6 financial questions to ask before you say 'I do'

6 financial questions to ask before you say 'I do'
Before you tie the knot, you should check through this list and see if your finances are A-OK.
PHOTO: Reuters

Before you say "I Do"... Are his finances sound? Asking these questions can give you a good gauge.

DOES HE SPLURGE ALL - YES, ALL - THE TIME?

It's a yes if he routinely takes you to fancy restaurants, buys you designer goods and insists on paying each time.

It's not wrong for him to pamper you, but if he's doing it perpetually despite the fact that he isn't fi lthy rich, it's a sign that he doesn't manage his money well. If he enjoys footing the bill at group outings, that's trouble on a whole new level. It's one thing to be generous and another to use money to impress others.

Conversely, it's a good thing if his spending habits are consistent over time.

This means he doesn't need to scrimp and save at the end of each month to make up for splurging at the start of the month.

It's also a good thing if he's upfront about his budget and doesn't always want to have fancy meals or go on overseas trips.

DOES HE HAVE BIG PLANS HE CAN'T AFFORD?

It's a signifi cant problem if he has big plans for the future but no concrete steps to materialise them. For instance, he says he aims to own his first private property in three years, but has close to zero savings in his account.

Additionally, be wary of motherhood statements like "you should invest some of your money to grow your bank account" and best-practice statements like "investing in property is good in the long run". They are meaningless if he can't break things down into smaller, executable steps.

DOES HE MAKE BROAD CLAIMS ABOUT HIS SAVINGS?

We're not asking you to whip out the lie detector or trawl through his bank statements. All you need to do is ask how he manages his earnings and expenditure.

A common evasive answer would go: "Oh, I just put aside some money each month, pay my bills and give some money to my parents." This may sound like a decent answer, but a financially savvy and honest person would be able to give more specific details about what he does with his income.

If you're interested in knowing more, ask him about a time when he was broke or had to pay for a big-ticket item (like a car) on his own, and how he pulled himself out of that financial pit.

DOES HE HAVE ANY CLUE WHERE HIS MONEY GOES?

You don't have to date someone who is completely OCD about tracking his fi nances, but it's important that he should be able to manage his moolah in an organised way. He shouldn't be clueless about where his money goes, or let someone else (like his mother) handle his bills.

Find out how he tracks and manages his savings, expenditure and investments. Look out for structures or processes that help him to manage his money, such as Giro payments, separate savings accounts for diff erent purposes and the use of mobile apps like Billguard to monitor his credit-card expenditure. These are signs that he is proactive when it comes to money matters.

DOES HE HIDE HIS $10,000 WATCH BUYS FROM YOU?

This is a tricky one, because what is considered excessive can be relative.

However, one way to tell is to observe how often he buys things on impulse. If he has the tendency to go on a spending spree when he's in a bad mood, or when he's had a rough day at work, to "make things better", it's a red flag that money is his coping mechanism for problems.

Another red flag? If he refuses to take public transport or eat at foodcourts because it's simply "beneath his image" to do so.

DOES HE EVADE ALL TALK ABOUT INSURANCE?

Insurance isn't one of the sexiest conversation topics, but it is a polarising issue that can reveal how fi nancially savvy he is. Generally speaking, you can expect to hear one of the following answers:

1. "I'm completely against insurance and I don't want to give any money to insurance companies because they're out to scam me."

2. "I don't know and I don't really care. I think my parents bought insurance for me as a child."

3. "I've got my own insurance coverage, which includes…"

If his response is similar to No. 3, you have more room to talk about what type of policies he has and what his financial priorities are.

As a rule of thumb, insurance should be for financial coverage first, and if finances allow, they can form a part of your investment portfolio.

EXPERT SOURCE: Mark Cheng, editor of personal financial website, www.moneysmart.sg

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