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How to Build Financial Intimacy In Your Relationship

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On Friday, 19th of February, 2021, we held a Clubhouse event with Pastor Emmanuel Iren, Blessing Abeng and Fu’ad Lawal on how to build financial intimacy with your partner. They shared interesting points that are relevant to anyone who would love to limit or eliminate financial frictions in their relationship. If you missed it, we want you to feel like you joined in, so here’s a summary of their sessions.

Financial Intimacy Tips From Emmanuel Iren

The best time to prep for marriage is before it. Pastey, as Emmanuel Iren is fondly called had learnt a lot by reading. He was, however, shocked to find out that he was ready for other forms of compatibility except for financial compatibility. He and his wife’s early “intense conversations” were about money, not emotional or mental needs as he had assumed.

It took thorough research to realize that it was a common problem and a study he found that included 100 couples showed that money ranked top 5 things that caused marital conflicts. Sadly, that was his experience. This is why people who are single or about to be married need to avoid future issues by learning and preparing now.

Financial intimacy is a very important concept that will help you build a stronger marriage or relationship if you get it right.

How Do You Build Financial Intimacy With Your Partner?

Marriage is like a business decision. Therefore:

  • Become a partner that another person will feel finally secure with
  • Be ready to have money conversations and have them at different stages (while at the “talking stage”, dating, engaged, married)
  • Have mutual respect and understanding as partners usually have different spending patterns and perspectives. For example, one partner being more interested in fashion might not be a waste of money so respect and understanding for the other person’s needs and wants is crucial
  • If there is trust, allow the person with better financial habits handle the money at first, while the other person learns
  • Have shared control. For example, talk and jointly conclude before making major financial decisions. This is important because there have been cases when a spouse finds out about the assets of their partner only after death
  • Do your research and take advantage of smart tech solutions by Cowrywise that can help you plan your finances better

Someone who takes you seriously will be concerned about how you spend your money and advise you on investments

Some Questions:

What’s your take on transparency and being totally open about all you make?

Ideally, there should be total trust with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Details like how much you earn, your properties and where they are, should not be secrets. Transparency is different from control so know who your partner is and work through the process of financial intimacy with them.

How do you transition from just enough money for basic necessities to planning for major decisions like marriage?

Regardless of how much you make, create a structure where you start saving and planning to invest. As your income increases, your taste will increase so now is the time to develop the right personal finance culture. Financial emergencies don’t care if you can’t afford much so imbibe basic money habits like keeping some away as emergency funds.

Can we spend only one person’s income and save the other person’s income?

There should be a balance and what matters most is what works for your relationship. If you manage all your money together, each person should ensure they still have individual emergency cash. Also, he advocates for ladies to have properties in their own name because Mrs Iren can be anybody. A partner who loves you should not mind.

How Do You Handle It When One Person In A Marriage Becomes Lazy And Refuses to Pull Their Weight Financially?

It’s a trust issue and what worked for the first five years might not work after. It is important to share financial roles and responsibilities that should be understood beforehand so that no one becomes lackadaisical. Both parties should have expectations and discuss them on a constant basis so that things don’t get out of hand.

How To Plan For Children Without Being On Any Extreme?

Extremes here being someone who believes “God will provide” but does not plan and vice versa.

There should be an intellectual approach when it comes to planning for Children. If you’re a person of faith, you can have things but not trust in things. However, don’t settle with anyone who keeps saying “God will provide”. There should be some sense of direction. The right balance is important and it helps when both parties also live within their means.

Final Thoughts From Emmanuel Iren

Financial intimacy is a skill you must master and something you should begin to put structure around

Blessing Abeng And Fu’ad Lawal’s Thoughts On Managing Finance As A Couple

One Big Splurge You Have That Your Partner Frowns At?

Blessing – Food (buys the most food when she’s broke) and Art
Fu’ad – Hardly splurges on anything. But when he wants to buy stuff, they’re more expensive. 🌚

How Do You Manage The Splurge Conversation With Your Partner?

Blessing

  • They now have a rule where she’ll never buy food without supervision when she’s hungry
  • She and her partner started a budget for art expenses to curb impulse buying. Now, they budget for her art, his art and their art. Just as they have her goals, his goals and their goals.
  • She checkmates her partner and he does the same but in a loving way backed with valid reasons not to splurge

What Was Your First Money Conversation Like With Your Partner?

Fu’ad

It wasn’t dramatic because I was already in a place where I constantly engaged people about money so I simply approached it with honesty.

Blessing

I and my hubby were besties before we dated so we had had many money conversations prior to our relationship.

At What Point Should Financial Intimacy Start?

Fu’ad

Money is as fundamental as talking about your feelings so start early and talk about money as you discuss other vital things.

Blessing

It should start by being financially intimate with yourself. You’re still an individual even in your marriage so figure yourself out first before getting into a marriage so there can be a synergy. For example, she knew she didn’t want a big wedding so she discussed it with her partner when they started dating. She also had an idea of the type of assets she wanted as an individual. She, therefore, wanted a partner who was aligned with that vision.

Start your financial intimacy with yourself and be self-aware so it’s easier to communicate about finances in a relationship.

On Black Tax Affecting Couples…

Blessing

She and her partner save for extended family needs. They have learnt to define what counts as an emergency and what doesn’t. If you can afford insurance, get that to reduce spending out of pocket for health issues. In addition, help your extended family find new sources of income to reduce the burden on you.

When there’s no emergency, save the money instead of spending it.

Fu’ad

Helping family in diverse ways can be a longterm investment in your peace of mind. For example, helping siblings earn income on their own will help to eventually reduce your expenses.

Final Thoughts From Blessing

Focus on being better rather than being right. Also, don’t lose yourself in your relationship. Grow on your own and grow with your partner.

Final Thoughts From Fu’ad

I believe in spreadsheets and holding each other accountable. Even though it’s still the early days of marriage for me, I believe constant communication will always help to build financial intimacy.


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