Five steps to help you through financial separation.
Breaking up can be stressful; separating your finances as soon as possible can help relieve some of that stress and prevent future issues.
Splitting up financially.
Working through a divorce or separation can be tough - sorting out the finances can feel like a difficult task, but it's essential to being fully independent. Here are five steps you can take to get you on the right track.
1. Increasing your personal privacy
Is there still joint access to your accounts? Do they have a way to look at your bank accounts, or know any of your PIN numbers or passwords? This is the time to change.
2. Separating your finances
Here are some tips to help start the process of making your finances your own:
- You can set up alerts on any of your accounts to tell you what's happening with your money.
- Splitting your finances in a divorce or separation means starting something new. You may want to open a new transaction account or credit card for your day-to-day transactions that's only in your name.
- If you choose to open new accounts to manage your money after a split, you may also need to inform your employer of your new account. Any personal automatic payments or direct debits should also come from your new account.
- Do your joint accounts, for example your home loan and credit card(s), allow your partner to withdraw funds without your knowledge? It’s important to identify which accounts you both have access to and put measures in place to help ensure you are protected. For example, with a mortgage you can request dual signatory at any time.
- With credit cards it’s also important to understand who is liable for the balance(s). As a rule of thumb, if it’s a joint credit card account you are both liable. However, if you are the main account holder and your partner is an additional account holder you alone are liable for the balance. Take a look at the Conditions of Use for your each of accounts to find out where you stand.
- Talk to us, we’re here to help guide you through this. Pop into a branch or call us today on 0800 400 600.
3. Requesting statements
Before your finances are totally separated, it may be helpful to request your bank statements, KiwiSaver statements and any investment statements for the past seven years - both individually and as a couple. During the separation process, it can be useful to have this information available; for your reference and because your lawyer may ask for it.
4. Keeping records
If you and your partner have conversations about money or finances, keeping a record of those conversations may be useful. Similarly, any emails or texts that you exchange about money can be archived to prevent misunderstandings or disagreements in the future.
5. Upskilling on financial education
Managing money entirely on your own can feel daunting. But you don't need to do it all alone. Our free Managing Your Money online classes, for instance, can give you tips on debt management, budgeting and investment.
We can help.
Time for new accounts?
It might be the right time to open a new transaction or savings account that only has your name on it.
Need a new credit card?
Considering getting a credit card that only has your name on it? Take a look at our wide range of credit cards options.
Work out a budget
With an online budget calculator, you can enter your own numbers to calculate what your new living costs might be.
Your insurance cover
A life change is a good opportunity to review your insurance needs. This might include reviewing cover levels, checking who the policy owner is on any existing policies or taking new cover.
Things you should know.
Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply to Westpac products and services. See Transaction and Service Fees brochure.