Today I want to talk a little bit about marriage and your finances. This topic is inspired by the fact that 3 of my friends will soon be walking down the aisle…exciting!!! While a lot of detail goes into the actual day of the wedding, little to no attention is paid on how the couple will handle their finances once they are married.
From parents to friends, little is spoken about personal finances in a marriage. Couples are left to figure it out themselves in the hope that their love and bliss makes the topic of money easy!
These are some of the topics around money couples should address before they get married:
Marital regime and contracts
I think the first and foremost conversation is the marital contracts, as a couple, you must decide which marital contract you will enter into. Educate yourself and speak to a lawyer to draft your contract for you.
As a couple, you can either get married:
- In community of property
- Out of community of property with the accrual system
- Or out of community of property without the accrual system.
To find out more, read:
Set financial goals as a couple
There is nothing more powerful than having someone to share your goals with and see those goals come to pass. When you work on your financial goals together, it becomes a team effort and inevitably, you are each others accountability partners.
Being one another’s accountability partners not only sets the tone of trust when it comes to your finances but creates room for honest and sometimes difficult conversations around money.
Agree on how to split financial responsibilities
Making assumptions and having expectations about what your partner/spouse will do or not do financially can put a strain on the relationship. The best way to deal with this is to have an honest and frank conversation about each others expectations and work backwards to what is reality.
Majority of us do not come from families that discussed money and with this comes pre-conceived ideas of what a man or a woman should do financially…but damnit we all know it doesn’t work that way.
How will you deal with ‘black-tax’?
Black-tax or the ‘sandwich generation’ is a real thing. A lot of millennials are not only supporting their immediate family (i.e. parents and siblings) but also their relatives. This is definitely one area a couple needs to discuss because one is always sure to bail a family member out from time to time and or be it a monthly commitment.
As a couple, you have to decide what works and set boundaries when it comes to family.
Realise and be aware of your money personalities
Being aware and conscious of how you and your partner deal and manage money is very important. Either you or your partner can be a Spender, Saver, Hoarder or Money monk (www.womanandfinance.co.za/whats-money-personality/ )
Knowing how your partner deals with money helps you mitigate the good and challenging financial times in your relationship.
Your assets and liabilities
I have been in coaching sessions where people are married and yet they do not disclose to one another how much assets or liabilities they have, sometimes one or both partners are heavily indebted and they are married in community of property, so effectively legally they are both indebted! Talking about your assets and liabilities not only helps get a clear picture of your financial situation, but also gives you the opportunity to set goals and work towards financial independence together.
Tribe, I wanna hear your thoughts: how have you handled money in your relationship? What has worked and do you feel you are both working towards the same financial goals?