Financial Planning Lessons for American Couples, Indian Couples

With booming Institutional Credit Market in India, working wives and Modern Living, the Financial Planning Lessons shared in the Book seem to apply to Young Couples in India as well.

A financial planner for 26 years, Jeff Motske, has Financial Planning lessons for American couples. Motske, who spent all these years helping couples navigate one of their most contentious and emotional issues: Money; can have some Financial Planning lessons for Indian Couples as well (couples in India). This is not his claim though. The new book, which came in March this year, is written keeping in view couples in America and American households. It’s I who thinks that the lessons in the book can apply to Indian households as well.

The book, titled The Couple’s Guide to Financial Compatibility
is sees money as a major reason for fights between couples.

That’s why every aspect of it (money’s), be it investing, saving, spending needs to be managed efficiently, says Motske. So that there’s no heartburn between the partners.

What lessons the book has for couples … in America… and in India

  • Finances can break relationships.

I will not say the bitterness emanating from financial matters, are a major reason for ending marriages in India; but still it can result in a lot of stress for the partners in marriage. That apart, with the increase in households with financially independent wife; India is surely moving towards American mindset about money. Women in India have also started questioning men about finances; to the extent that they want to know each other intimately — financially speaking.

  • According to Motske, both people (husband or wife or partners) need to be involved in the finances, whether they like it or not.

This is particularly of importance to India, where Men till recently were seen as the one managing the financial matters in the family. But not any more. With Women contributing to the household income and co-financial assets of the family, the man-only attitude will not work any further. Like it or not, when an Indian man uses his wife’s money to buy some financial asset to run the household, then he will have to discuss the financial decisions as well. This means he has to take such financial decisions by taking into confidence his wife.

  • There’s so much hiding. Hiding of debt. Hiding of spending.” says the author

Does this apply to India as well. Motske: Although the hiding may not be that intensive, but going by the booming institutional credit in India, hidden debt can be a real issue with some young couples.

Does that mean Indian men with working wives, becoming transparent wrt their debts, finances as well? I think it does point to that.

The book says that couples who choose not to talk about money are more likely to fight over other issues (sensitive topics about which they do talk).  It leads to really stressful relationships.

Financial discord is among the largest causes of divorce in America. The same can’t be said for India, as Financial freedom for women is relatively new trend in India. According to the author, the couples in US who fight about finances once a week are 37 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who rarely argue about finances. Those who fight daily are 69 percent more likely to get divorced compared to couples who rarely fight about money.

Couples in America are not able to maintain a balance between spending and saving. With easy credit at their disposal, average credit card debt per household is around $1500. This author says is a major reason of household discord.

The book may had been written for American readers, but it seems to apply to Modern India as well.