It was Diwali’2020 yesterday. And despite facing severe restrictions and the inability to travel to my hometown, I felt well celebrated this time. I was able to meet a friend-couple who are married for 2+ years. Apart from our share of jokes and tasty Indian vegetarian food, I had a gyaan which I felt could be handy and shareable for those who are planning to or just starting their married life.
All my childhood, I saw my family struggling with terrible finances and incapacity to spend. My father was the only bread earner for the whole of my joint family. Life was hard due to scarce money and rising family ambitions. All that while, I realized that it would have been much better had my mother also earned more so if my parents had more solid financial education. There were frequent verbal fights over how was a certain sum of money ill-spent where it implied not to. And why or not we need to divert money from one basic expense to another, say food to clothes, etc.
I realized that my father was slowly grown into a monthly habit of paying off basic bills first before sharing the leftover money with my mom so atleast we don’t financially deteriorate. Fathers priorities were often very different than my Mom’s. While one was focused towards fulfilling only basic requirements and save the rest, another parent tried to be most social in the least expenditure. We had to drop many wishes and asks in those times. Once my father fell ill and we were in deep financial trouble. We had no options and had to be bailed out of our well off relatives - thanks to them for being gracious.
Please motivate your spouses to earn
My first sharing is to please motivate your spouses to earn. Even if they don’t want to go out and you don’t feel the need/heat of extra money, trust me times can change any day. You will certainly feel grateful for your spouse in cases of unfortunate eventualities.
I had no examples of people where both partners earned. Back to my friends, who are married and earning. Given that I am also planning to marry in a few years, I always had these questions, don’t you fight over money, don’t you feel your spouse overspends at times, how do you manage your feelings. The answer was surprisingly simple: a joint bank account. It works like this, both spouses earn a different salary. But they add to the basic expenditure corpus in the proportion of their earnings. All basic expenses such as rent, bills, groceries, etc are bought with that joint corpus. It also brings in added benefits such as the ability to jointly observe expenditures, audit, etc. For all the uncommon things such as gym or parlour or club memberships, one could handle with their salary.
Have your spouse contribute their share at home
So, my second advice would be to have your spouse contribute their proportion on necessities and not over(under)spending.
I was impressed when my friend said he was able to save more than 100K USD by now and is already investing in US markets. Now I have been observing stock markets for a while with my penny investments, and I know how difficult that is to achieve. Also, this has put his family with higher financial security. I was amazed that both spouses take different responsibility such as decorations of home, better lifestyle, better physical and financial health.
Stay financially and physically healthy
So, my third and last advise is to invest in health both financial and physical.
life finance behaviour