The Personal Finance Stories on Marriage and Couples

The past 3 weeks have been busy time for me. Was at KL one whole week – giving a talk on REIT investing; also meeting people whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise if it weren’t for and if I wasn’t doing what I am doing now. People from different walks of life – mostly more senior than myself – the likes of very successful doctors in private practice, working professionals, a pharmacist who is working with the Customs department (what?), a unassuming, financially free ex banker who’s driving a Vios fetching me to breakfast in SS2 (and inviting me to guest stay at 2400 sqf  “hanging humble abode” the next time I am in KL) , co-owner of this very popular Home Made Cup Cakes in Penang – EvadisCakes. Sorry if I couldn’t accommodate all other requests to meet yet, I’ll make it a point to do so next time.

Now while I do enjoy the technicals of personal finance, it is sometimes the opportunity to meet with people that made me enjoy what I am doing.  You come to realize that the more you learn from people, the more you actually don’t know. And sometimes, you realized, even with what I know and what I have, I cannot solve everyone’s problems, especially if it’s mindset related.

reit talk

Me Giving REIT talk @ Adam Khoo Learning Technology Center

The funny thing is that when I did ask them about their background and financial situations, I got asked a lot nowadays – “Is our conversation going into your blog?”

Of course Not- at least, not the P&C stuff. Especially if you are a client.

However, the category of clients that resonates with me the most are married couples and families – one who are usually more responsible than his/her other half when it comes to money management. But you see a lot of scenarios where husband and wife have differing opinion on money.  Normally one is very investment-centric while the others don’t really believe in long term planning. There are indeed people who believe in Live in the Present – it’s not wrong because I realize you can’t just force the need for financial freedom down their throat. I tried, but I realize everyone has their own free will, so to speak. But I’d approach this from different angle instead – even if financial freedom is not important for your good self, think about your family. Think of your spouse, your children – don’t you want the best for them? Things don’t just affect ourselves, but more often than not, people closest to us.

I’ve also heard people narrated to me on getting into huge debt which takes years to settle. Debt incurred by most newly weds on their lavish wedding, house renovation and arrival of baby all at one shot! Negative cash flows for years until a wake up call jolted them up.

I recall this from a blogger at Singapore, AK71 –

marriage and money

“All the romantic notions of a perfect marriage, a spacious home and lovely kids have to be built on rock solid finances, especially in a city like Singapore which has very high cost of living. This is the hard truth.

We have heard of marriage counselling for couples who have serious differences. However, the Catholic Church, I know, provides pre-marriage counselling for would be couples as well. This is a very good idea, I feel. However, that is probably only on an emotional and religious level.

Building on this, I believe that there should be financial advisory services for people thinking of tying the knot so that people do not find themselves in a hole after getting married. Such services should be secular in nature and be made available to all people thinking of getting married. Do such services exist?
If we do a search online for “not enough money for wedding”, we will find some websites telling us not to worry and how we could go ahead with it. Where is the common sense in this? If there is not enough money for a wedding, the two people do not have enough money to be married.”
Another one from author, a banker
“This reminded me that one of my friends who spend RM100K for his wedding dinner at 5 star hotel which he managed to settle his bills immediately after dinner with his credit cards. Yes, with one swipe all his “temporary debts” was settled. I was so impressed with his earning and spending capability at that time as I always admire people who can swipe their single bill amounted to RM100K with single card! He seem very proud too and I’m also glad as he married his lovely wife with the cost of RM100K. The story, however, did not end there as few weeks later he came and see me with the purpose of getting additional financing from his house equity. I was happy thinking he might get additional properties with the money. But too bad, I was wrong and I almost fainted when he told me his credit cards debts have reached RM100K and he can’t afford to repay as the interest is too high!! At last he settled his debts with additional facility from his house equity but the commitment is to be carried for the next 15 years and bear in mind this is excluding other household expenses. I think he is happily married man plus his monthly commitment of RM800. I don’t know whether his wife know about this or not.”

I am just blessed my wife shares the same mindset – on frugality, detachment with material possession and long term savings + investing.

Incidentally, if you want to know how my wife and I to incur zero debt and net positive cash flow post wedding dinner, drop me a mail 🙂

8 thoughts on “The Personal Finance Stories on Marriage and Couples”

  1. Hi CF,

    I wish to know how you and your wife able to incur zero debt and net positive cash flow post wedding dinner.

    I’m in the progress of saving up money and investing too in time being for the expanses incurred in my wedding, probably in 3 years time. Thanks

    1. Hi CT

      We go for restaurant instead of hotel

      I am just fortunate my wife is not the materialistic type.

      We took wedding photo package which costs < 4k but still with nice gowns. We just rent a modest car, nothing fancy We look for cheaper alternatives for stuff. We plan our own, didn't hire wedding planner It depends a lot of your partner. If say, your wife likes the lavish kind, sometimes, the husband need to give in 🙂

  2. Just for sharing, I got married in year 1999 and only spent RM8k+ for everything. with the saving in weeding expenses, both of us managed to put the downpayment for 2 houses.

      1. We opt for moderate weeding, temperary staying in parents’ house after weeding, invite closed friends and relatives only for wedding dinner. No diamond ring (normal gold wedding rings only), no honeymoon and basic package of weeding album. Invested in small properties with the 10% downpayment, the money was the saving over the years when still single, since didnt spent much in the weeding, so still have the fund put it as the downpayment. my opinion is not to spend too much in the weeding, althougth may impress others but at the end of it, still the couples who would be suffering in financial. It is not saying that cant have honeymoon or diamond ring but this can be done/purchased later after the investment havest fruits.

        1. Oh my KY absolutely true. I agreed with you – totally. Esp on this – “althougth may impress others but at the end of it, still the couples who would be suffering in financial. It is not saying that cant have honeymoon or diamond ring but this can be done/purchased later after the investment havest fruits.”

          Again, it depends a lot on partner too. If both are like minded, as in your case, then it is awesome. I went for local honeymoon and basic wedding package too last year. We don’t need to impress people really, as long as both parties and families are happy.

  3. Good article. 🙂

    Is there a typo on the sentence which reads, ” I think he is happily married man plus his monthly commitment of RM800.”?

    Shouldn’t it be RM8,000 instead of RM800 as RM800 is a small monthly commitment nowadays?

    1. Hi Steve, thanks. It is 800 x 12 x 15 years = 144k. 44k of interest for nothing. Imagine marriage debt that can only be settled after his kids is in their teens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *