Will you be my valentine?
What’s a valentine proposal doing in a financial column? Well, I should have asked “will you be my financial valentine!”
In this era of boys and girls earning equal amounts, both of them have equal responsibility in managing the money too. Obviously, nothing in our education system teaches them this basic skill. And this leads to fights, and sometimes, divorce.
So, this February 14, after all your valentine talks, also decide to talk finances. Boring, did you say?
Most people start off in earnest, but then slacken off. Creating wealth for the long run does involve short-term sacrifices. Like a Rs 6 lakh CNG car instead of the Rs 13 lakh sedan that a friend ‘earning less’ drives. Or a vacation to Mahabaleshwar instead of Switzerland, which your sister-in-law went, with a little help from HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank credit cards.
Oh, you are not yet married? Well, then ask him what he does with the Rs 54,456 take home pay? Does he spend on food? Does his brother ask him for a loan every five months? Or, do his friends take away a portion for their fun and frolic?
If you are a guy, ask her if she invests her money. Do you buy a Rs 12,000 jeans while she buys a Rs 499 jeans in a sale?
Does all your income go towards an EMI, where your mother is the nominee?
Will she have financial independence after she marries?
Hey sorry, but what is your exact CTC and take-home pay?
Will we have separate bank accounts?
When will we merge our financial lives? (Boys and girls, there is no great hurry, but do it over a 4-5 month period.)
Will you change the nominees of your financial assets to me or do you want it to be your mother?
So, both of you need tremendous conviction that the course charted will help you reach that magical ‘retirement at 52’. The small sacrifices are IMPOSSIBLE to make unless BOTH of you have a full buy-in to the long-term plan. So, rethink your long-term plan and rework if necessary. Take your financial vows once more. If one of you has splurged on some item, do not wait for the next fight to scream it out. Financial secrets are difficult to keep and in this day and age of shared passwords, it will just take one visit to the bank page to know of your Rs 12,000 indiscretion.
Talk about money to be sent to parents, parents’ medical insurance, who will take leave in case of a medical emergency, kids, cost of bringing up kids (Surprise! Surprise! The cost is now in eight digits), buying a house… do not wait for an explosion to happen.
Nice to have many of these things in writing — the investment philosophy statement, reasons for each asset class, goals written and tagged to each SIP or asset, WILL, investment register with the reasons for making them. In fact, if your kids are more than 10 years old, do involve them too. They do understand all this.
Decide when to seek the help of a financial planner (Frankly, I do think your case is too simple at an age of 27 years!). If you do get one, will you treat him like a sounding board or like a coach?
In case you find it embarrassing to ask these questions, just tag this to his FB page. Even better, tag your brother-in-law and ask him to tag your guy! I hope more women read this.
PV subramanyam writes at www.subramoney.com and has authored the best seller ‘Retire Rich - Invest Rs 40 a day’