One of the best ways to take your love to the next level is through marriage. Nothing can be sweeter than hearing your soul mate says those precious words.
With marriage breathing a fresh start to your life, you have to be sure your financial situation is stable.
Prevention is better than cure and that applies to finance more than ever, as it starts even before you say yes to marriage.
Before the wedding
Many couples decide to share a joint bank account, which is a great way to keep track of your money. However, with bank loans ruining many people’s lives, ensure that you do not become a victim.
Understanding your spouse’s finances is crucial. Does he or she have a habit of spending way too much on unnecessary things?
Are you getting the impression that he or she might be in debt? Get the facts straight and work on it.
Share your financial past. Go through each other’s credit and debit card history to understand your future spouse’s spending behaviour and attitude towards money, but stay away from being judgmental.
Mutual understanding is very important. While joint accounts can help you pay the common utility bills and give your partner access to emergency cash, it has its disadvantages as well.
If things go wrong and you end up in debt, both of you are responsible.
Marriage binds you with legal rights and you do not want to entangle yourself in a financial crisis that you had no clue about. Always keep track of your bank account.
After all, you have future plans of buying a nice home, furniture, and having kids. Saving up is not only necessary but crucial as you start working on your marriage.
During the wedding
Remember to not lose yourself in the belief that “marriage is a once in a lifetime event” and spend a fortune on it.
The golden rule to remember is that love cannot be measured in Ringgit. Have a budget and stick to it.
Do not take personal loans or increase your credit card limit. If you can’t afford it, stop trying to impress friends and family members with extravagant materialistic items like wedding decorations, lavish food, a big limo or by hiring an expensive band.
Instead, warm your guests’ hearts with a beautiful speech, sing songs with everyone, and share your love story for a meaningful wedding.
Focus on giving your guests the awesome experience of attending your wedding and not by showing-off materialistic accessories.
A tip to save cost is not to spend on things that will not last long. Some couples even choose to forgo wedding bands and rent their outfits instead of having custom made clothes that cost a lot of money.
How many times are you going to wear your wedding dress? Do you really need to have an expensive gown tucked away in a corner of your closet?
Go for actual wedding photos rather than spend on a studio session. You can always do studio shots later.
Also, day time weddings produce great photos due to the natural sunlight. Getting married in the peak season will see you paying more due to an increased demand for food, venues, decorations, and photographers.
Get more angpows and cash gifts by being upfront with your family and friends that you prefer cash rather than gift items that you probably won’t use.
For your honeymoon do book your hotels and travel tickets early. Have a budget for every little detail like food, shopping, hotel rent and taxi fare.
You will want a little peace and luxury on your honeymoon so research hotels online very carefully and verify prices.
After the wedding
Being open with your spouse is very important to build mutual trust for a healthy marriage.
Stop keeping secrets from each other, especially about any loans that your spouse is not aware of.
This will affect your long term plans when you apply to buy your dream house, car, or any other bank loan.
Keep abreast of tax policies. If your spouse is earning, that means a lesser burden on you financially.
Do submit your taxes on time to avoid a high penalty. Sit with your spouse and do them together.
Marriage means working as a team. If one falls, the other picks him or her up. It is about patience, love, honesty, and the willingness to make compromises.
For young couples, financial problems can be a daunting hurdle. Overcoming this can save your marriage.
Go through your financial plans regularly, because new couples are bound to make mistakes on budgets and expenditure.
This article first appeared in kclau.com
KC Lau’s first book Top Money Tips for Malaysians has sold thousands of copies. He launched the first online personal finance course specifically designed for Malaysians, entitled the Money Automation System. He also co-founded many other online financial courses including the Bursa Method, Property Method, Founder Method and REIT Method.