Gone are the days when a middle class Indian woman gets married & looks after her household without any financial independence and knowledge of the monetary aspects.
In the 21st century, a bride needs to be keen and aware of the business, income, future investment plans etc of her in-laws before being an integral part of the family which is definitely an alien world for her. There are three basics for the same: Communicate (about finances), Consider (their financial options) and Continue (to be financially independent).
Let’s go through each one of these points in more detail:
Nothing is better than openly discussing finances with the fiancé. So it is always advisable to shed your coyness and go ahead with relevant queries about the monetary condition rather than stepping into a marriage with doubts and uncertainties.
Understanding each other’s incomes, spending habits, current credit card debt, student loans, future plans, gross income, assets, liabilities, bankruptcy history, alimony, investments, tax returns etc are essential for nurturing healthy relationship.
Contrary to traditional Indian belief, conversations about finances aren’t considered unromantic. Rather it institutes a foundation of trust and establishes the good habit of sharing financial information, expectations and worries.
Considering financial options like preserving financial independence and keeping certain assets as separate property are critical.
Unlike earlier days when prenups (short for “prenuptial agreements”) were only associated with older, affluent and/or celebrity couples, now-a-days this has become increasingly common. By using a prenup, both the husband-to-be and the wife-to-be can decide certain financial issues like buying property, marital property and their division, real estate planning etc.
However to make it further effective, both the parties (husband & wife in this case) must be represented by their own separate attorney. In addition, the agreement must be in writing, providing full disclosure (no hiding of assets and/or liabilities) and to be executed voluntarily and
without coercion by both parties (preferably in front of witnesses) and the same should be in a recordable format.
- Continue to be financially independent:
Be it before or after marriage, one must preserve a measure of their financial independence by maintaining her own financial security and stability.
Keeping at least some money in a separate bank account is valuable. This helps to cope up during emergency/accidents & separation.
Owning a credit card, paying at least some utility bills, car payments, etc. are necessary.
Rather than blindly relying on husband’s word, one needs to know where the money is and how it’s being spent or invested. You may also hire a financial advisor who can help you in complex combined finances and future investments.
Hence it’s time to be practical & a reality check unlike a Bollywood wedding where it’s all about romance and looking after a family and extended family in certain cases!
It is better not to perceive the above facts as negative or pessimistic. Marriage is a wonderful institution, nevertheless being self-sufficient is extremely vital in today’s date. One should be aware of the wretched realities of disastrous financial management, and how challenging it can be for women to mend after a financially difficult divorce. Hence it is advisable to begin your marriage keeping in mind the three “Cs”: Communicate (about finances), Consider (your financial options) and Continue (to be financially independent).