Welcome to another week of financial learning. I want to thank everyone for his or her support and encouraging words since I started this financial teaching walk. I know some of my assertions are controversial. I believe today’s topic will be one of them.
Relationship and money is a very delicate topic that needs to be discussed thoroughly since it leads to breaking ups and divorce in marriages. I will tackle the topic of relationship and money from two scenarios. I will discuss financial commitments whiles dating and in marriage because they have different lenses.
People who are dating are always under the disguise of learning from each other in the preparation towards marriage. They are ordinarily not bonded legally to each other yet. Hence, any financial obligation or commitment during this period is “Nice to do” and not “Must to do”.
If you decide to help your partner whiles dating financially, you need to classify it as a freewill offering or one of the good deeds that the Holy Books admonishes.
It is not an OBLIGATION! It is therefore unwise to pile pressure on each other financially i.e. providing shelter, education, travel expenses, etc.
When a break up happens, the party that committed most financially feel “cheated” and treated unfairly. Some even go the extent of going for all items that they bought for their partners when they break up! Isn’t that funny??
We need to start seeing this investment as a form of national service. I link it as national service because, after your service, the company can decide to retain or relieve you of your duties. Your partner is therefore under no obligation to settle down with you simply because you helped them financially. This is the hard truth of life!
I want all of us to be guided and start treating financial decisions in a relationship with the needed caution and advice. I am not against helping each other financially whiles dating. But it should be done with a mindset that should a break up happen, you will not be able to recoup your investment.
The narrative is however different when married. This financial commitment is a must when you are finally bonded together. Some marriages have broken down because of the misunderstanding of each other’s financial goals and roles.
Financial goals and duties in the marriage should be clearly spelled out from the outset.
If you have not done so, start it today and now! Every family needs a budget with agreed upon items by both parties. Parties here simply means the man and the woman.
This budget will lead to the division of labor in cases where both the husband and wife are all working. It is true that the husband is the provider for the family. Nevertheless, this does not take away the role of the wife as a helper. Helper means supporting the provision at home.
So as stated a while ago, the first step towards financial understanding in the family is to have a budget agreeable by all. The next stage is sharing the roles on the budget. So for instance, the family can decide that the wife takes care of food provision whiles the husband settles all major bills such as Utilities, fees, etc. I only gave this as an example, please! I do not want anyone attacking me for sharing an example.
Beyond this, the family should have at least three assessment meetings within the year to measure the progress of work in terms of how far they have come with the financial targets and achievements. With this, all funds not accounted for will be addressed. Both partners should be very open and truthful with each other when it comes to the management of funds.
All new streams of incomes should be well discussed and disclosed.
Then comes the topic of a joint account. I have been asked on countless occasion if married couples should run joint accounts. My answer is Yes and No. the main challenge with having joint account comes from the mandate on the account. The mandate here for the benefit of those who do not understand banking terms have to do with the instruction on any account. This covers who sign to do what on the account.
If the bank sees a cheque on the account, what instruction covers it i.e only the husband signing alone, both signing or one signing but confirming from the other partner. If the mandate on a joint account is well understood, then it will serve as a good source of financial discipline. With that said, I always advice fresh couples to have both to sign as a mandate on a joint account. With time, they can change the mandate to any to sign depending on the trust for each other and their level of discipline when it comes to money.
I have witnessed wives and husbands passing behind each other to withdraw funds especially when the marriage is on the brink of break up or misunderstanding at home.
Let’s be wise and guided. Financial education is necessary and applicable to all spheres of life.
I wish everyone a wonderful and memorable week!
Patrick Baah Abankwa is a chartered banker with over 5 years experience in main stream banking having worked in various capacities. He is currently at the Branch Manager Position of his institution.
He has been a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana with a good membership standing since the year 2013.
He also holds EMBA and BA from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science, Technology, and the University of Ghana respectively.
Patrick is the originator of the daily epistle dubbed “Savings Tip of the Day” which has been running for over a year on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Patrick has also been teaching on the Topics Savings, Investment and Financial Independence for over 2 years and a research fellow for ILAPI Ghana. He runs a financial channel on Youtube by name “Patrick TV Gh” and has appeared a couple of times on the business segment of TV3 News 360.
Patrick is into youth facilitation and counselling. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org and or 0243984492.
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