with Mitchell?
I was previously in shared accommodation with friends, so my rent was quite low, which made it easy to manage my weekly finances. When I moved out to a big place with Mitchell, there were so many things to think about. I had to calculate bills and cover a larger proportion of rent, which in theory, I was able to afford, but in reality, I was running late for everything. There was some misalignment with my calculations. I guess I just never developed the skill of ‘financial organisation’ if there is such a thing.
To clearly see everything in front of my eyes, I bought a calendar that could stick on our fridge and some fun stickers for motivation, which Mitchell made a few jokes about. He also suggested we try something, which was the turning point for me.
SOOD: ‘seeds of our dreams.’ In other words, it was the idea of setting a goal, something wonderful to look up to in the future to work towards. When the end result is too good, then even if you find conversations about money a bit boring like me, you still become more tuned to forming healthy habits. Our SOOD was to take a long and adventurous holiday in South America.
Opening a joint bank account was interesting. I’m saying ‘interesting’ because everyone seems to have a different opinion on the idea of opening a joint bank account. I’ve seen some people’s blogs on Google describing a horrible experience of how they split up because they could clearly see how different their spending and saving habits were, which caused tension in their relationship, then one of the parties took all the money without the other knowing and ran off with it. Or some people said that their partner put their shared account in debt and both parties were held responsible to pay for it. I trust Mitchell more than myself when it comes to being financially savvy, but these are scary stories to read online.
There were also a lot of myths going around about joint bank accounts, which I didn’t know at the time. For example, I remember thinking that partners have a joint credit score or that our combined income will bump up my credit score. A friend advised me to go to a branch and have a chat with someone there.
Turns out that a joint bank account is no different than any other personal bank account in how it functions and that we had a choice on the account authority. ‘Either to sign’ meant that any account holder could withdraw money from it and ‘both to sign’ meant that both needed to agree on the withdrawal. To tackle and understand the myths going around, I just used the Credit Savvy website. They have FAQs on credit scores, which were brief and easy to understand. It’s actually pretty straightforward.
We agreed on a specific amount to contribute each month, drew up a financial strategy and decided that this was a good option for both of us. Ever since, I became way more motivated to keep track and be on top of my finances. It also became easier for us to manage the recurring shared expenses, like the rent and bills.
So, how are we going with our SOOD account? Considering all the travel expenses while abroad, we are about 70% of the way with our savings and 110% of the way with our excitement. Can’t wait for an awesome time abroad!