Money! Money!! Money!!! Money determines a lot of thing in a partnership, business relationship, and even marriage. Marriage, the most important merger a man or woman can undertake is also not immune to the effects and complexities of money. Money greatly influences or determines the spending pattern and lifestyle of any spouse, relative comfort of a family, the pedigree of education any offspring receives, the type of meal that is eaten and how frequent it is eaten , healthcare available to the family, vacations or not , what can be bought and many other crucial aspects of living. Surprisingly the good book (which hinges its teachings on Love) takes an unusual stance on money (Ecclesiastes 10:19b):
‘Money gives everything (NLT)’
I once heard my grandmother remark that to know if a man trusts another, he must be able to trust such person with two treasured possession – ‘his wife and money’. This statement holds a lot of insightful truth and serves as a good yardstick for understanding trust. However, apart from the obvious meaning, it also has a subtle meaning – there is a level of trust that can only be revealed or attained when couples can trust each other with their individual monies. For the purpose of this post, I’d be talking about money with respect to a man and woman in a relationship.
I’ve always been a firm believer that in a marriage, ‘individual monies’ should be seen as ‘our monies’ and not hubby’s money or wifey’s money irrespective of the earning power of either spouse. But over and over again, society informs me that such view might be overly simplistic of the marriage institution as is obtainable in today’s world. I’d be rational with my analysis as I often find myself, thus I’d give a brief background to my idea of how the joint account should operate, possible pros and cons of such approach, with the climax coming from your comments.
Joint Account: hubby and wifey contributes an agreed percentage of between 60% - 70% of their disposable income to the joint account pool while the remnant percentage is used for their individual and private expenditures. I don’t suppose it should be an equal percentage as women generally tend to incur a tad more on appearance upkeep.
The obvious question is what does the joint account fund? This I think should be determined individually by each couple. My take on what the joint account fund would include: house rent/mortgage and house related maintenance costs, utility bills, children upkeep, food, basically any expense that has the nuclear family as the direct benefactor. Bank alerts via email alerts at no cost could be used to track withdrawals from this joint account.
I intentionally did not mention anything about tithes, investments, debts. Funds for this purpose, should be deducted before arriving at disposable income i.e. salary or earning minus (tithes, investments, and debts) equals disposable income which funds the joint account.
Possible pros of this measure would include: transparency and accountability (this shouldn’t just be expected from the government!), better knowledge of one’s spouse – the spending pattern of a person provides a great insight into such person (“You make a living by what you earn, you make a life by how you spend it”), and of course TRUST (need I explain more on this?). I suppose it also develops ‘capacity’ in both spouses. Capacity in this case means that that each spouse manages a bigger pool of money. To a good extent, it keeps cheating/infidelity at bay as cheating usually is a financial intensive activity. Also, In the event of death of any spouse, the other spouse has ready access to the family’s hard-earned fund.
Possible cons: disagreement between spouses as one party might not share ‘happy feelings’ with the spending pattern of the other, difficult to plan big surprises for one’s spouse, the burden of having to keep the other spouse intimated on large withdrawals.
Of course, this is a theoretical situation, and is not unusual for reality be different from the scenario painted. I have taken into account numerous assumptions including assuming an average marriage institution (please don’t ask me what average is, I don’t know what it is either), a scenario in which each spouse is forthcoming with their salaries, etc.
What say you? Am I being overly simplistic? Are there other lacking factors that have not being considered? What’s your experience (personal or vicarious) if you’ve had one? For the married in the house, what works for you and what is your best advice? And to the singles, what would be your ideal proposition for your marriage?
PS: Writing is hard work, Thumbs up Thelma!
Yay Chrisyinks! You've just got to respect a person that delivers.