When you’re in a long-term relationship, you end up sharing a lot. From your bed, to your friends, everything gets intertwined.
Which is why, if you end up breaking up, it can be very tricky to separate things fairly – especially your finances.
Perhaps you have a joint bank account, or maybe one person’s salary covers the bills, while the other goes into extra expenses.
However you divide it up, the likelihood is your finances are pretty entangled. In fact, 47% of people who have ended a long-term relationship don’t know how to financially breakup with their exes.
And breaking up isn’t cheap, with research from Experian showing that the average breakup costs a couple £1,068. In fact, the cost of splitting means some couples are forced to stay together.
Money is also the cause of two thirds of breakups, with 62% of lovers splitting because of financial reasons.
So how do you financially break up with someone – and ensure you aren’t loosing out on your hard earned cash?
Pearl Akintola, consumer finance expert at Experian, has broken down the three stages of a financial breakup, in order to come out of it financially dependent.
Pearl said: ‘When going through the breakup checklist, blocking exes on socials is always top of the list, but figuring out how to cut financial ties is usually at the bottom, or gets snubbed.
‘Chances are you’ve linked your finances at some point, whether it was to pay the bills or purchase household items using joint credit. It’s important that you financially disassociate yourself from your ex.
‘If you don’t take the necessary steps, then they will remain linked to your credit report, so their future spending and borrowing could impact your own financial opportunities.’
Here, Pearl takes us through the stages of a financial break up, and how to navigate them.
Stage One: The Breakup
The initial breakup is usually the hardest part, there are a lot of tough conversations which need to happen but emotions are often running very high.
How do you split your savings? Who will take on the financial responsibility of the dog you bought together?
Step one, is to seek support and guidance. Your family might be great for emotional support, but it’s great to get a financial expert to help you if the financial impact of the separation is becoming unmanageable.
Services such as Money Helper will help you understand your options and what next steps you should take – supporting you throughout the process.
If you are renting a property together and are not at the end of your tenancy then, if you’re both named on the agreement, you are both liable for the rent until the agreement ends.
Contact your landlord or estate agent and let them know of your intention to move out. Discuss what this will mean for the tenancy agreement and how you can end your liability towards it.
You can of course move back in with a loved one while paying your rent just so you don’t have to live with your now ex, but this isn’t an option for everyone.
Also, don’t forget your bills. You’re also liable for any utility bills like gas and electricity that include your name.
Before moving out to get away from your ex, contact service providers of any utility bills in your name and inform them of your plans. Then you can arrange how to pay the outstanding balance on any final bills.
Close down your shared accounts and split your savings. While this may be an awkward step it’s important to get it over with, because an account cannot be closed until the money has been divided.
Sort out any upcoming holidays you may have booked. Research shows that on average those who cancel or reschedule planned holidays lose more than £776.
To avoid that check your travel insurance policy as you might be covered for cancellations. But be prepared that they may request proof to make a claim.
Of course, if you still want to go on the trip, perhaps ask a friend to go with you. Get in touch with your travel company to see if you can change the name on the booking – this might come at a small fee.
The last step before stage one is complete is only relevant if you’re a pet parent.
If you share a pet together then decide who will keep it or if you will co-parent. If it’s the latter, you need to set up a schedule with the pet’s wellbeing in mind.
Discuss how you will take care of expenses together like an unexpected vet bill, or decide who will take on total financial responsibility.
Stage Two: The Glow Up
Now that you’ve broken up, stopped stalking them on socials, and cut those financial ties, it’s time to focus on your post-breakup financial glow up.
Firstly, take a look at your credit report. It may be the last financial link you have to your ex.
If you had a joint account or took out a form of credit like a loan with them, then your credit report will be linked to theirs, and they’ll show up as a financial link on your report.
To avoid having their future financial decisions affect your credit applications, ask a credit reference agency like Experian to remove them from your report.
But remember for them to do this, you need to have paid off and closed any joint accounts and credit agreements, or have them transferred into one name.
Next, update your passwords. Yes, you want them locked out of your Netflix, but this applies to online shopping sites too.
If your card is still registered on those websites, your ex could continue to buy items using your card details.
To prevent this from happening, make a list of all the sites where the login details are in your name and change the password.
Also, if there are any in your ex-partner’s name which has your card details registered, log on to them and delete your registered payment information.
Lastly, getting a clear view of what your finances will look like going forward is as important for stepping into new singledom as getting that new haircut.
Figure out how you’ll afford your new rental on your own, get rid of any unnecessary subscriptions and budget for those final bills from utility companies.
Then you can invest in the ultimate revenge outfit or dye your hair.
Stage Three: Get Back Out There
To help you catch flights and not feelings or even buy yourself flowers, work on your financial roster.
Find yourself better financial options, such as a better savings account or a cheaper credit card.
Now you’ve said goodbye to your joint savings account open your own, but shop around before settling on one.
Consider how much interest you’ll receive and if the interest is fixed or depends on the market.
Also, think about how often you’ll want to have access to your money. If you intend to use it for a rainy-day fund, consider getting an easy-access account.
But if you’re saving up for something long-term like a house or your retirement look into a fixed-term savings account or ISA as they may have better rates.
If you’re in need of a credit card, especially if you’re going to be treating yourself to a fancy post-breakup getaway, then consider a cashback or rewards card.
Whether it’s getting money off at certain shops or being able to upgrade your seat on a flight, when used responsibly you can get something in return for your spending.
Before applying for a new card check if you’re eligible for it on comparison sites.
But remember like any form of credit make sure you think about your repayment plan before spending and try to pay off your balance in full at the end of each month.
Finally, if you’ve downloaded a dating app to help you get back out there then make sure it’s a trusted site.
When chatting to one of your many matches, remember to be careful not to share any personal details that might be used maliciously like your date of birth or personal address.
Fraudsters can use this information to gain access to your bank account, so don’t share those details too early in the relationship.
Fraudsters will also encourage their victims to move to another messaging app as quickly as possible so no proof of the fraud can be found. When you do move to another platform to communicate, remain vigilant.
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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.
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