Marriage is a beautiful thing. It is when two people make commitment to share their lives under a holy matrimony. There is no harm in discussing the future that will be shared together before one enters this uncharted territory.
If you are getting married in near future, try to make it a priority to discuss financial management matters with your partner. Choose a relaxing and fun environment so that you can see his most honest answers and responses to these questions:
1. “How much will we set aside to save each month?”
Although it may sound negligible, each person has different saving habit. Knowing your total combined income and fund allocated to spend on daily needs and saving, both of you can plan on how to maximize the use of the fund you have. You can either put it in time deposit account or invest it in form of gold, mutual funds, stock, etc.
Based on your partner’s answer, you can also find out if he or she is a spender or saver, and if he or she a risk-taker or likes to play safe when it comes to managing his investment.
2. “How much will we give our parents each month?”
This is a quite sensitive subject and may cause friction anytime and, therefore, needs to be discussed well before the D date. For most Asians, it is like an obligatory for children to give to their parents from the time they earn regular income. This is certainly okay, as long as it does not trigger a fight. It is better to agree on an amount or limit of money you’d like to give to each of your parents.
The last thing you want is to have your husband’s objection when you use your combined income to pay for your parents’ pilgrimage or family vacation, for example.
3. “What’s your biggest money mistake?”
Being married, we love our partners for whoever they are – good and bad. In a healthy relationship, both parties should not try to hide their past lives or mistakes to keep their good image.
Share your experience in managing money to your partner. That way, you would also know if he used to have a debt problem, or had undergone bankruptcy, or got involved in money-related problems. The purpose is not to judge each other, but to find a solution and make sure that no one makes the same mistake.
One of the characteristics that should warn you about your partner’s money habits is being continuously in debt or lying about money. If your partner shows any of these habits, try and find a third party help, such as a financial planner or a mentor who knows both of you well.
4. “What’s your financial goal after marriage? What if you can’t reach it?”
Before you met him, you might have a plan of your own, things you want to realize once you are married or things you want in your retirement years with your special someone. Share these dreams with your partner, and ask him the same thing.
You can then draw a line on where you both are willing to compromise for each other. A financial goal that is not achieved may cause frustration if two people have different expectations. You surely do not want to live a life hanging on false dreams, do you?
5. “When are we having kids? How important it is for you to have kids?”
For some, children are the biggest source of happiness. Couples with children tend to encourage other married couples to have kids, since it is the commonly accepted norm.
In fact, not all couples are ready or even want to have kids. One may want to have kids, while the other is not ready to face all the consequences. You can talk about this with your partner when you are undergoing premarital check-up. Good pregnancy planning would also make it easier for you to manage your finance, for example if you want to add maternity and complication rider to your insurance.