Guest Blog: Have Your Cake and Eat It - Guide to financial planning - By Louise Oliver from Pierceﬁeld Oliver
February: More Than Just Love and Proposals
February often holds a special place in our hearts, associated with declarations of love and committed partnerships. This month, we see "Propose Day" on the 8th, encouraging heartfelt confessions and proposals, followed by the beloved Valentine's Day on the 14th. In a humorous twist, legend tells us that St. Brigid of Kildare, complained that maidens had to wait too long for their suitors to ask for their hand in marriage so convinced St. Patrick to allow women to propose during leap years, granting them a special day to take the initiative!
While February undoubtedly celebrates love, it also serves as a timely reminder of the deeper significance of marriage. Marriage offers a unique framework for mutual support, emotional connection, and even legal and financial protections. Though the UK sees many couples embark on this journey each year, recent statistics reveal a decline in marriages, particularly among individuals aged 25 to 35. (Source: The Guardian).
However, this trend raises concerns for couples choosing unformalised partnerships. Family lawyers warn that current laws governing co-habitation may not adequately protect these couples in case of separation, leaving them financially vulnerable. These concerns highlight the need for reviewing and updating existing regulations to ensure fairness and support for all types of committed relationships.
Clearing Up Confusion: Marriage vs. Cohabitation in the UK
Let's address a common misconception: there's no such thing as "common law marriage" in the UK. This means the legal and financial benefits associated with marriage don't automatically apply to cohabiting couples.
Key point: unless you're officially married, your long-term partner won't inherit your estate automatically. Even with a Will, they could face hefty inheritance tax.
This highlights the importance of proactive financial planning, both for cohabiting and married couples. Here's why:
- Cohabiting couples: Without legal recognition, your partner lacks automatic rights to your property, finances, or pensions upon separation or your passing. Clear agreements and financial planning are crucial.
- Married couples: While marriage offers legal protections, it's not a magic bullet. Joint ownership and wills tailored to your specific circumstances can further secure your financial future together.
Remember, communication and proactive planning are key for both cohabiting and married couples to navigate the legal and financial landscape effectively. Seeking professional advice can help ensure your wishes are clearly documented and understood, bringing peace of mind to your relationship.
Planning Your Big Day: Top Tips for a Smooth (and Financially Secure) Journey
Congratulations on taking the exciting step towards tying the knot! While the romance and joy are paramount, planning a wedding can also involve practical considerations. Here are some key tips to help you navigate the process smoothly and start your married life on a solid financial footing:
- Set a Realistic Budget: Before diving into dream venues and fancy details, determine your comfortable spending limit. Consider the costs that you are happy to spend, this helps guide your decisions and avoids overstretching yourselves. Remember, a financially stable start sets the stage for a happy future together!
- Start Early, Save Smart: Don't let wedding planning become a financial burden. Begin saving early to avoid stress. Create a dedicated fund and contribute regularly to build a comfortable nest egg. Consider seeking independent financial advice for personalised guidance based on your unique situation.
- Navigating the Tax Maze: Marriage can impact your tax status. Research the potential benefits and drawbacks to make informed decisions aligned with your financial goals. Independent financial planning advice can be invaluable in this regard.
- Secure Your Future: Whether you have existing wills or not, creating or updating them is crucial. This ensures your assets pass to your chosen beneficiaries as per your wishes.
- Practicality with a Touch of Romance: While not the most romantic topic, pre-nuptial agreements are worth considering. Statistics show roughly 41% of marriages end in divorce (ONS). Having a clear understanding of financial arrangements can offer peace of mind and protect both partners in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Remember, planning your wedding should be an enjoyable experience. By addressing these key aspects early on, you can focus on the joy of celebrating your love and building a secure future together.
Securing Your Ever After: Building a Strong Financial Future Together
As you embark on the wonderful journey of marriage, remember: financial planning is your co-pilot! Our team at Piercefield Oliver are here to offer expert guidance and navigate all aspects of your shared financial future with confidence.
We go beyond the day-to-day, taking into account potential life changes and unforeseen bumps in the road. By incorporating strategic planning for any transition, we'll proactively safeguard your financial security and strengthen your partnership.
Think of us as your architects, building a solid foundation that provides peace of mind and stability, no matter what life throws your way. So, relax, focus on the joy of your new chapter, and let us handle the financial map-making!
If you decide not to get married make sure that you consider your position as a co-habitee, seek advice….. and you can still eat cake!
If we can be of help, please contact us to schedule a meeting with Louise, you can book via:
Phone: 0345 257 8749
Louise Oliver - Founding Partner - CEP TM Chartered FCSI FRSA