A reader emailed with questions. Annette said:
Thank you for your article on managing money as a couple [Editor insert link to Managing your money as a couple]. I enjoy reading your money articles and I have learnt a lot from them.
I have three questions:
1. Do you share with each other your monthly payslips? For example, there are months I earn more because of overtime or my side hustles. Should I disclose that I made more money this month to my husband, and by how much? I haven't been disclosing he only knows my net salary without any overtimes.
2. I feel like we send more money to his family, money that we could have invested elsewhere. Anytime a family member asks him for money he simply sends he doesn't know how to say no and it has become a constant problem between us.
3. What happens when one partner is smarter about money matters than the other is? And no matter how much I try to teach my partner he doesn't want to make changes to his lifestyle.
For example, last year I managed to save Sh300,000 from my side hustles and saving. When I told my partner I am buying a piece of land, he started complaining how he is the only provider in the family.
Yet we each have specific bills that we pay and he makes more than me.
Is this too much to ask?
Your number one fan,
Thank you so much for writing in, Annette! I truly appreciate your email – more so for being so brave to express the vulnerability stemming from your personal conundrum, and trusting me to guide you to a way out.
Before we get into your questions, I must point this out to you, our little community here – I love writing this column. And I enjoy sharing with you what I’m also learning about managing our personal finances.
Wherever you’re reading this from, remember to love what you do. We may not all have the privilege to be doing what we love, but we have the choice – the choice – to love what we do. Choose to love it.
When you do things with love, it becomes easier, more fun and more purposeful for you and for the people engaging with you, your product or your service.
Love really is the answer.
Thought to get that out of the way. You know, to kick off our week on a positive note.
I’ll answer your questions in three separate stories, Annette, because they require more depth than my word count in one story allows. Plus, to be honest, it’s an excuse for me and you to talk like girls, ha-ha.
Annette, you ask about disclosing your income to your husband in its entirety – that’s your salary, your overtime and your side hustle income.
What do you feel you should do? What does your gut tell you?
When I felt that I was ready to begin showing GB my payslip, then I did.
Of course, this didn’t begin when we began dating. It began when I was expectant with Muna, our daughter, and had moved in with him into what would become our family home.
The conversation of ‘how much does your writing bring?’ came to the table because we now had a shared goal to provide for our daughter.
That was back in 2015.
Since then I show GB my payslip every month. I don’t make any income from overtime but I have side hustle income.
I sometimes show him my side hustle income, most times I don’t.
What I do, instead, is make him aware of how much I’ve invested in our investment account. We have a joint money market fund account that I manage. It’s under my name and only I have the authority to request withdrawals. I also receive the statements. We both put money into the account – I do it when my side hustles pay, he does so monthly. He also runs his own MMF account with a different institution.
I tell him how much I’ve saved there but I don’t tell him how much has gone into my personal savings in the bank, or how much I’ll spend on what. I wouldn’t say no if he asked me to disclose this info.
I also do this to be accountable to someone with my savings.
There’s also my ego speaking. I want to save much more than what he saves there per month. At the back of it, I’m somehow competing with him. In a healthy way, though.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
But here’s what I figure, Annette – by taking the first step towards being comfortable and transparent with your finances, then you’re opening the door for him to do the same.
Why this is important is because you have shared financial goals and shared responsibilities with your partner.
Do you have kids? Kids force you to be more pragmatic with your income and spending because there’s an overlap that comes from the responsibility of pregnancy and birth, health insurance, upkeep, school fees.... Especially school fees.
I’ve never seen GB’s payslip, Annette. I don’t know how much he makes from his overtime and his side hustles either.
And that’s OK with me. One day he’ll show me. He’s warming up to the idea, I can feel it.
He’s also picking up positive money managing habits from me.
He now has monthly budgets as studious as mine. He’s also curbed our impulse spending. Most expenditure outside of regular expenditure has to be budgeted for. Here’s an example, I want us to get Muna a bigger bed in August, I’ll tell him so we budget for it.
It may seem silly budgeting for something as trivial as a bed, but here’s how I look at it: We’re managing our pennies so we can manage our pounds – we’ll budget together to buy a house someday same way we budgeted to buy the baby’s bed.
He’s also more conscious of his savings and investments. The man now has his financial goals written down. Who would have thought?
Stepping away from the practicality of shillings and cents, let’s flip the page and look at the emotional and spiritual side to your question, Annette.
You’ve shown your partner your nakedness – you’ve shown him your naked body, your naked mind and your naked soul.
What’s showing him a payslip?
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