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How to cut financial ties after a relationship break-up
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Untangling shared assets can make life more complicated if you split up, so this handy guide can help.
When you’re going through a relationship break-up, money might be the last thing on your mind.
But there may be financial links which need to be broken.
Pearl Akintola, a consumer finance expert at credit information company Experian, says: “When going through the break-up 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.”
She explains: “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.”
"When going through the break-up checklist, blocking exes on socials is always top of the list but figuring out how to cut financial ties is usually at the bottom" - Pearl Akintola, Experian
Here is Akintola’s guide for handling the different financial stages of a break-up:
1. The initial split
Akintola says while friends and family will “provide a shoulder to cry on”, people may want to seek confidential help elsewhere for their finances, which could involve guidance from professionals.
She adds: “Services such as (Government-backed body) MoneyHelper will help you understand your options and what next steps you should take – supporting you throughout the process.”
If you’ve been renting together, it’s important to pay attention to your tenancy agreement.
Akintola says: “If you were living with your ex and were both named on the agreement as tenants, you’re both liable for the rent until your agreement ends.
“So, 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.”
Contact service providers about any bills in your name before moving out (Anthony Devlin/PA)
It’s also important to take care of any household bills.
Akintola suggests: “Before moving out, contact the service providers of any utility bills in your name and update them on your plans. Remember to arrange how you’ll pay the outstanding balance on any final bills.”
As well as bills, it’s also important to split any savings and discuss how money will be divided fairly so accounts can be closed, she adds.
Some people may also have holidays still booked with their exes.
If you have a travel insurance policy, Akintola suggests checking what it says about cancellations.
She adds: “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.”
Some people also continue to share responsibility for pets after break-ups.
Akintola says: “Having a pet does come with a cost, so make sure you discuss how you’ll take care of expenses, such as an unexpected vet bill.”
2. Go for a financial makeover
After a break-up, it’s natural to want to have a fresh start with new possibilities.
But, before you say goodbye to your ex completely, Akintola suggests: “Take a look at your credit report, as that might be the last thing linking you to them.
“If you had a joint account or took out a form of credit, such as 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.”
She suggests asking credit reference agencies to remove them from your report, adding: “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.”
Don’t forget to reset any passwords you may previously have shared with your ex.
Akintola says: “Now that you’ll be Netflix and chilling with someone else, make sure you update your password. This applies to online shopping sites too.”
Don’t forget to reset any passwords you may have shared with your ex (picture posed by model/Tim Goode/PA)
She adds: “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.”
And while you’re making changes, the time may also be right for a financial makeover.
Akintola adds: “To complete your financial glow-up, review and tidy up your finances.
“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.”
3. Shop around for a new account
Akintola suggests: “Find yourself better financial options, such as a better savings account or a cheaper credit card.
“Now that you’ve ditched your joint savings account, find one that’s right for you.
“When you decide to open your own savings account, shop around before settling on one. Consider how much interest you’ll receive and if it is fixed or depends on the market.”
Easy access savings accounts are handy for “rainy day” funds needed in emergencies.
But, for longer-term savings goals such as a house, it may be possible to find higher rates with a fixed-term savings account or an Isa, Akintola suggests.
And if you’re dating again, Akintola says it’s important to stay vigilant when using dating apps and websites.
She says: “Remember to be careful not to share any personal details that might be used maliciously, such as your date of birth or personal address. Fraudsters can use this information to gain access to your bank account.”