If you have finished school, worked for a few years and is attached, your most likely plan next in the agenda is to get married. Marriage is going to be the most significant decision you will make. It will affect you mentally, emotionally and financially. It also happens to be a national interest to pro-create (legally of course)! Here are some tips on financial matters for which you should look out for if you have decided to tie the knot:
1.Determine what kind of residential flat you are going to stay together. This will depend on the property price both of you can afford. You can consider renting or even stay with parents if you feel that both of you are not prepared to make a large property purchase commitment initially. Do not be pressured by your peers. You do not need to follow the crowd to commit a large loan if you are not ready. It is OK to rent when you get married. Personally, I rented a 3 room HDB flat for 1 year after marriage as I couldn’t find a satisfactory place to buy.
2.You will need to borrow money if you are going to purchase a property. Make sure you understand the various schemes such as HDB Concessionary Loan vs Bank Loans.
3.If you are going to purchase a place to stay, you need to budget for renovation. If you are buying from the resale market, you will need to pay the Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) in additional to the downpayment amount which you are unable to take a loan on it.
4.You need to budget for the wedding celebration and honeymoon. To avoid misunderstanding, discuss this openly with your parents and ensure clear communication at all times. Asian parents like to have grand dinner wedding while young people prefer a quiet wedding. So you can see the need for good communication.
5.If you are going to hold a wedding dinner, you will have to pay the bill after the dinner has ended. If you are relying on red-packets (ang-paos) given to you by friends & relatives to help pay for the dinner, you may find some issues with it because you have not fully tally all the ang-paos. You may wish to pay the dinner using credit card. Usually multiple credit cards can be used. You can ask your parents to pay using credit cards first .You might not want to use your own credit card because you’ll need to ensure your credit limit is not breached if you are going for your honeymoon straightaway. Remember to ensure all credit call bills are settled within the one month grace period.
6.All the above require careful budgeting. If you do not have the money, you need to save or borrow or both. If you are going to borrow to pay that renovation, try to borrow from your own parents first (hopefully they can lend you interest free!). Even if your parents charge you interest (which I feel they shouldn’t), it is better to pay interest to your own parents than to the bank!
7.To save, you must ensure you have a high cash flow now. High cash flow can only be achieved either with high income and/or minimal expenditure. Initially in your career, it is not likely you have a high income. So your only way to have a high amount of money to save is to minimize your expenditure. Avoid luxury spending and ad-hoc holidays. Save up for the ultimate honeymoon holiday!
8.Many young people buy useless insurance when they graduate. Often they are approached by their fellow friends who became insurance agents. Perhaps due to lack of experience, the recommendations are often flawed. Make sure you avoid buying useless or junk insurance. At this stage, you shouldn’t buy saving plans like endowments and anticipated endowments because your immediate need is to save up for your marriage. Insurance is important but only those that are based on necessities. If in doubt, only consult professional financial planners who will not sell you another unnecessary product.
9. You may wish to postpone investments until you have fully satisfied that you have set aside sufficient budget for your marriage.
10. Finally, do spend some amount of money engaging a good professional wedding photographer. Years later, the only way your kids can know about your wedding is through photographs. Make sure you have both hard and softcopies of these photographs.
Have a good wedding!