30 September 2019, by Flora Isabelle

Finances and marriage – and trying to make them work

This month’s theme for our blog posts touches on Finance and well, it got me thinking.

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You see, in the past 6 years that we have been married (and 14 years of knowing each other), we have been through several financial situations:

  • There were early days when the husband was earning more than me as he’d already been employed for a good number of years while I was just a starry-eyed fresh graduate who’s entering the workforce in the middle of a global financial crisis.
  • And there were the years of trying to build my business and I really didn’t have very much.
  • There was also a fortunate period where things were going well for me and I made more than him.
  • Then a baby came along and, between balancing my role as a mother and my profession, I chose to scale back a little and hence putting more financial responsibility on him again.

To be honest, depending on a man financially – even though he’s my spouse – is not the easiest thing for me to accept.

I have been brought up by my Dad to be an independent, women-can-do-it-too kinda girl and I have always believed in pulling my weight in everything I do. It could get kinda annoying in the early years as we would often have to go through the “check dance” on dinner dates when I ALWAYS insist on going Dutch but eventually working it out – he would get dinner, and I would get drinks. Or dessert. Preferably the latter, mmmm~

And this upfront communication about money – amongst other kinks we had worked out along the way – is something that I have found to be very vital in a marriage.

Be upfront and truthful about your financial status – how much you’re earning, how much you have in the bank, how much debt you have (hopefully none) and together, agree on the lifestyle and spending habits you are to adopt as a couple.

Because, when you throw in a couple of kids and their preschool fees, trust me, you NEED to plan.

Here are some tips I’ve gathered from friends and older folks that I personally found to be useful 🙂

Have BOTH separate bank accounts and one joint account

It’s obviously nice to have joint accounts for convenience as well as to create a sense of trust and unity in your marriage. But if you’re both working and earning your own keep, it will be good to have your own money too to avoid arguments about how you choose to spend it.

Prioritise the big ticket items together, in advance

I’m talking about a couple of years in advance.

Do you both want to move out of your flat after the MOP?

What’s the next car you’d want in, say, 5 years down the road?

Are annual family holidays necessary for you? And to which destinations?

Discuss and agree so you can set aside the necessary funds and adjust your lifestyle habits accordingly.

Planning for Retirement together 

Sure it’s a good 30, 40 years down the road but the earlier you start planning and saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be when the time comes.

Share responsibilities

And I don’t just mean financial responsibilities. For me, I look at all the responsibilities of the household –  be it financial, household chores, grocery shopping, errands running, managing the bills and emotional relief and try my best to share the load in totality so that there will always be some sort of balance in the relationship.

I believe these few tips have helped me quite a bit and kept our marriage sane, haha! After all, at the end of the day, you and your spouse are in EVERYTHING (and that includes money matters) together!

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