Money & relationships: Should you merge finances, assets with spouse? Here’s help – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/plan/money-relationships-should-you-merge-finances-assets-with-spouse-heres-help/articleshow/82656005.cmsSynopsis

While there are no financial rules that can be applicable to everyone, and each couple must find its own comfort zone in dealing with money. Find out how and when to share your assets and holdings with your husband without straining your relationship.

Handling finances in a marriage is an exercise that the best of partners can get wrong. Should you merge your finances immediately after marriage or wait for a few years? Should you keep your assets separate even 15-20 years in the marriage? Is it financially viable to take a loan with the spouse? Should financial decisions be taken by a single partner or both? While there are no financial rules that can be applicable to everyone, and each couple must find its own comfort zone in dealing with money, here are some pointers that can serve as guidelines for you.

1. Don’t make haste
The first financial tenet in marriage is to go slow when it comes to sharing your money and assets. Do not be in a hurry to merge your finances, quit your job and let go of financial control. Your financial independence will be key if the marriage doesn’t work out. So do not close your individual accounts and open joint accounts, don’t redeem your investments and hand over money or assets to the spouse, don’t take any loans where the asset is in your spouse’s name and don’t sign any documents blindly in the first few years of your marriage. If the relationship breaks down, you will not have to seek financial help and will have the ability to land on your feet without anyone’s support.

2. Be an active participant
Always be a participant in financial decision-making even if you are not too interested in finances and paperwork, or are not actively involved in the actual transactions. So if your spouse is the sole breadwinner and is responsible for savings and investment, you should, at the very least, be aware of the following: the monthly income and outgo; where and how much money is invested in which asset; who is the owner and beneficiary of the asset and investment; how to access these investments and accounts; what are the financial goals you and your spouse are trying to achieve; and what is the progress in reaching these goals. This information will be crucial to your financial safety if your partner were to die suddenly or if the relationship were to break down even years later because you wil not have to depend on others to get your life back on track.

3. Co-applicant & co-owner
If your spouse wants you to be a co-applicant in a loan he is taking either for a house or his business, make sure you are also a co-owner of the asset. Do not agree to be a guarantor or simply the applicant, because you will then have only the liability to repay the loan, not own the asset. Ensure that the asset is either jointly or individually owned by you, and at no cost sign any documents related to his business or loans or transactions blindly or without consulting a lawyer, if needed.

4. Keep what’s yours
If you want to open a joint bank account, do it, but also make sure you have an individual account in your name. If you are employed, deposit your salary in your account and transfer only your contribution to the running of the household in the joint account. Ideally, do not redeem and liquidate your assets and investments from before marriage to put it in the joint account or use these for purchasing fresh assets. Any new assets should be done with your and your spouse’s joint contribution from your earning after marriage. Also, do not hand over your jewellery, streedhan or any other gifts received by you from your or your spouse’s relatives to the husband.

If you have a wealth whine, write to us…
All of us have been in a financial dilemma when it comes to relationships. How do you say no to a friend who wants you to invest in his new business venture? Should you take a loan from your married brother? Are you concerned about your wife’s impulse buying? If you have any such concerns that are hard to resolve, write in to us at etwealth@timesgroup.com with ‘Wealth Whines’ as the subject.

(Disclaimer: The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.)

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