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Honey, Let’s Talk Money
By Mabel Tan, founder of Bliss Concepts

You and your partner may be able to share with each other about anything under the sun. But, when it comes to personal finances, many couples tend to shun this topic. Why is it so difficult for us to talk about money?

It is not unusual that money is the leading cause of arguments in a marriage. As such, couples should make plans to get their finances in order, so that their happily-ever-after won’t depend on the cheque book.

Today, I am going to share six tips on discussing money matters with your loved one.

1) Find a Neutral Time

Do not discuss about money in the heat of the moment. For example, if your partner has just spent $10,000 on something where you feel is totally unnecessary, don’t put him off by saying he has wasted money or to lecture on his past spending habits.

The goal is to have a calm, relaxed discussion when there’s no particular money issue at hand ( i.e. Get to know your partner a little better, on what he/she likes to spend on etc).

2) Give a Little to Get a Little

You can give some opinions on a financial issue (it can be a third-party issue that was featured on the news) and this may encourage your partner to do the same.

Always remember that your relationship is the first priority and love is the centre, thus, both of you will have to be willing to negotiate. Share your feelings, experiences, and hopes about money.

Discuss how your parents dealt with money, what it meant to you when you were growing up, and how you are planning to deal with it in the future.

3) Know Where You Stand

Be honest with yourself about how you feel. If you’ve always been independent, for example, it may be hard for you to be “taken care of” financially.

If you have more assets than your partner, you may feel fear about risking your hard-earned money, or resentment if his or her spending habits are not good. Be honest with yourself about these feelings in order to be honest with your partner.

4) Bring in a Third Party

If you can’t seem to talk about finances, seek out a trusted counselor to help you sort through your financial issues. This could be a financial consultant or marriage counselor.

5) Track Your Spending

Before you start telling your partner about your money habits, you will have to know where your money is going in the first place.

Keeping a budget is a great way to track your finances and expenses. You don’t need a complex budgeting method, but just a simple record or filing system will work. This will help you to moderate your finances, especially if the amount goes off-balance.

To start off, instead of throwing away your credit card bills each month, file them up and you can have a better idea of your average spending on credit card each month.

6) Agree to Disagree

You can individually come up with spending and savings goals and guidelines, then collectively as a couple, see how far off your goals are from each other.

There are many methods to managing money as a couple. For some, you may want to start thinking about consolidating your finances, but for others, you may prefer to do it on your own, even after marriage. There is no better method, but only the method that you two feels most comfortable with.

Talking about money can be a fun thing to do as a couple! It can bring you two closer to your dreams and goals and how you can work hard together for a bright future, So let’s start talking money!

For information about financial planning and money matters for your marriage, please visit Bliss Concepts at www.blissconcepts.mono.net.

Copyright © 2010 Bliss Concepts. All rights reserved.

Insurance You Shouldn’t Do Without For Your Wedding
By James Yang, dedicated financial advisor to Bliss Concepts

Bliss Concepts - Insurance You Shouldn't Do Without For Your Wedding

When it comes to wedding planning, some people are looking into various ways to save money, and often times, many will look at cutting their insurance arrangements as the first choice.

Many do not see insurance as a direct benefit to them. As a matter-of-fact plainly, insurance is just a piece of paper. Compared to that designer wedding gown to look pretty or that posh banquet so as not to lose face, insurance is the easiest to give up.

Another common reason some couples give: we can always take it up after wedding. However, forgoing adequate insurance could place you just one unexpected event away from a wedding disaster. And that’s the last thing you would want to worry when you should be happily planning ahead for your wedding! How can you marry when back in your mind, your partner is going to a financial burden to you all the rest of your life?

Here are the basic insurance policies that no couple should be without (even if you really have very limited budget!):

Medical

This is the number 1 priority. Medical cost is a huge uncertainty but can be transferred easily to insurer. This will prevent you from draining your savings and assets away in the event of a hospitalization.

When considering Medical Insurance, consider the following:

  • Do they restrict specialized services you might need like pregnancy-related coverage? What are the fine-prints when it comes to claims?
  • When insurers claim that they offer a full cover, always ask what is covered. There is no such thing as full cover for everything. Many insurers do not actually cover treatments such as experimental drugs or clinical trials which are generally very expensive.
  • If you choose catastrophic coverage to lower your premiums, can you afford the high deductible and co-payment in case of an accident or major illness? What are some of the affordable alternatives that can help you off-set these potentially major bills?
  • How’s the claim experience like? How long does it take to claim? What are the procedures involved? Should you have a need to claim for medical insurance, the last thing you want is to constantly chase and ask for the claims to come in!

Critical Illness and Personal Accident

These plans offer a payout in a lump sum to help cushion the immediate financial impact that you may encounter. When life disaster strikes, huge surge of bills and lack of income can be a double whammy. These payouts can help to provide peace of mind for you to simply concentrate on getting well and not be overly stressed with the financial capabilities to manage the consequence of that illness or injury.

The payouts should also be meant to cater to a change in mindset. Many patients who have experienced these unfortunate issues often realize that life is preciously short. They may no longer want to slog their life for money but want to spend quality time with their loved ones. With the payout of these plans, one can comfortably budget for such ideals.

When considering Critical Illness Insurance, note the following:

  • Is the amount of coverage fixed or does it decrease over time?
  • Should you go for Term plans (cheap but fixed duration) or Whole life plans (expensive but cover for old age)? A contrarian advice: Buying Term plans and neglect whole life plans may not be a smart choice.
  • How much to cover for yourself and your spouse? Consider the number of years you may need to recover/adjust your lifestyle downwards, extra medical costs not covered by your medical plans, and change in mindset cost.

When considering personal accident plans, note the following;

  • Do the plans cover terrorism, riots or natural disaster?
  • Do they cover for extreme sports injuries?
  • Do they pay only when there is a physical loss of body parts or do they pay so long as the body part losses its function permanently?
  • Do they cover your occupation? You will be surprised some insurer can void your claims even though they accepted your business under this clause!

You don’t want to marry as a burden, do you? You marry because you want to be a better self, and be a blessing to your partner. If not, why marry? Insurance is there to protect against unforeseen circumstances; don’t risk your financial future by gambling that you’re immune to accidents, large and small.

Before these unexpected issues become real-life problem, take charge and get it out of your way now! We have created a link in the forum for you to share your thoughts. CLICK HERE to post your questions or email us if you wish to remain anonymous.

In the next article: We will be sharing on how you can create your financial plan without feeling the stress. Case studies included!

For information about financial planning and money matters for your marriage, please visit Bliss Concepts at www.blissconcepts.mono.net.

Copyright © 2009 Bliss Concepts. All rights reserved.

Planning your Money before your Marriage
By Mabel Tan, founder of Bliss ConceptsPlanning Money before Marriage

When you are thinking about getting married, it is good to think through about your finances before taking the plunge.  The engagement ring is only the first of many big expenses. After the proposal, most couples spend a lot of time deciding on the bridal gown & accessories, the photo-shoot, the banquet, personalized wedding favors, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, and even the honeymoon, yet haven’t planned for the day to day finances after the marriage. Are you one of them?

Many couples go into marriage with no idea on how to manage their money. Conflicts over money are one of the main problems reported by married couples. Have you ever quarreled with your partner over how much was spent on that Liverpool jersey? Or the latest Gucci bag that can’t hold anything other than a wallet?

Your money, my money, our money?

Before the wedding, the couple should get together and work out a financial plan. There must always be open communication between both parties on all financial matters. This is a key point that many couples miss. With the union of a marriage, what was once “yours” now becomes “ours.” A married couple needs to look at their total income, debts and savings as belonging to both of them. In a marriage, two become one; this includes all aspects of your life. You become one in your emotional, physical, spiritual and financial relationships. There is no more “mine,” it becomes “ours.”

Marriage = Financial Partnership?

Nothing dampens your mood from the fantastic honeymoon faster than money woes. In their haste to live happily ever after, many couples don’t do their homework before marriage and are often unpleasantly surprised to learn that they’re starting out their next life chapter married to a spouse who has very different financial priorities.

Here are 4 tips to ensure you’ll be able to say “I do” with no regrets instead of “I wish I knew,” after you tie the knot:

Discuss your spending patterns with your partner (i.e. know much each of you spend each month, compared to how much you earn in total income each month)

  • Too many couples have no idea on their cash flow and end up getting in trouble by running up credit card debt, and other debts that their income cannot pay for.
  • Too many couples also become a control freak after they are married due to the difference in spending culture. By discussing and opening up, you are able to manage each other’s expectations and breathing space in terms of your personal spending.

Be frank to each other about your financial standing (i.e. any credit card debts, school loans outstanding etc)

  • It’d be a rude shock to your spouse if these aren’t ironed out in the first place. You may have been lavishing on him/her with exquisite dinners and gifts and building up a deeper debt which your spouse will eventually be part of!

 Plan your big ticket items together (i.e. children, house, car, holiday, retirement etc)

  • By knowing what are the priorities that will be requiring quite a fair bit of your money, you can adjust your spending plan and create the ability to save for things you need or want in the future.

 Plan your ‘back-ups’ when mishaps happen (i.e. knowing each other’s insurance coverage and planning for more adequate insurance for the family)

  • While this is a very rare topic of discussion, it is crucial to know if you & your spouse are adequately insured. When mishaps strike, it is always the other party that bears the consequences. By providing adequate coverage for yourself, you can free your spouse from the painful burden you leave behind. Seek a trusted professional financial advisor for guidance.

Remember, when doing any planning or making any decisions, always involve your spouse in the discussion and come to a conclusive decision. While there will be times (and I believe many), that both of you will not come to an agreement, you will need to compromise and see who has the greater weight in the decision making process. After the decision is made, both of you are to support each other and not to blame when things don’t work out well

Fairy-tale wedding? Budget-conscious wedding?

Marriage preparation can be really hectic and stressful, depending on how fancy you want to get. Add the stress of trying to stick to a wedding budget, and you could be in for a rocky beginning. Knowing where you stand financially may influence your plans for the wedding itself. If you’ve got a huge outstanding sum of loans, do you really want to double your debt with an expensive wedding?

A successful wedding is not measured by how much you spent for the event. What is an adequate cost to you may differ greatly from another couple.  Work on a comfortable budget taking into account your debts and your income. Challenge yourself to create the most memorable wedding with the fixed resource you have. You will end up feeling much happier!

Will we ever agree?

A good marriage is about finding a good balance. Instead of ‘me’, it’s ‘we’, that means willing to negotiate and to compromise. If you find yourself at odds about your financial agreements, stay calm and discuss openly about your views. Communication is the key to successful financial and family planning. If you are still unable to agree, attend premarital preparation & counseling. Couple counseling can help you see each other’s values and have a deeper understanding of each other.

Couples must work together in managing their finances in an open, committed relationship so that the two becomes one loving family unit!

For information about financial planning and money matters for your marriage, please visit Bliss Concepts at www.blissconcepts.mono.net

Copyright © 2009 Bliss Concepts. All rights reserved.

Plan Your Wedding Budget and Stick to it!
By Mabel Tan, founder of Bliss Concepts

wedding budgeting

Wedding budgeting – it is something important to all couples when they plan for their wedding, yet many end up “budgeting for the sake of budgeting” without sticking to it.

Why is it important for couples to budget?
A wedding budget will help you achieve the big picture of your new lives together, keeping track of how much you are spending on this one event. You will need to:

1) Visualise your wedding. This includes the theme, colour, special effects, venue and settings.

2) Discuss with your partner about his/her ideals. Most of the time girls have more wedding desires than guys do. Thrash out what should be added or compromised.

3) Estimate the probable cost. This will require some homework to find out average costs based on your desires.

4) Reflect on your current income. Can both of you cope with the expected cost estimated in point three? Who is going to pay first? Who is going to track the expenses? Do you need to re-align your wedding desires and expectations to fit into your income.

5) Even when you have confirmed how much you can afford, do shop around for possible cost savings/substitutes. You can save more money and spend it on other items to enhance your wedding or simply save that money for your home or future kids.

How can you plan and stick to it?
Now that you have a tentative budget, the most important this is to follow it. Start by keeping track of your expenses.

1) Update your budget every time you make a purchase. It will be good to use an Excel sheet so you can tabulate your total projected spending after each purchase.

2) Make adjustments to your budget if necessary. If you overspent in certain areas, do trim in other, bearing in mind the full cost that you initially budgeted for.

3) Make decisions. Unless you have a lot of time to plan for your wedding and source for vendors, you have to be bold and make decisions. If you think you hit the right shop, just secure it. There is no way you can shop through all possible shops and get the biggest bargains. Go for the best value as it will keep you happy and save time. Remember, time is also an expensive asset.

4) Keep a buffer for unexpected items. Along the way, you may change your concept and that will mean you may spend more or less money on your wedding. Be ready to manage the full effects of your decision.

5) Have contingency plans. Be sure to always keep open, honest communications between yourselves and discuss any back-up strategies should unforeseen circumstances happen.

6) Protect yourselves against big risks. Events like illness and accidents cannot be controlled. But you can manage these risks, You will not want an unexpected medical bill running into the thousands while you have to pay for your wedding. Have proper insurance plans to protect yourself and your partner. It is the responsible thing to do.

Remember to relax and enjoy the process. You two are going to be one, and all setbacks and challenges can be solved.

Copyright © 2009 Bliss Concepts. All rights reserved.

Come and join us at Grand Park City Hall’s Wedding Workshop on 19 Sep 2009!

Wedding Workshop GPCH
 
Date: Saturday, 19 September 2009
Time: 12pm to 6pm
(Bliss Concepts’ mini-workshop at 3.30pm)
Venue: Grand Park City Hall,
Grand Ballroom,
Level 2,
10 Coleman Street,
Singapore 179809.
Admission: Free (Registration required)
 

Meet Grand Park City Hall’s team of experienced and dedicated wedding specialists, to make your special day a memorable one!

Bliss Concepts will be organizing a mini-workshop entitled ‘From this Moment’, to highlight and enlighten couples on topics such as:

  • Proposal, Wedding…House?
  • Budget vs. Desires
  • Insurance…a Need?
  • How much is enough?
  • The precious gift of LOVE!

When you attend this workshop, you can be entitled $300 worth of merchant vouchers and a special Wedding Diary by Bliss Concepts*!

*You need to fill up a simple form and the welcome pack will be given to you at a later date.

What’s more, there is a lucky draw with exciting prizes up for grabs!

Grand Park City Hall is giving up to 10% off wedding packages^ for weddings till December 2010.

  • Enjoy S$88 off per table for weekdays and S$68 off per table for weekends for packages in 2010.
  • Perks include a complimentary night stay for helper room (except Saturday Package), 5 trays of canapes during cocktail reception and complimentary S$250 F&B voucher.

^Terms & Conditions apply.

For more information Bliss Concepts’ marriage workshop, visit www.blissconcepts.mono.net or email blissconcepts@gmail.com.

 
To register, CLICK HERE.
 
 
When you attend any of our complimentary mini-workshops, you are entitled to the full marriage workshop ‘Starting your Marriage Right’ at $50 per couple (U.P. $128 per couple)!

Come and join us at Fairmont Singapore’s Wedding Fair on 13 Sep 2009!

Fairmont Singapore’s Wedding Fair  fairmont wedding fair
 
Date: Sunday, 13 September 2009
Time: 11am to 6pm
(workshop sessions: 12pm, 2pm
& 4pm)
Venue: Fairmont Singapore,
Raffles City Convention Centre,
Level 4
Admission: Free (Registration required)

Meet Fairmont’s expert team of wedding specialists and view their newly refurbished

Stamford Ballroom and beautifully themed floral setups at this upcoming Wedding Fair.

Bliss Concepts will be organizing 3 sessions of mini activity-based workshops entitled ‘Everything I do, I do it for You’, to highlight and enlighten couples on topics such as:

  • Look into my eyes – do you see?
  • There’s nothing to hide…from me?
  • Love assurance – our insurance?
  • My promise to you, I will always be there…
  • Our life has just begun!

When you attend this workshop, you can be entitled $300 worth of merchant vouchers and a special Wedding Diary by Bliss Concepts*!

*You need to fill up a simple form and the welcome pack will be given to you at a later date.

Other programme highlights include live Jazz entertainment and a host of exclusive promotional perks not to be missed!

For more information on:

 
To register, CLICK HERE.

We will be having our  2nd free mini workshop on 29 Aug 2009 at Sheraton Towers!

Titled ‘More than Words’, this mini activity-based workshop will highlight and enlighten couples on topics such as:

  • Rules of ‘Engagement’
  • Is he a spender? Are you a saver?
  • What’s yours is his…or is it?
  • Dreams see us through…to forever?
  • Your adventure begins!

Please give us your feedback by writing under ‘COMMENTS’ or posting it in Style Weddings’ Forum.

We would like to hear from you on the topics you are keen in with regards to money matters in marriage =)

Cheers to a blissful marriage!

MORE THAN WORDS - free mini workshop!

MORE THAN WORDS - free mini workshop!

 

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