Do you ever wonder why you plan adventure or trips but they don’t materialize?
Do you hold off large projects because you are afraid they will never ever see the light of day?
Do you always end up in arguments when planning with your spouse?
This post will guide you on how to wisely plan your finances and projects with your spouse.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” Winston Churchill
Often times I have encountered spouses who abdicate their responsibilities when it comes to financial planning. They are quick to say “that is my husband’s/wife’s job” or “ I have no job and therefore my job is to do the other chores.” or “Wait till my ‘Boss’ comes home and I will ask him/her.” More so, I have encountered spouses who openly decline financial responsibility in front of the spouse and friends. I find that quite unnerving. It gets me wondering what would happen if the ‘alpha’ (As it may be indicated) spouse becomes incapacitated or (God Forbid) dies.
This keeps me asking how many other facets of their relationship are wanting in teamwork. I wonder how they do their shopping, how they plan their families, how they invest in business, how the support their extended families(if any), and even how they support each other in times of challenges such as depression, illness, bereavement, joblessness, addictions and mundane things such as hygiene.
Financial planning is very crucial to every individual or couples alike. Going through life without Financial planning is like sailing the high seas without a compass: Every wave and every wind should take you there. This is a thrilling but also risky approach. The following is a more functional approach:
- Develop a long term financial vision together. It is prudent for both spouses to air their individual and shared visions at this stage. This reduces the feeling of individualism/selfishness. Discuss these visions in detail and ask all relevant questions as to why, how and when this can be done. Harmonise your visions and decide on which vision serves you together best and embark on it.
- Break down the financial vision into smaller, short term goals that can be achieved in shorter timelines, say, six months, or a year.
- Simplify the short term goals by setting monthly, weekly or even daily activities geared towards the greater vision. Share the tasks with your spouse while putting in mind their strong points; remember every couple is a complete team, each with different strong skill sets. Two heads are always better than one(when working together). Do not forget to hold each other accountable and to motivate each other in this course.
- When each spouse is given a task to do: Get on with it!! Do your homework, seek knowledge whenever possible. Work on it like your life depends on it. Outsmart yourself, impress yourself. Why? Because your LIFE DOES DEPEND ON IT. Keep each other updated as often as possible on the challenges faced and progress made.
- Action plan, a timetable should be made in written/soft copy form. This helps you to keep track of your progress towards the main goal. This action, should be detailed with all the activities, persons responsible and timelines. The review column should be there for reassessment of the activities. One of the simplest action plans that needs to be used daily, or as often as you go shopping, is a BUDGET. Avoid purchasing unplanned for items unless they are on crazy sale, or ‘once in a lifetime buy’. If you just ‘want it’ you probably should not buy it.
- Review the action plan and the objectives to see if you are in tandem or there may be deviations necessary. Sometimes family emergencies may take you off the track, and this is absolutely normal. Some activities may be delayed, postponed or even suspended for some major urgent needs, such as ill health of a spouse, a partner or a family member. This does not mean ‘cancel’ or ‘scratch’ the vision.
- Consult a Financial Expert together when needed. I cannot overemphasise the importance of having a professional Financial Advisor, unless one of you is that person. They help you put your vision in the global setting, considering the economic and socio-political elements. They help you make heads-or-tails of the investment world, taxation systems, savings and incorporation ideas that may be of help to you as a couple.
- Keep the communication channels open. There should be no ideal or set time to discuss planning issues, although I personally prefer when I can be focused. My husband and I have done planning while cooking or before we sleep, or even when on a trip. I just have a handy book in my bag, in which I quickly draft the idea and transfer it to our master planner as soon as we get home. He does the same too,(he has a better memory than me on such factors). Women tend to be overwhelmed with so many activities that we easily put off or forget to put it in writing.
These are just some simple steps that may take couples to the next step of a more fulfilling relationship. For more information please visit my website at www.guruhellen.com. Remember to subscribe and please let me know what you think about this topic.
To a more financially enlightened marriage.