When it comes to managing household finances, it can be challenging to be a stay-at-home partner because your role in this may not be clear.
We have a look at how communicating with your partner can help work this out, and we look at three questions you should ask yourself before sitting down to discuss it.
Tip: Financial tools can help you manage your household finances – click here.
Discuss your role in household finances
Farzana Botha, segment solutions manager at Sanlam Savings, says that, as a stay-at-home partner, your role at home contributes to your family in an invaluable way.
When one partner chooses to stay at home while the other works, their roles can become divided into the “earner” and the “spender”. This is normal because part of the stay-at-home partner’s job may be to purchase the necessary household items while the breadwinner is at work.
However, this can also lead to tension. The stay-at-home partner may feel guilty for spending money they didn’t earn, and the breadwinner may feel resentment if they’re unhappy with how it’s spent.
This is why it’s important to discuss your finances in detail before agreeing to this kind of financial partnership. As the stay-at-home partner, you still play a vital role in the household finances, and you need to be aware of what’s going on.
“The dependant partner has a joint responsibility to manage the household finances, even if they don’t contribute to those finances directly,” says Botha.
Every partnership will have different boundaries. In some cases, the breadwinner might prefer to leave the financial planning to the stay-at-home partner, while in other cases they may want to split the burden fifty-fifty.
Decide how involved you want to be
Before discussing how you and your partner will run your household finances, as the stay-at-home partner, it’s important to ask yourself these questions.
1. Will you do the monthly budget?
If you’re responsible for the monthly shopping, then it makes sense to suggest that you also run the household budget. This should never be done in complete isolation, and both partners should have access to, and be consulted about it.
Botha says that you should try to be industrious and do as much as you can with as little as possible. The more you can save on daily expenses, the more you can put away for your golden years together.
“Keep to your budget. Look for good deals and save where possible. Learn skills that lessen the need to outsource activities, such as housekeeping and small home do-it-yourself projects,” says Botha.
2. Will you be involved in your investments?
If you have an interest in current affairs, and you enjoy reading the latest business news about changes in financial markets, then you may be interested in planning your household investments. Before jumping in, it’s important to be aware of the homework that needs to be done.
For example, if you want to select a retirement fund for you and your partner, you need to shop around and find a product with the best rates and fees for your goals. While your partner is earning money, you can do the research on how to make it grow.
3. Will you manage the household insurance?
“If you lose your breadwinner, you should still be able to manage the house and keep things in order. To do this, you need to be fully aware of the workings of the household finances, including the insurance,” says Botha.
Life insurance and medical aid are among the household policies that you should have in hand. You could also help save on these products by comparing providers annually to ensure that you and your partner have the best deals.
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