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Grow your money

February 12, 2020

I do, we plan: Financial planning tips from real-life married couples

Get some financial tips from these married couples.

They say future happiness is largely determined by one’s choice of a life partner. In sickness and in health, in times of difficulty and in seasons of prosperity, there is wisdom in a lifetime partnership anchored on sensible money values.

Whether in their honeymoon phase or already in domestic bliss, these married couples share with us the joys and challenges of managing their finances while building a life together. Though communication remains key, their stories show the many paths leading to financial security – of how it is a journey rather than a destination.

 
Renee and Chester
Married 1 year and 3 months

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple.

    A: We have separate bank / investment accounts but we also have a joint one. He takes care of household expenses such as food (market), utilities, helper’s salary, etc. except groceries.


  • QWhat are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: Communication is key and do what works for you as a couple. It helps to have a partner who shares the same values in handling finances. 

Apple and Jeremy
Married 2 years

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple.

    A: My wife does most of the budgeting. We discuss and agree upon all our expenses, both for needs & wants. We also maximize sale promos to get the best value for our money. Our groceries are bought in bulk for maximum savings. Card bills are always paid in full to prevent finance charges.

  • QSo far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: It is important to regularly discuss financial matters to ensure proper management and to prevent misunderstandings because of money.

Carla and Kim
Married 3 years

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple.

    A: Since we are a double income household, we manage our finances separately. But we do discuss about our shared financial goals and responsibilities as a family (i.e. who takes care of paying what, what are our big purchases and how do we fund it jointly, managing our cash flow, etc.) and align on expectations from each other.

  • Q:  Did it change? How so?

    A: In a way, yes and no.


    Yes because being married comes with additional financial obligations and I had to be more diligent with how I manage my money. When I was single, I had budgets and goals but I have learned from my husband to constantly track my expenses, monitor my cash flow, and be more conscientious with where my money goes.

    No because we still keep our money separate so I still have the freedom to spend my money how I choose (after taking care of our shared financial obligations of course). Also, our current set-up is very different from how my parents managed their finances (the wife managing every penny) which was a breath of fresh air for me.

  • Q: So far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: Money values should be the same. It helps that we are both conscientious with our finances and we share the same views on budgeting, saving, and investing.

    Communicate and align. If there is a big purchase or a major financial obligation, we ensure that we discuss it before making a decision. We also assign roles – example: my husband takes care of paying our bills (because I suck at paying on time) and anything that’s car-related (maintenance checks, etc), while I take care of paying anything house-related (food, groceries, cleaning, etc.). In terms of big purchases, we discuss how much each one pays (ex. real estate we split the cost 50-50, for the car it’s 70-30)

    Create shared financial goals. This develops our bond as a couple because it gives purpose to where the money we earn is going. Working towards one goal also helps us be more diligent with how we spend our money.

    Make room for fun money. Our set-up of having separate finances allowed us the freedom to spend on things that we want without having to discuss everything with each other. For us, as long as we have covered our financial obligations, we can spend on anything we want - be it travel, gifts to family members, hobbies, passion projects, donations, etc.

Dred and Caloy
Married 3 years

  • QPlease describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple.

    A: We are handling our bank accounts separately but we share the expenses. Though we have our rakets to generate cash, we make sure to pay our obligations first. Since we are more financially literate, we can easily manage our expenses and make sure that we will set aside specific amounts for insurance, investment, and savings.

    I believe in the saying that “A happy wife is a happy life.” Therefore, I should be pay for most of the rentals and bills and provide cash as needed. A side note: My wife doesn’t want to handle my payroll ATM card as she is always thinking that I can easily transfer money to my other accounts. LOLS!

  • Q: Did it change? How so?

    A: We respect each other’s privacy but we are always transparent. So my wife can freely view my bank accounts and vice versa. I think the better word is that we have grown in terms of how we allocate and budget our needs and wants. Now that we have a daughter, our personal likings has taken a back seat. All her needs must be given first before we save and spend for ourselves.  

  • Q: So far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: Since we are both in the insurance industry, financial planning is a topic we both feel passionate about. Here are some of the lessons that we even share to our relatives:

    • Budgeting is helpful. In fact, I learned one budgeting habit from my mother - to write down all expenses in a small notebook.
    • Being in a sandwich generation – where we have to take on the financial obligations of both our parents and our own family – should stop. Let’s invest for the future.
    • Use cash instead of credit. It is more painful to use cash so you will surely lessen vanity purchases.
    • Just bring and keep enough cash in your wallet.
    • Think 5 to 10 times before purchasing a want or luxury item.
    • Good debt is okay as long as it doesn’t affect your regular cash flow and expenses.
Ila and Ed
Married 3 years

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple.

    A: We’re both working so we have the option to have our own money while also having a separate pool for our “couple budget”. The couple budget is about 30% of our respective monthly salaries and funds for all household expenses, like electricity, groceries, salary for household help, house maintenance, gas, etc.

    My husband keeps track of our expenses thru a mobile app “Spending” while I’m the one who physically keeps the money. That way, we are both aware of all our disbursements. About 40% goes direct to savings (with a separate emergency fund) and investments.

    Whatever money we have left goes to our respective personal bank accounts. We can then spend it whatever way we want (fun fund, additional investments, gifts to each other, drinks with friends, etc) but we consult each other for any big purchases. This lets us manage our spending without feeling constrained.

    Apart from budgeting, we also try to be smarter with how we spend our money. We still use our old car, we don’t upgrade our phones unless it comes free with our plan and we try to have more home-cooked meals instead of eating out all the time (cheaper AND healthier). Also, instead of going out to clubs with friends and family, we’ve been hosting dinners and game nights at our home. It gives us a chance to spend quality time with loved ones without having to shell out big bucks.

  • Q: Did it change? How so?

    A: Even before we were married, we’ve always had a couple budget. We needed to do that because we’re both major spenders and had to find a way to get a better grasp of our finances. The only difference is that the amount we contribute now is bigger and there are more things to look after.

    Also, now that we have our own household help, we’ve been trying to teach them how to handle their finances too. We’ve helped them open a bank account and get side hustles so that they have other sources of income. We are also trying to instill in them the importance of putting aside a certain amount for savings instead of just sending their entire salary to their families at home.

  • Q: So far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: You don’t need a lot of things to have a good life.

    And, similar to everything else in marriage, communication and compromise is key to get your finances in order.

Del and Mark
Married 11 years

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple.

    A: Aside from our joint account, we each have our own savings and other monetary instruments.

  • Q: Did it change? How so?

    A: At first, we tried the traditional way of the wife handling the money kaya lang he feels restricted since he has been his family’s breadwinner and is still helping them in some way. I myself have been helping my family with my Mom and Lolo’s medication and my brother’s education. Kaya we decided to have our own savings and have a separate joint account instead.

  • Q: So far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: It’s hard to handle money especially when you’re spending them not only for your own family. You just have to have rules in place para clear cut ang guidelines at walang arguments o samaan ng loob. But in case di maiiwasan, we always have to think of the brighter side na at least you have money to argue about and that love should always win over money. :)
Beron and Albert
Married 12 years

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple

    A: We manage our finances jointly by following this to the letter:
    • We start with a plan – classified under short, medium, and long term. We list it down every start of the year
    • Understanding our current financial position is key. We keep a list of our SALNs and budget plan
    • We prioritize our goals or plans according to importance
    • We then find the right instrument to match these goals or plans. For long-term plans such as retirement, it’s best to put it in long term instruments like stocks, equities, Mutual Funds. For protection - the very basic financial need - we make sure we maximize the coverage available to us
    • We do periodic reviews of the plans and budgets on a monthly basis. We do keep an Excel file of our finances. Discussing expenses, even gifts, are important and should be part of the budget
  • Q: Did it change? How so?

    A: The method? Not quite. We’ve been doing this for the past 10 years. But doing so helped us understand the inflows and outflows of our finances. It even made us grow more as a person and as a couple.

  • Q: So far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: Communication is key. Discussing money matters in marriage is very important – as it should be at the onset of the relationship. Understand where each other is coming from, what are your hopes and dreams as an individual and as a couple are also important. Picture how you see yourself in your golden years.

    Visualization is very crucial. While saving for a rainy day is paramount, it is also nice once in a while that you both enjoy/ go out in the sun. This will give you both motivation to enjoy the ride.

    Challenges are part of every relationship. But if you have open communication, nothing will remain unresolved. It won’t escalate to something serious since you’re able to talk about them. Both must be onboard and be willing to do it together.

Lalie and Wilbert
Married 21 years

Have you been inspired by our couples and their financial planning game plan? Are you doing something different or quite similar?

  • Q: Please describe to us how you handle your money as a married couple

    A: We agreed to identify the regular expenses, against the unplanned ones. Since the regular expenses normally fall under the same month and same cost range, we more or less know whose income can cover which expense easier and more comfortably.

    For instance, during travel he pays for plane fare, while I pay for hotel accommodations; I pay for lunch, he pays for dinner. Also, our rule for credit card payables is that we only purchase items which we know we will be paying in cash and not in installment


  • Q: Did it change? 

    A: Nothing much has changed as it has been a smooth ride so far.

  • Q: So far, what are the lessons or realizations that you have learned about managing your money as a married couple?

    A: It would be good to communicate what works well for each individual and what doesn’t work anymore in the future. We also talk about the unforeseen expenses like movies, celebratory dinners, or expenses that need to be paid immediately like medical expenses etc.

    Since both of us are working, we both feel that we need to be responsible in budgeting our expenses. We help each other out if needed. I have been trained to be conscious of my spending and make sure that if I am a little over my regular expenses, I should be able to pay it with my own income.

    I also feel that since my husband enjoys taking care of our budget allocations, he prepares it, and we discuss who pays the larger part of the pie.

    So far, the arrangement feels comfortable. And it’s been 21 years. Why fix something that works?




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