The financial impact of getting married in Singapore can be huge. Let’s just say that what you’re going to bring your bae for breakfast in bed will be the least of your worries.
Marriage in Singapore usually goes hand in hand with the purchase of your first home and all the financial pain that goes with a mortgage.
In order to ensure that only sparks fly, not fur, here are six financial issues to discuss before you and your partner tie the knot.
Your accommodation options
If you, like most Singaporean couples, have been living with your respective parents before marriage, you will need to discuss your accommodation options before tying the knot.
Many couples decide to ballot for a BTO or resale flat before they get married. You will both need to decide how much property you can afford to buy, who’s going to pay for what fraction of the home, which area to live in (considering factors such as proximity to work and to your parents’ place) and whether you prefer completed property or can afford to wait for a BTO/condo development to be built.
You also need to discuss your renovation plans and how much you’re willing to spend. If our spouse wants to transform your flat into a designer palace, while you just want to get everything from Ikea, you’ll have to find a compromise.
Of course, buying a home isn’t your only option. Some couples opt to live with one set of parents for a period of time or indefinitely, while others might decide to rent.
What will happen if you have kids
Assuming children are a part of your future, you want to know what impact this will have on either of your careers, and whether childcare will be necessary.
If one of you is going to stay home and look after the child for a number of years, this has to be decided ahead of time. One or both of you might also choose to work in a less demanding job in order to spend more time with the child.
Finally, you also want to be prepared for childcare costs if you don’t have parents who can look after the kid. Even families with a stay-at-home parent cannot be around the child 24/7, so work out these alternative arrangements ahead of time to avoid misunderstandings.
How you will divide living expenses
If, like most Singaporeans, marriage heralds the two of you living together for the first time, you will need to have a discussion about how your living expenses are going to be divided.
This is particularly pertinent if one of you earns a lot more than the other—you’ll have to decide whether you should split the grocery, petrol and utilities bill 50-50, or whether each of you will be in charge of paying for different things and so on.
Obligations to both sets of parents
When you marry someone, you often inherit the burden of looking after their family. If that’s the case for you and your partner, you’ll want to discuss your obligations to both sets of parents.
Your considerations might include the amount of allowance to give each set of parents and who will pay for that. If one set of parents is looking after your child during the week, you might decide to have both of you make financial contributions to them.
In addition, the time may not yet have come, but you’ll also want to be mentally prepared for the day your parents need medical help, financial support to retire or to move in with you because they can no longer take care of themselves. Friction with in-laws can be very stressful, so just because you are happy to have your mother move in with you doesn’t mean your spouse will feel the same way.
Extent to which you will merge your finances
Many couples open a joint account to pay for shared expenses such as their first home even before marriage. It’s likely your marriage will result in a closer financial union, so discuss these issues so that nobody starts to feel resentful about the other freeloading.
You’ll want to decide how much each of you will contribute to your joint account, and what withdrawals are permitted from this account—just so your partner doesn’t use the funds in it to pay for his/her shopping sprees.
Scale of your wedding
In Singapore, where weddings can get scarily expensive with the average wedding reportedly costing between $30,000 to $50,000, you want to make sure your spouse doesn’t get a free pass to have the wedding of his/her dreams, otherwise those tears you cry as you walk down the aisle won’t be of joy.
It’s a good idea to come up with an all-inclusive budget before your wedding to ensure you don’t spend more than you’re comfortable with.
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