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Greg Tait

Financial Planner, RBC Brewin Dolphin

They say money isn’t the root to happiness but whether we have lots of it or hardly any at all, money can cause a major issue in a relationship. Managing your money as a couple can be complex and there is no right way to live in financial harmony, particularly in the current climate as everyday prices increase.

At RBC Brewin Dolphin, we were keen to understand how couples in Wales view and deal with money – from their attitude to it and how couple’s communicate around their finances.

We surveyed[1] the nation and found that:

  • 18% of people in Wales don’t trust their partner with money.
  • Over a third (36%) of people in Wales think they have different attitudes to money than their partner.
  • 13% think their partner spends too much on themselves.
  • 39% said they keep their finances separate.

What does this mean for couples?

It’s important to try to have regular conversations about your finances. Things in life constantly change, so make sure you are on the same page and still have the same financial goals.

It’s also important to have trust in each other when sharing bank accounts, financial products, owning houses and other assets together. It’s important to set rules and boundaries when you have joint finances to protect yourself.

Being open and honest in a relationship is meant to be the key to marital bliss. The survey showed that couples aren’t always forthcoming with the intricacies of their finances:

  • 14% of people in Wales have lied to their partner about money.
  • 15% haven’t disclosed a pay rise to their partner.

Again, I advise my clients to try and be open with one another, talking about your finances may be difficult, but it’s a really important way of maintaining a healthy relationship. It can help you to set expectations, work through any issues, create a budgeting plan that suits both partners and build a more solid financial plan.

Having goals is important because it helps you decide how much money you need to save, and where to invest it.

If, for example, you want to move to a bigger property in three years’ time, then it probably makes sense to put this pot of money in a low-risk cash savings account. That way, you won’t run the risk of your savings plummeting in value just before you need to access them.

For goals that are five or more years away, you might want to consider investing at least some of your money in the stock market. This will give your money the opportunity to grow over the long-term, helping you reach your goals more quickly.

Tax isn’t the most romantic subject, but there are several tax planning opportunities that could help more of your money go towards your future. ISAs, for example, let you each invest up to £20,000 a year (2024/25) to benefit from tax-efficient income and growth. If you both open an ISA, and you can afford it, that’s a combined £40,000 that you can shield from income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) each year.

There’s also the personal savings allowance, which is the amount of interest you can earn without paying tax. This is £1,000 for basic-rate taxpayers, £500 for higher-rate taxpayers, and nil for additional-rate taxpayers. Again, couples who are married or in a civil partnership could consider transferring savings between one another to maximise each partner’s personal savings allowance.

Talking about death and illness probably won’t make your list of best-ever date nights, but it’s really important to consider how your finances would hold up if the worst were to happen. As a couple, your finances may be closely intertwined, which means if one of you suffered a serious illness or passed away, the other could really struggle financially.

A financial adviser can help you decide on the right policies and level of critical illness and/or life cover for your personal circumstances.

You may also want to consider your will.

Writing a will ensures your money and other assets go to the right people and causes, and that your wishes are carried out. Having a will is especially important if you aren’t married or in a civil partnership – even if you’ve been living together for years, you’ll have no entitlement to your partner’s estate if they die without a will.

Greg Tait is a financial planner at wealth manager RBC Brewin Dolphin. Greg is based in the Cardiff office.


[1] Find Out Now interviewed 2,986 GB adults from 25/01/2024 to 26/01/2024, and produced a sample of 2,764 respondents which is nationally representative by: Gender, Age, Social Class and Region. Find Out Now are members of the British Polling Council and Market Research Society and abide by their rules.


The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested. This does not constitute tax or legal advice. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future. Information is provided only as an example and is not a recommendation to pursue a particular strategy. Information contained in this document is believed to be reliable and accurate, but without further investigation cannot be warranted as to accuracy or completeness. RBC Brewin Dolphin is a trading name of Brewin Dolphin Limited. Brewin Dolphin Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register reference number 124444) and regulated in Jersey by the Financial Services Commission. Registered Office: 12 Smithfield Street, London, EC1A 9BD. Registered in England and Wales company number: 2135876. VAT number: GB 690 8994 69.

Greg Tait

Financial Planner, RBC Brewin Dolphin

Greg is a senior member of RBC Brewin Dolphin’s Cardiff financial planning team, specialising in advising family lawyers and their clients. Greg is an accredited family financial adviser and helps guide lawyers and their clients in cases where pensions are an issue. Click here for more.