The 2 distinctive features of Indian Culture in contrast to western culture are
1. Indian Culture is all about we, us & ours instead of i, me & myself
2. Marriages in India are not between 2 individuals but between 2 families
But times are changing and law provides equal rights to all. After wedding, Husband & Wife might have difference of opinion on many topics. Most of my readers, send query on how to marry personal finance after marriage. In my opinion, settling personal finance after marriage is major bone of contention specially if both Husband & Wife are working. It’s a tricky process but not impossible one. Reason for this change is financial insecurity specially when divorce is very common these days.
Before discussing Personal Finance after marriage, it is important to make each other comfortable for discussion. I am listing down few steps to resolve this issue amicably.
(a) Discuss before Marriage: It is important to start discussion process before marriage to find out investment preferences, spending habits and more importantly what is the importance of money in our spouse’s life.
(b) Be Honest & Transparent: It is absolutely critical to be honest with each other in terms of current financial condition. Today’s couples have to come out of historic mindset wherein mother in law advised her son or daughter to keep some money separate. Make a list of all resources available + Total Monthly income of Husband & Wife + Approx Monthly expenses + Any misc liabilities/investments like insurance premium etc.
(c) Be Flexible: India is a democratic country so as your home. One sided decisions specially related to financial matters by either of spouses can be potential reason for divorce. It is important to keep 3-4 options in mind rather being rigid on only 1 option. Marriage is like coalition government, you have to find out middle path / common agenda.
(d) Fix Budget for all expenditures: Financial Discipline is important from day 1. Normally newly married couples tend to spend more but if spending is within pre-defined budget then it help to plan better future.
(e) Pooling of Income: Most disputed part. Spouse who is earning more will insist on 50:50 contribution whereas Spouse earning less will insist on % contribution to total income. Best way is to open a joint savings account and use the same account for all expenses and pooling incoming. It will bring transparency and increase mutual trust.
(f) Invest in Real Estate: The biggest mistake i made. Most important personal finance principle for newly wed couples and to integrate personal finance after marriage is to buy a house. Trust me, if you don’t buy house within 2 years of marriage then you will find it much more difficult in future.
(g) Give Space to each other & Communicate: No 2 individuals are same in this world. Either of spouse might be a big time spender and other one might be a saver that’s why they compliment each other. If you don’t like spending/investment habit of your spouse, it’s better to sit & discuss rather saying NO in front of shopkeeper. It takes some time for 2 individuals to settle down & marry personal finance after marriage.
I understand that it is easy to suggest but difficult to implement but trust me there is no issue in this world which cannot be resolved through talks. Be it integration of Personal Finance after marriage or India-Pakistan issue. On lighter note, Marriage is not less than India-Pakistan issue. I hope my wife will not read this blog else it will be my last blog on Personal Finance after Marriage.
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