“Please, can we help out my sister? She needs some urgent cash to tide her over until next month.”
“No, we can’t afford to.” said Ben, flinging his jacket on the couch, and loosening his tie all at the same time.
“But, you just bought yourself a new smartphone! This is for school fees, else, her kids are not going to be able to write their exams.” Tope continued to plead her sister’s case.
“Again, no! We can’t afford to give your sister any more, not now, not in the future. I’m tired of playing Santa to her.” Ben retorted.
“So, I have to beg you for money from our joint account for my own sister?” Now, Tope was angry, and had stopped cooking and talking from the kitchen, she was now in the bedroom.
As he sat down to remove his shoes, he said, “Joint account? Who has the more money in the said account? Remember, I earn four times as much as you do, so, don’t come at me with that joint account talk.”
At this, Tope knew she had lost the battle. She was not getting her sister the money she needed for her kids’ school fees. Not even a loan. That conversation also showed the true light of their financial state. Someone was feeling the pinch.
Money matters in relationships are a very sensitive subject matter, that could actually deprive a couple of some joy. It does not matter whether you are just dating, or if you are married, it affects you all the same.
It’s the reason some guys would say ladies are only after their money, and what material gifts they can get from them. It’s why some husband will take a calculator and begin to calculate household expenses, to make sure their wives have not cheated them. Hmm, if your wife does not ‘cheat’ you, who should? You get the gist?
Since finance is an important part of a relationship, it pays to have open discussions about it, at least on a regular basis, to ensure, girlfriend and boyfriend, fiancé and fiancée, husband and wife are on the same page as regards their finances.
- The first conversation, you should probably have is on whether to have a Joint or Separate Accounts.
It will depend on you both, and your current situation. Will having a joint account work for you, or are separate accounts the best? It’s your decision. Some things that you might need to factor in include whether your family is growing, if your previous arrangement failed, or if someone has started to resent the fact they contribute more to the joint account, or they are spending more in the house, even though they earn less.
Having a money conversation can bring all of these issues to light, and it will lead to you coming to new and better decisions that are fit for your current situation.
2. Your spending habits.
What do you spend your money on? Clothes? Make up? Shoes? Shirts? For guys, the latest gadgets, eating out or drinking? What matters enough to you that you spend your money on it?
If you take a look at your bank statement together, you can actually help each other cut down on the unnecessary expenses. Just the plain fact that you know you are accountable to your partner can help prune or put in check your impulsive buying.
3. Your Saving habits.
Surely, if you have a spending habit, you should have a saving habit as well. What is it? How well have you grown that retirement fund, your emergency stash? Even your normal saving account?
It might not be so easy to open up like this, but then the question is, if you don’t open up about the true state of your finances to your partner, who else will you open up to? Your account officer? Or your pension service provider? They are not going to be there to hold your hand, when push comes to shove.
4. Your new salary.
It was during the last Valentine’s Day, at an event organised for married couples, that this played out publicly. There were several games, during which they asked the question, “Do you know, how much your spouse earns?” More than half of the wives got this question wrong, while the men got it right by half. Their husbands earned almost 25% higher than they thought.
What happened? They knew of only the last salary. Sure, annual raises, changing bonus structures and unexpected promotions make it hard to keep track, but knowing your total combined income is the only way to actually make progress on your bottom line.
5. What are your future plans?
It’s so easy to get lost in daily living, and not bother about the future, but where do you see yourself in, say, two or ten, or even 30, years to come?
What are your goals for those timelines? Do you want to have another baby, ensure that all your kids are graduates, train them up to Masters level, or do you simply want to be in a position where you can travel the world, and regain your youthful vigour? The choice is yours, but to make it work out, you need to talk it through with your journey partner, so there are no surprises as you go along.
Knowing your goals also makes for appropriate planning, to accommodate both party’s dreams and aspirations.
Those are the five money talks that are important you have, as you go along in your relationship. You might not want to have it at the beginning of the year, or its end. Just find a suitable time and it will be the beginning for you.
Keep talking. Money talks matters too.
Kristine is a member of the The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.