When you are married, your financial status is no longer yours alone. It is tied to your family, your partner and your kids. The transition from being a single person to a married person can take some getting used to, especially when it comes to managing finances. You and your partner are now a team working together to provide what’s best for the family. Managing money as a married woman is not just about protecting your financial rights. In fact, it is also about accelerating your financial position as a couple.
An annual survey by consulting firm Mercer found that Singapore offers the highest quality of life in Asia. And a survey by financial comparison site GoBear revealed that 45 per cent of Singaporeans admitted they did not have enough savings to survive for half a year. Of this, 21 per cent said they “couldn’t live beyond a month” if they lose their job.
GoBear has also found that 41 per cent of Singaporeans are not optimistic about their financial future. Behavioural finance and market psychology expert Wong Kon How believes this is influenced by the “pressure to keep up appearances” and “becoming accustomed to a certain quality of life”.
The top source of stress for most Singaporeans is money. This was reported in a survey conducted by investment management firm, BlackRock, last year. Also, those born between 1981 to 1996 are especially overwhelmed by the idea of savings and retirement. Researchers suggest this could be due to concerns like providing for ageing parents and improving their immediate quality of life.
Any Time Is A Good Time For Financial Freedom
Any time is a good time to take a closer look at your financial health. Helen Baker, a financial advisor and author of On Your Own Two Feet: Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence, knows what it’s like to summon up the courage to take a good hard look at your finances, manage money as a married woman, and start again after her four-year marriage abruptly ended.
The benefit of being married is you get economies of scale – you have one house, one bill, and two incomes. This is the time to accelerate your financial positionHelen Baker, financial advisor and author of On Your Own Two Feet: Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence
“You can always see an expert to look through your finances, and if they are in good shape, that will give you peace of mind. If you aren’t in a (positive) financial position, you have the opportunity to make changes and to become financially healthy.”
4 Financial Tips Every Married Woman Should Know
“The benefit of being married is you get economies of scale – you have one house, one bill, and two incomes. This is the time to accelerate your financial position,” Helen says.
John Dasson, associate wealth advisory director at Financial Alliance adds, “This economy of scale can help in ramping up a family’s financial position. But there are also costly pitfalls that should be avoided.”
That said, it is crucial to discuss finances in a transparent manner. Both parties should be involved in financial decisions – even if one is earning more than the other. John recommends that you look into the following factors when managing money:
Having a property in joint names can be easier on the wallet as you can use both incomes to qualify for a loan, says John.
Also, you can use both spouses’ CPF Ordinary Accounts to pay part of the down payment and monthly repayments. But, if you purchase a subsequent investment property, you will incur the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty fee. Having one property under each spouse can save on that tax. However, there are pros and cons, and implications in the event of a separation, he adds.
Do up an Estate Plan
This begins with a will that determines how you want your estate – money, property and various assets – to be distributed.
“This is vital especially if you have young children as it can state who you wish to be the guardian of your children in the event both spouses pass away,” says John. Most people don’t plan this. When something happens to them, their remaining family members are left to pick up the pieces.
Monitor your Net Worth
What you have set up before you were married should be updated to help you plan for retirement.
Get Coverage for Death
Make sure liabilities like a house mortgage are covered with life insurance. This is important because if the spouse who earns much more dies, the surviving one may not be able to sustain repayments and meet the financial needs of raising children if any.
Text: bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting: Cherrie Lim & Simone Wu / Photo: 123RF.COM