Wedding Made Easy | Marriage & Money
2017-09-20


Making sense of the role finances play in the institution called Marriage. By Joseph Tan, lead financial advisor, ACQUITY

Barter trade was invented back around 6,000 B.C, where one could exchange what one wanted for what someone else did not want. It took civilization another 5,400 years to 600 B.C. before money was invented as a means to exchange possessions fairly. Money was always intended to be a medium for fulfilling our dreams, but never as a replacement for them. This understanding is where we start shedding light on the relationship between money, marriage and love.

Love describes the romantic flavour of the relationship between two people. Marriage is a physical co-operation between the same two people to build a domestic institution. Money will be the medium to sustain the mental synergy (love) and the practical survivability (marriage) of the couple. I know it sounds like I am describing the ingredients for a recipe!

Singapore is at the forefront of globalization where the advent of technology and a high literacy rate creates a melting pot of fast-changing opinions and cross-merging perspectives. Gender roles are evolving and acceptable values are going through a revolution; the yardstick by which men and women value each other has changed and the goalposts of matrimonial bliss have shifted.

There used to be a time when we could all just use emotional receptors to gauge the suitability of our potential spouses. Gone are the days when cooking skills and career trajectories were the important benchmarks of domestic success.

Unfortunately, we can no longer simply just fall in love, get married and have children. There are so many considerations and concerns Singaporeans should have before we tie the knot: wedding and property costs, living space and arrangements with work schedule if children are born, etc.

All these changes simply exist to serve as a prelude of what is to come: that Singaporeans will become ever-more sophisticated in the global arena and we will be more selective in choosing the life partner we decide to build a life with. Is that an essential evolution for our survival? Some might disagree but we must ready ourselves for a tidal wave of change as the decade comes to an end.

The very concept of Love has its hands in emotions and rationality; some people fall in love after three days and some after three years. No matter the length of time we take to dedicate our lives to that special someone, the endeavor deserves an equal chance to succeed and last until the end.

Marriage is but a binding contract that proves the legality of that love, not the authenticity of those feelings. It is true that couples do not need to register their relationship with the authorities to satisfy their emotional urges. But it is also very true how that registration gives an opportunity for couples to build a foundation that writes a deep signature to their love for each other.

Money is therefore the medium for translating that relationship into something physical and intrinsically unique for the couple: buying the right matrimonial home to cultivate a family (which doubles as an investment in real estate with combined resources) and bringing up a child while educating him or her in a legitimate institution.

Life is a mish mash of randomness and order colliding in every direction, every single day. When it comes to the idea of Love and Marriage, Money conveniently becomes a control factor to balance those synergies. We fall in love with our heart, but we should marry with our head. Money should not be the reason for relationships to form or break down; it should be the tool to hold things together.

The only gap I can think of is the misuse of money due to misinformation. The financial world is one wrought with jargon and hearsay, “experts” pertaining to know the future and giving rule-of-thumbs. Financial planning is really just a mentality and a standard set of behavioral rules to follow. Find that mental route with your partner and have a discussion with your competent and certified financial adviser who truly has your interests at heart, and paint that vision of happiness together.