Our fourth post in the pre-marriage series, PEMFESS + P, is the F-Financial Development. Click here for the M-Mental Development.
Money. Money. Money. We can’t do without it and only few can live wisely with it. To be respected in most marriages, you must contribute financially to its success. It’s sad that love is no longer enough to keep marriages together forevet. Not all men (or their families) recognize or appreciate the non-financial contributions that a woman/wife brings to the marriage. Sorry if you thought otherwise. Sometimes though, it could be the wife (and or her family). If it ain’t dollars, it ain’t matter.
The love of money is the root of all evil. Yes, many have been known to commit murder because of money. Families and friends have also parted ways as a result of this five-letter-word. And several marriages have also been destroyed as a result of inadequate money and money issues. Even those marriages that “end amicably,” in the western cultures, turn monstrous at the mention of alimony, child support, or distribution of assets.
Preparation is key
So how do you prepare to tread the marital waters as far as finances are concerned? The answer is to prepare wisely and financially before marrying. There’s not a set amount of money to set aside (save); that is an individual prerogative.
“Financials” is a wide topic. For the purposes of this Series, we will compress it to:
vow to be an asset and not a liability.
I’m not going to write a finance or an accounting post explaining what an asset or liability is. Please do your research to better understand the terms if interested. For this post, simply remember that assets (+) add (or bring) in, while liabilities (-) subtract (or take away) money.
How do you become an asset?
To be an asset, you need to have your own money, tangibly stashed away, such that your prospective spouse recognizes that you can hold your own and contribute meaningfully in, and to, financial matters. The contribution should not be in a corky arrogant manner, but gently and meekly. Except you have wealthy parents who are willing to set you up financially once married, never ever start marriage wholly dependent on your spouse. It’s a different story if after marriage something happens that necessitates the dependency. Even at that, you should still strive to hustle to bring something to the financial table. It doesn’t matter if your prospective hubby (or husband) tells you “honey, I don’t want you working; I’ll take care of it, you and our family!” Do it for your own self value. The contribution also doesn’t have to be a 9-to-5 deal.
Some cultures still live in the “fantasyland” (aka husband-does-it-all) mentality. The one who gets the rude awakening is the lady/woman when love fades and the man begins to act chauvinistically mean and controlling the matrimonial funds, no longer giving her any, and depriving her of access to the money or accounts. “Afterall, it’s all mine – you never worked!” Sad if the couple have been married for ample number of years.
“Data released by financial firm TD Ameritrade found that 41% of divorced Gen Xers and 29% of Boomers say they ended their marriage due to disagreements about money.”
“Money problems are the #1 cause for divorce in America and money causes the most stress in relationships.”
To be financially smart, start investing diligently now while single, in both liquid and illiquid assets. Rule of thumb is to save 3-12 months salary as emergency fund; the more, the better. The truth is that once married and you start having children, it gets harder if not impossible to save and invest. Doing it now also yields benefits because the money will continue to compound (of course , depending on the amount) even if you got married and are unable to add more to it.
Ponder on these
In addition, the following are questions you should have answers to before marriage:
Know your money habits and attitudes: are you a saver or spender? What type of hubby do you want or need: a compliment or complement
What’s your money management technique? Do you use a budget or make impulsive purchases
Do you know yourself financially? Are you flexible or rigid as to who you are financially?
Do you have debts, such as student loans, credit cards, etc., that needs to be cleared or reduced
What’s your financial goal(s) and/or fears?
Being cognizant of answers to the above, including mapping out strategies for implementation, will bring a sense of financial peace that will be beneficial, to you, your future husband, and family, when it’s time to get married.
To your financial and holistic development