Money can be a very touchy subject for couples and in fact, it is one of the causes of strife among them. Talking about money and investments is crucial in ensuring a healthy relationship. It ensures that both you and your partner are on the same page and it can even strengthen your bond as you build together. However, this can be a difficult conversation if no proper ground has been laid for these conversations or when there has been an occurrence that has put a strain on household finances.
To avoid extreme outcomes such as emergence of divorce then it is important for couples to discuss how they intend to meet the various responsibilities that require money as well as understanding how and where to invest.
The following are some considerations that a couple should consider before any joint investment efforts:
1.Trust- The beginning of any relationship is cultivated and built upon trust. It is this aspect that determines the trajectory in which the relationship shall take in the future. Having a relationship based on trust is one of the most important aspect and it determines how the couple shall undertake its investment journey. It is therefore important for a couple to be open,honest and able to communicate openly about their financial situations, earnings, debts and investments.
2. Investment goal setting - Everyone needs a reason to invest and hence its important for a couple to identify their investment goals early and how to go about it.
The goals are different for everyone but there are goals that couples should have in common if they are to move in the same direction.
Examples of common goals a couple may have are buying a home, saving for school fees, retirement etc.
3.Budgetary and emergency financial allocations - Setting up a budget to determine how money shall be used in a household is very important. Budgets help in seeing all your cash inflows and outflows, setting up an opportunity to determine inefficiencies in spending and how to correct and optimise earnings and expenses such as impulse spending. Setting up an emergency fund is also a major step in a couple’s finances and a budget helps with that.
It is important for any couple to understand that the emergency fund is only emergencies, not inconveniences. When emergencies do occur, the fund helps you handle them without struggle from one party and without dipping into your savings.
4. Explore all available financial and investment options - This will help you enjoy the benefits that accrue from a joint investment as compared to if one was to undertake it independently. The benefit of this is that 4 hands are better that 2. When you pool your resources you can take better advantage of the investment options you choose such as higher interest rates or larger tax reductions.
5. Understand each other's values and risk tolerance - Some people are natural savers while others tend to go on an impulse buying spree once they get money. People also tend to have different risk tolerance degrees hence this might bring a difference in their preference and choices of investment. The couple can decide to harmonize their earnings through a budget allocation to cultivate financial discipline. In reference to differences in risk appetite they can decide to just set up a little cash for a joint venture while for the remainder one can opt to establish an independent investment portfolio depending on the risk appetite and ability to handle the outcome.
6. Aim to invest from an early age of the relationship - For some couples, this ship might have already sailed but if it has not you need to understand that this makes it easier for you to achieve your goals before your responsibilities pile up. Life never happens in a straight line but starting early gives you the gift of foresight. You can anticipate and foresee many things that you can plan for.
7. Inform and involve all your beneficiaries - This helps to avoid battles that emanate from wealth inheritance and management issues that have seen so many families suffer and lose the wealth created by their parents. It is also important to create structures that clearly stipulate how wealth shall be distributed or handed over to the beneficiaries. It creates a sense of value and belonging to those involved especially when they are involved in its creation as well as wealth creation discipline cultivation.
8.Balance the financial responsibilities of each partner so as to avoid over burdening one partner hence affecting his sustenance and cashflow. During the budget making process it makes it easy for a couple to identify areas they can divide their responsibilities and fit them into a budget that will not strain them during the fulfillment of the said obligations.
9.Have a joint retirement plan - As one nears retirement the financial obligations tend to increase especially medical wise whereas the income dwiddles as one may not be in a position to actively involve him/herself with daily income generating activities. It is therefore crucial for a couple to have in mind how they shall maneuver the transition from active employment to retirement through settling any pending debts while still in active employment and invest in income generating activities independent of their physical presence. This may be by investing in things such as rental units that don't require day to day presence of the investor.
10.Re-evaluate the goals and investments - once you have set up your investments, ensure that you review and reevaluate at regular intervals. See where you are getting more value and invest, re-invest or divest.
11.Involve professionals so that they can easily walk and advise you on any investment opportunities available. They also give you the right tips so that you can maximise on your assets and minimise the hit you take from your liabilities.
In conclusion, it's very important for couples to discuss their financial and investment life like any other aspect of their relationship as early as possible and often do a review on the choices they make. Through the reviews and talks they are therefore able to make more informed decisions that can make or break their union.
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