If you are getting married soon or have recently tied the knot, you will know that building your life together can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider. “One of the most important factors to discuss and agree on is your financial health as a couple,” says African Bank’s Group Executive: Sales, Branch Network, Mellony Ramalho.
She says it is important to talk about your financial aspirations and habits as a couple. “Consider the expectations you have for yourself and your partnership and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses upfront. Make time to sit together and really have a heart to heart. Remember that people come from different families who approach money in different ways. Be willing to listen to your partner and understand how they view money.”
Once you’re on the same page, she suggests identifying the total income available for your household and formulating a budget as a good place to start. “If need be, track your spending for a month or two before you set your budget for a more accurate outline. Set a maximum amount for big ticket expenses and decide what type of purchases you want to make using credit cards and personal loans. If you want to buy something over and above this amount, you should discuss this with your partner, not necessarily for permission but for clarity and agreement,” she says.
Another important aspect to address is financial responsibilities and roles. Ramahlo recommends designating each person to specific shared financial responsibilities based on their capacity. “Decide how to set up your accounts. Will your accounts be joint or separate or will you have a combination of the two? These are details that should be discussed and decided on in advance, factor in what you have that is existing and work from there.”
“Savings are key so set manageable financial goals for yourselves in this regard,” she adds. Ramahlo suggests having two types of savings for both short and long-term goals. “For example, you can use a fixed deposit account or notice deposit accounts for saving, in conjunction with a tax-free investment account to plan for different types of expenses, from your retirements to your next holiday.”
“Ultimately, if you want your life as a couple to be as stress-free when it comes to money, plan together. Making sure you have covered your financial security is important even if it means having potentially uncomfortable conversations. Remember to meet regularly and speak honestly about your money,” she concludes.