Kamilah MS

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Preventing Financial Meltdown in a Marriage

Kamilah MS

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You and I know that most weddings are very expensive. Bridal gowns would cost a bomb, along with bouquet arrangements, venue bookings and more.

I had mentioned in my earlier blog post on how I do not fancy spending an arm and a leg, over an event that would be forgotten. In a marriage, you will go through the reality of living a married life. It is filled with ups and downs.

One of the ways to sabotage our marriage is to incur debts after you hold your wedding. Taking debts could immediately bring your finances down as you will soon realise that marriage in itself can be a costly long term affair.

You may feel the pinch when you are about to expect a baby, or you just mortgaged a matrimonial home.

| had the privilege to manage the finances of hundreds of households for eight years in my earlier profession as a financial consultant.

The following are the financial mistakes learnt from couples who struggled financially :

  1. Mortgaging a HDB home beyond your budget.

Most couples tend to rush into buying a house without ever thinking about the long term financial toll it may have on them. Paying for a house is a long term commitment, young couples are paying more and more for their mortgages as compared to those who bought a home ten years ago.

Ensure that you have the means and that you can at least comfortably pay for your utilities, bills, food, transport and savings. Do not rush into making a long term commitment such as getting a house without doing proper budget allocation.

  1. Taking loans with interest for lavish renovations.

After getting a house, you may be tempted or succumb to societal pressure to have the top-notch interior design for your abode. Again, be sure that you can afford it and pay for the renovations and other bills and commitments promptly. Do not over-commit your finance. If you cannot afford it now, set aside some money for renovation savings, so you can at least pay for all or bulk of the renovation cost.

You must do proper research on the cost of your renovation because some contractors are charging way too high than what it is. Ask for quotations from different contractors to get the best cost that fits your budget.

  1. No emergency savings.

You must have at least six months to a year worth of emergency savings. For example, if you earn $3500 a month, be sure to have at least six or twelve times the amount in your bank.

During an event where your income stops due to retrenchment or any unforeseen circumstances that cost you your job. Your emergency fund will come in handy. You can use it to pay for your essential monthly expenses while you are in a lookout for a new income stream. Research has shown that an average person spends at least 3 to six months to secure a job.

Lately, due to the covid-19 pandemic, it may take longer for an average person to find a job replacement.

  1. Taking loans for your weddings or honeymoon.

Whenever you find yourself applying for cash loans or even asking from friends or relatives for a loan, it is a clear sign that you cannot afford to have lavish weddings and honeymoon. You may want to opt for an option that fits your budget. An option that will not have you and your spouse end up with having plain bread for each meal for the long term.

Save up. Remember this, if you cannot afford it now, what makes you think you can afford to pay back the loans? In my years of working in the financial industry, I have seen enough of the same mistakes being made by newlyweds. I have seen how couples are being chased out of their homes and couples who are constantly being hunted by creditors. It is not worth your inner peace. A few weeks honeymoon on a sunny island will soon be a very short-lived memory from the past.

  1. Spending too much on baby apparels.It is OK to spend on your bundle of joy when you can afford them because it can be an exciting experience especially for new parents.

If you cannot afford to pay your loans, debts and even your utilities, buying expensive apparels, equipment or state of the art baby pram, will not be worth the buy. Babies are messy, they can suck your energy and they demand a lot of your time and attention. Most importantly, they will outgrow the apparels very fast.

You can opt for hand-me-downs.

As parents, you essentially need basic baby clothing labelled newborn to 6 months would be ideal. Clothes fit for newborn only will no longer fit your baby in a matter of weeks. Don’t waste your money on them.

A playpen or baby cot that can last up to three-years-old, diapers, breast pumps, nursing cover, changing mats, handkerchiefs, bibs, baby utensils and bottle.

  1. Paying minimum amount to repay credit card debts.

If your spend through your credit cards, I highly discourage you from paying the minimum amount to repay your credit. You will incur a high compounding recurring interest on your credit card debt. You will end up paying more than what you originally spend on.

This is when I see a lot of newly weds got chased by their creditors. It is like nightmare to be constantly contacted and tracked down by those creditors.

  1. Not managing your shopaholic self or your spouse’s shopping behaviour.

Maybe you are a shopaholic or you got married to a shopaholic who has no financial sense.

If you or your spouse are a shopaholic, support him or her through attending financial talks or by engaging a reliable financial consultant or maybe you or your spouse need to see a counsellor, because excessive shopping can be a form of addiction.

Find a neutral party to educate and guide you and or your spouse on financial literacy.

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