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Financial Aspects Of Marriage: What A Woman Needs To Know
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Marriage, without doubt, is one of the biggest events in everybody’s life. It is a life-changing experience in many ways for both the man and the woman – especially the woman.
I’m stressing on the `women’ theme here because in most cultures across the world, the women usually leaves her parental home (or wherever she is staying) to be with her husband. Traditionally, she takes on her husband’s name as well
In the Indian context especially, there are a whole lot of changes the bride has to adjust to, since marriage entails a change in her environment and she is virtually adopted by the family into which she marries.
She exchanges one set of guardians (her parents), for another (her husband and in-laws).
In the midst of all this change and adjustment, often the girl loses sight of the more important aspects of marriage, that is, the financial aspects.
In most cases the girl (and the boy, to a certain extent) have very little to do with the marriage as it is an alliance between families. The parents arrange everything.
However, my advice to every bride, irrespective of which income strata she belongs to, is that she should pay some attention to personal finances and how her future would look, financially speaking.
Personally, I would advocate financial independence for all women, but things being as they are and considering our patriarchal culture, this may not always be practicable. It is possible that the girl herself will not want to work and earn.
Whether you are working or not working, here are a few things that the girl has to know before she is married:
•How much does the prospective husband earn (believe me, there is nothing to be ashamed of in knowing this)
•Does he own property? If he has, would they be owned by him or would you be made joint owner?
•What about any property or assets you possess?
•What is your future husband’s spending habits?
Finances and money are major reasons for quarrels and fights between couples.
Whether you earn money or not, make sure that, you operate an individual bank account of your own, where you need to keep saving some money. I have seen cases where women (yes, even women from wealthy households) are left totally destitute if the marriage breaks down as they do not have any money, which they can call their own.
If your family is planning to give you gifts for your wedding, ask for cash instead and bank it. You never know when you may need it.
After marriage if you and your husband buy property, ensure that it is jointly held. If, by some unfortunate mischance, your husband dies then you can monetise that property.
Any life insurance policies taken out by your husband should have either your name or that of your children as the nominee. You also need to have access to all marital money so that you are not left suddenly impecunious, if for any reason, your marriage ends.
The reason for this specific advice to women is that, as things stand, they are the ones who stand to lose the most financially in the event of the demise of a marriage for whatever reason. In most cases the odds are heavily weighted against women as they are expected to be financially dependent on their husbands – or at least their roles are seen as subservient.
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