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Managing money is both exciting and challenging for newly-weds. Turn financially smart. Sundari Jagathesan tells how.

As newly-weds you’d have started your life journey together, leaving behind the din, the clutter, the sweet smell of flowers and food, the ruckus created by laughter and chatter, the feel of new clothes, the glitter of costly jewels – in short, all the features of any Indian marriage. The cozy life of togetherness has begun.

But slowly the day-to-day chores, hurry-burries and nitty-gritties manage to bring you back to reality. Though marriages are made in Heaven, the expenses are borne on Earth, right?

You will be teeming with ideas to implement but with little or no prior experience. And this is the time most couples fall into the trap of money mistakes. Here are five tips for newly-weds to turn financially smart, says Sundari Jagathesan.

  1. Try and avoid debt

In your eagerness to enjoy life to the full, newly-weds overvault and buy expensive cars, TVs, mobiles and plan exotic holidays, give each other costly gifts… all using credit cards or personal loans. But many young couples struggle for a good number of years to free themselves from the shackles of their loans taken during the initial days. It is better to live within your means and avoid debt.

2. Give priority to close existing loans

It is better to start the new life with a clean slate, but this may not always be possible. The next best thing will be to come clean about the existing debts and close the expensive loans which drain your income. Make a joint effort to close debts because any outstanding debt will affect the credit score of both.

3. Important changes in your accounts

Many young couples are totally unaware of the practical problems that will arise if they don’t complete certain unavoidable chores at the earliest. Postponing them will only lead to confusions and last minute tensions. Enumerate such chores and tick them off. Effect changes, if any, in Name/Address/KYC/Locker etc. and open new/ joint bank accounts for ease of operation. Introduce the name of the spouse as beneficiary in assets and also modify Life Insurance and Health Insurance policies suitably.

 4. Budget and review

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” goes the adage. Planning together can be a fun activity which also provides insight into the money habits of each other. There are couples who earn in lakhs but fail to save even 10% of it. If you have no knowledge of approximate expenses under each head like rent, food, EMI etc., write down the expenses for two months and arrive at the average.  Plan, spend and save after detailed discussions with each other. Use phone apps or Excel or a notebook to note the income and expenses. Identify the leaks and try to plug them next month. Initial days will have teething problems but going forward, the system will stabilise and you will have a clear road map.

5. Collaborate on managing your finance

It is very common for new couples to slip into misunderstandings and arguments. Good communication and flexibility will go a long way in handling money problems. It is better to have open conversations without hiding any financial skeletons in the closet. It is beneficial to discuss higher studies, career goals, job change and money habits. Identify each other’s attitude towards money and try to align. Save at least 10% of your income; create an Emergency Fund; still be ready to face tough times together.

For those who learn to manage money together, life is truly a bed of roses because as David Bach says “Smart Couple Finish Rich”.

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