Gorgeous bride, happy groom, a beautifully-decorated hall full of fresh flowers and admiring guests – weddings sure are special, life-changing events!
But beyond the clichéd stuff, marriage is a lot more than just the burning passion to be together. It involves all sorts of practical matters, ranging from financial ones, to healthcare, retirement, and even what happens after either one of you passes on.
In this article, we'll let you in one of the secrets to a stable, lasting marriage: Planning. With this knowledge, you'll be able to make more informed decisions in your quest for a successful union.
'I Do' agree to plan and adapt together
Meet Linda and Jonathan, a typical young Singaporean couple in their mid-20s, about to get married and ready to embark on the journey of building a home together.
The realities of sharing their lives (and combined incomes), however, sank in the moment they started house-hunting.
There were so many things to discuss and compromise on. For instance, Linda wanted a BTO in a quiet estate, but Jonathan was all for a resale flat close to his family and his favourite shops and amenities.
They were also at odds as to whether or not they should pool their finances in a joint account in order to meet their housing payments.
Important for married couple to have joint bank account
Can I afford that 4-room BTO flat?
If you're a young couple like Linda and Jonathan, you're probably going through a similar experience. In addition to the usual – such as setting up a joint account, or financing a flat – you might want to plan for unexpected circumstances as well.
For instance: How do you ensure that you spouse is still able to finance the home loan by himself or herself, if you suddenly find yourself unable to contribute your share?
Well, that's where the Home Protection Scheme (HPS) comes in.
As a mortgage-reducing insurance, HPS protects you and your loved ones from losing your HDB flat up to the insured sum in the event of the insured's death, terminal illness or total permanent disability. It also insures you up to the age of 65 or until housing loans are paid up, whichever is earlier.
Do note, however, that HPS only covers HDB flats. If you own a different type of property and are not covered under HPS, you may want to consider getting a similar mortgage-reducing insurance instead.
Home Protection Scheme Infographics
Are you ready 'for worse'?
The wedding vows contain this famous line: "I promise to love you, in sickness, or in health…"
It sounds romantic, doesn't it? But the reality is that major illness bears a significant burden on your spouse, who would have to double down as a caretaker and pillar of strength. Financial obligations may turn into a major source of stress, and the time and energy required to care for a patient can be very draining indeed.
It may all seem unpleasant to think about (especially when you're about to tie the knot), but planning can help to prepare you 'for worse', at least in terms of your finances.
If you're a Singaporean couple like Linda and Jonathan, you're covered under MediShield Life. MediShield Life is an individual basic medical insurance scheme that protects all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents against large medical bills for life, regardless of age or health conditions. If you wish to, you have the option of purchasing an Integrated Shield Plan, which offers additional private insurance coverage at a higher premium.
In addition, the Dependants' Protection Scheme covers all members for a maximum sum of $46,000 (up to 60 years old), payable to insured members or their families in the event of death, terminal illness and total permanent disability. Upon reaching 21 years of age, a DPS cover will automatically be extended to you when you make your first CPF working contribution. Coverage is subject to you being in good health.
What if you become seriously ill
Steadynomics 101: Tips to get healthcare ready
Till death do us part…or do we really?
One of the things that attracted Linda to Jonathan was his independence, the result of having to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the family when his father passed away unexpectedly in his early 40s.
Jonathan's past also sparked a conversation about their joint assets and wills upon marriage. In particular, Jonathan was adamant that they each made independent decisions on how they wished to split their assets in the event of death.
CPF monies are not covered by a will and do not form the estate. This is to protect the monies from debtors and ensure that your beneficiaries have something to fall back on.
Additionally, it is worth noting that if a CPF Nomination is not made, your monies will be distributed by the Public Trustee's Office (PTO) to your family members according to the intestacy/inheritance laws (Note: The PTO charges an administration fee to distribute CPF monies)
As such, Jonathan also insisted that they each make a CPF Nomination on top of making a will.
Making a nomination is straightforward – simply make an appointment and head down to the nearest CPF Service Centre. There, you can fill in a form in the presence of two CPF staff, who will act as witnesses.
You should always review your nomination (and update it if necessary) when your circumstances change, for example, birth of a child or death of a nominee.
#ICanAdult for a lifetime and beyond with you
As we mentioned earlier, marriage is about planning. Just like Linda and Jonathan, we've shown you how to plan for some of the possible scenarios that have the potential to greatly impact your future together.
Of course, there are many other ways you can 'adult' and support your partner smartly and effectively, through thick and thin – such as being there for each other, making compromises, sharing burdens (even when it comes to the mundane, everyday stuff like household chores) and so on.
One thing's for sure, with the right 'adulting' mindset, we're confident that you are one step closer to making the most of it with the love of your life.
Check out the #ICanAdult hashtag and our Instagram page for more bite-sized financial tips!
Information accurate as at 28/4/2017.