Financial inclusion – couple finances

Three words, Money, Marriage and Infidelity. Very Strange that I have used them all together.

Getting married to someone is a relationship of love, friendship, companionship and most importantly, of trust.

If either of the partners breaches the trust and cheats on the other, it is termed as Infidelity. Dictionary definition of Infidelity is “the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner” The key word is being unfaithful.

How you would feel, if you get to know your partner is cheating on you, you would be totally shattered and the relationship would become shaky as the trust between the two has been breached.

Now, imagine a situation that your spouse cheats on you on money matters. Yes, money matters which I call Financial Infidelity.

Financial Infidelity, simply means either you are lying about your finances or are keeping it secret. In one of my articles, I have highlighted, how women need to be empowered financially and they need to break the myth, that financial decisions are all a part of the “Man’s World”.

The more women shy away from financial discussions and decisions, the more are the chances of Financial Infidelity. By no means do I say that its only men who would indulge in financial Infidelity, even women could be guilty of this. What I intend to say is that all financial decisions be it investment, loans or large credit card payments should all be discussed and decisions should be taken keeping in mind the family dynamics and the money that one earns, and not get caught either in a very high risk investment, which is not as per your risk profile or get caught in a debt trap.

There are ways you can get out of Financial Infidelity.

1. Open Discussions

Have an open discussion with your partner: – A financial plan is successful only when it aligns the goals of all family members. If you forget to align the goals, it’s surely headed to non-achievement and you quitting the plan mid-way.

2. Involve your children

Most households, do not like to discuss money or financial matters in front of kids. They are kept in isolation of the family circumstances, the challenges their parents face, if any. Hence, the child is completely oblivious to what’s going on. The child grows into an adult, and by and large the same is repeated with her or her kids.Aren’t kids part of the family and should they not be in the knowhow of how family finances stand? One doesn’t want to frighten a child, but not making a child aware in the most appropriate manner can lead to repercussions beyond imagination. A realistic understanding of the family’s financial situation created a comfortable boundary.Imagine a situation, where a child wants a toy which will disturb your monthly expense as there are some major expenses already being done. You would be in a spot. Take another example, you are financially sound and there is no challenge, would you still give in to all that your child asks for?Think about it, by taking small steps, you would inculcate the habit of saving, not make them frivolous spenders and above all you would make them learn the value of things.a. At age 5 start giving them token amount of pocket money. – This money should be for them to make some expenses on buying gifts for parents on birthdays or anniversary, for siblings. To buy a toy that they really want. It should not be too less that they are not able to save or spend anything on meaningful things, neither should it be so much that they feel they have all the luxury in the worldb. Involve them in your grocery or vegetable shopping, allow them to count the money to give and get back as changec. Teach them the concept of saving. – let me explain this with an example. They get cash gift from their grandparents for their birthday, Say 500 – 1000 rupees. Ask them would the like to spend it all, save it all or buy something with say half the amount and balance save it. On the saved amount, offer them an interest income which will grow their money. This would encourage the habit of saving and investingd. Teach them to earn some money. Some ideas could be, allow them to do house hold chores like watering the plants, keeping track of bathroom supply, bill payment etc. Compensate them as per the job intensity

3. Budgeting

Make a debt repayment plan, set a corpus to repay your debt, Enhance your income and reduce your expenses. Spend maximum time in budgeting, as a rule of them many follow the easy way – The Budget rule of 50/30/20.The rules says spend 50 % of the post-tax amount on needs, 30 % on wants and the balance 20% on Savings/debt repayment. However, I wish budgeting was that simple? If you don’t spend quality time on budgeting as if it was life’s most important activity, surely, you know why your plans don’t work out

4. Rebalancing

Find ways and means to get rid of any investment, that was forced upon you on pretext of very high returns – Investment planning is not a onetime activity, Fill it- Shut it – Forget it. It’s an ongoing process and one needs to make efforts to keep at it. As much is the planning important , so is the implementation and review

5. Financial Planning

Make a financial Plan to secure your future – Need I say more on this? If you fail here , you know what the future holds for you

6. Professional advice

Seek Professional advice and choose an advisor who works on a plan for you, and not for a plan which makes him/her more money.

Happy Planning & Build a Relationship of Trust, Love and Finance

Akta Sehgal

Founder- Manas Management Advisors

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