Money matters and marriage!

Published: May 28, 2012

Discuss money keeping in mind that you and your spouse have different spending habits, varying saving values and dissimilar requirements.

KARACHI: Financial independence is the most liberating feeling in the world and getting out of the habit of handling your own cash is as tough as an addiction to get out of.

I realised this when last year I got married and headed to the ATM during the first post-marriage shopping spree and stopped short after seeing the balance appearing on the screen. These balances normally did not thwart me from continuing what I had to do because I knew the account would be replenished at the next salary cycle….But I was not working anymore!

In a culture like ours, most married women depend on their husband for all money-related provisions ranging from buying groceries to clothes, even weekly salon trips, though how they spend it depends on the level of financial free hand they have.

More than 73% of the couples argue over money matters. Wives hate having to ask for money, explain where they spent the money and why they need more.

Similarly, most husbands do not share the details of their account status, positive or negative, leading to simple statements like “Why do you need more?” and “What did you do with the last?” This becomes a ticking time bomb that triggers the volatility of emotions pertaining to money between married couples.

Women expect their husbands to provide for everything their heart desires. The man expects to raise their living standards as they move forward. They both expect to have a comfortable life spanning out ahead of them. This is the point where it is imperative for a couple to talk.

Discuss money matters keeping in mind that both you and your spouse have different spending habits, varying saving values and dissimilar requirements. It is undoubtedly difficult to voice your feelings about money but short- and long-term financial goals, investment strategies, spending and most of all expectations should be decided upon together, as team Mr & Mrs.

Strike a balance between spending & saving

Remember, “too much of something is bad enough. Too much of nothing is just as tough.” You don’t want to scrimp so much that your best years are left as those of scrooge, stacking gold coins but alone. But neither do you want to be so spontaneous that you won’t know how you would eat after retiring.

Respect each other’s values

Your wife may want to gift her best friend something memorable on her first baby or get the couch re-upholstered with a fresher fabric. Do not swat the idea away instantly and understand how much she loves decorating the home or her best friend.

Similarly, don’t make a face if your 30-something hubby one day comes home with a nitro remote-controlled car but go ahead and enjoy it with him.

Keep individual accounts but do open a joint one

Decide what the joint account is going to be for – household payments that the lady of the house manages, the money you put in for her to spend on herself or for both of you to save up for next year’s vacations?

A joint account will not only be a secure way of transferring and keeping money but will also at a glance provide records of money given or raised.

Open a savings or investment account instead of a current one and earn profits on the money sitting idle too.

Think of the house as a business

You manage it, call the shots and invest in it, so is it not like a business?

Plan together on how to cut costs by reducing wastages and aim to do more within a limited budget; like a weekend where both of you work on a DIY project together.

Motivate yourself and your spouse by putting the saved money separately in an investment account and once substantial, withdraw to celebrate a weekend trip out of country or by buying that 3D TV you have your heart set on.

The writer is a PR and investment expert at UBL Fund Managers.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • HH
    May 28, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Another suggestion,

    After the marriage, If you left your job without being under-pressure by your in-laws or hubby, keep you mouth shut about the money and let your husband decide how much and when should you get it. If you can’t share the burden, don’t increase it…..

    Recommend

  • response for @HH
    May 28, 2012 - 10:23AM

    @HH you are a sexist.
    if a husband marries he should keep in mind the lifestyle the girl had before they married and how he should not only maintain but UP it.
    I feel sorry for your wife already.

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  • F
    May 28, 2012 - 10:36AM

    Great work =) Always a pleasure reading your take on household matters. You’ve got a professional mind with an attitude which can make a household work.

    Great stuff.

    Recommend

  • Shoaib F
    May 28, 2012 - 11:36AM

    Great article! Considering the sky-rocketing inflation, I think it’s best if both husband & wife work towards their better future and help the country’s economy as well during the process. As they say in Urdu: ‘Paisa to bhai ko bhai se duur kardeta hai’ and marriage is a far more volatile relationship so it’s definitely better to play safe I say.

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  • Musadiq
    May 28, 2012 - 1:59PM

    the writer makes sense!

    Recommend

  • someone
    May 28, 2012 - 2:02PM

    Interesting article…what women of today have to recognise is that if the husband alone is working, then they should be considerate towards expenditure. I personally do not mind if my wife earns and spends her whole salary on herself, her friends, etc. What I do not want then is that the children suffer because the mom is working…if my wife can earn lakhs of rupees without the children and home getting disturbed, then fine by me. And she is free to spend or throw away her money the way she wishes, I do not have an interest in even one rupee of hers. But when she uses my money she has to use it sensibly, because as far as I am concerned, I do not have a tree where I can pluck dollars from. My money is hard earned!

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  • M
    May 28, 2012 - 5:36PM

    Very well written. She presented a complex subject in a very simple way. The author in short concludes that financial planning is critical to having a happy married life … better financial planning more money to spend and less of fights

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  • Rahim
    May 28, 2012 - 5:47PM

    We just want our tea and sandwiches on time,that is all.

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  • Mani
    May 28, 2012 - 5:57PM

    @response to HH: I’m sorry but perhaps you are confused about the word sexist. Treating both men and women equally is not sexist. In fact there is absolutely nothing sexist in his statement at all. Are you somehow suggesting that a woman is less able to earn than her husband? People who wanted equal rights for both men and women despise comments such as yours. A woman is not a poor little thing waiting for the husband to bring home the money. It would have been sexist if he said that the woman should stay home and not work (if she had wanted to). Just clarifying!

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  • sick of this nonsense
    May 28, 2012 - 7:05PM

    @response for @HH:
    I didnt agree with HH’s comment but neither do i agree with yours. How would a young man who has started his career, just getting into a job earning 35-40k “up” a pampered girls life? Your comment indicates money is everything, the splendor of marriage that is the companionship means nothing since all you are looking is “upping” lives.

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  • HAK
    May 29, 2012 - 6:43AM

    By far the best article in context to a very complexed and detailed topic.

    Recommend

  • Musadiq
    May 29, 2012 - 9:39AM

    Finally something sensible from Express Tribune.
    I completely agree with the writer moreso coz I can relate to the simple solutions that she has given.
    When money gets involved in the equation, it spoil thingsRecommend

  • Asif
    May 30, 2012 - 1:11PM

    Does UBL Fund Managers have a joint investment facility where both the husband and wife can pool in some of their savings?

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  • Abdul Razzaque
    May 30, 2012 - 2:11PM

    Intresting & well written !!!!

    I think it make sense but it’s hard to understand women’s about financial planning.

    @ Asif,

    Yes there is a facility where both can save thier money into one one investment account and it would be a joint account.

    Recommend

  • Abdul Razzaque
    May 30, 2012 - 2:15PM

    Intresting & well written !!!!

    I think it make sense but it’s hard to understand women’s about financial planning.

    Yes there is a facility where both can save thier money into one one investment account and it would be a joint account.@Asif:

    Recommend

  • The Author
    Jun 4, 2012 - 10:48AM

    @Asif,
    Yes there are several options that allow you to have a joint investments account in various funds. For info connect through http://www.ublfunds.com

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