Avoiding market crash is possible when from the beginning you lay out your strategies, calculate your risks and plan your exit. Same thing with money marital problem that you can evade it if only you started things right. But when do you actually start? One of the best times probably is before getting married.
Should it be a formal beginning? Should you open a joint account like how some bf/gf couples do? Short answer is no, but let me expound it.
We’re not saying that opening a joint account for bf/gf couples are bad per se. There’s a reason why it’s possible and legal as it works for some couples who had better finance handling by opening a joint account even before they get married. Maturity plays a big role though for this kind of set up to succeed. But the problem is, most of us overestimate our maturity not just in handling relationships but also in managing our finances. And this reality makes having a joint bank account before marriage a dangerous move. Rather than helping couples strengthen their bond, sometimes, joint accounts are what ignite its destruction.
Though some would argue that maybe those who split up due to money problems are not meant to be together in the first place so it’s unfair to blame the joint account and the trust issues it causes for their break up. That’s a fair logic. Although, we should also consider that there are a lot of married couples who were able to fix their finance woes at the latter part of their married life and the only thing they held on to during their crisis is their respect to the sacrament of marriage and their love for each other. For the former scenario, maybe love was truly present but the marriage was not yet there so it is easier for them to break up and not truly being able to test their relationship limits only because of a miscalculation of trust and maturity between them while opening a joint account “prematurely”.
But the example above should not prevent couples to start working on having better finance management during their dating period. Men, in our culture, are the ones expected to pay the bills most of the times. But once the couple becomes steady and exclusively dating, they must start planning and discussing about their expenses. Communication is one important key. They must set expectations early on so that disappointments are avoided. They should not fall into the trap of the myth of “not talking about money because it’s bad” because the more they avoid discussing it, the more possibility for them of having conflicts about their finances. They also need to start sharing the bills but not too strict on that aspect to the point of being selfish. Each must learn to give the bigger share when the other party is short of budget and it must be done wholeheartedly. It’s a practice of give and take without the “panunumbat” factor even before the couple gets married.
And rather than opening a joint bank account, couples can consider opening separate individual accounts while both of them play the guardian role of each other. Disciplining themselves to regularly save for their future plans while having a trusted partner to watch and guide them will both benefit their emotional and psychological maturity as a couple. Not mentioning that such practice would help build up their savings faster. With the money that they have, they can now start building their emergency funds, save for their wedding expenses, get insured and start to invest. And once they tie the knot, that’s the best start to build a financial portfolio together and even as early as possible, they can work on doing their estate planning (which will be our next topic).
They also can bond and learn together by attending seminars about financial planning, talk to professional investment advisors, research online about the different investment options and then buy and read books about money management. These activities will make wise handling of money a part of their daily lives and will transform them into good steward of the blessings and graces they are getting for their soon to be children and also for their own future because there’s always a big chance that a couple that invests together, will retire together, and comfortably.