Getting married is an adventure and in Singapore, with wedding expenditures reaching upwards of $80,000, it’s one expensive adventure. Whether or not the Singapore government has convinced you to have kids with baby bonus schemes and tax benefits, you should have a serious financial discussion before moving forward with marriage.

Have an open discussion about finance, responsibilities and plans. This will help you set the path for a financial future that’s understood by both you and your husband-to-be. Keep this talk high on your pre-marriage checklist; after all, in a country where one of the top culprits for divorce is financial issues you want all lines of communication as open as possible.

Start With The Big Day

Whether you are springing for a lavish blowout in a five-star hotel in Sentosa, or a more traditional void deck ceremony, the wedding is always the first place to start when you decide to have that financing discussion. Tradition may determine who pays for what in weddings in Singapore, so this can make splitting the expenses simple and stress-free.

Although your spouse or his family might be springing for some of the expenses, it is important to start thinking about your finances together, regardless of who is paying. When you budget for your wedding, plan your next two years out and determine how much you need for living expenses, and how much you will save.  Now is the best time to start establishing financial goals together.

Another question couples must ask is how finances and financial duties will split during a marriage. Traditionally, the husband is responsible for most expenses in Singapore, but this is not always the case as women now bring more to the plate, quite literally.

Regardless, it is important to discuss who is responsible for monthly bills, savings, credit cards and other expenses. Many couples still keep bank accounts and finances joint, but separate accounts are also becoming more popular to keep funds in a precise order. Discuss the different possibilities with your soon to be spouse and ensure you’re both on the same financial page.

Living in Singapore is very costly, so having a financial plan for after the wedding will benefit you as a couple currently and in the future. There are a few important topics to clarify when having this discussion:

Rent

On average, monthly rent can cost you $2,200-$4,100 in the city, which is about 46% of the median income. Living expenses alone could make or break your budget, especially if you plan on buying a house or apartment, it will come with a hefty price tag. Have your finances well thought out before jumping into a pricey lease or mortgage.

Utilities

Even if you’ve got your eyes set on a spanking new pad in the middle of the city, keep in mind that there are monthly utility expenses such as electricity, water, and garbage removal services. In Singapore, the lowest costs for these services average around $145 per month, each family unit’s bills are different of course so it’s important not to forget this detail when you’re planning your budget.

Other Expenses

While there’s the usual monthly expenses, you shouldn’t forget other costs that are a part of life that can quickly accumulate. Things such as entertainment, transportation and if you and your spouse choose to have a date night. On average, tickets to a movie are $8, a fitness membership to a generic gym can set you back at least $100, and a casual dinner starts at $40. Together, you will be at an advantage if you factors these things into your budget.

Just looking at a wedding in Singapore will tell you that most couples have no problem spending their money.  However, it is important to discuss and be in agreement on how the money will be spent, what type of budget must be followed and how large purchases are determined.

Trust us on this one – having these discussions early on always saves hassle in the future.  Make plans to save money and agree with your spouse on a yearly savings goal. These goals help keep each other in line in case one spouse wants to start overspending and will make the discussion easier if you already have an agreement in place.

Plan your attack when it comes to managing your finances early on; preparing yourselves for some roadblocks along the way will not only strengthen your savings account, but will also keep your marriage strong and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your financial labour.

More resources before you get married:
Legal Rights When Getting Married In Singapore
Getting Married In Singapore

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).