“My spouse’s money is our money, and my money is my money.” This used to be the saying of my friends and I when we were in the University. But how wrong we were! I didn’t quite hold on firmly to this belief of ours due to my family background, and I understood what personal sacrifices could do for the good of a family. But my understanding was indeed tested when I got married.
Family resources literarily refer to the source of supplies, materials, wealth in the form of funds and assets that enable a family to function effectively. One can also refer to these as the stock or readily available capabilities of a family.
My husband and I got married a short while after I graduated from University, and we had practically nothing. Since my husband was deep into his graduate studies, I started working to support the family. We took certain steps during this period of our lives which helped us overcome money and resources problem in our family.
In the following paragraphs, I would like to share some of the principles that we adopted, which worked, and is still working for us.
1. Understand that resources and money are just tools
Understanding that resources and money are tools meant to aid a family is the right mindset for the prosperity of any family. These resources don’t just appear from the blues; they are carefully sought for, planned, invested and saved up over time (sometimes for generations). This sure leads to wealth when properly managed.
When it comes to resources and money, a lot of families do not agree. This is one factor that baffles me. I do not blame any sides for the measures and stance they have taken towards their family resources or money. Their personal experiences may have influenced their decisions. However, there can be readjustment for the well-being of the family.
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Money ensures the smooth-running of a home, and when there is a constant inflow of cash, one gets things done with ease. So why do some people find it challenging to share their resources information with their spouses? And why do some families have serious conflicts over this issue? I guess this is due to lack of understanding of what such resources are meant for, and the gross misunderstanding/mistrust between the entities involved.
Some women disrespect their husbands when they earn more than them, and some men feel uncomfortable when their wives earn more than them. Come on, guys, you’re a family, understand that resources and money, come and go. Don’t let it destroy your relationship. Use it to build your family. They are just tools. Join your resources and plan better for your family.
It takes only understanding to run and manage family resources and money. Be humble, trust each other, and work with understanding. Please whatever you do, don’t disrespect your spouse and/or envision negativities over your partner or family because of money or resources issues. Channel your energies to positive thinking and planning. Note: this is different from planning for the unexpected.
2. Build trust in your relationship
Many couples can trust each with other stuff but not with money or resources. I once met a lady who said to me, “I cannot share my account information nor have a joint account with my husband”. This could indicate fundamental trust issues in the home or possibly reveal some unnecessary fears between the parties. Don’t get me wrong; if the joint account is for other reasons such as taxes, then, it is understandable.
When there is trust in any relationship, especially when it has to do with resources and money, the relationship/family thrives better. Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. A family where trust exists excels. Learn more on why you need to build trust in your relationship here.
The best approach to managing family resources is to understand which of the partners is better at managing cash. If the two of you are, then excellent, but if one person is better than the other, that’s also great. And if none of you is, then you might consider getting some help with your finances to avoid spending all without saving and investing some, which can lead to regrets much later. You need to figure this out.
"You don’t want a situation where the rent/mortgage and other bills are not paid because the other partner channelled the finances to something else (especially on frivolities)!"
In a case where one person is better than the other, the person should still respect the opinions of the other person, and also deal with understanding. You don’t want to have a financially bankrupt family, so you let the more reliable person manage the finances, handle most of the decisions, and of course, with your input to ensure you are both on the same page.
In our case, I would transfer my pay check to my husband and let him disburse the cash to the various budgets, including our upkeep! First, this shows openness. This sort of action creates a special bond in couples who understand and respect each other.
Second, this reminds him that he’s still in charge, and third; he knows he can trust me with money. I was able to do this because I know he is a good manager. Now, if you are very sure your partner is not good at that, and that you are better off handling things yourself, please go ahead and do so.
You don’t want a situation where the rent/mortgage and other bills are not paid because the other partner channelled the finances to something else (especially on frivolities)! Follow the principles you have laid out for your family until the financial situation changes.
In order to ensure mutual respect, openness and avoid conflicts, you both will have to build trust from the very beginning or better still, start now. You can get some tips for building trust in your personal relationships here.
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3. Plan long-term goals
I think every family should have short- and also long-term goals. You don’t just live as resources come and go, you need to plan together and also execute your projects together. By so doing, you work together as a team. None is superior to the other. As a matter of fact, you are “one” and should act so.
Come together and decide on the sort of future you would want for your family and start setting goals towards those desires. Put aside some funds for investment, and acquire the necessary skills that will propel you to fulfilling the goals you have set.
When you are on the saving and investment stage, only spend on what is absolutely necessary. For instance; you don’t have to honour every invitation, and you don’t have to buy everything marketed to you, you will have to be deliberate/intentional in your expenditures.
4. Be open with your income(s)
Please be very open to one another with your incomes. This will enable you to plan better and achieve your goals. Come to think of it, what are you hiding your income for? No one takes any resources to the grave. Should in case anything like death or severe illness comes suddenly and your immediate family have no clue you had such resources, would you prefer it to be lost to a total stranger or government?
How do you think they would feel discovering you had such resources after you are gone? Just imagine the things that will happen due to this sort of attitude.
In all, resources, money and stuff come and go, but family is everything! The least you can do is to love each other and find a middle ground to agree on things, especially on how to spend your resources. Be open with your incomes. It will make your home a haven that you desire. Your goals and plans will be more achievable than when there is a lack of transparency.
"Why would you have a spouse that you cannot be completely open to with your resources and money?"
If there is no agreement, there is no partnership! Two people cannot work together if they do not agree (The Holy Bible, Amos 3:3). Marriage is for strong and matured minds who are willing to let down some things to pick up other things.
Before you came together as a family, you had some compromise, and in a family setting, you will have to do quite a lot of that. Because you are two different people with different genetic make-ups and backgrounds, there are bound to be dialogues, negotiations and eventually a compromise.
Now, this doesn’t make the one whose shoulder that compromise rests on per time to be less than or superior to the other person or vice-versa. Still, instead, it makes you a team who works and builds together.
Someday, when you are probably old, you will sit back together to reflect on your family and achievements. Then you will look at each other in the eye and smile that you did it together with a team spirit. And your kids would have learnt some vital life lessons with real-life experiences.
Why would you have a spouse that you cannot be completely open to with your resources and money? And if you were once open and no longer are, what could have been the contributing factor(s)? What are your reservations towards this aspect of your family life?
Please leave your comments below and let’s talk real on what truly matters…Let’s dazzle together!