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Pic: www.picstopin.comPic: www.picstopin.comGETTING married is an exciting first step into a new era of adulthood. What was once ‘you and I’ is now ‘we’  and there is just so much to plan for the rest of your lives. Congratulations on this big step!

It's important to see your life together as a partnership where the two of you work together to overcome obstacles and achieve happiness.

One of the most important factors that many newlywed couples will have to deal with is how the both of you will be handling your finances from now on.

If you're uncertain where to start, here are some tips to help you out.

Talk about your finances

If you haven't already discussed how the two of you will manage your finances before the wedding, now is the best time to do it.

Make a list of all your incomes, assets and debts, which include credit cards and loans. Compare your spending habits and decide where your priorities lie. It is crucial to be honest as lies; especially those regarding money can be highly damaging to a marriage.

Set common goals

Whether it’s buying a home or settling your debts; saving for your future children's education or retirement plans; or even having an exotic holiday, set the goals both of you want to achieve together.

Figure out what you can realistically afford and then make a disciplined habit of saving. If necessary, look into making automatic deposits from your bank account to your designated saving account to help keep you on track.

Decide on joint or separate bank accounts

Every person has their own financial habits, and it is definitely something to consider when it comes to setting up a bank account.

A joint bank account is ideal for common goals, but if you would like to each handle your own expenses, then it would be best to get separate bank accounts. Whatever your decision, be honest and clear about what is going on with your finances, so that you are both aware of how your money is being used.

Design and track your budget

Once you have set your priorities when it comes to your finances, it's time to plan out your daily expenditure such groceries, petrol, utility bills, household items or even eating out and entertainment nights.

Decide on who will be the one paying and if anything needs to be cut down or reapportioned. Don't forget to consider unexpected or irregular expenses, such as car maintenance or doctor's appointments. This may take some time to fine tune, but don't be disheartened and keep working on it.

Don't overspend

It's easy to believe that two people who live together can live as cheaply as one. Combining your household incomes and expenses can save you money on rent, home-cooked meals and even transportation if you share a car but do keep track of where everything is going.

A new method that couples are currently employing is the ‘live on one salary’ system. Use only one salary to sustain the both of you and save the other. Saving half your incomes will get you on track for both child-rearing and retirement faster than any other method.

Avoid debt

There is nothing more damaging to a marriage than being in overburdened with debt. Taking on ‘necessary’ debt (cars, loans) is one thing but racking up credit card debt and personal loans can be problematic. If you must take on unsecured debt; ensure that you will be able to pay for it without jeopardising your savings.

Insurance and Wills

Review, update and even look into purchasing different types of insurance, including life and health insurance to help protect your loved ones. Some insurance coverage may be provided by your employer, so check your current coverage to see where you can cut cost and avoid unnecessary coverage.

For example, it may be cheaper to be on your spouse's health insurance than to pay for your own. Life insurance can help replace a lost income and eliminate debts, which will help surviving family members to maintain their lifestyle.

Also, be sure to change your will upon marriage or if you haven’t written one yet; it’s time you do. The position of ownership and legacy changes upon marriage so ensure you have planned where your assets will go should the untoward happen early.

Understand that you're both responsible for the finances within your household and that it is important that you work on it together.

No matter which one of you is better at money-management, it's still important to discuss about money matters with the other. Being open and honest is the best way to handling money as a new couple.





* This article brought to you by RinggitPlus.com. We believe all Malaysians should have access to free, accurate and independent personal finance information.