Both spouses must know how bills are paid

A generic image of a couple going through their finances.
A generic image of a couple going through their finances.
Image: Geber86 /

Paying the bills is like any other chore - it should be shared by couples.

Both partners in a couple should understand the household cashflow, said Charles Pitt, private client wealth manager at Alexander Forbes Wealth. In many households, one spouse handles all the bill payments.

This can lead to misunderstandings, and arguments, about where the money goes every month, Pitt said.

"Both spouses should understand how much the household spends every month, and how your bills get paid. If you're the one who's usually in charge of bills, take an hour to walk your spouse through your process.

"Show him or her which bills are paid electronically, which are paid by cash, the monthly amounts and due dates.

This won't just help both spouses understand the monthly cashflow, it will ensure that both spouses can handle household finances in the event of an emergency or death of the other partner," he said.

Viwe Dyasi, a provincial general manager for Absa's Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance division, said one partner in a couple should always be responsible for the day-to-day running of the financial affairs of the home - they should be chief financial officer (CFO) of the house.

However, whatever they do should be transparent and the other spouse should know and take an interest in their joint finances, she said.

Pitt said you should agree on a budget because the CFO for the household will often be the one who has to say no ... no eating out this week, no weekend trip, no new cellphones, no new clothes, etc.

But, if you have agreed on the budget and your savings goals first, it won't seem as if the no's just spring out of nowhere.

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