Money matters can be a big issue in marriages, in fact it is one of the three major causes of problems in marriages, and the other two are sex and communication. The lack of it often places so much pressure and strain on a marriage, leaving both couples helpless in handling certain situations and on the other hand much of it could also cause problems as well, if wisdom and planning are not in place.
In spite of all these, your marriage could still be an enjoyable one, whether you have little or much income at your disposal, the proper management of what is available could make you the envy of even the wealthy.
Surprisingly, some couples don’t like to talk about money issue at all, because of the eventual outcome, which most times leave the matters worse than when it began. Such couples often pretend that the issue of finances doesn’t exist, locking it up in a closet sealed with a large inscription written in red letters OUT OF BOUND !!!, and yet they are constantly been faced with the realities of its existence.
Really, talking about it is sometimes what solves the problem, not the avoidance of it. In a situation where one or both parties feel cheated, speak out to yourselves with respect rather than reporting to a friend or family members or even staging a fight.
In 2004, a study carried out by Smart Money magazine revealed that 70% of couples talk about money on a weekly basis, and yet many still have problems as regards it.
Mary Claire Allvine a certified financial planner said “People tend to be emotional and reactive about money, not strategic, when emotions run high, people tend to make fiscal mistakes.”
Allvine’s solution: “Approach family finances as if you were running a business. If you put a business metaphor into the picture, you’d be surprised how much more methodical people are.”
It is therefore note worthy for those who are in courtship to talk and agree on how they want their future home to run as regards this matters, don’t wait till you get married, it may be too late.
These discussions are meant to serve as foundations for your future home. If a guideline is already set in courtship, the defaulter in marriage can easily be detected. But when there are no guidelines, and all matters as regarding these issues are left hanging, thus based on assumptions, and when reality eventually shows up, the story turns out to be a true life experience which sometimes may not be pleasant.
How much a spouse earns should not make either less important, as this may result to some form of withdrawal and ultimately inferiority complex,
There are various ways marriages could face financial problems, some are listed below:
*Selfishness: When one of the couples is stingy with finances, always holding back in the face of obvious and dire needs, deliberately choosing to be insensitive to the financial need of the other or the home in general , thus disregarding the consequences/implications of not meeting such needs especially if it is in his/her power to do so.
Selfishness is certainly a personality problem, the person involved must first acknowledge and identify it to be so, even though it is an Adamic nature resident in everyone, but it manifests more in some people than the other and it may grow worse if not dealt with prayerfully.
Bear in mind to always do to others as you would want them to do to you.
*Spendthrift: When one or both of the couples is an impulsive spender, such a one can hardly keep money for long, no matter the millions they commands; there is always a reason to spend money.
Their “hobby” is spending, they derive so much joy in spending money even if the reason is unnecessary.
They can buy expensive stuff they will never use, and sometimes they use them once or twice and they are weary of it, e.g cars, food, clothes, shoes, jewelry, kitchen gadgets e.t.c.
They could also pay other peoples bills unnecessarily, give unwisely, buy goods on credit, acquiring goods on mortgage beyond their financial capacity, always trying to prove to others that the cash is very much available, showing off to families and friends thereby running their home in a financial wreck.
The remedy for such a person is to avoid taking or keeping money floating around. It is very possible to bring your spending under control, it only takes your deciding to do so and your being disciplined, you must be humble enough to admit your weakness and involve your spouse to helping you, remember that marriage is meant to be complementing.
Such a one should take an account of all the unnecessary things you have procured or spent money on , check their worth and consider what you could have gotten if you invested the same amount or saved it.
*Laziness: This is a case where one or both parties is lazy and would hardly want to do any work to earn a living, most times it is only one person that carries the financial burden of the home as a result of the laziness of the other party, “he that would not work should not eat”, a local saying also says: “no food for a lazy man” (whether man or woman).
Even a widow or a single mother must put her hands to work to take care of herself and her children.
The cure for laziness is to work , work does not kill but laziness does, as such a one may die of hunger.
*Debt: Some couples carry over debt from bachelorhood/spinsterhood right into their marriage, for some because of extravagance of the wedding ceremony they incur debt into their marriage, while others may incur debt as a result of projects embarked on, education, investments, business, mortgages, greed, lack of wisdom e.t.c.
There are some people who run their homes in unnecessary debt, they buy expensive clothes, jewelries, shoes, cars, plasma television sets, computers e.t.c., some even buy food stuff and groceries on debt.
To overcome this one should practice the rule of “ if you can’t afford it now, then don’t buy it”.
As much as possible avoid indebtedness.
Debt is the next door neighbor to Devourer, he comes to you clothed in a garment called “temporary relief”, he appears to every prospective client with a big smile, but when he returns to demand his dues, he appears with a hard face and the law in its hand.
*Budget: Budgeting is simply the art of planning your finances, when you plan / budget, be disciplined enough to stay within it, flexibility may be allowed when there is an obvious reason to do so, but as much as possible it should be avoided so as not to give room for indulgences.
It is lack of budgeting that gives rise to impulsive spending and most things done on impulse often turns out to be waste. Impulsive spenders many a times are the ones who suffers the “ buyer’s remorse syndrome.”
Budget within your income, never plan on what you don’t have, if you do so you will run into debt.
*Common interest: When each of the couple has different goals, they obviously don’t have common interest e.g., the man may be thinking of building/buying a house, the woman is thinking of Christmas shopping for the family, the woman maybe thinking of adding educational value to herself, but the man is thinking of changing the family car e.t.c.
It is obvious that neither may necessarily be a spendthrift, but both have different goals meant to keep the family running.
The solution to this is to prioritize your goals together, agree on which one should come first, one person may have to compromise his/her own interest to see to the advancement of the home.
Avoid embarking on many goals at once, it may run you into debt, and be focused on your agreed goals.
*Investment: There is always a season of boom for every family, invest during such seasons. Joseph practiced this idea in Egypt and a whole nation was saved from hunger during the famine season.
You could consider investing in starting a business of your own or re-investing in already existing one, property and real estate, shares, bonds are also good ideas, ( if you choose to invest in shares or bonds seek the advice of a stock broker) e.t.c.
*Savings: Some money should be kept aside as saving which may be used to offset certain bills, capital projects or emergency needs.
Don’t feed with ten fingers. You can practice what I call “PES”, Plant some, Eat some and Save some.
*Me, Mine, Yours syndrome: In marriage it is a “we” and “ours” thing It’s no longer “me”, “mine” or “yours”, you are both one now. When you hold on to this syndrome, it can make you value one another on the basis of what you earn.
Understand yourselves and your peculiarities, then you can decide what system to adopt financially. Some couples have successfully run joint accounts , while some successfully run different accounts.
However graduating from the above syndrome is the height of agreement in marriage finances, it is reaching the level where you both sacrifice self for the good of unity which often brings joy to you both.
FINAL WORD ON FAMILY FINANCES.
If we choose to approach family finances with a form of business mindedness, in the cooperate environment, we term the misuse of company finances as “embezzlement”, likewise the misuse of family finances can also be termed “embezzlement”.
So be wise, prudent, disciplined and cautious of how you handle that family’s money, lest you are charged with “embezzlement”.