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Financial Matters Is An In-Thing (1)
Published Sep 04, 2022 IN FAMILY ANGLE,
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 NOT long before the marriage ceremony, a young couple begins to realize that it takes more than love to maintain a home. If the bride and the bridegroom had savings before marriage, they are surprised to see how quickly these savings can dwindle as they attempt to meet the needs of their newly estab­lished home.

They find that their assumptions, before marriage, that there would be a substantial amount left over from John’s pay check each month, were too optimistic. Even the costs of food prove to be greater than they had sup­posed. Then as they start housekeeping, they find that there are certain little things necessary to make their household equipment complete. The wedding presents have all helped a great deal, but naturally there are some things needed that their friends did not anticipate. So, a few naira here and a few naira there, and the young couple fine that they are spending more than they make.

At first this disillusionment in matters of financing is taken in good grace with the remark that the old ad­age has about two living as cheaply as one is generally known to be false. But eventually the problem takes on serious proportions. Perhaps John is not promoted as fast as he had hoped to be; the increases in his wages are not as frequent or as substantial as he and Mary had planned. Also they realize that their expenses will tend to increase as time passes. The cloths they had in reserve at the time of their marriage soon begin to show wear, and they realize that these will have to be replaced. Then as they consider- the possibility of children coming into the home, they visualize their expenses mounting rapidly- than their income is due to increase.

Even though John does get an occasional raise in sal­ary, he and Mary have anticipated each raise for so long and thought of so, many needs that await the increase that by the time a larger check comes through, their supposed needs have overtaken their increased wages and they are no richer than before.

Even under moderately ideal circumstances, financial problems in a home constitute a major consideration. It is not necessarily that either the husband or the wife is greedy for money; it is not that money, in itself, means more than affection and harmony in the home. It is simply that money represents the material things which provide a homelike setting. Money is what makes it possible for all members of the house to profit by the efforts of the wage earner. The amount of money and the handling of this money represent the material things which provide a homelike setting. Money is what makes it possible for all members of the home to profit by the efforts of the wage earner. The amount of money and the handling of this money determine the standards of living in a given home. Thus the consideration of money is basic in the establishment and operation of all family policies.

Inasmuch as financial problems loom large and omi­nously even in what should seem to be an ideal family situation, it can be readily understood that they will be just that much more serious in families in which there are complicating circumstances. The financial problem is potential social dynamite, which, if handled carelessly, may endanger the integrity of the family unit.

One of these complicating factors that aggravate the financial problems in a newly established home result from a situation in which the wife was previously accus­tomed to a higher standard of living than her husband’s limited income can provide. A young woman reared in the lap of luxury usually finds it difficult to be content with the meager provisions of a new home in which the income is only a fraction of that of her parents. This is a consideration that should have received attention during the period of courtship.

Many a young man has mistakenly assumed that he is doing a smart thing to ask for the hand of the daughter of wealthy parents, not realizing what a hardship it will be for this young woman to become accustomed to a stan­dard of living which, by comparison, smacks of poverty. In such an instance, once the glamour of the wedding ceremony and honeymoon has passed, is quite natural that the bride should ask her parents to come to her assistance. As a result, parent-in law problems may become superimposed upon the financial problems, and the young husband, even though doing the best that can be expected under the circumstances, becomes embar­rassed either because of his feeling of insecurity if the wife’s parents choose to subsidize his income.

Likewise tension may develop when the reduction of purchasing power forces itself upon the young woman who was gainfully employed before her marriage but who now chooses to devote herself to homemaking. Prior to marriage she was able to plan her own expendi­tures and savings without having to give consideration to other parties concerned. She was entirely in command of her own affairs and could purchase clothes as she chose, without consulting anyone else. Now she is surprised to find that the overhead of maintaining a home swallows up such a large portion of her husband’s income that her purchasing power seems suddenly reduced almost to the zero level. She has very little choice anymore in arranging for the purchase of clothes or for other articles that she feels are desirable and needed about the house. The one question that haunts her day and night is, “where will the money come from?”’

When a wife has money in her own right so that the husband’s income is meager by comparison, we have the situation in which the wife may more or less uncon­sciously force her husband into an attitude f compromise in financial matters. The husband is rightly spoken of as the head of the house, and even though this should not serve as an excuse for him to resort to unreasonable domination of the home, it is desirable that he should lead out in those matters which involves relationship between the home and the outside world. The masculine mind is so constituted that is is hard for a man to become adjusted to a situation in which his influence is entirely subordinated to that of his wife. Consciously or other­wise, it “gets him down” to play the role of performer on the second fiddle.

In order to gain an insight into the backgrounds of the financial difficulties which creep into family life, if is well to consider some of the complaints that husbands and wives make of each other in the handling of finances. When a wife realizes that she is thwarted in obtaining those clothes, furnishings, or accessories which her heart desires, it is more natural for her to think in terms of increasing the family income than in terms of curtailing her cherished expenditures. After all, there are only two ways to balance a family budget: to increase the income to meet the expenditures or to reduce the expenditures to fit the income. It is only natural for a wife to assume that her husband should be making more money for the family. Consequently, a common complaint which a wife makes against her husband is that he lacks sufficient ambition to earn enough funds to support the family in a proper way.

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