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Is money ruining your marriage?

Lifestyle Desk |
Update: 2013-10-24 05:57:58
Is money ruining your marriage?

Arguments over finances can hamper any marriage. However, a little joint planning is all you need to put them to rest

There comes a time in every marriage when financial issues cause disagreements. This unnecessary problem can be caused due to inadequate emergency funds, different spending styles, individual debts (student loans, for instance) or investments. Money management is by far the trickiest thing one has to master in a marriage. But like any other problem looming over your relationship, this too can be solved with a little precision and effort.

For software developer Aditya Deshmukh, 36, who has been married to Pooja, 31, for the past five years, discussing finances with honesty and transparency is the key to a healthy start. Although he earns enough to support the family, Pooja insisted on keeping her job till it was time to plan a family. Now, Pooja is on a sabbatical while Aditya is bringing home the bacon.

Says Aditya, "We were clear about what each of us wanted, so there was no room for confusion. Perhaps, that`s why it was easier to chalk out a plan for the future." Here are a few money rules for couples.

Put everything in the clear

A woman may want to take a break to raise a family, or a man may have to support his financially-dependent parents. Whatever your future plans or liabilities are, being open about your intentions is the first step to a healthy beginning. Says relationship counsellor Seema Hingoranny, "Discuss your plans with each other, so that neither of you is in the dark when it comes to taking a monetary decision."

Make an income expenditure chart

Now that you both know your future plans, proceed towards drafting a monthly budget. Common bills like house rent and other amenities need to be taken care of jointly.

List down your income against the common expenditure. Be stringent and thrifty, but make sure all plausible expenses are listed. In case neither of you is too good with such calculations, ask an older family member or seek professional help to frame your budget. Eventually, you will be able to do it yourself.

Have a joint savings account for bills

Instead of having a joint account where both of you deposit your entire salaries every month, have one where you pitch in for common expenses only. This account will strictly be for bill payments and not for future savings. Pitch in a fixed percentage of your income according to your salaries. This way, the person who earns less is not burdened with having to contribute extra.

Emergency fund

Keep a separate account as an emergency fund. Contribute a pre-decided percentage of your salary towards it, just as you did for your bill payment account. As a rule, neither of you will spend from this account without the other`s consent, and only towards medical or other emergencies.

Save for yourself

There is no harm in having a separate fund. After all, you are earning for yourself as much as for your family. Always set aside a percentage of your salary for yourself. It will give you a sense of security and the freedom to invest it, save it or splurge on something without affecting the overall family budget.

Ensure you are transparent about every rupee you spend

You must inform your spouse about whatever you`ve spent money on, whether you`ve spent it on a shopping spree or on a new mutual fund investment. Even if it`s your own money, you have to be transparent about your purchases. Being secretive about finances may plant the dreaded seed of suspicion in your partner`s mind. Just make sure you are not putting the family budget in jeopardy.

The 3 Ds

Discuss finance like an adult; don`t crib over it. Be flexible with your money and, remember, both of you need to compromise on a certain level to reach a mutually-agreed adjustment. Demand an explanation if you see an aberrant expense. Alternately, offer an explanation for your expenditures also. It`s not demeaning, it`s just more interactive. Dismiss the past and let go of whatever financial discrepancies you may have had. Don`t bring it up in every argument; it may hurt someone`s feelings.

BDST: 1549 HRS, Oct-24, 2013

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