Everything Belongs to Everyone – Financial Principles 101
When you’re building a family, the goal is to be unified in dreams and goals – two unique people living alongside one another building one life they both love. Why then, do we tend to separate our financial lives from the rest of the picture we’re painting? Very often couples are living financially separate lives – earning and spending however they choose without bringing their income and expenses to build together.
An African proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” If you want to build a life that is multi-generational, fulfilling, and meaningful you’ll need to build WITH your spouse and children. You’ll go further and reach more of your goals when you work together. This includes your finances.
At Wealthstack we share more than just financial tips, we offer financial wellness principles that are good for you and your family. You can read about them here.
This article focuses on our foremost principle which is:
Everything belongs to everyone
If you can implement this important principle in your finances, you’ll see the difference it makes in the way you live – it will give you momentum as you move towards your financial goals and the celebrations of achievement will be all the sweeter. This principle may even surprise you by giving you more freedom and renewed simplicity too.
It’s no secret that money can be a major source of conflict in a family. From how you spend your money to who earns more, there’s plenty opportunity for friction and contention.
In most marriages there is one spouse that might earn significantly more than the other, or perhaps one spouse is a stay-at-home parent, while the other works outside the home. This disparity in income can cause anything from minor skirmishes to all-out control issues within a family’s finances – and relationship!
Financial freedom is key for you and your spouse to live a fulfilled life. Control, conflict, and tension that centre around money can be debilitating for anyone, and for a marriage. You can release this tension by reminding yourselves that, in your partnership, everything belongs to everyone. No matter what each of you earn, you will both use it all to improve your lives and move forward, together, for the long haul.
Everything belongs to everyone: The principle in practice
This could be as simple as a mindset shift in your home with no changes to your bank accounts. Or applying this principle could stir up further changes like having one bank account for all your income – from both spouses. Then from there you might separate the money into different accounts according to expenses, and who spends the money.
For example, my wife, Caren, and I have a single account for income, and then have separate accounts for expenses (and savings etc). Caren does most of the grocery shopping and medical visits, so we transfer our budget into her account monthly for this purpose. While I carry other expenses, like the mortgage, for the family from my account.
Everything belongs to everyone: The principle’s guardrails
This principle enables you to neutralize any control issues and puts your finances into one pool from which you draw on – to grow the family as a whole. It requires trust, responsibility and accountability.
When you’re committed to building life together, you need to trust one another and to do that you need to make sure you’re on the same page. Share your family’s vision, goals and dreams (you can even do this with your children) and write it down. Then map it out and make the connections on how this affects your family’s finances. Once you know where you’re headed, it’s much easier to work together.
You’ll also need to take responsibility for your role and the expenses you carry in the family. You can’t blow your grocery budget on a new drone or weekend getaway and expect the family to be happy about it!
And lastly, accountability with finances is always key. Make sure you and your spouse are sitting together to review and edit your budget and you’re spending, regularly. Be open to constructive criticism, and gently remind one another what you’re working towards.
When everything belongs to everyone, you can “go together” as that African Proverb so aptly puts it. You’ll go further than you’d hoped, and you’ll enjoy the journey along the way too.