It’s no secret that even the happiest of couples can turn sour with disagreements over money, especially when talking about debt.

So, the best way to avoid an argument is not to talk about money, right?

Wrong. Couples need to discuss their finances, including money management, savings and credit card debt, to ensure they keep on top of the finances and away from squabbles.

Or perhaps it simply is about avoiding debt? While that is admirable, it is unrealistic. In today’s world, the high cost of living and housing affordability means most New Zealanders have some level of debt.

Debt is normal, lending is common, so how can we avoid these becoming topics of misery for couples?

You need to have a clear understanding of your partner’s expectations and beliefs, and where they don’t match with yours, you need to ensure that you address them. That is where a financial advisor can help.

While we at Pioneer Finance recommend regular financial advice, there are three key times early in a relationship when it is crucial to talk to an expert.

Getting together
We don’t only bring emotional baggage to a relationship. Many of us bring debt as well as savings too. Moreover, our financial literacy, or even desire to talk about finances may differ from our partner, often causing tension in the relationship when talking about money.

Before you bring your finances together, such as getting a joint bank account or credit facility, sit down with an advisor who can assist you with what each person’s expectations are.

If you just want a joint account to cover household costs, then sit down and work out a budget and what that amount looks like. Having a budget allows each party to have joint ownership of outgoings and will provide clarity around real expenses.

At Pioneer Finance we have the financial acumen and life experience to listen and advise you and your partner around money issues.

Getting married
There are different life cycles in a relationship and at any point, it’s always a good idea to seek independent financial advice.  Marriage is one of those times.

Before you get married, get advice from a financial advisor or lender like Pioneer Finance around expectations for short and long-term commitments.

Although comparatively small, a wedding is costly, and budgeting is the best way to ensure you will enjoy the entire experience on the day as well as long after it.

It’s not only about the wedding, but about cementing a future together. If you haven’t already, this is also a good time to talk about long-term plans for your future together, for example getting a house, and having children.

Having children
Children are expensive, although of course, they are worth it. Education, sports, health, being well-fed and warm all come at a price. Families budgets are important as they help you to live within your means, enjoying special memories rather than worrying about what they will cost.

Families of newborns in particular struggle as they go from what is often 2x early-to-middle-stage salaries to a single income. This can put a lot of additional stress on a household.

When you’re planning to have children, talk to a financial advisor, so you understand what it will mean for you, your partner and your family, including looking at maternity leave you are eligible for, and which areas you can cut back on to make the transition to a single salary easier. Sometimes, parents don’t have to go back to work as early as they think, so speak to an expert to find the best solution for you and your new family member.

Buying a house
This will be one of, if not the, biggest financial commitment you will make in your lifetime. Do not take owning this asset in a partnership lightly.

At Pioneer Finance, we can talk you through all the options and work with you to ensure an affordable mortgage repayment plan that accommodates future growth, because even though the novelty wears off, the repayments do not.

Your home should be the place where you and your family will experience incredible lifetime memories, and not be the source of discontent and dispute.