By Tobenna Nnabeze
Most married couples have issues in their marriages. These issues are not just because there’s no love or respect. They are not even about sex. Instead, most of the issues arise due to poor financial management.
Finance, most times, is the number one cause of marital strains. But the good news is that you can easily avoid fights and awkward situations when you make certain rules and agreements. These will not only save your marriage, but also make both of you more successful financially.
Try implementing the tips presented here, find out the ones that work best for you, and stick with them.
Whether you’ve just moved in together, are newly married, or your marriage has lasted for years, you will find these tips very useful.
Set your financial priorities together
The essence of marriage is for two people to act as one. Handling finances should not be left out in that regard. Discuss your individual financial goals (both long and short terms) and then find a way to unite them.
While setting priorities, think about the education of your children (even if you don’t have any yet), daily expenses, rent, the possible costs of building or buying a house, and many more.
You should also make plans for investments. Passive income is very necessary if you want to have more time for each other.
When you make plans with your partner, regarding which small and large expenditures or investments to make, you not only save towards these things together with one mind, communication is also encouraged in the process because it helps you two grow closer.
Making plans and having things to look forward to create stronger bonds between you and your partner.
Talking about money is not always the easiest thing for some couples, especially when it has to do with debt and the current financial status of each partner. However, it is important that you try as much as possible to be open and honest about such things, so as to avoid unwelcome surprises in the future.
Debt, loans, money goals, and credit history should never be kept secret.
Be clear with each other about your feelings, concerning how you would like money to be handled. Also be open about what you would like to invest in, and what your financial goals are.
When you understand each other’s financial philosophies, you will be better suited to create effective plans and agreements. Your philosophies reveal a lot about your characters, so you can find the best way to live together and avoid problems.
It’s also very important never to take any action, when money is concerned, without consulting with your partner first, especially when a budget has been agreed upon.
Know each other’s money weaknesses
Each individual had unique experiences growing up. These experiences influence the choices we make, including how we spend and manage money. Some people spend money as soon as they get it, while others hoard theirs. Some are used to getting into debt all the time, while others abhor debt.
By knowing and understanding your partner’s money management weaknesses, you can work together to help each other overcome or manage them. This way, you build together in love, trust, and understanding.
Create a budget
You should create monthly budgets as a couple and track them. When you decide on how much the both of you will spend each day on things like food, house supplies, and more, it will be easier to keep track of your expenses and make more savings.
Have a piggy bank
This is an interesting one, especially for newly married couples. Keep a box, in which both of you will throw in a certain amount of money every day. The amount you decide on depends on what seems insignificant to you (could be N100, N200, or even N1000). At the end of the month, deposit the money into a designated account and start afresh for the following month.
This is a fun way to save for a rainy day. It should be done separately from the normal setting aside of a specified amount from your monthly salaries. If the two of you take this daily ritual to heart, you will be surprised at how little drops soon form a mighty ocean.
Open a joint account
This could be a tricky one for some couples. It is not easy to give control of your money to someone else. Not only can it cause quarrels, it is also risky.
However, having a joint account can be a good way to be open with each other and work together towards a common goal. So the best way to handle it is for each of you to keep your individual accounts in addition to the joint account.
Having a joint account requires love and trust. It is, therefore, not recommended if it will only cause quarrels, rather than bring you closer.
Split the bills
It may feel convenient to allow your partner pay every bill and make all significant investment decisions. But it’s not the wisest thing to do since it leaves you uninformed. In the unlikely event that your significant other leaves or is incapacitated in some way, it will be challenging for you to handle things on your own. Debts may accumulate and bills may be left unpaid.
Also, splitting the bills will make you more organised since each person knows what he/she is responsible for.
At the end of the month, go over financial events together, so as to be well informed. Weekly meetings are important as well. You can discuss how close you are to achieving certain financial goals, if there are obligations soon to be due, and any other financial matters.
When you create time for such serious discussions, you become more at ease with your partner and also worry less about money matters, since you both know that you’ve made all necessary arrangements.
Plan for your retirement
The earlier you start investing towards your retirement, the better. Whether you are self-employed or a stay-at-home spouse, you should also have a solid retirement plan. Each partner needs to have one, so as to ensure that both of you are financially prepared, no matter what challenges you may face in the future.
Spells of hard financial times are bound to come
Without preparing for unforeseen circumstances, you can fall into a really bad place in your relationship.
Hard financial times can tear couples apart. No matter how strong the love is, the frustration and emotional stress associated with such times can dole out the greatest temptations.
It is therefore important that all couples have solid contingency plans in place.
For better for worse, till death do us part…
As a couple, you should work together to create a strong financial base that you can look back on with pride. It only takes a day at a time to ensure your financial happiness. Taking things for granted can bring consequences you never expected.