Financial planning in a relationship

08 February 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Ester Kali

The month of February is generally known to be the month of love and it may be the perfect time to delve into financial knowledge with your loved one.
Relationships may sometimes be seen as sensitive grounds to speak on money matters. However, with a little bit of strategy, communication, and intentionality, managing finances with a partner can be less painful and more productive. When the importance of financial planning and execution is well understood, it may help in removing this stereotype and surely improve your financial capabilities.
A financial plan is a fundamental way to create a healthy platform for financial aspects in a relationship. Financial planning can start when both individuals agree to follow the same route of future financial strategy. Plan together by using a specific and comprehensive outline of current income and future financial decisions, including making use of current known variables to predict future income, asset values and withdrawal plans. In marriage, this may change to be an outline of both partners’ finances headed to one or similar direction.
To avoid getting to dead ends where money has been used and not accounted for, you will need to distinctly outline expenditure within your financial plan.
In a relationship, one person might be more interested in managing finances than the other. Michael Hackler from the international Horizon Financial Group, says it is important to maintain a team mind-set by sharing financial responsibilities. He says: “If responsibilities aren't divided, and something happens to the ‘financial spouse’, the other one will be lost. Bills go unpaid, debts accumulate, and your once-solid financial foundation crumbles.”
Carve out some time from your schedules to communicate with your partner about how financial responsibilities may be shared to make things easier for the both of you. Make this communication a habit and make it fun.
Money matters are already so much on their own, you might want to make the experience lighter for yourselves while having a cup of coffee and reflecting on the financial decisions you have previously made and discuss the amendments to move well forward.
Women and men may share their financial responsibilities to avoid straining one individual. Being committed to obligations is a task which needs to be executed by both parties in order to succeed.

Be FLI
The Financial Literacy Initiative (FLI) in Namibia shows that there is a small, yet significant difference between men and women with regards to financial behaviour: 41% of males and 36% of females act accordingly with regards to their finances.
Merging your financial life with someone else's can result in tension about “whose is whose”, thus bringing the importance of drawing financial lines to light. It is a good idea to draw very clear lines on how each partner will view the money on either “yours, mine or ours” classification.
Being in a relationship means working as a team. When you're on the same page about your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities as a couple, it is much easier to make progress toward your goals. Statistics show that while the bulk of day-to-day financial decisions are made jointly (58%) and many are in agreement, 3 in 10 couples agree that one partner takes a primary role.
Money should not be a stress aspect in your relationship. Planning financially will help you eliminate this if you can find a manageable solution. Remember that drawing up a financial plan will not be effective when disregarded. Stick to the plan and adjust where necessary to make it work.
Being on the same page about money will not only elevate your financial well-being, it will also strengthen your relationship.
*Ester Kali is the chief executive of Letshego Namibia.