A conversation among three newly married ladies went on like this.
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First one: You know, my money is mine and my husband’s is ours. He has to do everything from paying rent to taking care of my beauty costs.
The other two intensely agreed with this cliché, indicating their views were similar.
The second: I pretend to spend my money but I ensure I recover it all from my husband.
Third one: If he doesn’t have money to pay rent, he borrows from me and I make sure he repays with interest.
They went on and on about their exploits. Listening to them, I did not help but empathize with the men that married them.
Marriage is a partnership founded on love. Or so it is supposed to be.
To nurture this partnership, each must make it grow emotionally, financially and physically. If you are in it to exploit the other partner, then you will go nowhere.
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Look at your relationship like a business venture; you invest in it to make good returns.
The man is the provider, and he should not abscond this duty otherwise he will destroy his marriage as soon as he does that. But also the woman must not sit back and wait for him to do everything. A wise woman builds her house. If you are working or doing some sort of business, you have an income. To what end are you going to use this income?
Whatever way you run your family financial matters every month, it is important to plan together and move your new family towards the right direction.
The idea that the man takes care of rent and school fees while the woman buys food is good, but there is a better and fair way to do this.
Take stock of your average monthly consumption in your house. Start from the bulk monthly shopping and move to the daily expenditure.
In this budget, add the cost of repairs and maintenance, house help and other workers’ pay, money remitted to parents for upkeep, electricity and water, among other costs. Don’t forget to write down your savings towards some project your family is undertaking as well as savings towards an emergency fund.
The emergency fund comes in handy when the unexpected happens such as job loss or sudden death of a loved one.
Once you sum up this, you will come up with an accurate estimate to help you efficiently plan your finances.
Then sit down with your husband and go through the document and share the cost accordingly. In this sharing, the man should give more than you because he is the provider and you are the helper.
The woman – women are trusted financial managers – can then have custody of the money. To make this work and earn trust, ensure the money is used as planned. The money for projects should be deposited in a specific account. Open a file to keep the documentation regarding this savings account.
When you call a plumber, remember where to get the money to pay him and buy the parts he may want to use. Don’t forget you set aside this money every month.
Other costs like fueling the car or paying the mechanic should not be part of your monthly projections but from another source. This is because the money spent on a car is unpredictable and sometimes goes through the roof.
If the money for maintenance is not used, for example, you can channel it to another use such as savings. You do this only after you discuss with your spouse.
It is important also to review your financial status often. If the cost of living has gone up, see how to seal gaps. When it is down, openly discuss the savings made that month and you can add it to your savings or emergency fund. Never look at the money saved as yours; remember it is a partnership and openness is the only way to make it work.
Don’t be like the lady who said when her husband is broke he borrows from her and pays with interest. As partners you must support each other. If he genuinely needs money and you know why, give him without necessarily making him sign documents about repayments. This is a wise investment. Do it and see what happens in the future.
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