When it comes to sex education, it’s fair to say we’ve got the ‘safe sex’ memo down pat. If it’s ‘not on, then it’s not on,’ but how about when it comes to finances?
How do we protect ourselves from the risk of ending up with a painful problem that leaves us stripped bare and suffering the consequences when a relationship breaks down?
While there’s a lot of support out there for how to avoid getting a traditional STD—Sexually Transmitted Disease—where are the brochures and advice out there warning us against contracting a Sexually Transmitted Debt?
You know, the kind of STD that leaves a hefty residue of despair, suffering and hole in your bank account as a result of mingling sexually, emotionally and even maritally with someone?
Yeah, there isn’t any (warnings that is). Yet sadly, with 58 per cent of women leaving crucial finance decisions to their significant other (in this case, their male partners), according to a UBS Global Wealth Management study, it puts us in a rather risky predicament if things turn sour.
Not to mention science has also proven that your spouse’s financial behaviour can have a significant impact on our own overall health and wellbeing.
So, how does one avoid contracting ‘sexually transmitted debt’? To find out, Sporteluxe spoke with Susan Edmunds, a business journalist who specialises in personal finance issues and is author to ‘Starting Out Starting Over (New Holland Publishers, $29.99) to get her top tips on how to avoid an STD, as a woman who’s been through it before.
“Sexually transmitted debt is debt you pick up from your partner, so just as other things that get transmitted this way, transparent discussions are the best way to protect yourself!”
“Before you move in with a partner, or combine your finances in any way, ask them how their financial life is going,” advises Edmunds. “Are they paying their bills? What debt do they have? What’s their long-term plan? How do they feel about taking financial risks?”
“It’s not a deal-breaker if you have a different approach to money but it’s really helpful to acknowledge that from the outset and prepare for it.,” says Edmunds.
“If you already own assets, have a written relationship agreement outlining what’s yours and what’s theirs and what’s going into the relationship ‘pool’ or ‘kitty’ and what’s not,” says Edmunds.
“Keep reassessing this agreement over time to make sure it still works for your relationship.”
“Really know what you’re signing up for as a couple. If you agree to a joint credit card, for instance, do you have a clear idea of its balance and whether it’s being paid in full?” says Edmunds.
“Talk through any decisions either of you makes about borrowing against joint assets (such as your house). If you’re asked to guarantee a loan for a partner, make sure you get independent legal advice to understand the implications of that.”