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  • Should you plan your finances as a couple?

    “She’s everything. He’s just Ken” – the perils of ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ jobs.

    Last Updated: 1 January 2003

    What do Theresa May and Barbie have in common? They both consider some things to be ‘girl jobs’ and some to be ‘boy jobs’.

    Barbie has famously had over 200 careers – from astronaut to UNICEF Ambassador, while Ken tends to be restricted to leisure activities. Meanwhile, Theresa May appeared on ‘The One Show’ while she was Prime Minister and declared that her husband did the ‘boy jobs’ around the house – like taking the bins out.

    In this article we explore sharing finances as a couple, but this isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure if a course of action is right for you, ask for financial advice.

    Is this gender split the same in reality?

    Most couples work on this basis to some extent.

    Not so much around who gets to go to the moon or run the country, but who takes charge of household chores. We also know that plenty of couples do this when it comes to money. Around a half of people plan their finances together - the rest split the jobs.

    Do men and women see things differently?

    There are some differences between the way men and women see things.

    Women are more likely to say they manage things together, while men are much more likely either to say they do things on their own without any input, or that they leave everything to their partner.

    However, given that statistically most of these women are in relationships with men, some of this is likely to come down to perception. Which means it’s worth having a frank conversation about how these decisions are being made, so you both know exactly where you stand.

    Do children have an impact?

    Having children seems to push couples apart financially too.

    Among those with no children in the house, 59% say they plan for the short term together – which falls to 37% among those with children. Households with children are also less likely to plan for the long-term together (43% compared to 66%).

    This may be because in some cases there are divides between a primary child carer and a primary earner.

    For example, the carer may take the short-term financial reins, because they know what they need to spend on each member of their family. Meanwhile, the breadwinner may make the decisions around long-term saving and investing, because they have more to put aside for the future.

    How should finances be split as a couple?

    Letting one person take charge may feel like a sensible approach. However, we know from the HL Savings and Resilience Barometer that those who plan together tend to be in far better shape financially.

    Even if the person in charge does a perfect job for both of you, you need to consider what you’d do without them. All relationships end. It’s not a pleasant thought, but even if you stick together for decades, one of you will eventually pass away first.

    It means none of us, regardless of gender, can afford to lose touch entirely with our money.

    Data from 1369 people by Opinium for HL in May 2023.

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