Money mismanagement is a direct threat to the quality and longevity of your marriage.
55% of marriages that end in divorce in South Africa is due to financial pressures in the relationship. This statistic is provided by Lipco, one of the legal service providers to Truth about Money, who handle 10,000 divorces a year.

I don’t know about you but I think that’s a pretty scary figure. I mean, just think about this for a moment. If you gave these same couples a wad of cash and sent them on holiday to Umhlanga for a week, there’s a good chance they’d have a blast and remember why they were attracted to one another in the first place. The bottom line? A scary amount of South Africans are getting divorced because they are terrible money managers.

So what’s the good news? Learning to manage money is a learned skill, just like riding a bike. Need to get your relationship’s money management on track? There are two things I always remind couples about:

1. Money management is a team sport – not a boxing match

There is a very important switch that newlyweds (or veterans for that matter) fail to make – when you are single, you are required to manage your personal finance. When you are married, everything you do with money is now family finances. Regardless of what your ante nuptial contract says, if you are planning on staying together and more importantly, being happily married, then it is vital you know that money is a team sport wealthy couples play well.

Whilst writing this article I’ve been married for 10 years and have 3 beautiful kids who certainly up the ante of general household chaos. What I’ve learnt to do with a financial challenge in my relationship is to attack the problem and not my wife. I focus on not trying to go for a win in the first conversation about worrying money issues but rather insist that we both take time to assess what we feel is the best option. This promotes the right amount of consideration that our money deserves.

2. Money doesn’t solve money problems

Yes, you read that correctly. Throwing more money at the problem, particularly other people’s money (the banks, the mashonisa’s or your credit card) will only worsen any family’s financial challenges. But because people THINK that money is the only way to solve a money problem, they simply buy themselves some time with a debt quick-fix. In case you were wondering – the not-so-quick-but-permanent fix to these issues is a financial re-education. Click here if you’d like to know more about how we can help you.

The path to happiness is not is not just about finding someone who you think is going to make you happy but rather finding someone who you want to make happy. If you want to show your partner financial devotion then make sure you are doing everything you can to manage your family’s finances well.

I wish you and your partner wealth, lots of kids and short fights.

Author: Gary Kayle – Money Coach, The Money School