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When it comes to passion, no two subjects spark up more heat than love and money. A significant challenge among many South African couples is shifting their mindsets from "his and hers" financial planning to joint or "couple" financial planning.
According to Henry van Deventer, Head of Financial Planning Coaching at acsis, most individuals fail to make the switch to sharing financial information and financial plans with their partners because they are conditioned not to.
"Finances are an intensely personal matter so we often tend to stick with the habits that we form early in life of keeping it personal, but individual past habits may come back to haunt a couple in future. This is why it becomes critically important that individuals in serious relationships spend the time creating a framework to help them deal intelligently with their money," says van Deventer.
Van Deventer offers various guidelines for couples to consider when putting a basic framework together:
From "Me" to "We"
Most importantly, sharing financial affairs need to change from a "me" to a "we" mentality. While this does not miraculously happen overnight, couples need to sit down and agree to what will be shared and how it will be done. Following this, couples need to stick to what they agree on from a financial standpoint, even when natural instincts at first prompt them to do otherwise.
Give your partner a map
Serious couples should ensure they are transparent with one another and share their full financial status. This includes making your partner aware of all assets such as property and cars as well as investments and liabilities such as credit card overdrafts, personal loans, mortgages and vehicle financing.
Also make a point of ensuring that your partner knows where all details and paperwork regarding these assets and liabilities are kept and who to contact should something happen to you.
Article continues on page two: sorting out your budget, drawing up a "game plan" and getting your timing right...