“Talking Money” – for Couples only We women (and men!) have been taking care of our own money matters for years. Then – pow! we get married, and everything changes. Not only have we entered a legally binding partnership.

In most cases, our money has too. Suddenly there are two people who want to take financial decisions affecting the household. How to make sure that each spouse’s money sense is well-served?

In fact, disagreement over money matters is one of the leading predictors of divorce. Disagreement will be most marked when partners are in the dark about their spouse’s preferred handling of money matters. Hence, it’s best to start an honest, respectful discussion about how a couple will deal with finances together as soon as it’s clear that marriage is in the offing. Figure out together what your individual and mutual goals are. Then come up with a strategy, perhaps based on the following ideas, to reach those goals.

  • Money Talk #1: Regular “money talk” dates

Good communication between you and your partner is important in setting the stage for a healthy financial relationship. You can start by setting regular sessions dedicated to sharing financial experiences, current standing, and future goals. Pick a few topics to cover, and set a specific time and place to talk about them.

Finances can be a complicated subject so you and your partner will want to schedule your money dates when both of you are focused but relaxed. Take turns asking, listening to and answering questions. How do you like to manage your finances? What are your financial priorities? What are your short-term and long-term financial goals? Make an effort to listen to your partner, and be forthcoming with your own answers.

Sharing these personal thoughts with each other will facilitate understanding of each other’s financial values. That will enable you to start devising a financial plan that both of you are comfortable with.

  • Money Talk #2: Clarify your assets and income

Discuss how much each of you makes, how much you own, and how much you save. This is particularly important if you are planning to make a big purchase in the near future. Perhaps you are still preparing for your dream wedding. Or maybe you and your spouse are looking for a new home or getting ready for the arrival of your first baby.

The first few years of a marriage are dotted with lots of large expenses such as the wedding, honeymoon, downpayment on your house and mortgage. If you have not yet built up a savings reserve, now is the time to ramp up your efforts. Try to have at least a six-month cushion to help you pay for large expenses.

  • Money Talk #3: Discuss debts and expenses

In addition to assets and income, talk about how much you owe and how much you spend. Excessive debt can be an obstacle to achieving your shared financial goals. Do you have an outstanding balance on your student loan? Does he have a lot of credit card debt? Before getting married, find a solution to significantly reduce debt.

It may be easier for the two of you to merge your finances with no outstanding balances to get in the way. If you are already married, you may choose to handle your debts separately through your individual accounts. Otherwise, you may want to help each other erase outstanding balances and achieve financial freedom for your household as soon as possible. Be open with each other about all of your debts and large expenses.

Then you can work together to come up with a viable strategy to alleviate them. Related: Clear Debts Fast: Getting Your Financial Situation in Order

  • Money Talk #4: Determine your credit scores

Your credit scores can affect your chances of getting a home loan, car loan or business loan approved. It is best to be aware of each other’s credit scores and help each other improve your ratings if need be. You can purchase your credit report and view your credit score for SGD 6.42 at the Credit Bureau website.

  • Money Talk #5: Take advantage of employee benefits

Go over your employee benefits to learn more about how you and your future family can make the most of your or your spouse’s package. One of your employers may have a better health insurance policy than the other.

Are you getting ready for a baby? It may be worthwhile to know which company offers better health insurance for pregnant women. Weigh up the advantages of each spouse’s benefits plan in relation to your own lifestyle and your path ahead as a couple.

  • Money Talk #6: Consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement can help protect the assets that you build up over the years so that they can be handed down to your children in the event of divorce or even death. Are you already married? It is not too late. You can still set down your wishes for the future of your assets through a postnuptial agreement.

  • Money Talk #7: Write your wills and take out life insurance

Once you have gone over all of your personal figures, including your assets and debts, revisit your estate planning and life insurance policy. Remember to always keep the beneficiaries in these plans updated – something especially relevant in the event of a birth or death in the family.

While it may not be a cheerful process, it is best to be prepared for anything the future may bring. Tragedies do occur, and addressing your wills and life insurance policies can help you both feel better about the security of your loved ones.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva

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  1. […] 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 […]

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