Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Financial Teamwork: Why it Matters in Marriage

“… and the two shall become one flesh”. You might be thinking to yourself that these words sound a bit all too familiar. Well, you are right. You probably have heard them before, at a wedding ceremony you once attended or one you once watched from your favourite “soapie”. This is because these words are often recited by clerics during wedding ceremonies. As cliché as the phrase might sound, it is a common scripture from the Bible taken from Genesis 2:24. These gracious words are often directed to the newlyweds as a reminder that, going forward, they will need to function as a team and not as individuals. Whether it’s raising kids, dealing with in-laws or money matters, they will need to operate like a well-oiled machine. Collaboration will have to be indispensable. 

In our last article, we looked at financial teamwork from a general perspective, but in this article, we will narrow down the topic to a marriage setup. Financial teamwork starts the day you decide to become serious in your relationship until the day you say, “I do”, and beyond. It is the process of preparing for the big day that becomes the first big test of your teamwork ability. It is at this point that you have to deal with magadi, buying wedding gowns and rings, managing expenses and expectations from both sides of the family, the list is endless. Without financial teamwork, you are likely to find yourselves swimming in debt and having to spend the first years of your marriage arguing about money. To minimise such conflicts, it is teamwork that will make your marriage work.

Research, including findings from the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, has revealed that money-related conflict is one of the leading causes of divorce. This is attributed to lack of communication skills required to navigate financial disagreements. Open communication about money-related issues is critical in marriage because it plays a significant role in the overall health and happiness of your marriage. Sometimes it is not about what you say, but rather how you say it. Money talks should be from the perspective of love, rather than to ridicule or blame. Love is the thread that brought you and will hold you together, so it should be central in your conversations about money. This involves putting your marriage first before your self-interests. In this context, it requires thinking in terms of “we” and “us” not “I”, “me” or “you”. 

Money conversations start with being open about your views about money. This includes discussing your spending patterns and what you think may have influenced them. This is the time to listen to your partner’s side of the story. In most cases, our background and past play a critical role in our attitude and behaviour around money. From such conversations, you will notice that no one is perfect. It is upon the both of you to develop positive attitudes and habits that will help you reach your financial goals.

Money talks also include discussions about your vision as a family. This will bring clarity to what you expect from each other – the sacrifices you will have to make. Conflicts sometimes arise because we are not clear about our expectations.  

Budgeting, banking (setting up a joint account), saving, securing loans, and investing together is also critical when you have the same financial destination in mind. When it comes to investing, be open about your risk appetite. We all have different risk appetites. One may be comfortable with forex trading or taking the entrepreneurship route, while the other may be the conservative type, only comfortable with low-risk investments. As a team, you have to discuss these issues and come to an agreement of what you think can work best for your marriage. 

Achieving your financial goals as a team requires bringing together resources, listening and supporting each other, concentrating on your marriage rather than yourself, and celebrating your achievements in the process. With communication and commitment, happiness and peace in your marriage are inevitable. 

Disclaimer:  Otisitswe K. Tawana-Madziba is the founder of Fin-Edu. For comments, kindly send an email to [email protected] or visit www.fin-edubw.com

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