Romance & Finance: About Love & Money

Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 8:59 AM

By Nimi Akinkugbe

Whether you are in a serious relationship, just recently married, or have been married for several years, money matters can be controversial if not handled carefully. When two people become a couple they confront a myriad of financial choices and decisions. Are you engaged? How much do you know about your fiance’s financial situation? After the excitement of the wedding ceremonies, it will be time to face your financial future together.

Navigating this somewhat sensitive issue is important because financial problems can strain relationships to breaking point and have been cited as a major cause of divorce, yet most couples go into marriage without ever broaching this subject. It may not be romantic, but it is important. Here are some of the money issues that you should discuss with your significant other.

What is your attitude toward money?
You do not just develop good or bad money habits by chance; attitudes to money are formed very early on in life and usually develop over many years. You may not even realize the full effect of your childhood experiences, circumstances, and your parent’s attitude towards money; indeed many people simply assume the savings and money management habits of their parents. Were they very frugal, disciplined savers, or were they spendthrifts? Your attitude toward money can have a significant impact on the financial decisions you make.

What are your financial goals?
What are your short, medium, and long-term goals? Where do you see yourselves 5, 10, 20 years from now? Financially this can mean owning your own home, educating your children and planning for your retirement.

In relationships there may be different goals and priorities. One may be averse to debt whilst for the other debt is a way of life. He might want a flash car, whilst she feels more secure with money in the bank. She might spend all the housekeeping money on jewelry, shoes and bags whilst his priority is to give the children a sound education. He may view the new home cinema as their greatest new asset, whilst her priority is to make a down payment on their own home. If the differences are fundamental this will be a source of conflict. At the same time, be conscious of the fact that it shouldn’t be all about scrimping and saving towards the future; enjoy yourselves as well.

Who will manage the family finances?
Women often enter marriage assuming that their spouse will handle all money issues and thus delegate almost total responsibility and sit on the sidelines without being involved. Determine who is best able to manage the routine everyday financial matters. Teamwork is essential and shared duties work well for some families, but even if one party is more involved, both should have a general overview of the total picture. Periodic meetings are important so you know where you stand financially and can see whether you are actually moving closer towards your family goals.

How much debt are you bringing to the marriage?
Many people do not discover the full extent of their spouse’s financial obligations until they are married. Debt brought into marriage can be a major source of strife if not well handled. Each partner should know the debt load the other one carries, as once you are married that debt load is shared. Whilst you are not legally responsible for the loans opened in your spouse’s name, it could certainly affect your eligibility for joint loans such as a mortgage. It should be a priority to try to deal with it together and bring it under control.

How do you feel about budgeting?
It is surprising how many married couples get by without a budget. Through budgeting you have a better idea of what is coming in and how much can be spent. You should both know how much you pay for your rent or mortgage, utility bills, insurance, and so on. Budgeting responsibilities should be shared such that neither partner should feel that they have to shoulder the entire responsibility. Periodic meetings, say at least once a month are useful to review bank balances, any outstanding debt, routine expenses as well as any major expenses that need to be carefully planned for.

Who pays for what?
Something as basic as the handling of everyday household expenses is a source of friction in many families. How will you handle routine household expenses? You both earn but how much should each person contribute? Are you both doing your “share”? Should it be equal amounts no matter what each person earns, or a certain percentage? If you earn significantly more or less than your spouse, it seems only fair to contribute amounts in proportion to your respective incomes to reflect this imbalance.

Some couples assign expenses – you pay the rent and school fees, whilst I’ll pay for groceries, utility bills, and so on. Others couples use one partner’s income for all expenses and apply the other income to build up savings and investments.

Will you have separate or joint accounts or a combination of the two?
There has been extensive debate over single and joint accounts. Most couples would strive for the same goal to create a stronger marriage whilst maintaining financial responsibility. Some argue that joint accounts create a sense of unity that is vital to any relationship. If money is separated you weaken the bond that is the essence of any long-term relationship. On the other hand, separate accounts allow each the ability to retain some independence; this it is suggested could actually strengthen a relationship.

Will you open a joint account and pool both incomes or have separate accounts?
Having a joint account combined with individual accounts for personal expenses is a good compromise as each partner takes some responsibility for the household budget, yet is still able to retain some autonomy. Partners contribute a certain amount of their monthly salary into the joint account to cover routine household expenses such as food, utility bills and so on. Some couples decide to pay their salaries into the joint account and then pay themselves a monthly allowance.

If you had a fairly independent existence before this relationship and managed your own finances and made your own investment decisions, it may be more difficult to give up that control to another person. Yet if you were not particularly structured about your finances you might be more able to opt for a joint account.

It is important to remember that parties to a joint account have a right to withdraw all the money in the account. It is for this reason that the use of joint accounts is usually limited to people who have built a solid level of trust. Look critically at the options and try to come to a compromise that will suit your relationship.

Will you set spending limits?
Do you have to account for everything you spend to your spouse? If you show up with an expensive new TV or a car, could this be a cause of tension? Everyone needs some personal spending money that doesn’t have to be accounted for. The amount will vary depending on the couples resources and lifestyle. Some couples set spending limits on how much either can spend without consulting each other.

Even though there may be the occasional conflict about money, it is really about how best conflicts can be resolved. With careful planning, clear communication and compromise, many frustrating conversations can be avoided. There is no one size fits all when it comes to finances in relationships; even the best system may not always be appropriate so be prepared to modify your system as your relationship and financial situation evolve. Try to find the right balance that works for your situation; if one option doesn’t work, try another. The financial decisions that you make now can have a lasting impact on your financial future as you go through life together.
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Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private banking and wealth management. She is passionate about encouraging financial independence and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance and wealth management issues. She is married with 3 children.Find out more via www.nimiakinkugbe.com

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  • 42 Comments on “Romance & Finance: About Love & Money”

    Comments
    • theother February 16, 2012 at 9:13 AM

      good article. thank you

    • Lola February 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Nice one, so on point !a lot of people especially women dont put into consideration most of the points you’ve high lighted here and i think its something we should at least pause and think about or put into practise, i quite agree with each individual having financial independence making them stronger, they could also run a join acct perhaps to save for a home or holiday, children or even for a rainy daye, perhaps a percentage of the couples income will do the trick

    • Tiki February 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Thank you for this…printing out now! I just might frame it too. lol

    • kem February 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      SOMETHING WORTH SHARING, NO HOW RICH THE MAN IS, ALWAYS GET INVOLVED WITH HIM…..

    • Sick&TiredofDoubleStandards! February 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      So in awe of Mrs Akinkugbe….her achievements to date are sooo encouraging…. May God bless her for this article, it definitely needs to be shared far and wide, as people need to realise that the commitment which is marriage, is much more than what we see on the surface and what we call Love!
      All, pray for direction always, and above all WISDOM from the most high, when it comes to money matters with your significant other…..

    • Miriam February 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      Nice one

    • sassycassie February 16, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      This article is right on point. however, good luck trying to get a naija man especiallly the ones born and raised in naija to reveal his real financial situtation , debts and all. Most naija wives dont even know how much their husbands earn. How do we change this dreadful mentality?

      • u-jay February 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM

        you are so right,especially the ibo men

    • UsaveOne February 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      This is awesome article…!
      Plz check..
      http://usaveone.blogspot.com/

    • Lil fiz February 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Copies from Awake. You would have make a little reference for it. Just show appreciation. Nice though.

    • feran February 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      This is a very important article that talks about things couples hardly face upfront. My husband and I have a percentage of our salary we each conrtibute to a joint account as savings and for running the house and it works for us. It is soooooo important to discuss your financial position as a couple so there re no grey areas and no one feels cheated.
      Like i said earlier, this article is on POINT. Thanks NIMI.

    • chinwe February 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      good and educative article…thumbs up.

    • Dare February 16, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      First, yipee……… Nice article, money matters should be discussed and planned rather than left to reflex actions

    • Nokal February 16, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Trust me….I know all about money and honey…Any man who comes in my life…we gotta have the same financial goals…if not, its not gonna work….

    • Browngyrl February 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Good article, Money is a serious issue and is one of the top reasons why marriages fail. To fail to plan is to plan to fail. I think that having a joint account with ur spouse as well as having your own separate account is the best thing. So can still hold on to someone type of independence while still having a shared goal. Household expenses and such combined expenses can be taken from the joint account. Couples can seat down with a financial adviser to talk about saving for their retirement of kids education. They can then make an informed decision of how much each person can contribute every pay period based on how much they make. That’s my two cents

    • pynk February 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      Naija men? Good luck. With most of them you stumble upon much of their financial situation by accident. Currently dealing with a man who i couldnt understand his money habits. And i thought to simply ask questions such as if he got weekly allowances growing up etc. And of course my instinct was correct in that he was raised by an owambe overenjoyment mother who would give huge sums of money to her children at inconsistent intervals, so of course his concept of money management is ludicrous. Hence his cowboy lifestyle.
      Also noticed dating a man significantly years older than you tends to create the daddy boyfriend/ husband syndrome, and he more than likely will take care of things, because if he is 10 yrs or more older than you, he is probably in a better place in his carried, so you might get carried away and not try to ask money questions. Sometimes you try and you may offend him.

    • Flo February 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      I assume the writer is not married this is what the Nigerian society does to us everyone is focused on money. My dear I am young 29yrs and have been married for 4yrs to my darling wife as much as money has it place in marriage you 9-points failed to address the primary things in a married. With you suggestion going into marriage I would like to annouce it is built to fail. Understanding you spouse and your compatibility all round is the most important because I would assume there is love and it mutual before a proposal. “Money is an efficient servant but a cruel master”, your opinion makes money the master of the marriage and that is just foundation built to fail, money in all things is secondary and in life to be successful you have to add value to others, what am I bringing in am I adding value and as long as you add value and work hard money comes naturally. Trust me when I speak I am very, need I say “VERY”, ask my wife very successful and I dont work for my parents I have earned every penny I have and God has been faithful; try him Jesus is the foundation of my marriage.

      • annie February 16, 2012 at 6:36 PM

        “Nimi Akinkugbe…is married with 3 children” You’re welcome. :D

        • Flo February 16, 2012 at 8:54 PM

          thanks I noticed after posting she is married, but i still believe we pay to much focus on money in our socisty and we are all begining to loose the real essence of life, money is important but not as nearly as we mostly think especially in a marriage.

      • Ayoola February 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

        Nimi Akinkugbe has been married way longer than you, to the best of my knowledge and she is a Christian so I’m sure Jesus is the center of her marriage as well. Her writing about money does not mean she puts it first as the foundation of a marriage. She is simply saying that couples need to understand its importance and ask themselves some crucial questions about it and deal with it RESPONSIBLY.

        • Flo February 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM

          I am not in anyway refering her person or her marriage, what am getting is the rot in our society where its all about money, young and old, male or female. Even for kids and when you try to do business I just feel we place way too much importance on money is the point am trying to make. And you check; thats the cause of most of the societal vices (corruption, armed roberies, 419, you name it) pressure on you significant order propels them to damn consequences and steal. Its not about the author am just saying money should not factor as much especially in a marriage. Again its not her person and reading the begining of my statement I “ASUME”.

      • Top Models February 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

        Well said! Jesus is the reason for marriage and the solid foundation of it too..without Him nothing works!

    • pynk February 16, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Carried = Career

    • Madun February 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      hahhaha…article for civil servants. we wont have to read or print this if we had a Danjuma in our lives right…lucky you caroline.

      • PD February 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM

        lololololololololol

    • nenye February 16, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      tnx for this piece,emotion beclouds our sense of reasoning,hence we usually overlook vital issues like this.

    • @ISENDYOUNOT February 16, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      @Madun, hehehehehehe, ROTLOL, true sha o *side eye*

    • Babe February 17, 2012 at 1:47 AM

      Nigerians and our myopic ways of thinking. I attended a work-shop that was anchored by Nimi sometime ago and she was talking about how she makes her kids do holiday job, thereby helping them to understand money management. I raised this sometime ago on my facebook page and you needed to see how people wanted to swallow me just because they dont believe in hustling. Money is very important in marriage o…and it is not about spirituality. Thank you Nimi for yet again, you nailed it well…

      • Top Models February 19, 2012 at 6:35 PM

        You’re wrong! Jesus is the reason for marriage and the solid foundation of it too..without Him nothing works!

        • Jhaye March 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM

          Did Nimi mention anywhere that Jesus is not the solid foundation of a marriage? I get tired of people like you and Flo over spiritualising things! Even in marriage counselling this topic is brought up!! If you don’t shine a light on it then the devil will use the financial situation to sisturb your Jesus founded marriage!! Get real please!! If you have ever met Nimi you will know she has a fierce love of Jesus so get over yourself please. Take the advice or leave it as you will but don’t come and be talking off point!! Have you tried feeding a baby by reading the bible or if you want to rent a house those the Landlord accept scriptural quotes instead of money? Money should not be King in any relationship but burying your head in the sand and saying God will do it is not gonna happen! Proverbs has many words of wisdom concerning money try reading it!!!

    • T.S. February 17, 2012 at 4:43 AM

      I absolutely agree with Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe’s article. Both men and women need to pay close attention to the spending habits of their partner. Things may be great now but we do not know what tomorrow holds. It is important to get married to someone that is financially responsible so you do not end up in debt and with resentment towards your partner. Money argument and disagreement is number one reason for divorce.

      Sometimes, in Nigeria, we tend to focus on the wrong things and consider them as our assets. In simple English, anything that adds money to your pocket is an asset and anything that takes money away from your pocket is a liability. For example, a luxurious car is not an asset because you spend a bulk of your money to acquire it, and then spend money on it for maintenance meanwhile, the car does not put any money back into your pocket. Same thing goes for clothes, jewelry, bags, etc.

      The path to being rich and living a life of financial independence is acquiring more assets and less liabilities.

      http://www.titisule.wordpress.com

    • AlittleHumor February 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      @Flo: I would assume that before you place your fingers on your keyboard you would have read and thoroughly understood the article. The lady has in no way said these are the only points to consider before getting married. Her article borders on the financial aspect of marriage, so pls would you just pick the necessary lessons and shift! Btw, you think 4yrs is a long time in marriage? I bless God for you o! but marriages have ended after 20yrs because of financial strains…..and yes this happens even in christian homes where Jesus is Lord and the couples fail to plan/agree

    • mabel February 17, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      this are important facts before marriage .

    • adah February 18, 2012 at 1:46 AM

      Thanks for this article.

    • Bee Saved February 20, 2012 at 5:41 AM

      @AlittleHumor: You took the words out of my mouth. Reading the article in its entirety before posting a comment saves a lot of a disgrace and defensiveness. Flo, if you had read the article and understood what Nimi was saying, you would have understood that it was about considering money management before marriage and not adding it as an add-on later on. Yes, Jesus should be the foundation of every marriage but the bible also tells us to be wise. Money has broken homes for the simple reason of lack of money management and they did have Jesus those homes too.

      • Flo February 20, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        @AlittleHumor/bee saved; thank you and the only part I missed was not reading about the author, marriages fail because they were built under something else but they may have thought they built it on the rock that I stand Jesus. Let me tell you something nothing build with Jesus in it fails, I can educate you further if you wanna share personal contacts. JESUS NEVER FAILs.
        Haven said that all am saying is my comments are directed at readers and what is directed at the writer is that if I had to write on 9 thing to ask and answer before saying I do Jesus would start and end it and Money does not matter I learned from my parents am 3rd in a family of 4 and even the last one is married and our parents have been married and are still married for over 30yrs. For them how they brought us up they only thing that mattered was how to please God and living as peacefully as possible with all man. And they always told us and I have also learnt money is the least as long as you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness all things shall be added, marital bliss, wealth, health, children, joy etc. Money is a tool a “servant” so why lay that much emphasis on a servant. Again JESUS NEVER FAILS, there are trials, tribulations etc but he is always there as he promised.

        • Woman May 12, 2012 at 4:38 PM

          Everyone is entitled to their own views flo i respect and understand where you are coming from and what you are saying some people cant read or misread your initial comment. I wish everyone the best for the future and btw i am not his wife and i dont know him…….just my two cent

    • Ako February 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Hi Flo,maybe the title of the article is a bit misleading but when you read it thoroughly,you will realise the writer is not saying those are the only basis for a successful marriage. And please note,you and yours skipped the money discussion before marriage because like you said you are very very successful.

    • Purpleicious Babe February 27, 2012 at 7:06 PM

      I would have thought people will be cheering for joy at the composition of this article…

      As in, is it that we fail to see the logical moral understanding behind it i.e. sound advice or is it that whilst reading for some of us our minds did not articulate the points appropriately hence jumping into irrelevant non related points… I am seriously trying to figure out while someone would subject such article to money and comparison to JESUS. Like for real: are u kidding me? There is a thin line between stupidity and realistic….

      Stupid: make foolish decision based on foolish lack of intelligent/wisdom. surely if you have JESUS as your foundation you are able to articulate prevention is better that cure… and YES you will appreciate having a good understanding towards finance including everything is essential. Pls read the book of proverbs/Ecclesiastes. Besides, JESUS am sure will tell you not to squander money anyhow but to use it wisely.

      Realistic: when you both know you have debts and huge ones too, both should be drafting strategies behind it to deal with it positively because of the huge damaging consequences it can have. Prayer/faith is good but without actions bruv it is dead. If you have debts or know ur spouse has debts abeg you sort it out dont be in debt and yet spend money irresponsibly… then come to say as long as JESUS is my foundation money dont matter… well keep telling yourself that.. when reality kicks in…

      As far as concerned this advice is essential and I am running with it, seeing how my mama taught me to save (not make money my god but use it as a tool)I am quite sure budgeting and other instrumental tools will be featuring more in our marriages.

      Thank God through his grace I take this aspect of marriage seriously and in my head I already know the type of financial management I would be suggesting/implement.

      http://lifeinstagesdoz.blogspot.com/

    • Nwando March 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Bellanaija, please consider featuring this writer on a regular basis.! A lot of young women could use really good financial advice, as we’re so preoccupied with spending.

    • Jhaye March 5, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      On point jare!! IO tire for these other people o!!!

    • Seun April 30, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      Dis Flo OBVIOUSLY needs help. mtchiewww.