Valentine’s Day has been and gone for this year. Whether you respond to that with an “Awwwww, shame” or a sigh of relief, the figures show that there is still plenty of work for us all to do when it comes to our relationship….with money.

It doesn’t matter if you’re coupled-up or single, bearing in mind the fact that a quarter of married couples say they frequently argue about money and just over half of single people say financial security has to be at the root of their happiness, it’s safe to say we could probably all do with showing our finances a little more attention.

Why couples might want to take a leaf out of the singles playbook

When you only have yourself to rely on financially, it’s no surprise that if you’re single you feel a pressing need to have a financial safety net around you before you can really say you feel secure. The stark reality is that when you’re single you have to be able to face whatever life throws at you financially, alone. So establishing that security has to be a number one priority.

But this self-awareness also potentially stands singles in better stead than their coupled-up counterparts too. Loved-up couples who leave all the financial responsibility to their ‘other half’ might want to take a leaf out of these savvy singles’ book and make sure they’re just as financially switched on. Because maintaining some sort of financial independence is very wise, whether you’re single, or not.

Why trust is key when you’re coupled-up

When you’re in a couple it’s only right that you discuss your future financial hopes and goals and set in place realistic plans to achieve them. Knowing not only exactly what state your finances are in, but also those of your partner too, places you in a very strong position for a bright financial - and marital - future ahead.

Trust is a huge part of any relationship, especially one in which your lives are intertwined in so many ways, as they are in a romantic relationship. That is why being cagey, secretive or going as far as to lie about what you earn or how much you owe does not bode well for your future together. Pretend you earn more than you do, and the shortfall is soon going to become apparent. Conversely, lie about what you really earn and you sow the seeds for a relationship that’s lacking in trust from the word go.

To get that bright future you dream of - together - be open now with one another so you can forge ahead and be stronger together.

What happens when opposites attract?

Statistics show that a quarter (24%) of married couples frequently argue about money, with 22% also saying they are extremely or very stressed about their financial situation.

Whether you are painstakingly careful with money or more prone to spending like there’s no tomorrow, being honest with your intended about your own relationship with money is one of the primary building blocks of a strong marriage.

Some people are spenders and some are savers, some fall into the middle ground and some are prone to veer erratically from one to the other. Whatever your own personal disposition, make sure you share it with your intended.

Don’t panic if you find you have completely different attitudes to money. It doesn’t have to sound the death knell for your long-term future. On the contrary it can actually be beneficial and bring some financial balance to your relationship, if you work together. But, in order to be able to work together you have to understand each other’s attitude to money.

For instance, if one of you is a saver and the other a spender you could keep separate bank accounts as well as having one joint account that you use for all shared expenses - like rent/mortgage, food, bills and so on. It’s a good way to prevent your money differences from driving you apart.
You can also use differences to your mutual benefit - sharing saving habits and smart spending tactics - to get the best of both worlds.

Tips for those in it for the long haul

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that the worst can - and does - happen. Whether you are single, married or co-habiting, having some savings up your sleeve is essential, so you’re as prepared as you can be, for whatever life throws at you.

By keeping your regular savings and pension contributions going, you make sure you keep your future plans, like retirement, on track. Losing out on six months, or a year or two, could have a detrimental impact on your longer-term financial security. And as we have seen time and again, we need every penny we can save to ensure our future financial health is in good shape.

Saving for retirement and staying invested through tricky times is easier if you do it slowly and steadily, but surely. The key is to remain focused on your longer-term plans and try not to let the current pandemic disrupt your future financial goals.

You can also protect your pension by making sure your provider knows who you’d like your pension paid to should the worst happen. This is called nominating a beneficiary and can be done by completing an Expression of Wish form. You can nominate one person, or divide it between family, friends and charities.

Next steps

Get to know your pension by logging in to PlanViewer. You can nominate your beneficiary, see how much you’ve saved, how much you’re contributing, understand your investments, and check your target retirement age is up to date. You’re not legally obliged to retire then, but it means if you’re invested in a default lifestyle investment strategy, it will work to protect your money in line with your goals and life stage.

Remember, you can’t normally access your pension until you’re 55. Until then it’s a good idea to regularly review your savings.

Important information

The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Withdrawals from a pension product will not be possible until you reach age 55. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.