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Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     10 December 2010

Important money matters for newly wed couples..

Five Money Matters for Newly-Weds


Getting married this year?

Soon after the honeymoon, consider having a money conversation with your spouse.

Marriage counselors estimate that at least one out of three couples that come to them for counseling have a financial problem troubling them. Many of these problems can be avoided by discussing some basic finances in the early years of your marriage or, in some cases, before the wedding.

Here are five money-related matters you should take care of as soon as possible to facilitate a long, happily married life:

1. The financial personality talk

When you are single, no one cares about what you do with your money. But once you get married, your partner likely will.

It helps to learn about your partner's financial personality as soon as possible. If you are a saver and you are married to a spendthrift, who never saves a rupee, it's easy to see how that can lead to some serious issues down the road. Maybe your partner is buried in credit-card debt, and you have to help him or her repay that debt. That can be very annoying.

To avoid this and similar situations, you need to reach common ground both of you can live on. What level of borrowing are you comfortable with? What kind of changes might each of you need to do to reach that level?

"Come to a working methodology where (you) talk about money in an open way," says Narendra N. Kondajji, director of Procyon Financial Planners Pvt Ltd. in Bangalore.

Also, decide on who's going to be in charge of what going forward. Perhaps one of you is better at understanding finances – he or she can take the lead on how your money is invested. Perhaps one person can be left the task of managing the household budget.

2. The lifestyle conversation

You could also call this the spending conversation.

To begin your new married life, you might need to spend money to buy certain things, say, for your home.

But before you do that, financial advisers suggest having a conversation about the kind of lifestyle you're looking to lead because that will define how much you spend.

Should you buy the 42-inch flat-screen LCD TV and a Honda City car, or would a 29-inch regular television set and a Hyundai Santro do? Where should you live – near your office or further away in a cheaper neighborhood?

Remember, whatever choice you make now will determine your later choices because you will try to keep up with the lifestyle image you've started to build. Also, make this decision keeping in mind that the bigger the car or house, the higher your maintenance expenses will be. "You have to get your priorities right," says Mr. Kondajji.

3. Financial Goals

This is the savings conversation.

Let's face it, after you get married, a whole new set of financial responsibilities face you. Expenses for the home, potentially children, perhaps you want to buy a car and a house, and of course, you need to save for retirement.

Not to bog you down, but the sooner you start saving the better off you will be in your silver years.

To begin with, you can just decide on a percentage or amount of money that you would like to save regularly, says Devang Shah, founder of Right Returns Financial Planning in Mumbai.

Cash gifts received on your wedding are a great way to start your savings account.

At some point, you need to set specific goals that you plan to save for – say, the down payment toward buying a home or a child's education – and make a plan on how to reach those goals.

4. Technical matters

There are several small but important matters you might want to attend to soon after your wedding.

Experts advise setting up a joint bank account which can be used for household expenses. The partners "need to decide how they're going to contribute to that joint account," says Mr. Shah.

If both partners are earning, perhaps both can allocate money proportionate to their incomes. Also, reach some decision on what the money in this account can roughly be used for. Forgive the stereotypes, but is it okay for the wife to withdraw money from the account to buy very expensive cosmetics, or for the husband to buy expensive video games?

Besides the joint account, you might want to make tweaks in your other financial assets. You might consider buying a life insurance policy if you didn't already have one. You might want to add your wife or husband as a nominee to your bank savings account and other investments. You might want to update your will to include your spouse.

5. Individual assets

With both men and women becoming increasingly independent nowadays, some may wonder about their personal assets.

Should a married man or woman surrender all of his or her savings for joint use? Or does it make sense to keep an independent financial presence as well?

This is a personal decision but some financial advisers suggest that it's not a bad idea to maintain assets separately as well, especially for women.

Mr. Kondajji suggests that whatever money and assets the woman has received from her family, or has earned prior to marriage, she should keep in a separate account. "It gives her security under our societal situation," he says.

Increasingly in India, many couples are signing a "pre-nuptial agreement" before marriage. This is a legal contract which specifies what would happen to various financial assets in case of a divorce. However, that seems to be limited to very wealthy individuals and is still quite uncommon in India as compared to some western countries.

Good luck!

Write to Ms. Anand at, or follow her

Write to Shefali Anand at


 1 Replies

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     10 December 2010

Good post/article,

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