Did you know that money is the issue that couples argue about the most? Around 90% of all divorces result from money troubles. Money can be a minefield for couples to negotiate.
Certified financial planner and author Mary Claire Allvine believes the big mistake couples make when dealing with money is that they are emotional and reactive. She believes the right approach is for couples to be strategic, approaching their finances as if they are running a business. “If you put a business metaphor into the picture, you would be surprised how much more methodical people are.” The business metaphor helps to give focus to one’s planning and both short- and long-term financial goals.
Yours and mine, or ours?
Should you have a joint account or separate accounts? Both, say the experts. Each having his or her own money to spend or save as he or she wishes can help tremendously in easing conflict. The rest of the money is then pooled to cover living expenses, and it is in the spending and saving of this part of the budget that compromise is the key. Author Ruth Hayden explains the principle: “You should have some autonomy money, I should have some autonomy money, and we need to learn how to practice being a couple together with our money.”
Managing money day-to-day
Drawing up a budget which takes into account all the income and expenses is a must. This should be done together and on a regular basis, at least monthly. Doing it together ensures that both partners remain in the financial picture. One partner could take charge of the actual payments that need to be made but, again, both must know what should be paid and how it is done.
Always remember that money is a commodity. It is coins and banknotes. Too many people use it as a tool of power or assign it other meanings. Money does not define who we are, merely what we can and cannot afford. Money is not above all else. It is not more important than people and their feelings, opinions and needs.
Hayden, R. 1999. For richer, not poorer. The money book for couples.
The six financial mistakes couples make. Retrieved from https://www.key.com/html/couples-financial-planning-articles.html
(Revised by M van Deventer)