You’re ready to talk about money and marriage: Financially ever after

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Article supplied by Absa  

Let’s be honest — it’s a challenging time for married couples right now.

You may be madly in love with your spouse, but with millions across the globe now unemployed because of COVID-19, many marriages are facing a financial crisis.

During this period, it’s important for couples to be kind and understanding of each other’s frustrations and fears.

But one of the key things is to try and avoid getting into debt because while it’s tempting to rely on debt, when you’re in a financial crisis, it’s only going to increase your stress levels.

Share your dreams for the future with each other and work out how financially compatible you are – learn about each other’s money personalities.

To help you understand each other better, here are 5 money personalities that couples can identify with.

1.    The Spender

The spender loves to make money and spend it. They convince themselves that they work too hard and therefore they deserve to enjoy their money.

2.    The Saver

The saver saves and is cautious with money. They live for balancing their numbers, patting themselves on the back for saving a higher amount than they did the previous month and they feel secure only when their savings are at a specific level.

3.    The Avoider

The avoider would rather not discuss the topic of money at all. They get involved very little when it comes to meaningful purchases such as investments, retirement or insurance.

4.    The Money Monk

The money monk has mastered their finances. They have a good balance between saving, investing and spending, and are comfortable to talk about their finances.

5.    The Cinderella

The Cinderella thinks that there will always be someone to take care of their bills. They can’t fathom making a financial decision for themselves, and they are not concerned about budgeting, what is a budget anyway!

Make time to talk to your partner about what money means to you

Here are some questions to discuss with your partner.

  • What role does money play in your life?
  • What needs to happen in the next few years for you to feel like you are making good progress?
  • What money mistakes have you made in the past that you want to avoid in the future?

If you’re still single, next time you fill in those online dating questionnaires, the most important attribute may just be a synergy in the way you and a prospective partner view money.

How to talk to your partner about money

Having a relationship where you can speak openly about money is very important, but it is not that easy.

Here are some tips to help you with that dreaded money conversation.

1.      Talk about money on a regular basis, not just when there is a crisis. Set a time for it in your diary, and stick to the monthly appointment.

2.    Find a comfortable place to meet which is your “money” place. This is where you will get into the nitty-gritty of your finances, so you are on the same page.

3.    At your regular money appointment, discuss the monthly budget and discuss your financial goals and how you will reach them. This is also the place to discuss money issues – like overspending on a credit card, for example.

4.    Decide how you will split your combined household expenses. Talking about this helps eliminate expectations that might end up causing fights about money.

5.    Have a “to discuss” box in the house where you can put notes on what you want to discuss. Leave your money issues for your monthly appointment.

6.    When talking about money, you also need to have a “no shame, no blame rule”. Discuss the problem and find a way to resolve it together.

Merging your finances

When you live together, raise children together and hopefully retire together, there is an inevitable merging of finances.

Here are some options for how you are going to pay for all those shared expenses.

  • The joint bank account

While this may seem the easiest, most practical solution, it can be an administrative nightmare should a spouse die, as there is no such thing as a “joint” account – there is only one option, with a main account holder whose spouse has signing rights.

  • Running a tab

If you decide to keep your finances separate, then you need to have an arrangement as part of your monthly budget as to who covers which expenses.

  •  The household bank account

It makes sense to form a household bank account, where each spouse deposits funds at the beginning of the month, even if you keep your individual bank accounts.

  • The household credit card

You could use a joint credit card, but please remember to deposit your share into the account at the beginning of the month, and to retain a low credit limit to avoid overspending.

  • Should a wife have her own financial adviser?

Every married woman should seriously consider having her own financial adviser, who has her best interests at heart.

Planning your estate 

Having a will is absolutely critical to anyone that has an asset base of any kind, especially if you are married and have children.

Being ready to get things done – that’s Africanacity. And we’re here for it.