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Preparing for Marriage
May 13 , 2013

When planning your wedding, you may think of the flowers, the invitations, and finding the perfect outfits for your big day. However, some couples make the mistake of thinking more about the wedding than they do about the marriage. A wedding lasts one day and a marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. Marriage introduces changes in a new couple's financial situation that will affect all aspects of their life together. Everything from personal financial goals to credit card debt could bring challenges to the relationship. Finance is one of the most critical key components of a marriage.

Tying the Financial Knot

For your marriage to succeed, you have to agree about the role money will play in your marriage. Open communication about money is the key. Once you've decided to tie the knot, discussions about money shouldn't be far behind.  Finance questions before marriage may help you and your future spouse understand where you both stand financially in the relationship.  It can be hard, but it is important to discuss marriage and money before you decide that you want to spend your lives together. It may seem like a silly reason to not get married, but if you start out on the wrong foot, things are going to be so much harder than they have to be.  When you get married, you take on not only your loved one's emotional baggage, but all his or her financial baggage as well. You need to know just how heavy that baggage is.

Talking about Money

Once you're married, your partner's finances will be your finances, for better or for worse. After you've had a few initial discussions about money in general, initiate a discussion about your respective financial situations. Figure out whether either of you have any of the following:

  • Large debts
  • Student loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Investments
  • An inheritance

Maintaining separate and common accounts

The first rule of personal finance is to avoid ceding total control of your finances. They are your responsibility and if you let go off the reins you may find yourself with a number of extra problems. The best and wisest thing that a married couple can do is to have three different types of finances; two for each individual person and one as a unit. As two unique individuals you have needs; and by maintaining your own personal finance, you take responsibility for your needs. 

Combining marriage and money cannot be avoided either. Although you may keep separate accounts and may both have jobs of your own, you are always going to have to work together on money issues.  You may share responsibilities of paying for bills, utilities and other necessities.

Spender v/s  Saver

Tension can develop to the breaking point in a marriage when one person wants to spend and the other wants to save. Spenders often marry savers, so this is a common issue. If you're a saver and you open the credit card statement to find that your spouse has bought several thousand rupees worth of home accessories when you were planning to use that money for some much needed auto repairs, an argument is almost inevitable. When there's a saver and a spender in a relationship, you have to come to a compromise you can both live with if you want to avoid constant arguments or unspoken resentments over money.

Plan an Affordable Wedding

How can you keep your wedding costs under control? First of all, do a budget. Make a list of everything you can think of that you'll need for the engagement ceremony, wedding ceremony and reception and your estimate of what each item will cost. Refine your budget as you get price quotes, and identify the things that are most important to you. Small compromises can often add up to big savings.

The biggest factor influencing your costs is the number of guests that attend. Calculate average cost for food, drink, transport and other things you have to rent. Inviting just the people who really matter can save you ten thousands of rupees but for many people weddings are the occasion to flaunt wealth.

As a young and single man/woman you have a unique chance to bless your future spouse by setting aside just a little money every month to enable you to provide some much-needed security at the outset of your marriage.

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