For better or worse: The financial impact of divorce (part 2)

Bontle completed her matric with average marks and could not get into varsity.  She went to KellyGreenoaks for a 1-year course in Public Relations.  It took her 6 months to find her first job which paid R1500 per month as a Secretary / Receptionist for a new firm of attorneys. She started studying part time through Unisa for a BA HR degree and her career in HR was born. 

In 2004, she met a nice guy and fell pregnant and decided to get married.  ‘At this point I have moved out of my parents’ house and have my own car, but my money management is not great.  I do not save, I pretty much spend every cent on paying for a car and rent on an apartment in Fourways I can barely afford’, she explains.

By her own admission, she and her husband ‘wing it’. She says they never really discussed financial responsibilities and expectations until things fell apart and drastically so. Even with their financial hardships, the topic of money was still avoided.  Her solution to their problem was to get back to work and to work herself to the bone to make ends meet.  ‘We did reasonably well for two people who were financial delinquents.  Seven years later we have our second child, a baby boy, who was a complete surprise’, she continues.

Three major life events happened in Bontle’s adult life that warranted a major shift in how she dealt with money – she got married and had two children. Had she known better, she would have had a discussion with her husband about the impact that these events were going to have on their finances. The second and most important thing to do, would have been to plan, budget and save for these events. Not once before, during or after these events, did she have any frank conversations about her or her husband’s financial standing, what their aspirations were as individuals, as a couple or even as parents.

She grew up this way and was trying her best with the little knowledge that she had. Her behaviour with money as an adult is consistent with her initial introduction to it – avoidance. I don’t know her ex-husband but I can say with a lot of certainty that he was probably raised in exactly the same way that Bontle was. This is how most us were raised around money. The effects of this on our lives today are testimony to that.

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