Planning to do a series of articles on Couples and Money. I do not wish to see how many articles, but this is clearly one of the earliest.

A couple may fall in love or have an arranged marriage, but they surely meet before their marriage…so these are things which they should surely talk about.

1. Spending habits: The chances are that the boy and the girl come from very different backgrounds, so it is better that they know what is ‘cheap’ and what is ‘expensive’. I know of guys who try to live on Rs. 6000 a month, and guys who can blow Rs. 6k in one evening. If for the girl eating out means an Udipi where they will run up a Rs. 400 bill and for the guy it means a place where the starters cost Rs. 500, God it may not be easy to handle, no?

2. Using Credit: I know of couples where the girl is happy SAVING every rupee and the boy is happy to borrow for everything. This is about IMMEDIATE gratification and delayed gratification – talk about it.

3. Come clean on your past: It is common and acceptable to have a student loan, a personal loan, a car loan and a housing loan. It would be very nice if both of you can see each others credit report – there is no worry of saying ‘Oh I forgot to tell you’ kinda debt.

4. If a girl HAS to support her family she is better off telling the guy she is to marry and MAKE sure that HIS parents know about it. Have heard of cases where we had to break a girl’s salary so that she could send one to her parents and one to her in-laws. 

5. What assets do you need and how will you fund it: Car, house, washing machine, 2 wheeler, ….does not matter what. Will you buy today, on installment or do you have enough money to buy outright? If you have to buy, can u ask some of your friends to pool and gift for your wedding?

6. Any financial obligations from a previous marriage? Ask and get a clarification.

7. How much are you planning to spend on your wedding and honeymoon? How will you share the expenses? How much of the expenses will your parents bear? If you pay can you decide on how expensive the wedding will be? Talk it over.

8. Be very, very careful about how you are going to share the expenses. It does not make sense to say “I will pay the housing EMI you pay the expenses” – this hurts in case of a divorce. Sorry, but being ready for the worst makes sense, right? Hey Guys think hard, only 28% marriages end in divorce.

9. Are you the investing types, spending types or savings types? these 3 subsets are almost independent of each other, please be careful..

10. Put a date on which you will change your surname, and when will you merge the accounts…

list may be longer..but 10 is what we will all remember…

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  1. Nice and valuable suggesstions. But the difference in spending habits can give pleasure of enjoying two different life styles if the couples are matured enough to handle both.

  2. Dr M Chandrashekhar

    Good One. Apart from Horoscopes, to be newly weds need to match on Blood Grouping, Genetic Diseases,family & personality compatibility, IQ, EQ & now financial compatibiity– yet, there is no surety marriage would last the first anniversary.

    Thank God, 30 years back, I did not have to go thru all these !

  3. Subra,
    I find it difficult to imagine that a couple, whose marriage has not been finalized yet, will be comfortable discussing the stuffs you mentioned above.
    However, if they could do so, it will be very valuable indeed.

  4. Absolutely correct. Agree completely from personal experience.

    @ Sambaran, I believe Subra is talking about couples whose marriage has been already fixed.

  5. Subra,

    Nice article. But Utopian. How many couples actually discuss these things outright and very pratically without getting emotional?

    And breaking the girls salary – so you could send one to inlaws and one to parents – is truly truly heartbreaking!

  6. I have recently got engaged, and have discussed these topics (and more, thanks to Subra’s book) with my fiancee.

    I first shared the blog and the book with my fiancee, and after she’d read the various content, we both discussed our individual goals. It turns out that she is financially smarter than I, and went on to complete various things (KYC, PAN card update, SIP plans) before I did. We even prepared and shared with each other a GoogleDoc spreadsheet on how we want to achieve our individual financial goals (This was before we got engaged).

    Post engagement, it has been very easy for both of us to discuss our marriage expenses given that we’re both used to discussing money with each other. We have been able to set expectations with each other and with our families, and both the families are pretty supportive since they see how we both have good compatibility on financial matters.

    I urge everyone who reads Subra’s article to think a bit about how they’d like to achieve financial compatibility with their fiancee/girlfriend/spouse, and to get started on the discussions. There is every chance that your spouse (existing/to-be) may ask you to “take care of the money matters”, but you need to get them to a discussion table to cover these important topics. For this to happen, though, you yourself need to be convinced enough first 🙂

  7. Truly a wishlist for most of our society. It will be great if the couples come in agreement in all these atleast within 2 years of their marriage…

  8. I saw many guys in IT getting married just because they are in IT and drawing some good salaries. These guys doesn’t have any assets like land. They will take some loan and purchase some land/house in their hometown and while marriage they show these as assets and with the dowry they get they will pay-off the loan they took for buying the land. I am not saying anything against these but the fathers of brides only see the salary he is drawing and these assets (but they don’t know about loans)

    If these type of people really start discussing about their FINANCES with their would-be’s before marriage, I feel 50% of these marriages will be cancelled-off 🙂

  9. Dont marry.Marriage is not for everyone.Society has forced us into believing that marrying and living a householders life is the only normal path.Those who deviate from this must be sage,celibate,baba,sanyasi etc.Nature never intented for every human to marry and reproduce.Earth is already overpopulated.

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