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Marriages made in (Financial) Heaven

December brought in a glamour high with the #Nickyanka wedding, with all the glitz and frills of everything from Hollywood to Bollywood.

This was the follow-on after the #Deepveer wedding in Italy and many receptions back home. While you are enjoying this show with popcorn and gossip, ever wondered what is common between Priyanka, Deepika and you? That is if you are a young professional independent woman who has marriage on the cards sooner or later? Just like them, you would enter a marriage with assets that you built from your savings and investments.

It is not happening for the first time, but yes more and more women now contribute financially and have assets that are not just a gift from their parents. Speaking in true Indian style whether your marriage is ‘love’ or ‘arranged’, it is no longer a foregone conclusion that it is the man who will always bear the financial burden. As a woman who enters a marriage with financial capacity and assets, what should you expect and how best do you guard your interests?

Let’s talk money honey

We know it is not as romantic as texting sweet nothings with your to-be significant other, but it is critical. How do you handle money and how does he? Do you plan your budget for monthly expenses or spend impulsively? Do you pay for credit card bills at every cycle and keep your debt clean or pay EMI with interest for it? Do you like to discuss money or are you a guarded private person? Whatever your answers to these questions are, you will have to figure out how your partner handles money. And most importantly how would you jointly handle finances when personal finance becomes family finance. A first necessary step is to build trust: talk about it.

Plan and budget for everyday boring stuff

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.” — Paulo Coelho. It is no wonder then that all great romances end in tragedy and not marriage, right? Just kidding, but not completely. There is a reason everyday things are called a chore and planning for it is tedious. So it helps if you set as much of this to auto mode as possible. What percentage of each of your salaries should go into the joint account? Who takes care of what expenses? Household expenses, pending EMIs and many others. Understand, budget, allocate and automate. So you can spend more time doing things you love.

Set financial goals, personal and couple

Up until now, you planned only for self, but now plans of one will have some impact on the other. You likely planned for savings and invested those savings wisely for goals. Your financial goals whether they were short-term like buying a car or long-term like retirement will do better if you set them with your spouse. Each of you may continue to contribute to your own personal investing goals. While there may also be new ones for you to plan together. Financial goals essentially need three things, what you are investing for, how long before you need to reach the goal and how much money it will take to achieve it. Any or even three of these factors may vary and change if you are sharing that goal with someone.

Emergencies and responsibilities

You know when after a tough night Kareena lamented in the movie ‘Jab We Met’, “Is raat ko boring banado Bhagwan!” Well, you don’t have to have watched the movie to know that life throws curveballs at you. Life isn’t that boring or easy. You may not know what the bumps are but can be sure that there will be some. In addition to that when you marry someone you are marrying each other’s responsibilities as well. For instance, does your spouse have debt that will make him contribute less to the joint income? Family size also determines responsibilities that a couple has to shoulder. Reduction in joint families means that children are in charge of both sets of parents, at the very least. Whatever other goals you invest for, investing for an emergency should figure on the list.

Who funds a break?

Living on a paycheck makes many of us dependent on it for financial stability. But there is any number of reasons that people take a break whether it is higher studies, sabbatical or job uncertainties. For women, pregnancy and childcare is an additional challenge that is added. There is very slow progress for father-inclusive leave plans and related facilities. In reality, more often than not, the mother shoulders a large share of this responsibility. Whether it is quitting a job or taking fewer responsibilities, these will impact your personal financial situation and that of the family. A backup plan that cushions such decisions might prove more helpful.

Money may not be the first thing you think of in a marriage, but it surely is a critical part of it. Money may or may not buy you happiness, but it can buy you time to figure that out in comfort. If you think planning all this is cumbersome, consider this. If you don’t make financial plans for yourself, you will have to live by the plans that are made for you by somebody else whether you like it or not. Doesn’t seem like a life Deepika or Priyanka plan to lead. 😄

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