The development of the fishrot scandal along the coastal town of Namibia is resulting in negative unintended consequences. Last week , I read an article of how the 100 stranded fishermrn that were left wondering by one of the vessels implicated in scandal were “apparently receiving” an incentive equivalent to a two week’s pay. For many of these people , this is at least under a N$1000 .
Majority of these guys are husbands, fathers, elder brothers as well as breadwinners for their families. Loosing a job is one of those situations that can cause tremendous stress for many especially when there is family involved. Today I also read an post of Facebook about a lady complaining about how she feels like giving up, her husband lost his job 2 months before their wedding in 2018. She was hoping for things to get better but what she thought was temporary has become her day to day struggle.
Sometimes last year, I also heard of a lady who moved out of home because of the fact that her husband lost his job and is now trying to provide for their home by becoming a taxi driver. The lady clearly did not appreciate this and was considering separation.
With this is mind, I just thought I would write a few things about family finances. Since mid- January, I have been working with a newly wedded couple to sort out a few of their finances. It actually makes me wonder how many of the young people consider finances as an important aspect of marriage preparation. My overriding principle when I advise married couple on money related matters, is for them to be able to live on one spouse’s disposable income.
If you are married and both earn a monthly income, try by all means to manage your living expenses so that it will be able to fit in one person’s income. This will not be possible from day one if you both come into marriage with debt commitment and fixed costs, but over time, the aim must be to reduce those to manageable expenses.
I have seen this work well for someone close to me who was able to do this even if she was not earning that much and the husband’s income was also not stable as he was doing seasonal business. They were able to pay the fixed costs with the wife’s income and save the husband seasonable income. With the husband’s income, they occasionally added extra into their home loan to accelerate paying off their home loan as that was the biggest expense that threatened them living on one salary.
What worries me is also seeing married people struggle to fund their lifestyles when they do not even have any child. It makes me wonder what will happen when others costs such as school fees, medical costs kick in? Or what if a tragic event were to happen to a close relative and were left with no choice other than taking in an orphan on top of caring for your children? Think about it.
When you get married:
- You need to start looking your finances together. Be transparent with each other and work as a team
- Consider the possibility of joint accounts or spending accounts.
- Consider saving one person’s income and only use those funds in case of emergency.
- Manage family contribution and black tax in the context of a marriage. Not how you would previously when you were dating or single
- This is obviously in the context of whether you are married in or out of community of property.
Most importantly if you do not have much knowledge on finances , reach out to someone that can help you. Handling your finances well could be the difference between being happy in your marriage or filling for divorce.
Dhalondoka ( Loosely translated ” he who is warned in advance is always ready for the battle”)