Money and Marriage

The secret to success for couples intending to get married is to recognize that they are two people coming together from different backgrounds. Both parties have their individual understanding of work, savings, wealth management, investment and how to prioritize bills. It is also important to note that these backgrounds have been built over a long period and each individual has been happily living their version.

On the wedding day however, both are issued with a certificate and told to go and live happily ever after. Sounds all rosy and nice yes? In reality – this is too much pressure! It is important therefore to have the right mindset as the marriage journey begins.

In order for a marriage to be successful, whether just beginning or well into marriage, both parties must be willing to listen, learn and accommodate each other especially in the area of money management. Both the husband and wife must fuse their backgrounds together and create one that is unique to both of them in their newly created family. This requires a healthy dose of good communication. Create interest in your spouse’s family background, how they have been managing their money, how they prioritize bills, who has been responsible and what their attitude has been towards work and rewards.

Marriage is one of the mysteries that the human mind has never completely managed to comprehend – two distinct persons who grow to become one. Now when the most potent asset in the whole world – finances – is added to this mix, chances are that things are going to get even further complicated, if the right insight and foundation for the purpose of finances in marriage is not clear.

Money is such a beautiful thing and so is marriage. Money is such a powerful thing and so is marriage. These two elements when combined in the right context have the potential to transform nations positively. Marriage is all about service, while money is a tool for service. Therefore, if the love for money outweighs the love for your spouse, the marriage will be dysfunctional, because loving both money and your spouse at the same time doesn’t work. One will replace the other.

The mystery of marriage involves the journey of two people becoming one identity and fulfilling purpose. In many cases, the marriage of two people multiplies into a family unit giving the unit the unique opportunity to create value to serve the society by pooling together everyone’s gifts and talents. The interesting thing is that money as a tool is at the heart of this process. In order for a family to consider money as tool that assist in generating value to society, three things must be present. Vision, Discipline and Order.

Vision is about direction: It is important for a married couple to take some time out and dream and pray about a future that is bigger than they are. This is because vision helps unleash untapped potential for the entire family. While considering both their gifts and talents, a couple should come up with a vision, which is compelling and one that will take generations to accomplish. This is the next generation (the children) need to stand on your shoulders and achieve even greater things than their parents could.

Discipline is about values: Values are behaviors and habits that you believe will protect your vision. Values are what build character and it is character that will ensure that the gifts, talents and family resources are utilized prudently to generate value for society. When talking about discipline, it involves creating and building a culture. This is a culture that values work, saving, giving and investing with the intention of creating enduring wealth. Begin to build a culture of teamwork and leveraging on the strengths of each member of the family. With this mind set, it will be more advantageous to have money being managed from a central place as opposed to different places, two minds moving in the same direction are always more effective and more successful than one.

Order is about resources: Order forms a structure through which resources within the family can be employed efficiently to achieve a specific objective. Specific structures include authority, communication and systems. Issues like making decisions if to operate money from a joint account or to have joint ownership of assets at need to be considered and discussed. Discussions could also revolve around forming a family company and having all the assets in the name of the company. Depending on the family vision, there are many different structures that may be adopted. The question to answer is – how to package the gifts and talents of the members of the family into a structure that will endure generations, and more importantly, how to effectively deploy capital in a transparent and equitable manner within that structure?

When a family unit has all these three elements in place, money is viewed as a tool or a slave, meant to serve the family in order to achieve their greater goals. This must however start by having the right understanding of the role of marriage. The purpose of spouses coming together is to make each other more effective in the purpose they were created for. This means that both husbands and wives have equal responsibility (although having very different roles) to creatively add value to society with the resources that they have. For the family unit to succeed, it is important that to move as one unit, communicate expectations and understand each other’s backgrounds.

So yes – marriage and money can really work very well in a family setting. The critical thing is to have thoughtful recognition of what role each member plays in the family, how important those roles are and how do you employ capital through those roles so that the family can yield the maximum return on investment.

The secret therefore is to acknowledge that the foundation of this helpmate relationship is love and not money!
Alvin is the CEO of Ari Capital – a Capital and Finance consultancy firm that provides consulting advisory in all matters finances. Alvin is passionate about finance and dreams about empowering entrepreneurs to grow from single business ideas into world class investors. He is the author of Financial Success for Entrepreneurs.

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