Money is a big issue in most marriages and in the early days it is important to make sure that any ugly issues that could stem from money matters are nipped in the bud. Here are a few of the common financial mistakes young couples make and how they can be tackled.
Poor planning: It’s commonly said that when you fail to plan then you plan to fail. One of the major mistakes many young couples make is failing to plan their finances. Spending as each day goes by is not only reckless but downright dangerous. Always have a plan so that the income earned jointly by the family can be put to proper use. You can start by drawing up a budget spreadsheet where you can track your expected income against your planned expenditure. This will serve as a reality check and help you visualize your spending patterns and cut out the excesses where they exist. There are lots of cool budget templates online which can easily be modified for your use.
Lack of disclosure: Honesty is one of the major hallmarks of any good relationship. As a young family it’s important that full financial disclosure is made. The failure to disclose your net worth is a mistake men and women alike make and it has led to many a conflict caused by undue pressure. The truth is that there is no need to impress your spouse at this point and put yourself under undue pressure caused by false expectations. Rather than give half-truths concerning ones finances it makes more sense to be open as it’s only then that you and your spouse can help each other manage your finances properly.
Solo buying: When you were single it was fine to buy things without discussing with anyone however once you become a Mr. or Mrs. everything changes. It shows poor judgment and disregard for your spouse when major purchases such as property, cars (and even some which may not seem that major like getting a new fridge or a dog) are made without consulting your spouse. When you fail to consult your spouse before making a purchase and there is an issue the other party may not be sympathetic.
Living like the Joneses: No thanks to social media we are constantly shown the lifestyle of upwardly mobile couples. From their lavish weddings to their over the top parties and luxurious vacations, who wouldn’t want to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous? However it’s best to resist the pressure and cut your coat according to your material . If you can afford to splurge then by all means go ahead but whatever the case DO NOT spend your life savings on your wedding just to impress the whole world and then be stuck with a mountain of debt, as this will put a lot of pressure on your marriage. If you need to take a loan to go on a holiday then maybe you have a rethink and go to Ghana or even another Nigerian city rather than Dubai or Paris. You will still have fun and it will cost considerably less .Trust me nothing kills romance as fast as no finance.
Spending too much on luxury items: Most times this is linked to the point above. The truth is that if as a single girl or guy you could buy only a particular label then it’s not automatic that this lifestyle must continue. This is because along with the status change comes more responsibility, school fees, mortgages and the like. Rather than continue to collect stuff from Mum and Dad to fund your lifestyle  why not give them gifts for a change? Of course if you are blessed enough to afford even more luxury goods then go ahead but remember that you are not defined by labels.
Spending too much on your children: Now I know that only the best will do for your little princess or prince but be wise. Resist the urge to meet every demand your children make especially when they are totally unnecessary. For example why does each of your four children need their own game console? Not only are you depriving them of an opportunity to experience the joy of sharing but you are also spoiling them and wasting money that could be saved or put to better use. The same goes for their birthday celebrations, children should always be celebrated but always try to make sure you don’t go a borrowing just to throw an impressive party for all to see. At the end of the day what your children need from you most is your presence not just presents.
Making the wrong choices: There are always choices to be made. Choices such as the choice of where to live or the schools your children attend. Many couples make the wrong choices and are left with huge holes in their purses. That’s why it’s really important to take your time to make very important choices. For example you may want to live in a particular area because all your friends live there but can you afford yearly rent increments that are the norm there? Is it close to your office and would it make sense to pay lower rent and then spend a lot on gas and the mechanics due to wear and tear on your vehicle? Also, you may want to own your own home but taking a mortgage may be suicidal considering what you and your spouse earn, so do the math’s and then decide. For a choice like your children’s school you need to be very careful as your child will end up spending more time with their teachers than with you. While that top school may seem like the best, is it really? Or that school next to your house may seem cheap and cheerful but it may mean your child’s education may be compromised. Whatever choices you make as a married couple make sure you sit down and discuss the pros and cons before you go ahead
Bankers delight: Some people love taking loans and sometimes it make sense like when you are starting a new business. However when you need to take a holiday or acquire a new toy or bag (yes some people are actually doing this) a loan makes no sense at all. Many people are burdened with a huge debt profile which just adds unnecessary pressure. Learn to budget accordingly and resist the urge to take loans no matter how attractive they seem as when the bankers come for their money they will not be smiling.
No savings: The truth is that savings have saved many situations. When many young couples are faced with an emergency they are usually perplexed as they have grown accustomed to living from pay check to pay check and never have anything set aside for a rainy day. These days there is no excuse not to save as banks have several products where money can be saved such as direct deposit accounts.
No Will: As sad as it is both young and old people die. While we all pray for long life and wish to see our children grow and settle the sad reality is that some people are cut off in their prime. What then happens in many African families is nothing short of tragic, relatives come and share up the property and in some cases share up the children. It’s even worse where the young family have no children and the husband or wife’s family believes the surviving spouse does not “deserve” to get anything .To make sure your loved ones are properly cared for writing a will is essential once you start acquiring assets. If your religion or cultural beliefs do not support the writing of a will then consider acquiring assets in the names of your loved ones.
Here's wishing you a marriage that is solid emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially!