When the two of you got hitched, you promised to share all your joys and sorrows with each other. Then why not your expenses? After all, money is an integral part of life and financial woes have been known to spell trouble even in the most perfect marriages.
No matter whether the two of you bring home a fat paycheque or a moderate income, financial planning should be one of your top post-marriage goals. If you guys do not plan your financial future together, or do not evaluate your expenses regularly, you are likely to find yourself hurting on the money front soon.
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Of course, pooling your funds and divvying up the expenses is no child’s play. It requires the know-how of a top-grade financial analyst. After all, you need to strike a balance between making contributions toward household expenditure and preserving your financial independence. So how do you go about it? Well, we didn’t want to offer you another article with tips and suggestions. Instead, we spoke with real-life married couples and asked them to give us the low-down on how couples manage their finances. This is what these nice people had to say.
Ajit and Gunjan
Married for three years, the couple exemplifies the ‘modern Indian couple’. They are uber cool, intelligent, and independent. They are in their late 20s and are financially self-sufficient. The couple has rented out a spacious 2BHK in a prime location in Bangalore. Pretty cool, eh! But how do they afford it? Well, both are earning a tidy sum each. They work hard five days a week and party hard the remaining two. Now, how do they pay for that? Well, some efficient money-management skills with teamwork at the crux of it.
The two have devised a smart way to work out their finances. Three years into marriage, the couple has a fair idea of their household expenditure – groceries, utility bills, other miscellaneous costs. Each contributes roughly an equal share towards these expenses. Now both Ajit and Gunjan are health freaks. They never miss their morning runs and love to cycle their way around the city. Hence, it’s no surprise that the couple has invested in a comprehensive Health Insurance plan. All premiums towards this plan are paid by Ajit. To ensure that neither one feels the pinch more than the other, Gunjan looks after their Car Loan EMIs. This seems like a smart plan.
Now, what about the savings? Ajit has some smart friends who know how to weave magic with stocks. Risky investment, indeed, but this brings the couple rich returns. But betting all your money on one number is not so wise. So, while Ajit dabbles in stocks, Gunjan looks after their Fixed Deposit account. When asked if the couple is exploring Mutual Funds and other long-term investments, they proudly said that they had invested in something better – a friend’s start-up venture (they seemed happy with the returns).
Yes, after all this, they have enough surplus left to spend on weekend outings, holidays, shopping and all other recreational activities. Now it’s wrong to assume that they splurge on all weekends. In fact, the couple alternates ‘I-splurge’ weekends with ‘eat-at-home’ weekends. Then, there are house parties (BYOB, you see). It’s all about striking a balance.
The couple also confided that they shared all their financial decisions with one another. And, although they didn’t quite operate a joint account, they are well aware of each other’s financial bearings.
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Kavita and Sundeep
In their mid to late 30s, the couple has been married for more than a decade (respect!) and are parents to 7-year-old twins – a boy and a girl. When we popped the money-management question, Kavita laughed, looked at her kids fondly, and said, ‘’For me, it’s more about time management. Between all the housework and chasing after the kids, there is little time left to sleep.”
Kavita is on a break from a full-time job to be with her children in their rudimentary years. So, presently, it’s Sundeep who is sole bread winner for the family. In a top managerial position at a renowned company, Sundeep’s salary is strong enough to take care of a family of four. Kavita, on the other hand, has savings from her working days. She rotates the principal amount in short-term investments options and uses the interest to pay for small household and recreational expenses. This gives Sundeep increased investment bandwidth.
The couple have operated a joint account since the early days of their marriage. Although Sundeep is the only contributing member to the account now, it allows the couple to keep a tab on everyday expenses. They deposit a fixed sum in it on a monthly basis and then work to carry forward some surplus. After all, there is a Home Loan going for the couple and Sundeep is looking after it all alone – not to speak of other investments and savings. Kavita plans to return to work in a few years. “As kids grow, so will the expenses,” said Kavita.
Although the couple own a house, they live in a rented apartment to reap in Home Loan tax sops as well as tax benefits afforded to individuals living in a let-out property.
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Archana and Vishnu
Archana is a senior stylist with a popular beauty parlour chain. Her husband, Vishnu, works for an IT company. Vishnu receives a fixed salary, while Archana’s salary seesaws every month according to her targets. Since it’s difficult to plan a budget on Archana’s salary, Vishnu takes care of the regular expenses. In return, Archana has promised to look after the Home Loan down-payment corpus. The good bit of the story is that as part of her job Archana travels to various cities for fashion events. What follows fashion events is some kickass parties. Often Vishnu joins Archana on these trips and the couple party like no one else. This also saves them some precious moolah!
Vishnu also provides for his parents. After setting aside money for house expenditures, other investments, and after providing for his parents, there is little left with Vishnu to meet his recreational expenses. To bridge this gap, Vishnu started a small garments shop with his friend. The two look after the business and share the profits according to each one’s contributions.
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And those are just three amazing stories about how married couples manage their finances. We hope you can borrow tips and tricks from them. If you feel you have a financial story to share that can benefit others, do leave a note about it in the comments section below. We’re all ears!