The Most Authentic Guide on Personal Finance and Investments


Words of Wisdom : "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." ~ Maya Angelou

Getting married? Check the ‘money compatibility’

Money incompatibility is increasingly becoming a common cause for separation among couples. Studies in US show that the first fight is usually about money.

In earlier times, it was generally the husband who earned and managed the money. But nowadays, with both partners working, money matters have become a joint affair. It is but natural for two individuals to have different views, which can lead to disagreement and discord.

Therefore, it may be prudent to understand your partner’s views on money... before marriage itself... rather than waking up when it’s too late.


How similar are your money attitudes?
Some people are spenders, some savers and some investors. Sharp differences between your and your would-be spouse’s attitude can lead to serious conflicts later.

If you are a saver, while your partner likes to live life as if there’s no tomorrow, there are bound to be disagreements.

It is important to address these differences appropriately beforehand itself, when at least you both are willing to talk and understand each other. Resolving such conflicts later may become difficult because our ego may not allow us to look at the things objectively.

Will it be joint finances or separate?

To have a sense of oneness, some people may prefer joint finances. While others may want to keep things separate. Which path would you prefer? Resolving this before marriage ensures that you start on a common platform, rather than later trying to reach what may seem to be a compromise.

One could possibly have a joint account for common household expenses, wherein both contribute a specific amount and the rest of the money could be kept separately. However, even if the monies are kept separate, one must have a consensus as to how the same will be spent and / or invested. 


Who will be the money-manager?
Actually no one person should be the money manager. Both partners should play a role in managing the finances. There are various aspects to money management e.g. managing household expenses, managing investments, planning for big-ticket purchases etc.

Therefore, if say the woman is good at investments, she could handle that aspect. The husband could then take care of the expenses part. Traditional roles are a passé.


Are you or your partner in debt?
Nowadays, personal loans, credit card outstanding and such other debts have become quite common.

Debt, after all, is a burden. And after marriage it becomes a joint responsibility. We must, therefore, share information about our debts. It should not later come as a shock to the other partner. Once there is a proper knowledge and understanding on the extent of this burden, appropriate steps can be taken to rationalize / eliminate it.

What happens to the assets?
Say you have built-up a nice investment portfolio. What happens to it after marriage? Do you keep it and manage it separately? What if your partner wants to manage it? What if he or she wants a big chunk of it?

Clarity on these issues will avoid any ill-feeling later. In fact, in US prenuptial agreements are quite common, wherein both partners put down on paper as to how they would like the assets to be handled in case of death or divorce. As double-incomes (and separationsrise, we may see such agreements become common in India too.


Do your financial goals match?
Your goals / desires — vacations every year, a big independent bungalow, a big car and higher studies! Your partner’s goals — latest electronic gadgets, a good compact flat, a small fuel-efficient car and starting a business!

So how do you reconcile these conflicting choices? One must discuss these financial goals before marriage itself. This would enable both of you to take a view as to whether they can be reconciled; or are you likely to end-up fighting regularly about such matters.


What are the views on budgeting?
Some view budgeting as a restriction; while others see it as an essential step towards financial freedom.

Both ‘no-budgeting’ and ‘too-much-budgeting’ are bad. The idea is to work out a middle path. Again this can happen only by sitting across the table and sorting things out... that too before the marriage, not afterwards.

Money is not an easy topic to discuss. And it does give rise to disputes. We need to accept this fact rather than hoping that things would work out fine. Relationships have to be worked upon. But remember, it’s not as if one of you has to compromise. Rather, you have to try and strike a proper balance. It is not the question of mistrust, but of managing diverse views amicably.

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