Financially Ever After

Posted on Thursday, October 24th, 2013 at 2:30 PM

By Ruby Suze

With a Mount Kilimanjaro laundry pile and an equal amount of ironing, floors that needed hovering, letters and emails that needed answering and Baby J who needed my undivided attention; I was swamped. The mere idea of going food shopping (actually any kind of shopping) was about to push me into a meltdown. My beloved, noticing that his Ruby was just about to slip off the edge of good reason, promptly took the electronic shopping list like a knight accepting a call to deliver his damsel, nobly donned his trusty trainers and left. He just about heard my final request…
‘Please don’t buy the cheap toilet roll!’

Yes, I have views on toilet roll.

Yes, I am strange.

I blame my schooling. They supplied their students with toilet roll that had more resemblance to a lightweight tracing paper than tissue. We campaigned and pleaded with senior leadership to readdress this issue and it finally was. So, you can imagine my reaction when some weeks ago I entered the bathroom, reached over to the toilet roll, only to feel a less than luxurious texture. I held back my reaction as I’d not so long ago given birth and I had no idea how that toilet roll had entered my home. And I wasn’t about to use ‘toilet roll’ as a basis for a discussion or argument, not with a body full of powerful painkillers and stitches across my lower abdomen. That was the reason for my request.

The values we place on things differs from each other. Some like me; find it challenging to compromise on the quality and price of what is deemed a non-important item but, find it easy and somewhat thrilling to purchase what is deemed more important items (shoes, clothing, some electrical items) at more ‘cost effective’ prices . Our views on money differ from person to person and very often from husband to wife. And this becomes an issue in marriage because when boy meets girl, and girl marries boy, they join hearts and often bank accounts.

Joint accounts. A subject for debate by many men, women, married and betrothed worldwide. The question is whether because you share the same last name, you must share the same bank account?

I have known women who the mere mention of ‘joint accounts’, affects the arch of their triple p (Perfectly Plucked and Penciled) eyebrows. And they have many reasons for changing their facial geometry. Understandably, they believe that they ought to be able to control and manage the money that they earn, a belief strongly shared by their male counterparts. They fear rightly or wrongly that their beloveds will question their purchases, investment decisions and saving strategies. Many men also want that same control and resent the idea of anyone (wives or bank managers) knowing their every financial move.

I believe deep down inside us all is a desire to some level of privacy and independence, how much of this (if any) should be sacrificed when you cross over into matrimonial-dom? After all, when you join your accounts there are some hefty implications. If one of you has a particularly poor financial history then, what used to only affect you – the singular, now affects you – the plural. Both parties are in somewhat vulnerable situations, one party could dupe the other, enter into risky business deals or fund addictions.

Many married couples keep separate accounts in a bid to create individual ‘Plan B’s’ – a just in case of extenuating circumstances come knocking at the door kind of account. They don’t want to be left stranded if for any reason they need to leave. Though, this makes logical sense, doesn’t it make you wonder why someone who’s married would want a Plan B – till death do us part and all?

Is this really just a plain question of trust masked as a desire for control and independence? If real trust exists in a marriage, why would there need to be a separation of income, when you are both working for the betterment of the household? Marriage by design, gradually removes the idea and existence of the ‘I, my, mine’ to embrace a world of ‘we, us, ours’. That’s not to say that I won’t be Ruby Suze anymore but, I fully recognise that I will spend more years married than I did as a ‘Miss’. So, the decision by many on having one pot to withdraw from is only an extension of that belief. It is part of their decision to be one, showing their ability to work together to build a home.

Having a joint account shouldn’t reduce the say of either party nor, should the size of each parties individual contribution warrant the validity of their opinion. I confess, once upon a time I had this belief and in a bid to exercise my ‘rights’ I made financial decisions without my beloved’s knowledge. I learnt the hard way how this can affect trust in marriage. Income is changeable; because you earn more than your beloved now doesn’t mean that this will always be the case.

Research has found that one in seven couples in the UK have closed their joint accounts, claiming that their disagreements about spending and lack of trust as the main reasons for taking this action*. I believe that you should do whatever works for you so long as both parties are accountable to each other. Trust is needed whether you have separate accounts or a joint account. If you want to live happily financially ever after, ensure decisions and strategies are made jointly, even if your bank accounts aren’t joint.

*thisismoney.com
Photo Credit: jeniesgiovanni.wordpress.com

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Ruby Suze is a yummy mummy who has been married for 5 years. She is passionate about using her life experiences to help others especially, youth. Follow her blog: Forever Newlywed and on Twitter@cr8tivrubysuze.

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  • 30 Comments on “Financially Ever After”

    Comments
    • slice October 24, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      hmmm

    • Xtsy October 24, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      Single ladies, shine ya eyes

    • Mz Socially Awkward... October 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      I know a marriage counsellor who has this constant response to questions she’s been asked about joint accounts being held by couples:- “If you can eat the food your spouse gives you or lay down to sleep beside them, because you trust them enough with your life to know they won’t harm or kill you, then what is the issue with entrusting them with your money which isn’t as valuable as your life?”

      You have to admit that there’s something reasonable about her answer …

      • Thatgidigirl October 24, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        @ Mz socially awkward, that’s the logical way to look at it but we have to agree that when it comes to money matters and matters of the heart, logic doesn’t exactly jump to the fore. However, i’ve noticed that women who have issues with joint bank account are ladies that have been financially independent for a long time, and are prolly more comfortable than their spouse. The solution is to agree to a joint account for the sake of peace and then have your “emergency/maintain your dignity” account elsewhere.

      • slice October 24, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        maybe because it takes a little more to kill me as a i sleep beside you than it takes to clear my bank account if we break up and you’re no longer into me. ie you may not be wicked enough to kill me but you can steal from me. or let’s not even go that far, you may just misuse all our funds.

      • Jamce October 24, 2013 at 9:16 PM

        @MSA, you have come again with you “over-sense”.

    • nwanyi na aga aga October 24, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Joint account? Domestic Violence? Divorce? Temporary Separation? Infidelity? Baby Mama? Together Forever?
      I just compiled all the terms I come across in articles that has anything to do with married people and marriage these days. I see the reason people want plan B…….

    • penelopeia October 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Hubby and I have seperate accounts and one joint account where we jointly save a percentage of our income for purchases such as couch, new curtains, paintings and carpentry at home, bigger tv, etc. And this works for us perfectly. Hubby is an accountant and he is does not spend much but I do. We saved each other from money fights.

    • July October 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      As much as we may all want till death do us part when we get married being naïve to the possibility that things may not work out is just foolish and maybe a tad irresponsible. Correct me if I am wrong but planning for a rainy day doesn’t make your marriage less likely to last it just puts you in a healthy place in case life, despite your best intentions otherwise, comes in the way.

      Its like when you sign a pre-nup its not because you don’t love or trust the person you are marrying it is because you want to protect yourself from the person that the person may become when things go ugly. Plan B accounts are the same IMHO.

    • CarliforniaBawlar October 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Financial problems even plenty pass joint account issues these days. Just yesterday, my friend was telling me how his most recent ex started acting up because she thought he was only with her to get an American citizenship, only for him to find out she has $126k in student loans. I’m like you best be thanking your stars you guys broke up ‘cos i’m sure she still has more gbese in credit card loans o. How are you about to inherit such debt all in the name of love?

      • slice October 24, 2013 at 5:16 PM

        I’m about to disagree with you. abeg no vex. the fear that someone wants to marry you just for papers is a VERY VERY legitimate fear o. Guys and girls have admitted to me that they have done this. It’s a very horrible thing to do but people do it without the other party knowing that you don’t love them you just want papers.

        As for the student loan, he’s not actually inheriting them technically. Any debt you bring into a marriage remains your personal debt by law. However, of course the fact that she needs to pay her student loans will reduce what she can spend on the family but that’s like any other financial obligation a person has.

        if i may advice. if a girl expresses concern that you only want her for papers, i personally believe it’s your job to sit her down and explain to her from your heart that it’s about more than that. if she can’t take the leap of faith to trust you, then it is what it is. but the fear is very legitimate

        • CarliforniaBawlar October 24, 2013 at 10:48 PM

          I feel you on that one…..But you see, a lot of tact needs to be applied when dealing with such situations….Same way you’d apply tact with other obvious or not so obvious ‘advantages’ you might have over any other person. I think the ‘cautiousness’ applied by Americans (especially first generation) in this one situation is highly overdone.
          Quick story , I have this friend ,a girl this time around, she’s American of Ghanian decent. She meets this guy through one of our close friends, he’s a doctor, works at Harvard hospital and he is fineeeee, spiritual and all that good stuff!! Plus in my personal opinion after hanging out with them a couple of times he was really into her. All for homegirl to start insinuating he only wants to get with her for her papers.
          In my mind i’m thinking gurrrrl!! you best be marrying him for his looks/money/potential too!! This girl is 26 , still doesn’t have her undergrad degree o! dropped out of a couple of schools and she’s sitting there complaining about papers. Abegii at this point some people would say the papers are her selling point sef. Needless to say, the conversation was a big turn off for him. His job filed for his green card and he is happily dating someone else jeje. She cried pepper after the guy dumped her butt…..I’m looking at her like go and marry ya American passport na….God forgive me ‘cos she’s my paddy…but I did warn her to thread carefully, I even explained to her that he probably didn’t need her help to stay in country,, but she just felt like she had to one-up him….oh well!
          p.s. Thanks for the info credit history, you were right. I actually went on experian.com to confirm…..it says the only problem would be if the couple wanted to buy like a house together or something.

        • CarliforniaBawlar October 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM

          **an Harvard affiliated hospital** I mean…..

        • slice October 25, 2013 at 2:17 PM

          ah I will now turn around and i agree with you on that one
          o. when a person has all those qualities and a career that is in
          high demand and so can get papers on his/her own, then the “wanna
          marry me for paper fear” should come down fast fast. kai your
          friend for take your advice sha. you know how to tell some good
          gist. i read that gist with full attention lol.

      • slice October 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        I’m about to disagree with you. abeg no vex. the fear that someone wants to marry you just for papers is a VERY VERY legitimate fear o. Guys and girls have admitted to me that they have done this. It’s a very horrible thing to do but people do it without the other party knowing that you don’t love them you just want papers.

        As for the student loan, he’s not actually inheriting them technically. Any debt you bring into a marriage remains your personal debt by law. However, of course the fact that she needs to pay her student loans will reduce what she can spend on the family but that’s like any other financial obligation a person has.

        if i may advice. if a girl expresses concern that you only want her for papers, i personally believe it’s your job to sit her down and explain to her from your heart that it’s about more than that. if she can’t take the leap of faith to trust you, then it is what it is. but the fear is very legitimate

    • whocares October 24, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Her last statement is what I believe in. Decisions and strategies should be made jointly; nothing more. But on the other hand, I think having a joint account as well as private accounts is also reasonable. The way I see it, the joint account will pay for children’s school fees, mortgage etc, and you can have your private savings. I have seen too many probate matters go wrong to not be wary of joint accounts.

      • whocares October 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        sorry domestic*

    • Joan85 October 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      I’ve always been an independent person financially so this joint account thing in marriage just seems difficult for me. I guess my question is: okay, I agree to a joint account for the family and separate accounts for the both of us. What percentage of my earnings should go into this joint account? I’ve always been a firm believer of the man being the main breadwinner in the home. So how we go divide am? :)

    • frances October 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      I 2nd Penelopeia’s way of doing things.
      I’d rather we av our own individual accts and a joint acct whr we each contribute a percentage 2 4d home.
      This is to prevent kasala frm bursting cuz money issue btw couples almost always arises.to me d above way I listed is a way 2meet each other at d middle and prevent crisis.its all abt talking abt wat worksb4u sha,bt dis would work 4me.

      imperfectlyperfect92.wordpress.com

    • CHIKA October 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      What I believe in is if a joint account is a must, there is still no harm in having separate accounts!!! *Shrugs shoulders*

    • jane October 24, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      I don’t have a problem with having a joint account. My policy is, we can have a joint account for the bills and all other necessary items for the house, but each of us can have our own individual account where u have your wages paid in. (which u can later transfer out to the joint account) Personally i wont put all my money in the joint account just in case something goes wrong.

    • fiesty chic October 24, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      my policy for when i am married, have one joint account you both put in 80% of your pays into and seperate ones for the remaining 20%. independence in a marriage is good and its not everythin you want to do that you both have to decide on e.g getting a gift for you hubby or taking advantage of a one time deal.

    • QueenofEverything October 24, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      I think each person should keep their personal account but then a joint account should also be available for household effects, bills, mortgage etc… Perhaps also a joint savings account. This shouldn’t stop each person from having their own personal savings but for family emergencies and such.

    • Berry Dakara October 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      I think a mix of personal and one joint account is ideal. Both spouses should agree on the amount or percentage of money that will be put in every month (or whatever interval). I think the family/home expenses should be met from this account. THEN, other little add-ons (e.g. gifts for each other, vacay, emergencies) can from the personal account. I’m not one to divulge every kobo or cent in my bank account, but if there’s an issue and I can help with it, then it’s my duty to do so.

      Cakes heard of an issue on the radio 2 weeks ago. A man had lost his job after a loong time of being the breadwinner. He couldn’t find work for a while, and the kids’ school fees needed to be paid, and he ended up having to go around trying to beg for money. He mistakenly found out eventually that his wife had N7 million sitting in her account! This chick said she didn’t offer to pay because she didn’t want it to become a habit. Fine, I agree that she didn’t need to tell her husband how much she had, but why didn’t she volunteer to help out from her own account?! Her own children’s fees!

      berrydakara.blogspot.com

    • Toma October 26, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      Money has a spirit of its own! It can (and indeed has) break marriages and make people do desperate things, some of which, they regret later. So when making financial decisions with spouse its kool to be in agreement as to individual financial commitments. Even if you opt for a joint account, still have an individual account for those stuff u like to spend on that men can’t seem to understand. I would personally feel helpless with having just a joint account.

    • i think you need to study your spouse’s spending habit before deciding to have joint accounts with them. otherwise, one person would end up spending everything on personal items. Joint account works for some, and it doesnt work for others. It all comes down to personal choices for both parties involved
      themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

    • Binmiu October 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      I’m sorry but if you are scare of your spouse spending your money – you have BIG problem. You must be marrying an irresponsible guy that does not respect you. Truth be told. No responsible guy/lady goes into a joint account meant for house bills, etc and spend money that’s not for personal items without his/her spouse’s consent. I would say, take a leap of faith and do the joint account with your spouse and if your husband/wife does such a thing, then give a stern warning and if it happens again – you have big problems on your hand. Money is a big deal in marriages so if he/she does not respect you enough to talk about spending your money – then I wonder what else he is not talking to you about? Hmm

    • Adaeze November 4, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      The fear of having a joint account could be reduced by having both parties as signatories. My parents for example have a standing order on their accounts, e.g my dad can withdraw say up to 200k, anything above that has to be cosigned by mum. Its worked out for them so far but they still have individual accounts. Agreement is everything!

    • aleesha November 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      The idea of couples having a joint account for family expenses makes a lot of sense. However, even that can be a source of conflict. Suppose

    • aleesha November 15, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Joint account for domestic expenses is a great idea. However I have a personal dilenma: in a situation where the couple disagree on a particular expense, say the missus thinks the curtains are due for a change and the mister disagrees, how do they deal?