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Finance and Marriage

Premarital financial counselling

When you are looking into building a future with someone, be it in relationships, or going as far as marriage, it is crucial to get your financial game on point.

There is nothing as beautiful as two people who are head over heels with each other, who also take time to discuss their finances and planning together as well.

At the end of the day, relationships are not about butterflies, there are crucial aspects that will enquire proper financial planning, to have a more fulfilling marital journey.In an interview with WeekendLife, self-proclaimed ‘Financial Doctor’ Kago Keotshwaetse, highlighted why financial knowledge is key in any relationship and marriages.

“Before you jump into that proverbial land of marital bliss, it is time to have some conversations with your spouse-to-be about money and pre-marital finance counselling. When you are dating your loved one, and about to get married, you drift into a world of pure bliss where none of the worries or responsibilities can bug you.

You are far from the reality where a financial checklist before marriage or finance harmony is not even on the list,” he said.“But, pre-marriage financial counselling is absolutely a serious matter which doesn’t deserve to be missed before you tie the knot. The number one reason that marriages end in divorce today is, without a doubt, money problems.

Whether it be the lack of communication about personal or joint finances, own spending habits, the lack of sufficient income to support the desired lifestyle, or individual financial situations that stem from each person’s life before their relationship with one another, financial issues are the crux of the majority of marital problems.”

Premarital financial counselling allows to both partners to establish their financial goals, debts and setting a joint budget. This is to avoid financial stress and tension.“Perhaps even more importantly, pre-marriage financial counselling can guide couples to prepare their premarital questionnaire. This will help them to learn what questions on marital finances to ask.

Couples’ financial counselling and premarital financial planning can help both partners learn how to ask uncomfortable questions about current and past financial habits and issues,’’ Keotshwaetse explained.

PREMARITAL QUESTIONS ON FINANCIAL MATTERS

1.Combine or separate?
Although some couples keep different accounts, some prefer to have a joint account. It is always important for couples to decide whether they combine or separate their accounts. “Some couples maintain separate bank accounts, have designated certain expenses that each are responsible for, and pretty much operate under the mantra ‘what he/she does with his/her money is his/her own business. Others prefer to function with joint accounts with one or both partners overseeing all financial obligations,” Keotshwaetse said.

2.Short term and long term financial goals?
Establishing financial priorities together is always key, also considering your monthly budget.
“Are you willing to cut back on dining out so that you can afford to stay at the on-site resort during your next vacation? Or are you perfectly happy staying at the budget-friendly motel off-site so that you can have your weekly dinner date at your favourite pricey restaurant? What’s the bigger priority – ensuring your budget includes weekly shopping trips for the newest clothes and gadgets, or saving up for your first home, paying your cell phone bills, and have hot water?’’

“What about those longer-term goals, such as paying for your future children’s needs and wants (preschool tuition, new bikes, clothes to cover their ever-growing bodies), the cost of higher education, etcetera? Do you plan on paying their way 100%, just covering tuition, or making them earn their way through college with scholarships and jobs?” he asked rhetorically.

3. What are you going to talk about in your budget?
While it could be uncomfortable to discuss financial matters in relationships, it is also healthy to discuss financial matters, to have a healthy financial flow.“A quick update or touch-base with each other on how you are doing with sticking to your monthly budget, any significant progress or roadblocks with relation to your short and long-term goals, etc. will go a long way towards solidifying your financial relationship and situation,” he said.

4. What are your savings plans?
While many new couples today don’t believe that having a savings plan is necessary, especially with many living from pay check to pay check, saving is a crucial part of managing your marriage and finance.
Nobody is indispensable, and if you think that you or your significant other have an entirely secure job and that nothing could happen, think again.

There is a very good chance that one or both of you will be impacted by job loss at some point in your lives at least once. It’s essential to have about 3-6 months of savings tucked away for when the inevitable occurs.

Have a savings budget in your monthly expenses budget, and take that money out first, before anything else, so that you do not cave to the urge to spend it with the mind-set of “oh we will just add a little extra in next month.”

”Discussing finances before you walk down the aisle removes one more of those fun ‘surprises’ you are about to encounter. So, it is therefore not a bad idea to go for pre-marriage financial counselling sessions much before you begin your actual wedding preparations,” Keotshwaetse concluded.

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WeekendLife

Death or Divorce – a tough choice for many

24th May 2022
pic

Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.

“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.

Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.

For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”

Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai

I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.

“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”

Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.

“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.

Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.

“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.

Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?

“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.

I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.

A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.

How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?

“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.

“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.

“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”

*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.

Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights.
Email: clairemom26@gmail.com
Twitter: speakclairely

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WeekendLife

7 Days to go before As One Music Concert

24th May 2022
ATI

Multitudes of music lovers are expected to throng Francistown’s Obert Itani Chilume Stadium for the highly anticipated As One Music concert next weekend.

Updating WeekendLife on the preparations of the event, Kesego Okie said the preparations for the show are going well and they are working around the clock to make sure that they fulfill all logistics that need to be concluded. She said, ATI has been working hard alongside the featured artists to give Batswana the best experience at concert.

She said that the concert has been accepted well by Batswana and they are very happy with the ticket sales. ”But of course we are looking forward to more ticket sales as more people are showing more interest in being part of this historic event and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors.”

She appealed to the Francistown Business Community to come on board and support the initiative as it’s a concert for the people. Okie said Francistown was chosen for a reason as they believe it is a gate way to a number of other strategic places in Botswana like Maun, Orapa, Phikwe and Kasane.

“We also felt that since the city has been greatly affected by COVID-19 an event of this magnitude was befitting to be held in Francistown so that we can also play our role in uplifting the socio-economic livelihood hence we believe it is vital for the business community of Francistown to embrace us so that collectively we can contribute meaningfully together as one to the community of Francistown”.

She indicated that they have a large number of artists particularly from Francistown that have shown interest during the show activation and other artists that have collaborated with ATI in the past and those that have contributed in the growth of his music, and it would be very difficult for them to fulfil the mandate of the show without support particularly from the corporate community in Francistown.

Tickets for the event are sold at P50 kids, P150 general, 500 VIP silver circle and VVIP for P1500. All tickets are sold at all Liquarama Outlets across the country.

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WeekendLife

Phakalane soars to new heights

24th May 2022
Magang

Founded 30 years ago by David Magang, Phakalane Estates came from humble beginnings to gradually expand into developing one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the country which attract high income dwellers.

When the development began in the early 90s the estate was to be developed into 13 phases. It is then that a decision was taken by the developers to come up with plans that would be appealing to certain groups of the society.

Phakalane Estates continues to make its mark in the property development space, this year, they have managed to invests over P45 million on major renovations to the Golf Estate properties namely the hotel, golf course, and conference center.

Already the company has erected 84 single and double bedroom apartments which commenced early this year. The construction of these new apartments has been set for Peto Estates, a gated community within the Phakalane neighborhood strategically placed a stone’s throw away from multiple shopping centres such as Mowana Park and Acacia Mall.

“We want the best for our clients that is why even in Peto, we have various apartments for every one and also bearing in mind that the people should be not far from the complex,” Phakalane Estates’ Lesang Magang said in an interview.

So far the roads tarring has started at Sebote estate which is part of the estate expansion, it is expected that even things electrically will get handed to the Botswana Power Corporation which will be the last stage plus the lights on the streets. “In terms of infrastructure we don’t compromise we ensure that it is world class so that we don’t disappoint our clients. Those that brought houses earlier when they sell them it comes at a profit.”

Following the success of the launch of Peto Estates back in 2014, when over 300 plots ranging in cost from roughly P300, 000 to P1.4m were immediately sold out with a high surplus of demand, Phakalane Estates boasts strong confidence in the market demand for new apartments in the area.

The apartments are set to follow the trend of the estates with state of the art modern designs and facilities that will unequivocally catch the eye of professionals in the market for a smaller yet upscale rental property in Gaborone. Phakalane Estates CEO Subramaniam Parthiban has expressed plans for the creation of an all-new industrial park in Phakalane aiming to expand and consolidate the existing industrial strength the community already boasts.

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