A December to remember
Question: I am finally tying the knot with my girlfriend this December. Would you have any tips before I jump
into this new chapter in my life, I mean our life? Asked at “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service at www.personalfinance.ph, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook
Answer: While couples in the Philippines get married all-year round, many prefer December because of the generally cooler and more predictable weather.
But as you probably already know, marriage is more than just the white lace and promises. Marriage is after all a lifetime commitment, a till-death-do-you-part thing. And many symbols in a wedding attest to that commitment.
The wedding rings symbolize the unity, completeness and eternal love of the couple for one another. But in the Philippines, there is a lord of the wedding rings and it will serve you best to remember this through the saying, “Ang mga ina ang ilaw ng tahanan. Ang mga ama ang taga bayad lang ng kuryente.”
Intricately connected to the wedding rings are the wedding coins that symbolize the promise of the groom to provide for his family. That is why the ritual involves the groom handing the coins to his bride. But nowadays, husband and wife are both breadwinners. So, while income in the family, regardless of who earns it is absolute community property (i.e. equally shared by husband and wife), it does not stop them from agreeing to keep certain amounts for their personal whims. What is important is transparency in income, transparency being a close cousin of honesty.
Marriages provide an excellent opportunity for teamwork. The family budget need not be the sole responsibility of either the husband or the wife. While the family’s personal finance needs to be planned by both spouses, the execution can be divided according to field of expertise and/or natural disposition. Wives are naturally caring and meticulous. So, when it comes to overall family nutrition and health, wives will typically hold the budget. Husbands, on the other hand, are strong-willed and unbending. That is why the good Lord made them experts at saying yes to their wives.
Seriously, husbands are normally good in engineering and construction. Husbands get to decide on the type of family house. Wives turn the house into the family home. Husbands are great with transportation, which makes them the ideal spouse for deciding on the family car. Wives choose the all-important car color.
Equally important is the promise you will make to your future children. I am reminded of the time I was driving home one night. I chanced upon a seemingly married couple riding a motorcycle. Being the nosy person that I am, I noticed their faded black shoes with dirty white creases, a sure sign that the shoes had seen better days. But what really caught my eye was what appeared to be a new transparent plastic bag that the passenger was carrying. In the bag was a crisp orange box containing one of the popular doughnut brands in the country.
Then it struck me … of course! It was payday and the couple was bringing home the traditional “pasalubong” to their children. Though it is but a simple luxury to have doughnuts on payday, the treats will surely light up the eyes of their children.
Couples transform when they have children. They immediately shift their focus to providing a good life for their offspring. Without need for priest, minister or judge, a promise is silently made, the kind of promise that is meant to be kept. And one great way to keep that promise is to continually save and invest first for a better future for your family. As financial planners say, gross income minus savings (and investments) equals expenses.
After you tie the knot, you will both be the voice that wakes each other’s mornings. You will be each other’s crowd that sits quietly listening to all the mad sense that the other makes. And yes, you will have only just begun. If you had planned well for your wedding, do just as well for your marriage to make this December truly a month to remember.
Stay happily married. INQ
Efren Ll. Cruz is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, bestselling author of personal finance books in the Philippines. Join our Yaman Coach Free Webinar series. For details, email email@example.com. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 87th RFP Program this January 2021. To inquire, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text at 0917-.6248110