When a couple moves in together, one of the difficult transitions is combining their incomes, or planning for it especially if it is only from one source.
Below are the practical measures couples should do to avoid financial stress at home;-
1. Pay attention while you are dating and be honest about who you are and how you were raised. Talking about your views and feelings can help put both partners at ease, or at least let them know what to expect.
2. When you choose to come together as a couple, you should communicate your expectations and ideas about how to raise and pay for their children well before they’re born.
3. There should be financial transparency. This is the foundation of good communication. Lack of communication is the source of many marital issues such as common health problems, financial anxieties, mistrust, suspicion etc and if not addressed can become far bigger problems with much more difficult solutions. The best way to be sure you and your spouse are on the same page with your joint finances is to talk about them regularly, honestly, and without judgment. Don’t do it when you’re mad, tired, or back from an evening of wine.
4. In marriage, some people are natural savers and want to invest their savings while others are big spenders and take pleasure in shopping and buying luxuries. Whichever profile you and your spouse most closely fit, it’s best to recognize bad habits, address them, and moderate them. If you’re committed to a relationship, you and your partner owe each other a calm, honest conversation about each other’s finances, habits, goals, and anxieties. Remember when working together, couples can achieve more than singles can.
5. There are couples that live together where;
▪One partner has a paid job and the other doesn’t.
▪Both partners would like to be working but one is unemployed.
▪One spouse earns considerably more than the other.
▪One partner comes from a family that has money and the other doesn’t.
When one or more of these situations is present, the money earner (or the one who makes or has the most money) often wants to dictate the couple’s spending priorities. Although there may be some rationale behind this idea, it is still important that both partners cooperate as a team. Keep in mind that while a joint account offers greater transparency and access, it is not in itself a solution to an unbalanced power/money dynamic in a marriage.
6. Even if you rely on your spouse or partner to handle your financial matters, you need to keep track of your financial affairs. You need to know the bottom line for your household’s finances so you can save and invest accordingly. If your spouse is reluctant to disclose his assets or liabilities, persist in asking. Don’t take “trust me” for an answer.
7. Each life stage creates demands for specific money conversation, whether you’re single, a couple or part of a large family unit. In this case, you need to talk about financial flow. Talking about money enables you set priorities. It also enables you develop a clear picture about what you want, and establish a plan to achieve your financial goals.
8. Although some couples choose to split bills especially when both are working, it’s not ideal sometimes. If couples practice this, each spouse can spend what is left after settling bills as they see fit and this may limit opportunities for couples to plan for long-term goals like buying a home, securing retirement etc. So couples should work and and find time to discuss financial issues together for better future planning.
9. If one partner has more debt than the other or if one partner is debt-free, the sparks can start to fly when discussions about income, spending, and debt servicing come up. Before taking a loan, first discuss it with your spouse and if possible, present a clear work plan for that loan. In case you fail to pay, your spouse will find it cool to support you instead of one person leaving it to stay with the person who incurred the debt and is not extended to a spouse.
10. Lastly, If there’s any argument, even if you are on the winning side of the argument, know that the loser can extract a penalty that outweighs the win. In this situation, couples must learn how to table and discuss family matters because living with a resentful, angry, frustrated spouse can be a miserable experience.
Written by Ssalongo Ssali-Financial Therapist
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