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Money talk off limits in love

More than a third (36%) of Australians in committed relationships are not in a financially healthy position as a couple1


11 March 2019


New Westpac data reveals lack of communication around finances is a recurring theme among Australian couples considering, going through, or who have gone through a separation, with those who rarely spoke about finances with their partner more likely to report that they were not in a financially healthy position (68%; cf open 54%)1.


Westpac’s Finance and Separation Report found that talking to support networks about money was also considered awkward, with 49% more willing to talk about intimacy issues than financial issues with friends1.


Kate Holloway, Westpac financial expert, is encouraging Australians to have more open conversations about money, to help better prepare themselves financially – both before and after splitting up.


“Being informed is empowering and puts you in a much better position for success, no matter what relationship stage you are in. Our research shows couples are more financially compatible (85%) if they regularly speak openly about their finances1, and encouragingly, 43% of Australians in committed relationships are doing just that2.


“Planning a future with someone you love is, in many cases, as much a financial commitment as a personal one. From discussing how to manage joint finances to making sure you’re staying on top of your account balances – there are practical considerations every couple should discuss.”


The report also revealed that among Australians who had been through or were currently going through the breakdown of a relationship, two thirds (65%) didn’t know where to start1. Perhaps this is the reason more than half (58%) of those considering a separation actually procrastinate looking into financial matters1.


“Negotiating the financial side of separation can be complicated, and seem incredibly overwhelming during an already tough time,” continued Ms Holloway.


“Our research reveals that two thirds (65%) of those considering a separation were hesitant to go through with it due to the fear of having to financially start over1. So should the unfortunate happen, and you decide to separate, having a strong understanding of your finances can allow you to navigate your financial situation quickly, which can have significant benefits.”


The Westpac Finance and Separation Report revealed that working through your finances early can pay off, with 84% of those who finalised their separation doing something positive or financially significant within a year of their separation, such as sorting out their finances (33%) and paying off debts (28%)1. More than half of those who finalised their separation were positively managing their finances within the year after their separation1.


Westpac has made available a range of free, easy to use checklists and resources developed with divorce experts to help couples navigate a separation. People separating from a partner are also encouraged to get in touch with their bank early on to help understand their financial situation and develop a plan to help set themselves up for future financial stability.


For more useful resources for dealing with finances with your partner or when separating from your partner, visit Westpac’s Life Moments online hub.


For further information, please contact:

Chloe Turner

M: 0416 273 482

Amy Sassella-Otley

M: 0400 657 117


1The Westpac Finances and Separation Report, January 2019 - nationwide survey of 1,014 Australians who have gone through OR are currently going through OR  are currently considering a divorce or separation in the next two years.

2The Westpac Love and Money Report, January 2019 - a nationwide survey of 1,419 Australians 18+ who have been in a committed relationship within the last 10 years, currently moving in with their partner or considering doing so in the next two years.