The joy, the hope, the dreams and the excitement. Very few things in life beat the feeling of finding ‘the one’. Suddenly, everything seems possible, after all, you won’t be facing it alone. You’ve found a partner and the world has become an open road.
You’ve proposed and have talked about all the plans ahead of you. What photogenic scenes are best for your wedding reception, whom to invite to your wedding – definitely not your ex! What to name your baby. Should it be Chris? Maybe you will name them after your grandfather, and then have another one, to be named after the other grandfather. Equality. Even the year itself has given you a 20 20.
Have you talked about money? If you are like most couples planning to wed, chances are that you haven’t. The problem is, avoid this and you just might get an uninvited guest into your newly-formed union, bitter financial arguments.
Financial matters are one of the most leading causes of couples breaking up, from dating to married ones. How do you ensure your marriage is financial-argument-proof? By talking it out before tying the knot. It is not the most comfortable conversation, especially since at some point it will touch on worst-case scenarios, but trust us, it will be worth it in the end.
A good place to start is to ask yourselves, what are your financial goals as a couple? Some examples are; A stress-free retirement, wanting the best for your child that you can afford or even wanting to travel the world.
Regardless of what it is, all the above goals require financing. Align with your future partner on what matters to both of you. If each one of you feels too strongly about their own goal, find a middle ground that both of you can work with.
The last thing you want is either one of you pulling to the opposite direction like a tug-of-war. You are a team, remember that.
Your current financial situation
Before saying, “I do” amidst tears of joy and a dotting crowd of witnesses, take steps to figure out where you are financially. Both of you. What is your income and where from? Is it a regular income or prone to shifting due to circumstances, e.g a business or a commission-based salary?
Do any of you have debts and how big are they? Imagine getting married, settling down only for auctioneers to come sweep clean your new furniture due to an old debt that one of you had. Nobody wants that. Speaking of furniture, another assessment to make is figuring out what assets both of you have and how this can reduce future expenses. For example, if one of you has a full set of dining ware, there is no need to buy a new set when you get married. Money saved!
Attitudes towards money
Not everyone views money the same. Some people see it as a commodity that should be saved if you have some because you never know how tomorrow will be. Others see it as a fleeting thing that should be spent, kesho itajipanga (tomorrow will sort itself out).
Understanding each other’s attitude towards money can help you come up with a plan that can work for both and reduce conflict in future.
Who’s the boss
Well, not really. But each marriage needs a financial system. Will you leave one person to make all the decisions, or will there be shared responsibilities based on individual strengths? Will there be a joint responsibility between the two of you?
Whichever you decide, make sure that each half is happy with it.
While each topic might trigger more questions that need to be answered, the above four can form a basic and strong ground for your financial future as a couple, and potentially form a healthy financial culture that can be passed down the generations.