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It's all about money, Honey!

Do couples have a difference of opinion when it comes to moolah matters? Shagun Dayal explores... Can money make or break marriage?

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 10:42 IST

While browsing through a stack of self help books in my favourite store, I was drawn to a couple of titles: First Comes Love, Then Comes Money, Money Harmony: Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Relationships, How to Win at Money Without Losing at Love, Money and Marriage: Making It Work Together and the scintillating list got blurred as I craned my neck to the topmost bible for couples.

The money management flyers were actually selling like hot plum cakes as I saw my recently betrothed pal snuggling a Till Debt Do Us Part: Marriage, Money, and How to Talk About It. She was not the sole admirer as I noticed another middle-aged gentleman frantically flipping through another such guide.

"But I thought you would be more concerned about your trousseau, culinary skills upgradation and your life together", I quizzed later in the evening. "Yeah it was all fine till the courtship, but now that we are engaged we need to pinch money for a better future", she sighed sans any pre-marital zing. She felt that her beau was on a splurge spree ever since it got official. Now, he wants a European tour on a cruise and will be practically scraping all his past savings for a grandiose honeymoon.

Eeeks. Creaks were already showing. So, couples do have a difference of opinion when it comes to moolah matters. And it seems money is the cardinal issue. This was validated by Smartmoney.com which claims that "70 per cent of couples talk about money on a weekly basis." The 'United we stand, divided we bank' approach was shaking the edifice of many relationships.

Mohit, my well placed engineer friend felt that as soon as her wife would hear the word 'pay day', she would run to invest the booty. But alas his money usually got invested in chunky diamonds and gold jewellery. "I want to have a comfortable lifestyle. If I think of using that money to pay EMI's for our own house, then it's a waste, but adding those vain elements is smart work."

"For how long can we live in a rented accommodation, we need to tie these loose ends," he further added.

Here researchers say that the right approach is 'We both spend, but on different things. Let's budget.' The blame game of "you are a spender and I am a saver can be lethal."

Ashok Sahni, is a part-time stock broker. He has a well paying job but dabbles in shares and bonds. He frequently burns his fingers in not-so-smart-inventing. He is a risk taker. Though there is a smattering of windfall gains but some wrong moves wreak havoc too. The incessant tirade of his wife doesn't help. Ambika Mehra, a financial consultant with MNC suggests that one must sit down and talk about their investment goals and time frames.

She says, "Whatever your investment choices, review your investments together at least once a year and make sure that, overall, your portfolios balance each other out." She feels that if he likes the risk factor then he must but with a small chunk of money. "Talk" is the key word.

My friend Meera had a different take. She is financially independent but believes in the philosophy of "My money is my money and your money is my money". Now, I guess this is surely an issue for discord.

Consultants suggest that the required mode is "It's yours, mine and ours." One must have the space and personal funds for their own disposal, but joint funds is always a good idea for healthy relationships.

These are just trivial flaws that can be ironed out with some wit, healthy conversation and sensitivity. They say money can't buy happiness. Sit back and ponder. It just can't. Then why crib?

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 18:51 IST