Six ways to keep your finances as happy as your relationship

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Money is often the root cause of tension, stress and arguments between couples. From sharing utility bills to managing a joint bank account, and even saving for your first home, there aren't many subjects with more potential to create tensions between even the most loving couples.

But if you work together to manage your finances, these are hurdles that can be overcome and so this Valentine's Day, think about how you can take the time to address financial issues at every stage of your relationship.

Agree a financial structure – no-one is suggesting it has to be formally set out, but it's a good idea to decide early on who is responsible for each outgoing. If you don't have a joint bank account, then agree who is paying each bill, each household payment, etc. Discuss your finance goals, find ways to save money together, and develop a system that works for you both.

Think about the impact of joint financial activity, like opening a joint bank account. When you create a financial link it means that your credit score could be impacted by your partner's credit history.

Audit your financial outgoings – if you begin living together, make sure you're not doubling up and paying for the same thing – eg: direct debits such as broadband, subscriptions etc. If so, agree on the ones you both want to keep and cancel the others. To see all your outgoing payments in one place log in to Money Dashboard money management software and click on ‘Past Activity'.

Dealing with debt -when you share financial services, your credit reports become linked, so a debt incurred by your other half could have a significant implication on how creditworthy you are perceived to be. The best way to find out is by checking your credit report, which is a record of all your credit accounts and is all a lender sees when they assess you for credit.

Financial disassociation - if you find any financial links between you and your ex-partner, ask for them to be removed. If you don't do this you could find that any credit applications you make in the future may be affected by your ex-partner's financial situation.Sharing a mortgage – It's important to agree a suitable budget, and how much you each must save towards the deposit. Viewing your Experian Credit Score and report should give you an indication of how likely you are to be accepted by most lenders, prior to making your application. Experian offers a free 30-day trial for new members only. Monthly fee applies after free trial. Free trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access full service, which may take up to five days. You will also be given advice and support on how to improve it, and be matched to mortgages that fit your financial profile to help you get the best deals.

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