The other evening I was having a quiet drink in a local pub chatting to a friend when suddenly this young attractive lady walked by and nearly got knocked over by my friend’s waving arms as he animatedly told me a story about how his ex-girlfriend and Mum got into a punch up.  Rather than be upset, this young lady was intrigued by the story and ended up joining us for quite some time.  You see, this young lady, let’s call her Jill was 25 years old and recently separated from a 3 year relationship and now felt like she was 3 years behind, especially financially, where she should be in life.  Jill went on to tell us that she felt like there was a lot of pressure on her to meet ‘The One’, get married and have kids.

I could hardly blame her, I remember being 25 wondering if I was ever going to meet ‘The One’ especially when all my cousins and friends had somehow managed to meet ‘The One’ and settle down.  Jill went on to tell me her year had been filled with going to her friends’ weddings and it was starting to get to her.  She asked me if I had any words of wisdom for her and it got me thinking, “What advice would I have given my 25 year old self?”

And this was my response:

  • Always ensure you have access to your own money. Make sure your pay is paid into your personal bank account and any contribution to a joint account is paid from here
  • Any contribution to joint monies in a relationship should be an agreed percentage. Oftentimes the man earns more than the woman so is it fair that if you each put $300 per week into a joint account this might represent 5% of his weekly wage but 10% of yours?  By making it a percentage, it will always be fair and relevant to your actual earnings.
  • Invest early, small amounts invested regularly to take advantage of compounding interest will make a big difference in the long run. Especially with your superannuation.
  • If you bring assets into a relationship make sure you have them valued before you begin living together, this includes Property, Superannuation and Shares etc.
  • Consider a Binding Financial Agreement if you bring major assets into a relationship. No-one enters a long-term relationship thinking about splitting up but it’s like insurance, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Lastly, I told her not to be in a rush.  When you consider the average man and woman live to age 82 and 84 years respectively, there is plenty of time to tie the knot and have the privilege to annoy someone for the rest of their life.

So next time Aunt Gladys asks you why you’re still single tell her you’re still working on laying the foundations for a truly great relationship that will stand the test of time.