Till Taxes Do Us Apart: 5 Financial Vows For A Happy Marriage

Marriage can become a financial nightmare if young couples do not take stock of their money situation. Here are 5 important vows to take.

If you are in your 20’s and early 30’s, you have faced the onslaught of people’s wedding pictures on Facebook, their matrimonial hashtags and rosy pre-wedding photo shoots. While love and marriage can create heartburn in a lot of single hearts, marriage can become a financial nightmare if young couples do not take stock of their money situation.

Here are some vows, that every one seeking a happier marriage should take!

1. No secrets, ever

While many people think that space and privacy is necessary to a happy marriage, this does not apply to money matters. If you have undertaken the decision to jump into a life-long partnership, you might as well keep the books clear. Your partner should have access to financial details in the event of your death (morbid, I know, but important), nominees, account numbers, financial status, health insurance details and cover, as well as stuff you are doing for children and parents. I have seen women STRUGGLE deeply because their husbands controlled the purse reins to such an extent that they were paralysed. Tell your spouse everything – your life and that of of your dependents could depend on this.

2. Disclosing secrets isn’t providing access

Here is the truth. There can not be a relationship where both partners spend and save in exactly the same fashion. Your motivations and interests are completely different from your partner’s. Hence it is imperative, that in a relationship – you do not hand over complete financial access to your spouse. Always retain control over your login credentials, PIN details etc. This is not lack of trust but common sense – what if you had an emergency tomorrow and your partner had splurged out your account already?

It is ideal to have a Yours, Mine and Ours Account. Saves everyone a lot of trouble and having a joint account gives a non-working partner or stay at home partner more flexibility.

Bottomline: Your partner SHOULD know how much money you have put away but not necessarily have access to it IF they are in the habit of splurging and dipping into funds.

3. Asking difficult questions

Most couples are conditioned to ignore deep questions on money management and financial habits till it’s loo late, and they find themselves in a condition where either their partner is: (1) Spending without a thought (2) Saving so much that you feel suffocated

Here is a handy list of questions you should ask directly or get a sense from your partners on:

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  • If they intend to work post marriage
  • Does the nature of job they want to take up include a full-time engagement, part-time or an entrepreneurial activity?
  • What are the financial obligations that they have individually (say an education loan) and together (taking care of parents, home loan)?
  • What are some financial goals that they are sure about (buying a house, children’s education)?
  • What is the extent of financial burden they can subsume in the relationship? (At times, one partner’s income goes towards expenses and another’s towards investment – this leaves the second partner with too little liquidity and the first partner with too much control over decision making power)

4. Asking for help

There is a predictable pattern in reaching out to friends, relatives and parents for financial advice. This can be construed as interference by the other partner as well. Ideally, do your own investing as a unit or reach out to professional financial advisers who can guide you suitably. Self-medication can be a bitter pill to swallow when you find your finances mis-managed.

5. Spend, Save, Invest: It all matters

Typical financial arguments in a marriage are centered around saving and spending discussions. Investing due to complexity is trusted to one partner (in our society, the man). Hence partners spend all their time squabbling over things like – “Why did you buy a new phone again?” while:

  • Inflation eats into their rate of return from conservative fund management
  • They burn cash by making irresponsible choices (buying when the market is low only because the market is low and not because they understand specifics)

Getting the basics right!

Marriage is not just a union of two people and their families but also of two incomes and two financial futures.

As a couple you should tick the following boxes:

  • Do you have an emergency fund in a liquid source (savings/FD/ liquid mutual fund) that you can reach out for?
  • Are you prepared for uncertainty such as a layoff, an unexpected pregnancy?
  • Do you have life insurance that covers the other partner and children?
  • Do you have health insurance apart from what your employer provides?
  • Are you investing or bloating your personal balance sheet with too many debt products, random insurance policies and redundant elements?
  • Are your taxes planned to give you both mutual benefit? Do you know as a couple what are your personal and common financial goals and how as an individual and couple are you going to achieve them?

So, while you get your band – baaja – baaraat in place, don’t forget to assess your Income, Investment and Impulses.

Here’s wishing you wedded bliss (and a retirement plan once you get there!)

Image via Unsplash

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About the Author

Ayushi Mona

Ayushi Mona co-leads Broke Bibliophiles Bombay Chapter, India's first offline reader driven community. She is a poet and writer who evangelizes Indian writing in English at the India Booked podcast and has also read more...

27 Posts | 60,142 Views

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