His, hers or their finances?

The issue of finances in marriages can be controversial and may lead to the collapse of the institutions.

The majority of couples prefer to control their finances, while others opt for joint accounts.

A couple works out their finances: Do they maintain financial individuality or combine incomes?

Some individuals hide their earnings from their spouses, will not share bill payment and are not accountable to how they spend their money.

So, how should couples spend their finances?

Terence Mbaisa from Lilongwe says there is need to split finances when spending them. He believes there is need for transparency even where only one person has the means of income in the family.

“There would be important things requiring urgent attention. These need to be discussed at length by the couple in sorting them out financially. It is, therefore, vital to sit down and agree,” he says.

He emphasises that there should not be greed in marriages despite disparities in earnings.

Mbaisa says when ruled by greed, those to suffer are the couple’s children because their needs are not fully realised.

While Esnarth Mbiri from Blantyre says it is proper for couples to handle finances together, she says sometimes men drive women to secrecy over their incomes because of reckless spending.

She observes that some men usually spend their income on beer, which is demotivating to the women as they feel betrayed.

“So, it is proper at some point for us women to control our finances to avoid getting hurt, as long as our children are being put into consideration,” she says.

Gomezgani Nyondo from Mzuzu, however, says there is need for couples to discuss their monthly expenditures.

“From there, they are able to budget accordingly and meet the family’s needs,” she says.

Nyondo further says couples need to have a culture of saving when planning their expenditure to help them in times of uncertainties.

In her book titled The Money Book for Couples, Ruth Heyden stresses that couples should resolve financial issues and manage how they spend today as a couple.

She points out that if not well managed, money issues can lead to disastrous consequences in marriages. n

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