Marriage and Money

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 Money is a big issue in most marriages and in the early days it is
important to make sure that any ugly issues that could stem from money
matters are nipped in the bud. Here are a few of the common financial
mistakes young couples make and how they can be tackled.

Poor planning: It’s commonly said that when you fail
to plan then you plan to fail. One of the major mistakes many young
couples make is failing to plan their finances. Spending as each day
goes by is not only reckless but downright dangerous. Always have a plan
so that the income earned jointly by the family can be put to proper
use. You can start by drawing up a budget spreadsheet where you can
track your expected income against your planned expenditure. This will
serve as a reality check and help you visualize your spending patterns
and cut out the excesses where they exist. There are lots of cool budget
templates online which can easily be modified for your use.

Lack of disclosure: Honesty is one of the major
hallmarks of any good relationship. As a young family it’s important
that full financial disclosure is made. The failure to disclose your net
worth is a mistake men and women alike make and it has led to many a
conflict caused by undue pressure. The truth is that there is no need to
impress your spouse at this point and put yourself under undue pressure
caused by false expectations. Rather than give half-truths concerning
ones finances it makes more sense to be open as it’s only then that you
and your spouse can help each other manage your finances properly.

Solo buying: When you were single it was fine to buy
things without discussing with anyone however once you become a Mr. or
Mrs. everything changes. It shows poor judgment and disregard for your
spouse when major purchases such as property, cars (and even some which
may not seem that major like getting a new fridge or a dog) are made
without consulting your spouse. When you fail to consult your spouse
before making a purchase and there is an issue the other party may not
be sympathetic.

Living like the Joneses: No thanks to social media
we are constantly shown the lifestyle of upwardly mobile couples. From
their lavish weddings to their over the top parties and luxurious
vacations, who wouldn’t want to live the lifestyle of the rich and
famous? However it’s best to resist the pressure and cut your coat
according to your material . If you can afford to splurge then by all
means go ahead but whatever the case DO NOT spend your life savings on
your wedding just to impress the whole world and then be stuck with a
mountain of debt, as this will put a lot of pressure on your marriage.
If you need to take a loan to go on a holiday then maybe you have a
rethink and go to Ghana or even another Nigerian city rather than Dubai
or Paris. You will still have fun and it will cost considerably less
.Trust me nothing kills romance as fast as no finance.

Spending too much on luxury items: Most times this
is linked to the point above. The truth is that if as a single girl or
guy you could buy only a particular label then it’s not automatic that
this lifestyle must continue. This is because along with the status
change comes more responsibility, school fees, mortgages and the like.
Rather than continue to collect stuff from Mum and Dad to fund your
lifestyle  why not give them gifts for a change? Of course if you are
blessed enough to afford even more luxury goods then go ahead but
remember that you are not defined by labels.

Spending too much on your children: Now I know that
only the best will do for your little princess or prince but be wise.
Resist the urge to meet every demand your children make especially when
they are totally unnecessary. For example why does each of your four
children need their own game console? Not only are you depriving them of
an opportunity to experience the joy of sharing but you are also
spoiling them and wasting money that could be saved or put to better
use. The same goes for their birthday celebrations, children should
always be celebrated but always try to make sure you don’t go a
borrowing just to throw an impressive party for all to see. At the end
of the day what your children need from you most is your presence not
just presents.

Making the wrong choices: There are always choices
to be made. Choices such as the choice of where to live or the schools
your children attend. Many couples make the wrong choices and are left
with huge holes in their purses. That’s why it’s really important to
take your time to make very important choices. For example you may want
to live in a particular area because all your friends live there but can
you afford yearly rent increments that are the norm there? Is it close
to your office and would it make sense to pay lower rent and then spend a
lot on gas and the mechanics due to wear and tear on your vehicle?
Also, you may want to own your own home but taking a mortgage may be
suicidal considering what you and your spouse earn, so do the math’s and
then decide. For a choice like your children’s school you need to be
very careful as your child will end up spending more time with their
teachers than with you. While that top school may seem like the best, is
it really? Or that school next to your house may seem cheap and
cheerful but it may mean your child’s education may be compromised.
Whatever choices you make as a married couple make sure you sit down and
discuss the pros and cons before you go ahead.

Bankers delight: Some people love taking loans and
sometimes it make sense like when you are starting a new business.
However when you need to take a holiday or acquire a new toy or bag (yes
some people are actually doing this) a loan makes no sense at all. Many
people are burdened with a huge debt profile which just adds
unnecessary pressure. Learn to budget accordingly and resist the urge to
take loans no matter how attractive they seem as when the bankers come
for their money they will not be smiling.

No savings: The truth is that savings have saved
many situations. When many young couples are faced with an emergency
they are usually perplexed as they have grown accustomed to living from
pay check to pay check and never have anything set aside for a rainy
day. These days there is no excuse not to save as banks have several
products where money can be saved such as direct deposit accounts.

No Will: As sad as it is both young and old people
die. While we all pray for long life and wish to see our children grow
and settle the sad reality is that some people are cut off in their
prime. What then happens in many African families is nothing short of
tragic, relatives come and share up the property and in some cases share
up the children. It’s even worse where the young family have no
children and the husband or wife’s family believes the surviving spouse
does not “deserve” to get anything .To make sure your loved ones are
properly cared for writing a will is essential once you start acquiring
assets. If your religion or cultural beliefs do not support the writing
of a will then consider acquiring assets in the names of your loved
ones.

Here’s wishing you a marriage that is solid emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially!


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