Finances in relationships; whose responsibility is it?

Money is a major concern in any relationship. Many relationships and even marriages have ended because of money. Whose responsibility is it? The man or the woman? Or both?

A friend of mine once told me that finances are an integral part of a relationship and that if a couple can get it right with their finances, they will get it right in all other aspects of the relationship. This, I agree. 

Money, being a major cause of conflict in relationships/marriages, can also be the means to happiness. It all depends on how you lay out your financial plan as a couple. If you are living or want to live with someone, with or without children, I believe it’s important for the both of you to clearly set out a plan on how you manage your finances from the onset.

We are living in economic challenging times and both men and women are working hard to earn a good living. Conventionally, it is the man’s responsibility to provide for his family. We also know that gender roles have changed with time and in the contemporary world, women are also providing for their families. In my opinion, I don’t think it would be fair, for a woman who is also earning her money to leave the entire burden of responsibility to the man. Men also need to be supported. Complementing each other’s needs goes a long way.

In my family for example, my mom works for my dad. She manages my dad’s businesses and guess what? He pays her for it, just like other employees. They could have as well decided that it’s a family business after all and the money comes back to the same home so why pay her? In doing this, I believe my old man wanted to show her that in as much as she is working for the family, she also needs to be financially independent. 

Most couples argue not because of lack of money but the usage of it where one is the provider and the other one is the spender with the provider being the aggrieved party here. When both parties are financially accountable, it makes things easier for everyone. Don’t get me wrong though, it is important that each individual have their own money but not at the expense of the other. When it comes to family roles and responsibilities, both parties should be involved in the financial growth and development of the relationship or marriage. Otherwise why are you living together?

To sum it all, communication is key. In this context, communication involves prior planning. Couples who are living together should from the beginning explicitly discuss their finances and how they will manage it. If it is the man who should solely provide and manage the finances, let that be clear. If it is the woman is the sole meal ticket, let that be clear. If there will be joint responsibilities, let that be clear as well and very specific. This way, financial conflicts will be minimal and everyone will be happy.

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