Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
22 Dec 2021
2:50 pm

Tips for couples to navigate ‘Ke Dezemba’s’ financial pressures

Citizen Reporter

The majority of divorces are due to money problems with 55.6% cited as the reason for many separations.

Picture: iStock

The festive season has the potential to wreak havoc on your financial plan and carefully planned budget, but you can still live your “Ke Dezemba” lifestyle if you are smart.

A survey by Sanlam found that 55% of South Africans admitted that financial worries have put a strain on their relationships since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These were the top 5 issues couples faced in their relationships:

  1. The stress and uncertainty of Covid-19 (55%)
  2. Financial pressures (55%)
  3. Depression and anxiety (31%), with 21% taking up prescription medication
  4. Lost job or income stream (30%)
  5. Childcare and family responsibilities (29%)

The majority of divorces are due to money problems, with 55.6% citing it as the reason for their separation. It shouldn’t be surprising that bad financial plans led to the strain, says solutions manager of Sanlam Savings, Farzana Botha.

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“Navigating December demands – plus the long, long month of January – can put relationships into a ‘pressure cooker’, especially if partners have different approaches to spending. It’s critical to play open cards, decide on a budget and keep the money conversation going,” she said.

Tips for couples to navigate financial pressures:

Be sensitive

Your relationship with money may stem from your entrenched childhood belief system with money, leading to bad reactions to undesirable money behaviours.

Botha explains couples need to be open when talking about money, to achieve their financial plans, such as saving for common goals, such as a vacation or a home.

Decide who will be responsible for the money

Couples should decide who will handle the relationship’s finances in both parties’ best interests.

There is a big difference between controlling the money and managing the money, the handler’s job is to manage the money not control it.

It is important both partners stay informed equally in the financial plan and make joint decisions, Botha adds.

Seek help

Neglect in mental health can lead to undesirable behaviours, developing a form of escape mechanism such as “retail therapy”, which if left unchecked can spiral out of control.

Clinical psychologist Dr Nozi Nyawose says the pandemic has led to many feeling that external factors have spun outside of their control. Nyawose has noticed a trend among her clients, involving couples scrutinising their relationship more due to financial decisions made by partners without transparency or thought for the future.

Communication is important and having a safe space to talk about your financial struggles if you have fallen into irresponsible spending patterns are really helpful. Seek professional help for your mental health and from financial experts.

Be accountable

When times get tough, individuals need to take responsibility and acknowledge that their individual behaviours have contributed to the financial mishaps.

Nyawose says partners need to be upfront about who plans to spend the money, on what, and why during the holidays.

Save together and budget together.

Take proactive steps to try to better yourself to provide a safety net for your future.