Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Uncover Your Financial Woes

     It's known that divorce or death of a partner have brought financial cataclysm for the abandoned party especially when the latter is a woman.
     I read this story a long time ago about a woman who after her husband's funeral, discovered that he had racked up debt to his neck and was leaving her and the kids in charge of paying them off. He had depleted their retirement savings in an unsuccessful attempt to pay off his dues.
     This one is about a woman who asked her spouse how much school loans he had accumulated and he replied "about 10k", nevertheless at the next mail delivery, she checked the one that came from the loan institution just to found out that the loan was just a couple of bricks short of 40k.
     Another one is about this man who decided to defer his federal income tax withholdings saying he'd rather save it on his own before repaying during tax season. At his wife insistence, they filed jointly to save on taxes. And of course they had to take a hit because of the husband's delinquency on back taxes.
     All these stories illustrated one concept: Love does not exempt control. A couple must establish a system of checks and balances that equilibrates the financial dynamism of their partnership. Although one spouse may have amazing financial skills, the other should definitely keep a copy and have an understanding of the household income statement and balance sheet. The income statement will give you summary of revenues, such as your salary plus any other source of revenues, and expenses of your household such as bills paid, shopping, entertainment or miscellaneous expenses...etc and will tell you if you're saving or living above your means. Whereas the balance sheet would show you at a point in time all your assets (e.g. house, investments, 401k...etc), debts (mortgages, loans, credit cards...etc) and Equity (e.g. home equity) you may have. In software engineering, even the most canny developer has his code tested by a quality team. The best writer has his posts, articles or books proofread to detect any type of errors. Even the best companies in their domains have a quality control team, why shouldn't a couple apply the same principles to their finances, this very domain of their lives that affect them?
     This concept has been around for ages even before Christ's birth, and has been recorded by the wisest man: King Solomon. King Solomon has been attributed authorship of the book of Proverbs (my favorite) in the Bible. The last chapter is often titled "The Virtuous Woman" and it talks about the qualities such a woman has:
     - "Her husband has full confidence in her". Trust is a two way street. You can't break someone trust and still expect them to trust. A couple must be able to trust each other with their finances according to the guidelines they have set for themselves.
     - "out of her earnings she plants a vineyard". A woman must have earning, income, revenue.
     - "She sees that her trading is profitable". Here's that word again, PROFIT or SAVINGS. I talked earlier about the income statement which is the financial statement that shows profit or loss. In order to determine that her trading is profitable, a woman must understand and keep track of her household entries and outings/expenditures.
     - "Her children arise and call her blessed"--I just don't buy in the theory of "Stay-at-home" mom, according to which a woman makes a choice to stay home to "take care" of her kids. This is definitely a whole new topic that I'll have to discuss later. However, I would like to add this, staying-at-home is the straight and surest road to depression. Just read the stories and see for yourself.
     There are many more rules and precepts that can be extracted from Proverbs thirty one and none of them
exempt the man from his responsibilities as a husband. I just wanted to keep the focus on women as they're the ones always suffering financially after the divorce or the death of their spouse. The above concept are just preventable measures to empower mostly married women.
     Love does not and should NOT exempt control. As finances and adultery are running amok among the top reasons for divorce, it is very important for couples to be transparent with their finances with one another, and to find a common platform that would allow them to keep healthy books while not suffocating or feeling suffocated by their spouse.

Stay tuned, Stay bold, Prevent yourself from financial woes
Tresor De beaute

Whatever people think of you will never change your destiny. However what you think of other people may change it.-- R.W.


Prince Hamilton said...

Pat, what surprises me is how many people think than by asking them a question you do not trust them. My m other always said it “love does not exempt control”. However, the control is not that of a repressive person but that of looking after you so that you do not do things that will damage the relationship. The love of money si the root of all evil, so one has to be careful how they become attached to money. Debts and wealth or assets and liabilities are fiscal considerations that couples must undertake a keen perusal before they got married so that they could even map out a strategy if need be to escape the doldrums. Keep up the good work.

Tresor De Beaute said...

Hey Bro, I couldn't remember who was the true author of "love does not exempt control". Mama Ayuk knew what she was talking about. From my experience and the one of others, whoever thinks one does not trust them when asked a "sensitive" question, definitely has sthg to hide and we hide things we're not proud of.

Prince Hamilton said...

Pat, I was a crazy young man in my adolescent days as I was growing up, and my mother wanted to make sure that I did not take the way of perdition. I sold for her, and she wanted to know I accounted for every penny. I always resisted asking her if she did not trust me. Then she will say “my son, love does not exempt control.” To me, examples speak better than precepts. The best way to defend yourself is if someone asks you if you have good credit; rather than narrate your autobiography, just cut the credit score and show them. At times unbelievers try to slander me by saying that I am not yet married so I can be sleeping around. All I ask them is show me the girl; not to talk of a man.

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