I recently hosted a newlywed couple. I availed two plates for them but when I turned, I found they were eating from one plate. They were sending a clear message to everyone that what the pastor said about them being one was more than just words. They demonstrated their love in many other ways such as holding hands and looking at each other with longing. It was refreshing being around them and I prayed for them to enjoy this happiness and love for as long as they live.
Give this couple some ten to 15 years. They will probably they will be actively participating in the topic that has trended most of this week; hiding money and other investments from a spouse.
The groom might be that man who called a local radio station and said that he will never tell his wife how much or what he owns because “the moment she knows, she will kill me”. It is hard to link the lovey-dovey couple with this man oozing hatred and fear for the woman he swore to love ‘until death do us part’. But it does happen because money is the greatest enemy (or friend) of love.
Let’s first look at the reasons why someone would hide his investments from the wife.
• She is lazy. She has demonstrated that she has no will to work hard and make her own investments. The man reasons that if she knows about these investments, this malady will be worse.
• She talks about doing anything to get money and enjoy the good life the man is not offering her such as travelling to see lands yonder.
• She tells him stories of people she knows who have benefitted immensely after their husband’s demise.
• The fear that she will channel all her money to her parents and siblings as well as extravagantly exhaust all the family’s savings.
And why does the wife hide her investment from the husband? Some of the reasons:
Tit for tat – he doesn’t tell her about his investments so she will not tell him.
Fear – stories abound about women who die and their husbands immediately remarry and disinherit the first wife’s children. Also fear that he will force her to sell her investment in order to fund his project.
A woman called the radio station and said she must pretend to be a pauper so that her husband does not spend all the money on the ‘other woman/women’.
Experience – he has squandered your investment before.
Whether your reasons are some of the above or different, this hiding of property and investments from your spouse is not healthy at all.
Death and sickness is a reality. What if you suddenly die without telling anyone what you own? Think about it. It means loafers will enjoy your investments at the expense of your family. You worked hard, saved money and invested, what was your reason for investment? Was it to give your children a better life or just for the sake of it?
If the latter is motivation, then you are sweating for those personal bankers and financial advisers who you entrust with your secrets to enrich themselves in case calamity strikes.
To avoid such a scenario, embrace financial openness from day one. Come clean about your salary or income you make from your business and involve each other in financial planning. When you listen to wrong advice that your wife or husband should never know how much you earn, then you invite that ghost of secrecy to your household.
And while investing together, it is prudent to have both names entitled to the property or business.
For most women, I know their greatest motivation to save and invest is for their children to have a secure future. In that case, if the man’s interest is also the children, then you have a common chorus and disharmony will not come in.
In addition to having joint ownership, ensure your succession is clearly laid out. Your children should not be invested for like zombies or robots, they should be involved in some of the projects that you are doing to get money for this investment so that they hold the effort dear.
Such children so involved will not easily dispose of your property once you exit the stage of life. That is because they consider it “ours” not “our parents’”.