It takes a lot to build a successful marriage. Most of us work towards harmonizing our hearts and minds. But we underestimate the role of money in marriage. Money may not be important, many of us claim. But joint finances are important, because in a marriage, both the spouses’ financial independence is equally important. It doesn’t really matter if just one or both are earnings members.
“Make sure you ascertain what his views on finances are. Find out whether he is a spender or a saver and then come to the conclusion on the way forward. You can discuss and figure out a mean, common path to managing your joint finances in future,” says Preeti Zende, Founder, ApnaDhan Financial Services. You should also be transparent about any loans that you may be repaying prior to marriage and insist on your would-be husband sharing similar information with you.
Do you know where the money is?
Irrespective of whether you have an independent source of income or not, you must be clued into the financial decisions made for your household. You must be aware of various investments made and have easy access to the copies. “Basically, if you are not handling joint finances, then should definitely get hold of account passwords, be aware of the (bank or mutual fund) portals and apps, demat statements and also have hard copies of such investments in place,” advises financial planner Nisreen Mamaji, Founder, Moneyworks Financial Services.
You can create an excel sheet to record details of FDs, mutual fund investments, equity shares and so on. “Make sure that you are the nominee for these investments,” she adds.
Nominate, nominate, nominate
COVID-19 has already made many realise the importance of sharing details of their investments with their family as also keeping nominations updated. “If you are newly married, do not be in a hurry to change the nomination in your husband’s favour. You may be young, but it makes sense to create a Will to avoid disputes in future,” says Zende.
Do not club all your investments and expenses
Many a times, even financially independent women make the mistake of dividing household responsibilities in a manner that is detrimental to their interests.
For instance, the woman’s salary could be used for monthly expenses, while only the husband’s money is invested for the couple and children. This may seem convenient in the short-term, but could lay the ground for disputes in future. “It is best if both contribute to household expenses. Likewise, while you can have joint investments with your spouse, you must create wealth for yourself by investing in your own name too,” says Zende.
Do not leave financial decision-making to your husband. If your investment philosophies and risk-taking appetites differ, you would need separate financial plans too. “Information sharing helps financial planners devise more effective plans. Depending on the couple’s approach, we can draw up plans where the asset allocation is not duplicated,” says Mamaji.
Have adequate life and health insurance covers in placeFinally, never put off buying term and health insurance policies simply because you are covered under your employer’s group covers. You must have standalone health covers, at least family floater if not separate policies. At the age of, say, 25-30 years, you can start with a base cover of Rs 5 lakh, and review it regularly to account for healthcare inflation and new life events such as marriage and children. “You can add a super top-up of Rs 10-15 lakh and increase the overall cover as you grow older,” says Zende.