By Anthony Ngatia
You struggled to get ahead financially for most of your life and are now contemplating to tie a knot. You might be tempted to think your ‘soon-to-be spouse’ fat salary as your best chance to become financially stable.
Counting on a spouse’s finances is a weak and self- defeatist strategy. It speaks volumes about self and wealth mindset — that you cannot trust yourself to make money and prosper. It is sheer attachment to luck and chance in managing finances.
Beware! You might not get rich that way. There are a number of reasons, says personal finance expert, Jaffer Tejani. Your spouse might not share your ideals. Marriage brings two people with different status and financial philosophies together.
Personal finance experts say meshing these two philosophies together can be both fun and frustrating,” he says. “Your spouse might be richer than but when it comes to a union in a marriage, some people value financial independence and do not believe in the ideal that once joined in a holy matrimony everything becomes jointly owned,” he tells Shilling & Sense.
Some spouses might be carrying financial baggage emanating from their own families. They could be carrying obligations such as supporting their families and educating siblings for which they might not be willing to cede just because they are now married.
“A person who grew up in an impoverished background might assert themselves with their new found freedom in money hence cannot be manipulated by anyone out to attain their financial goals,” he says.
Personal finance experts reckon a pre-marriage agreement should state how spouses’ incomes will be spent, the bank accounts; whether to have a joint bank account or not, now that you are two. While some spouses reveal what they earn and have, others are secretive, making it hardy to build wealth through such earnings.
You do not know what exactly they earn and for that reason, you cannot really claim that they have more residual monies, after your common expenditure, which could be channeled towards your grand ventures.
Further, it can be worse if you are a man since the general popular belief that ‘the husband’s money is for both spouses; but, the wife’s money is exclusively hers’ still prevails in society.
“There is no denying the fact that today a significant proportion of women are earning more than their husbands, some even twice. Women have shattered the glass ceiling,” says personal finance expert Fred Mukinda.
“By our culture, the man is obligated to provide regardless of whether they earn less than their wives or not,” he says.
Personal finance experts say that traditional stereotypes that a man should be the primary bread-winner are bound to creep in from various quarters and if not discarded can be a cause of tension in the family.
A 2007 Pew Research study found an increasingly large number of men now marrying wealthy women; marriage counselors now say there are more divorces from such marriages. While you might be a financially responsible person despite your lack of opportunity to earn more than your spouse, he or she in return might be a secret spender.
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