Financial discussions between a couple are very important, discussing how much you earn, what you should do with your earnings and how to invest eventually becomes very important as you both would be looking to do things together.
Now, this is no different for queer partners as well. Even though legally, one is not allowed to get married, you may be equally committed to each other and combine everything in your life including your finances.
This blog is to guide you on ways in which you can look at your finances together and put things in place properly from your bank accounts to investments to asset buying.
1. Combining your cash flows - Joint Bank Account
Opening a joint bank account may help you share your income and expenses with each other and look at your lifestyle as one unit. According to the law by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), there is no restriction on who can open bank accounts. You can go to any bank and open a bank account with each other as joint holders.
However, many banks do not permit non-relatives to open joint account holders as they believe that it would lead to more complications when one of them dies and the heir of the person comes to claim the money. The best way to get this done is to have a direct conversation with the banker and request them to help you open a joint bank account.
In fact, Axis Bank has become one of the first banks to announce new policies and practices for its customers and employees from the LGBTQ community. We have heard people facing some problems around it but you can definitely connect and know more.
2. Managing Cash Flows together
There is no difference between a heterosexual and a homosexual couple in managing cashflows. You must do it based on whether both of you are earning or one you are earning. The idea is that where both partners are earning, contribute an equal proportion of your income towards expenses and where one of you is earning, you must take care of all the living expenses.
You can learn more about how to manage your cash flows from here
Where you cannot open a joint account together, you can share logins of 1 account with others, and have an add-on credit card to keep your transactions smooth.
3. Investing Together - Set your goals
Do not worry, I am not going to recommend pooling your funds in one common bank account and investing through it. Invest from your individual accounts towards the combined and individual goals. Take the time out this weekend and discuss and note down your goals. This would also give you a chance to speak to each other about your goals, and why and how you can work on them.
No transfer of funds into each other's accounts.
As per the income-tax laws, where one person transfers money to another account (without any service), it is considered as a gift. Gifts to all non-relatives above 50,000 are taxable in the hands of the recipient. We would highly recommend not transferring funds into your partner's account to invest/or otherwise.
Where your goals could be the same (like buying a house or car together), you must invest for it from your respective accounts in respective funds.
4. You can buy assets together
Yes! You can buy a house, a car, and land together. There is no law stopping 2 people from buying things together. So you can go as partners, friends or family and register a house in your name. However, it is preferable that both of you fund such a property so that banks or builders do not raise any concerns on the same.
Practical concern: Because our society is not yet acceptable, brokers and developers may create an issue when we openly tell them that we are a queer couple. However, if you just go and buy a house as partners and no discussion about your personal relationship is done, it will make your life easier as you would be avoiding unnecessary discussions.
5. Leaving your asset to your partner - Inheritance
You must know that both of you want to spend the next good life together and hence are looking to even combine your finances together. The problem is not about getting the asset together but tomorrow, if you decide to go your separate ways then splitting the assets can be difficult.
Also, if your family is not very accepting of the relationship, they have the first legal rights on your share of the assets than your partner. To explain in detail, even where you and your partner buy a house with a 50% co-ownership, the share of your partner will first vet on their family members than you (because the law does not recognise queer couples/partners as legal heirs).
To avoid any such claim by family members of your share of the assets, the best way is to write a will, leaving your share to your partner (if this is something you want to do). Consulting a lawyer and a financial planner to buy an asset seamlessly would be advisable.
6. Foolproof method
You can start a business entity together like an LLP or a private limited company where both of you are partners and you can buy assets and investments in the name of the business. This will not only ensure that you can easily buy the assets but also ensure that the asset is passed on to the surviving member. However, there is an associated running cost of managing a separate business entity and hence, may not be feasible for everyone.
Every individual and every family must take care of their personal finances as money plays a very important role in setting dreams and achieving them. The basics of financial planning and how to set goals would remain the same for you as for any other couple and hence if you are open to learning more about it - you can check our course - Honey & Money
Do share this article with any friend/family who will benefit from this.