Tag Archive | personal finance for women

10 Finance and Money Tips for Couples

Why is financial literacy a necessary skill for couples in today’s evolving world? According to a survey done by the Huffington Post, the #1 cause of divorce was NOT infidelity but Financial Stress (and this is gradually becoming a worldwide trend!)  Surprised? Well, don’t be. Financial compatibility is very important to the overall health of a relationship because it is a powerful indicator of how other areas will manifest. Is money used as a tool to control and manipulate OR as a tool to empower and create a more loving relationship?

A couple’s mindset on money matters often influences their individual and collective approach to life in general, their faith and how they worship God, their parenting styles, how they show emotions, their spending/saving habits, how they accumulate and view debt, how they solve problems, their relationship with in-laws and other extended family members, their ability to plan, be responsible and the actions (or inactions) they take. Couple money jar

Is financial literacy important for couples? You bet it is! The present economic climate has changed the dynamics of most relationships, there’s a lot of unpredictability in the business and work environments.

Coupled with the fact that women are increasing becoming more educated, thus taking advantage of more career opportunities, the dynamics in most homes have changed.

Furthermore, the era of clearly defined responsibilities for each party in a relationship are fast coming to an end. Most men are no longer the primary breadwinner. Sometimes, not as a result of choice or abilities but because of the opportunities available and the rising cost of living! Yes, it is indeed time to make ‘money-talk’ part of your ‘pillow-talk’. There’s a pseudo reversal of roles and in some cases, a total blurring of lines regarding the roles for each person in a relationship. These changing dynamics should be embraced and managed with healthy strategies.

We all know what happens when members of a team have no clear ideas of what constitute their roles/responsibilities: CHAOS, RESENTMENT, STRESS, BREAKDOWN OF COMMUNICATION etc. Besides, we now live in a ‘purpose-focused and empathy-driven economy’ in which more and more people are turning their passions into businesses and taking the non-traditional routes to financial independence and freedom. This often takes a toll on the financial stability of a family. Financial stress is real and must be addressed in time before it degenerates into something more serious!

Here are some general money tips for married couples:

1. Couples must seek to understand and appreciate that they each come from different backgrounds, with different ingrained perspectives of money and wealth management. However, they must willingly and consciously create a common-ground and evolve a united vision that accommodates their respective values, backgrounds, personalities and goals. Each party needs wisdom, a spirit of discernment and a deep sense humility in order to navigate the resulting mesh of cultures and perspectives;

2. As a matter of priority, women must begin to take a more proactive role in the overall financial well-being of their families. This is a role that has been traditionally reserved for only men. Now, more than ever, men seek partners in progress and not merely dependent spouses. And vice versa. Both parties must respect the fact that each person brings value to the relationship. You have something to offer, even if you are a stay-at-home mom/housewife, your ideas and insights are worth more than gold! A team of two offers better perspective than a single individual. Working together also reduces physical, mental and emotional stress and conversely, increases the couple’s ability to bond with and respect each other.

3.  Couples must focus on what they want to achieve with money rather than money in itself. Establish the short and long-term goals of the family and also your individual goals. Be specific in mapping out your plans on the type of life you want to live: the home(s) to purchase, cars, children’s education, budget for caring for your loved ones (parents, siblings, family members), mechanism for giving back to society/charities, tithing, set aside funds for fun, entertainment, travel and leisure, professional and personal development/education, retirement and legacy plans (wills, estate planning, trusts) etc.

4. Set boundaries and have clarity on what are acceptable ‘money behaviours’ and what constitute unacceptable ‘deal breakers’. Hold each other accountable and establish effective consequences to guide against abuse;

5. Always act in the overall interest of your family and know when to compromise and make necessary sacrifices;

6. Family budgets: Have a personal budget and also have a family budget. Most importantly, ensure that they both align (note: your personal money goals must not be at variance with the overall family goals, if they are, seek ways to integrate them). Do not become slaves to money by working your whole lives without creating time to spend together; working for hours to pay for a mortgage without actually spending time to create wonderful memories in the home, buying gifts without giving your hearts and placing unreasonable monetary demands on each other, just to keep up with appearances! Make sure that you have a healthy balance between enjoying what money can buy for you and the glorious God-given gifts of love, laughter and life;

7. Have plans and time-lines for moving through the 3 silos of wealth: i. Financial Stability ii. Financial Independence and iii. Financial Freedom. Communicate and be clear on what each phase means to you. Hire a Financial Advisor and/or Money Coach to guide you. You do not know it all! And a third party often offers a unique and insightful perspective;

8. As soon as you get married and/or have children, it is no longer about YOU! You are now part of a team and that team is only as strong as its weakest member. There should be no room for selfishness or anything ‘self’. You must work as a team or risk total failure and misery. This is time to think about various risk management strategies: wills, estate-planning, insurance, long-term care(especially if you have kids with special needs, have a high-risk career or have a family pre-disposition to certain diseases). And hire a financial advisor, money coach or wealth consultant when necessary;

9. Your plans are not permanently carved in stone. Revisit, revise and refine them. Life happens, just don’t let it ‘happen’ to you. Be the one in the driver’s seat. Financial freedom for couples is less about ‘money’ and more about learning to communicate, to take control and have mastery of both the financial and non-financial areas of your life.  It is about building good habits and becoming a ‘guru’ at matching your supply to your demand (with lots of room to indulge and have fun!)

10. As you adapt to the ever-changing economic and environmental realities, make sure that all your actions are hinged on basic universal/faith-based principles of love, respect, reciprocity and accountability. Build your financial foundation God, on the divine and universal principles. Make your plans from a place of  deep faith, contentment, wisdom, abundance and authenticity! Avoid a head-space and mentality of selfishness, consumerism, ego and lack/mind-poverty. Remember, if the biggest problems in your relationships are money problems, you really do NOT have any serious problems! Celebrate your health, your family, your friends and your passions. Money is merely one of many fruits in life. It is a tool and NOT an end in itself! Focus on the seeds, on the roots and you will enjoy a joyous, purposeful life. Look around and within you, count your blessings and enjoy your relationships.

In conclusion, couples must rise to the occasion and be consciously involved in charting and implementing a joint financial plan, together. They should develop a financial blueprint, be on the same page in order to build sustainable wealth, live a fulfilling life and leave an enduring legacy behind. If you plan well together, you’ll plug your ‘leaks’ and discover that you ALREADY have more than enough.

Interested in learning more tips about navigating financial stress? Send us an email (info@wholewomannetwork.com) and sign up for WWN’s Financial Literacy Program for couples. We use Faith-based Principles of wealth, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Adlerian principles and plain old ‘common-sense’ to change your money blue-print/DNA and redefine your ‘wealth’ mindset.

Money is not just tangible, it is also an energy. Discover how to live a happy, purposeful life of abundance and not one of ‘lack’ (no matter how much you earn). Learn how to view ‘money’ as a conceptual tool and gain mastery over it!

“A family that Prays together, Plays together, Saves and Invests together, most likely stays together and happily so! Time to make ‘money-talk’ part of your ‘pillow talk’, resolve your ‘small’ money matters today before they become serious life matters tomorrow!

Love, Light & Truth!

~<3 Juliet (www.julietkego.com)

Live Powerfully, Passionately and Purposefully.

 

————————–

The preceding is a guest post from Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido.  Juliet is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of Leadership, WomEntrepreneurship, Investment & Financial Literacy for women and raising a new generation of Transformational, Ethical and Creative African Leaders, with a special focus on the girl-child. Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc, @julietumeinc

Advertisements

A personal finance guide for women of colour: ‘miscellaneous expenses’.

budget

“Thanks WWN for reminding us to stick to our personal and family budgets. But you seem to forget our extended family system here in Africa.  Funerals, weddings, birthdays, relations soliciting for help (and they do it as if it is mandatory)! How do we trim down the spending? I tell you, it is a large chunk! ‘Miscellaneous’, you may call it, but it is often larger than the monthly family expenses.” ~Uche O. U~

Managing ‘miscellaneous expenses’.

The importance of developing a personal budget cannot be over emphasized. However, it is often the issue of sticking with budgets that overwhelm most people. Planning and executing budgets are even more challenging in environments where cultural ties are strong and the extended family system exists.  The beauty of the extended family system cannot be argued, but if the associated responsibilities are not managed properly, the result may be high stress levels, breakdown of relationships, high debt loads and the ‘Iroko Tree’ syndromes and/or the ‘Stolen Luck’ syndromes, just to mention a few.

(Refer to this post for more insights on the ‘Iroko Tree’ and ‘Stolen Luck’ syndromes).

A critical factor that makes sticking with personal budgets difficult is the state of the economy; stagnant growth, high unemployment rates and a ‘middle-class’ that is in fact the ‘working poor’.

For women of colour, (living in their home countries and in the Diaspora), the topic of personal budgeting should be addressed in a holistic way. They are often catering to multiple interests and carrying varied responsibilities, sometimes as ‘co-bread winners’ for their parents, siblings, cousins, nephews and other members of their kith and kin. It is not strange to find one person responsible for the tuition fees, medical bills and rent of other people in her extended families, besides her primary responsibilities to her nuclear family. It is no wonder that this topic resonates deeply with many.

In individual conversations and group coaching sessions among women across different cultures Caribbean, African, Persian, European, Latin American and so forth, miscellaneous expenses associated with extended family members, remains a huge  obstacle to achieving balance with personal budgets.

Here are some basic principles for managing ‘miscellaneous expenses’

  1. Make a budget so you have clarity on your earnings and immediate household expenses;
  2. You can plan for uncertainty because there’s already the certainty of an uncertainty happening. Make provision for miscellaneous expense (based on historical estimates). You can budget for miscellaneous expense by actually including it and earmarking an amount (Fixed  monetary sum or as a percentage of your earnings);
  3. Track your miscellaneous expenses over a few months and then track gradually over a year. Categorize them: What are you spending most on-Burials/Birthdays/Weddings/’Aso-ebi’/Gifts/School fees/Personal loans/Social events/Medical Expense/Daily living?
  4. Try sticking with your budget for at least one month, and if any extra expenditure arises, you roll them over to the next month.
  5. At the end of each month, check for variations between your estimates and actual spending.
  6. Re-Prioritize: How important are these things to you? What can you forfeit, what adds value, what is essential and what is non-essential?
  7. Make a list of who the recipients are. Prioritize your recipient list. High up on your list may be your parents, siblings, mentors and those who sowed positive seeds in your lives. You may add them to your monthly fixed expense, depending on your situation.
  8. There are people on your list who should be weeded off that list or educated on money matters before adding them back on. (Someone in the Diaspora gave an example of a cousin, a university undergraduate, who had asked for financial assistance to buy some back-to-school materials. From her part-time earnings, she sent her a few hundred dollars, only for her cousin to rudely inform her that the money was not enough to buy her MAC line of cosmetics, much less her designer line of tee-shirts. And she was even admonished by this said cousin for not taking up over-time hours like her other nursing colleagues! Compare this to someone who needs financial aid for a medical condition or to pay tuition fees. The difference is as clear as crystal).
  9. Study and analyze the seasonality of requests and activities, when are the highs and lows: Holidays/Beginnings of school term or semester/Particular time(s) during the year? Adjust your budget accordingly to align your cash-flow with these timelines.
  10. Be clear on the difference between a loan and a gift to people, especially to family members.
  11. Avoid loans to family members/friends unless you truly trust them and/or from the onset, you are ready to write-off the amount. This helps you in two ways: i). it helps to preserve the relationship should they default. Ii). it eliminates the cash-flow flow problems that may arise for you if the loans are not paid back.
  12. People need a hand-up and not a hand-out, know the difference!
  13. Consider giving certain people bulk sum of money to either start a business/go to school/learn a skill, so they become truly independent rather than encouraging and enabling them to become perennial beggars. A one-sided relationship often ends badly with a lot of resentment because every human being has an innate need for self-actualization and self-mastery.
  14. If #.13 above is a challenge to undertake alone, consider pooling resources together with other friends/colleagues/family members, in order to achieve these worthwhile goals. You may also consider collective giving i.e. something that serves a group or community rather than individuals, such as setting up cottage industries, micro-loan programs, building or renovating schools, health care and skill acquisition centres.
  15. Hold yourself and others accountable so you may create the right balance for your overall well-being. Also, remember to put yourself on the list!

—————————————————————————————————————–

The preceding is a guest post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Wealth Management Consultant & Lifestyle Coach at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Investment & Financial Literacy for women. Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc