- By Barrington H. Brennen, April 2006
1. PUT GOD FIRST. God must be first in the financial planning
(Tithes and Offerings). Sound financial planning involves a partnership with
the Creator of all things, including money.
2. JOINT ACCOUNT. A joint checking account should be created to
use for the family/couple budget. All income should be placed in this
account and then deposited to other accounts if desired. Personal accounts
are appropriate, however, it is never done in secret. "When you share all
your accounts, you can develop a game plan together. Separate accounts only
set you up for division and distrust."
3. JOINT OWNERSHIP. All assets are under the ownership of both
individuals in the relationship. The couple morally owns all assets even
when the legal documents do not include both of them. Effort should be made
to make joint ownership legal.
4. NO SECRETS. There are to be no secret bank accounts and money
transactions, loans, or lending.
5. EXPENSES. All household expenses are the full responsibility of
both individuals even if only one spouse is working.
6. THE BUDGET PAYS. It is the budget the pays the bills and not the
individuals. There is a great risk of marital discord when the bills are
divided between the spouses instead of having a joint budget. Both partners
contribute their entire income to the budget.
7. ALL INCOME. All income (salary, second jobs, hobbies, etc.) are
to be included in the financial plan for the family. There should be a
mutual agreement or understanding between both partners if any income would
not be included in the family/couple budget
8. DISCRETIONARY FUNDS. As far as possible there should be some
discretionary funds in the budget. That is, each spouse should have an
allowance to do whatever he or she wishes to do and without the input from
the other. It should be understood, however, if the allowance would be used
for hair cuts, daily lunches, etc. This will impact the budget.
8. LIMIT SPENDING. Experience tells us that couples should agree
on the maximum amount of funds that could be spent (out of the budget,
savings, or personal allowances) by each individual without initially
informing or consulting the other partner. Some couples agree that they will
not buy major items (furniture, appliance, car, property) without informing
or consulting the other partner, even if it is as a result of saving oneís
allowance. It is true that birthday or other holiday surprises are the only
legitimate secrets allowed. However, these decisions should be made with
10. BLENDED FAMILIES. Spouses who have dependent children for other
partners should also include all financial commits to those children within
the budget. The responsibly of one person before marriage becomes the
responsibility of both spouses after marriage. There should be no secret
sharing of funds to outside children, parents or other relatives. This will
weaken the marriage relationship.
11. LIMIT CREDIT CARDS. Avoid having multiple credit cards. Do not
have secret credit cards. Make it a principle not to spend more than you can
pay back within a few months or not more than a year. Preferably, only use
the credit card to facilitate spending when required. This would mean that
you have the money, but using the credit card is required or safer to travel
12. DEVELOP A PLAN. It is imperative that couples have a financial
plan of operation:
- Decide which spouse will be the "book keeper" for the
accounts/budget. This will be the one who will do the bank
reconciliations, keep track of money spent, and perhaps lead out in
building the budget each month.
- Decide what date will the budget month begin and end. The beginning
and ending date can be the same date. Chose a date that is workable with
the pay days of both spouses. A budget is prepared monthly even if one
or both partners are paid weekly or biweekly.
- Decide on the tool that will be used for record keeping and keeping
of the budget. Will it be a book or software? For example some couples
use Windows Access or Corel Quattro Pro to make the budget and Microsoft
Money to do the accounting.
- Keep an accurate account of all checks written or whenever the Debit
Card is used. Write down each transaction (even Debit Card) in the
account book at the time of spending.
- Make sure there is a method for keeping receipts, especially for
major spending. This many be important for returns, warrantees, tax
returns, or simply verifications.
- Keep all utility bills/receipts for at least 12 to 18 months.
- When the couple is seeking to obtain a loan or mortgage to purchase
a home or to do other investments, it is imperative that they go
together with a budget plan covering one month indicating their regular
incomes and expenses and how much is available for loan payment.
13. BE OPEN AND HONEST. One of the greatest secrets to happiness
is marriage is openness and honesty. Donít let money destroy openness and
honesty in your relationship.