THE FORE-PLAY TO INVESTING

Woman reading and boyfriend drinking coffee

Medical experts say that foreplay serves a physical and emotional purpose; it helps prepare both the mind and body for intercourse. So, just like good foreplay can make for a better, more satisfying sexual experience, preparing properly before investing can make for a more rewarding financial experience. Let’s assume that you and your honey are both on the money page and believe in investing. Yay, and a round of applause for you both! But if you’re not, click here. Before you both head down to the nearest financial company and dive headfirst into investing, however, there are some key things you need to establish at the outset.

 

Fore-play Tip #1

Goals- First, what are your financial goals? This may sound like a job interview question, but it’s very simple, really. What are the things you want to achieve for your marriage and how does money fit into it? For example, you may have decided you want to have 3 kids and live in the posh (or semi-posh) area of town, but what does that mean in naira terms? How much do you estimate it will cost to maintain your family in the style you want? Do you want your children to attend {really} good schools? Will they attend college [university, in Naija lingo]? Do you intend to pay for their post-graduate education, or their weddings? Does one or both of you have debts that you would like to pay off quickly? How do you plan to handle emergencies e.g. health scares, job loss, family deaths, etc. Then what of the big goals- owning your home, retiring well or early, traveling the world, etc. The choice really is yours but you both need to agree what these goals should be. An identified goal is easier to attain and setting financial goals is the first step to creating your dream life together. The next thing to do is group these goals in order of importance or priority- short- and long-term goals; that way, you know which should be the first thing to focus on. For an example of some financial goals, click .

 

Fore-play Tip #2

Budgeting– So, you’ve identified your financial goals and stacked them in order of importance. What next? (You’ll here that phrase a lot here!) Now that there are two dancers in this tango, you’ll find that the steps are quite different. How much is coming in every month from both of you, and how much is rushing out? How much should be going out, per month? Many couples fail to plan a budget for their new life together, and even more fail to honor it. Decide together how much you will spend every month, and what you will spend it on. Setting a budget and sticking to it makes it easier to save towards those big goals we mentioned earlier. Also, remember that emergency fund? It’s a great idea to decide how much will go into it per month. Experts suggest that a couple should have at least six months’ worth of net income (that of the highest earner in the home) in the account. Keeping a plump emergency account means there’ll be less to destabilize you, should an emergency occur. To learn how to draw up a budget for individual or family expenses, click here or here.

 

Fore-play Tip #3

“How and where do you see yourself in the next five years? Ten years?”

Forecast– Remember that [uncomfortable] question when attending job interviews? Turns out, it’s important for marriage too. Forecasting helps you to keep your eyes on the ball. Where do you and your spouse want to be in five years? Traveling the world? Relaxing in your own house? Successfully running a business or… arguing about money and worrying about how to make ends meet? Setting a timeline for meeting your goals, especially the short term ones, helps you to know that you’re headed in the same direction together, and how much you may need to contribute to get there. Timelines are very important as they also help you decide what kind of investment – high risk or low risk – you should be considering. Getting a financial advisor at this stage is a good idea as they will help to steer you in the direction you want to go. The important thing however is that both of you are agreed on what that direction is.

Fore-play Tip #4*

Research- Before deciding to date your now-spouse, many of you probably became expert investigators on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and Google became your headquarters. You found out where he/she hangs out, who their other friends are, who their exes probably are and a whole host of other info! That same diligence should be applied not only to researching financial vehicles to put your money into but also as importantly, who should be giving you money advice, because, believe us, you’ll need it. It is totally your prerogative to advise yourself, but in case you’re as great with money as a baby is with a knife, you might want to hire someone to help you understand what you want to do. There are many reasons to hire a financial adviser and we’ll cover that in another article. The most important thing to take away from here is that the more information and knowledge you acquire before making financial decisions, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right ones for you.

 

So you’ve decided that yes, your family will definitely be investing, and you’ve gone ahead and put all the above in place; what’s the next step for you? (Told you we love that question!) Now it’s time to look at what investing entails and how to choose your investments wisely.

 

PS- The above tips are by no means exhaustive, but hopefully, they should be able to get you thinking along the right lines. And should you need assistance developing any of the above, don’t hesitate to call our toll-free Meristem KISS line. Any of our KISS agents will be very glad to help you.

 

 Next: Identifying your financial personality.

 

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