Are you having money issues in your relationship or marriage? Do you find yourself having conflicts with your partner over finances? Do you always disagree with your partner’s spending lifestyle or views on finances? If yes, this article is for you.
Money is an integral part of life; determining our choices of items, education, and even aspirations. Yet when it comes to discussing money matters in a relationship, a lot of people shy away from it. Many times, it is the norm to only observe and draw conclusions based on assumptions.
Society has made it almost a taboo for people (particularly women) to ask their potential life partner questions about their spending habits and financial goals, for fear of being termed “a gold-digger”. Because of this misconception, too many couples venture into marriage inadequately prepared for the financial commitment and responsibilities that marriage presents.
In a survey that I conducted for the sole purpose of this article, 10% of the respondents indicated that they did not discuss finances with their spouse before marriage and wish they did. Another survey also indicates that money issues are the topmost recurring issue (up to 70%) that married couples face.
Money matters do not have to be an impediment to having ” a happily-ever-after” with your spouse. So, how do you maintain a loving relationship with your partner free of money issues? How do you get to understand your partner’s money language (whether an amasser, hoarder, money monk, avoider, spender or worrier) and complement his/her weakness with your strength? It all starts with a conversation! Consider these factors before starting up such a conversation;
TIMING – Issues relating to money cannot be discussed anyhow. It wouldn’t do at all for you to talk about it when you are angry while he/she is defensive. This combination sure doesn’t leave room for an honest conversation on money matters. The best time is when both partners are happy.
LANGUAGE AND TONE OF VOICE – Language and tone of voice make all the difference when discussing money matters. If you start up in an accusatory language and tone of voice, it is safe to say that your partner will go on the defensive fence. Choose your words carefully. Use words that will make your partner open up and not clam up.
Having considered these factors, what is the next step to tackling your money matters?
HONEST CONVERSATION – The first action you want to take is to have an honest conversation with your partner. Bear in mind that everyone comes from a unique and different background that must have shaped their perspectives of money. One person may have lacked so much in his/her childhood. Due to this, he/she may love to save and accumulate money. On the other hand, another may have come from a rich background with all kinds of luxury at fingertips. Odds are that he would always want such luxuries, even if cash-strapped. Personally, I call this the “Money Genes” because they are part hereditary and part personal life experiences. It is your duty to find out what your partner’s perspectives are on money.
A few leading question to help you determine these are;
What was your upbringing like? How did your parents spend their money?
What are your financial goals? How are you presently making efforts to reach them?
What luxuries do you like to splurge on? Is there anyone you would never give up in the absence of money?
Where and what do you like to save on? What do you consider irrelevant to spend money on?
Would you like your partner to work? What do you think about shared financial responsibilities? What are your expectations of your partner in marriage money-wise?
MONEY MANAGEMENT AND BILLS PAYMENT PLAN: WHAT WORKS AND DOESN’T WORK
The question of what kind of financial budgeting and plan to use in a home arises time and again; particularly in homes where money issues are prevalent. Determining who pays what bills have been an issue of discord in most homes. In our survey, we threw this question open to our respondents. Here, we have curated the top financial plans that have worked and are still working for people globally.
EQUITY-SHARED PLAN – Equity, in this sense, refers to fairness or justice in the way the financial responsibilities of a home are being shared. This fairness can be based on the amount any or both of the couple is earning, on gender, or even on any other factor that is relevant to a couple. For instance, 60% of our survey respondents indicated that the role of paying a house rent is assumed by them (the husbands) while 40% indicated that to be a joint responsibility. 73% and 64% of respondents respectively indicated light bills and water bills as being paid by their husbands while the remainder indicated that to be a joint responsibility. Other bills such as groceries, clothing expenses, school fees, vacation, family investment etcetera are jointly handled by both partners. This is an equity-shared financial model at work here, but the determining factor on which it is shared is dependent on the couple.
POOLED MONEY FINANCIAL PLAN – This financial plan is similar to the Equity-Shared plan. The only difference is that rather than each couple being given a set of responsibilities to handle, a certain percentage of both partners’ money (from their salaries or earnings) are pooled together and used to run their home. In this case, the percentage a partner contributes is dependent on how much he/she earns. The lesser the earnings, the less he/she contributes. The remaining percentage of their earnings is free for each partner to spend as he/she desires.
JOINT ACCOUNT – This financial plan is also similar to the pooled money financial plan. It only differs in the sense that both partners run a single bank account as opposed to the pooled money financial plan where both partners still have their separate bank accounts but only pool a percentage of their money together. Since both partners’ money are in the same account, they are both signatories to the account and each couple receives a bank notification when the other partner withdraws money from the account. This particular model requires a whole lot of trust on both partners’ side, as things can easily go wrong if one of the partners is found less than trustworthy.
SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FINANCIAL PLAN – This refers to a case where one partner assumes the sole responsibility of the financial commitment it takes to run a home. This is often the case in African homes where the man decides against his wife getting a job and foots the bill alone. While most conventional men choose this model on their own accord, this may not be the best model for them in the long run, particularly if they have engineered it in order to stop their partners from working.
When it comes to financial obligations and management of funds, there is no one right way to achieve that. The best model for a family is the one both partners agree to. This may evolve with time as the needs of the marriage changes and as both partners learn to trust each other.
Are you married? Or in a live-in relationship with your partner? Which financial plan works for you and your family? Please, let us know in the comment section. Don’t forget to like and share this post as well.