Whenever I hear people talk of finance in relationship, I often laugh because of get funny response I get from people.. Someone once asked a question;
Mr. John have $20,000 and Mrs. John have $55,000. How much is the total money in the house? Someone responded $20,000… that’s funny right? Maybe you should do the math yourself, we all know the total money in the house should be $75,000 but there is this adage that says; my husband’s money is our money and my money is my money. I guess that explains the math…lol
There are families, who have never had a fight about money while they were dating or engaged. Marriages go sideways for a bunch of reasons for instance; we have the sex problems, substance abuse problems, but the worst problems of all are money problems. Everyone has his or her own different philosophies on money. But that is not really accurate that is why it’s important to have a conversation about money and observe the other person’s behavior before you get married.
You should understand that once you are married, you have to kill the letter “I” and cultivate the use of the word “WE”. You must accept the fact that from now onward, you will plan your financial future together as a couple and not just from your own perspective.
Now, your big day is here. You have waited so long for it. You are getting married. Marriage is not a bed of roses. You need money to lead a good married life. Marriage is all about sharing and caring. You and your spouse must come together and make a plan to manage finances.
Most times, one party is bringing more into the marriage. Remember its money and there is this spirit behind money, yes it answers all things and if not well managed, it can as well destroy a whole lot of things.
How do you discuss finance issue in your relationship without having issues with your spouse?
1. Set Aside Time: Set up a time when the two of you can talk calmly about your household expenses and combined income.
- Do not start the conversation informally or when you are tired or angry. You knowing when to bring the finance discussion on board matters a lot. Your partner may be having a rough day and because you feel I have to say this now or never, you jump in and bring in the discussion of how extravagant they spend money on unnecessary things. I bet you will not like the outcome of that discussion. You may even be misunderstood and your good deed will now seem like a bad plan.
- Do not talk about who work harder or make more money or anything that involves blame or accusation.
- Do not talk about how your parents used to do it, or how your rich friends do it. This has to be about how you two will do it to make your marriage happy and get your obligations met.
- Do not compare yourself to other people.
- Do not pretend you work harder or that your work is more meaningful than your spouse’s.
There is time for everything… study you partner and know when you present such matters to them. And thing is, finance should be discussed before the “I DO” speech. You met this great guy/lady and deep down you know he/she is the one. While making plans for the future and the number of kids you wish to have, also remember to discuss the “FINANCIAL” aspect of that relationship because it is one discussion that must hold or else you end up having spouse like Mrs. John….lol
2. Set up a Budget: You will all agree with me that, often times one partner is better at handling money than the other. These days many regular and necessary bills can be set up on automatic payments schedules. It is best to set up a bank account specific for this purpose. Direct deposit can be arranged so that the deposits are timed with the automatic withdrawals. Any other bills should be handled by the partner who is most responsible. Sometimes partners can divide up responsibility for paying bills. Make a budget together at the end of each year (for the next year) in a spreadsheet. All expenditures will be recorded in the appropriate category so it be can tracked.
3. Set up Your Bank Accounts (Personal & Joint Account): Most people will call having a joint account crazy idea, would you blame them? The society has taught us a whole lot of things and people are scared of having a joint account with their spouse. One of the reason is, having to ask every time one needs to spend money.” that why I will suggest you both have a separate accounts and also a have a small joint account that you both contribute certain amount of money monthly.
4. Be open minded when discussing this: Your upbringing and life experience make you unique; the same rule applies to your partner too. No matter how long you have been together, your core value and beliefs can still be different. Do not judge and do not try to change your partner’s own set of value and beliefs.
5. Do not compare them to anyone: Nobody likes to be compared to other people most especially if the person you are comparing them to is an ex. Do not mention that boy/girl you know who pays for everything including the child and never ask for money. Comparing your spouse to this other man/woman is insulting and demeaning and will make her angry from the start. That would be a very stupid, thoughtless, and ineffective way to start this essential marital conversation.
6. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking: This is one major problem we have in relationships, nobody listens, and everyone wants to be heard. Your spouse it pouring their hearts out and all the while you were not listening, you busy thinking of the words to say to them once they are through talking which is wrong. Listen to them, pause and ponder on all they said, allow what they have to say sink in then look for solution to the problem.
7. Set Your Goals for the Future: One of the ways of setting financial goals is; cutting down the unnecessary expenditure mainly restaurants, parties, movies, unnecessary shopping etc. Invest as much as you can to generate a good wealth for the future. You must aim for aggressive investments that offer you higher returns rather than opting for conservative investments. Remember to set aside an emergency saving for unforeseen scenarios. Do not forget to pay off all the debts so that you can use the money in a more useful way. Make sure you have a good retirement plan. Retirement might be a long time off, but it’s still crucial that you consider whether you’re saving enough to retire when you desire.
Managing money issues can be one of the greatest challenges in a marriage. study shows that majority of conflict in marriage comes from money issues. However, What will ruin a marriage is not meeting the silent expectations in financial issues. Guys remember, in order to make those expectations known you need to talk about them. Do not forget to ask if by chance, he/she is having any debt to pay off before the big question of “I DO”. It is of utmost importance.
Finally, do not forget; what is yours is hers and what is hers is hers. Funny right?, Think about that for a bit. Even the law sees it that way. You may think otherwise until you are divorce, then she will prove it to you with some measure of success.