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Is money a problem area in your relationship? Get it sorted before it snowballs into a bigger issue. From tackling debts and investments to how to save money, here are 7 great money rules that you must follow with your spouse.
When it comes to relationships, money can be a third cog in the wheel. A reason for many to stay in bad marriages, a reason for many a lover’s tiff, certainly a reason for growing distances in marriages if handled without care and sometimes, a reason for resenting your partner, money is a tricky turf to navigate.
My husband and I moved out of our houses at the age of 25 and we have gradually established certain ‘money’ rules that have helped us stay away from the sort of marriage mess that money can lead to, if not handled properly and with clarity. Here are 7 money rules that you need to set for yourself as a couple so that both of you are secure.
Get talking about your bank accounts. Working or not working, whether you like or hate math, get involved! Set aside a ‘money talk’ time of the month when you sit together and do the budgets. Many women would rather let the man “take care of it” and are left “astonished” when the savings run out. Don’t let yourself be that woman. Being involved also takes the pressure off the bookkeeper. Managing money to meet the family’s never-ending desires is not easy. Plan together. Make money fun. Enjoy your poor days and gloat on your rich ones. Because in both, you swim together – aware and involved
Keep a joint account for the household expenses and household savings while maintaining your own individual accounts for your personal indulgences. This may actually be a physically separate ‘joint’ account or any 1 account that is sacredly and mutually decided as ‘household’. Fill it up with the household budget decided at the beginning of the month and pace it out as per plan. For each of your indulgences, use your personal account – no questions asked.
In our marriage, this is a common goal decided annually. We take baby steps, working together – this time you add and this time I add – to build our nest egg. What helps us is having a clearly defined savings target and a partnership where each person takes responsibility for his or her role.
My husband was a slacker at investments, and when in the first year, he talked about last-minute tax liabilities, I knew this would be my ‘actionable’. Hence, every year, we plan our annual investments together. He has become quite great at it actually, almost working on auto pilot now. Most often, one partner doesn’t understand how investments work. This time, it’s the job of the other, to include, to partner and initially do the paperwork for them. But don’t do it again. And again. Encourage ownership of investments. Learn together.
Keep a joint account for the household expenses and household savings while maintaining your own individual accounts for your personal indulgences. For each of your indulgences, use your personal account – no questions asked.
Most of us feel we spend better than the other. There are so many couples whose money fight goes like this :
Partner A – Who told you to buy those shoes?
Partner B – Well, don’t we indulge in your ‘eating out’ sprees every third day? A single meal bill is equal to a pair of shoes, and everyone knows which one lasts longer.
Pause. This happens in our house a lot. I will leave you to guess who A is and who is B. What, however, we soon recognised was that it was important to celebrate our individual spending habits. Let your partner indulge – without question, without threat and without feeling guilty. Their indulgence is not the same as yours. Their spending decisions also might not appeal to your logic at all. But this is not about you. This is about their relationship with money. Don’t define their rules.
Most couples carry at least some debt together. If you’re both earning, its best to distribute monthly payments as part of the monthly budget. If there is a personal debt, manage it. While it maybe easy to borrow from your partner, imbibe the habit of returning. We often lend and return to each other, even as husband and wife. Might be funny or even money-minded to many, but it keeps us away from any sense of resentment. It has also builds a sense of responsibility towards debt in each of us.
While it maybe easy to borrow from your partner, imbibe the habit of returning.
Often, the money silence creeps into marriages showing up as ‘trust’ issues years later. Some people don’t like to talk about money. But in marriages, this can possibly not be an excuse. If your partner doesn’t talk, spend time to ask, understand and discuss time and again their viewpoint. Involving each other in the bank accounts is an important step in becoming fully transparent with each other. This is a big piece of being companions – don’t shove the money silence under the carpet. Address it.
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