Money has always been a sticky topic. At some point, it could not even be talked about on the dinner table. So, should we talk about money and finances when courting?
Someone said he will come with some “good” time and half the rent and the partner replied that if he was coming to her house then he should cover the full rent. Another man that did not think he was responsible for paying the bills in the “fiance’s” house was once told in a heater argument, “Would there be a problem if you go beaten up in a house that you do not pay rent for?” Not that I am advocating for any form of violence but these two relationships made me think about money and relationships and especially during the courting stage. Should money be talked about during courtship? Should these two individuals be cost-sharing? How exactly should the question of money be approached when courting?
Someone I know told me about this date from hell where she went to a restaurant with a guy who from the get-go complained about how bad the economy had become and said that he only wanted to spend Ksh 500 for both of them. The lady was forced to just get a glass of “kanjo” water because there was literally nothing from the menu that would have cost under 500 for both of them. On seeing this, the date went ahead, took advantage of the opportunity and ordered coffee and a samosa that both came to a total of around Ksh 400. When the bill was brought, the man, with all his gut said he was paying via fuliza. As per the look of things, this young man was neck-deep into debt. Not the bank, not the loan apps and also not he friends. There was nowhere left for him to borrow from. The last nail on the coffin is when he asked my friend if he could send read fuliza her some money so that she could withdraw the money for him – his fare.
Now this other scenario might sound familiar. Girl meets boy, they go on a few dates, start courting and almost immediately, it is the man’s responsibility to take care of the woman’s bills – her rent, hair, nails, heck even food.
Do any of the two scenarios sound like red flags to you? Would any of these predict financial problems later in marriage? Let it be known that financial differences is the leading cause of divorce.
It is so easy not to see such phrases as “CRB is hunting me down” or “I have been blacklisted” or “You are my sugar-daddy” or “I have never worked a day in my life” are red flags when you are head over heels in love with them.
Who has not ignored tell-tale signs that a boyfriend or girlfriend had money problems when it was clear as day that they just could not get their finances in order. Such things as going on vacations one cannot afford and buying expensive liqour to impress the crew may pass as YOLO type of living but it comes back to bite in the rear when you are married and your partner has no capacity to think beyond their nose financially. They do not have a health insurance, do not know a thing about planning for their retirement and worse still, want to continue living hand-to-mouth even after children are in the picture.
Research has shown that one out of four people have avoided the conversation on finances and money when courting while a mere 24% of couples had a serious conversation about money and even went ahead to come up with a tentative family budget before jumping the broom.
Well, in today’s day and age, wedding bells may be hard to hear but financial red flags are often tossed to the sidelines and ignored completely until it is time to get an education insurance for the children and they ignore it and you remember that date that was paid by using a coupon should be have been a warning sign.
Do not let the pressure of getting married make you ignore financial red flags. Money and finances when courting is an intricate part of the process. Financial incompatibility with your partner will frustrate you more than being single, getting your finances in order.