Wait! What? Arranged marriage? Are you serious? Is that even practiced anymore, or legal?
I know some couples whose marriages were arranged. For them this was acceptable as a cultural matter. More importantly, those marriages are working and thriving. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems or the usual ups and downs of marriage and family life. It speaks to the fact that marriage is not simply about “being in love”.
What relevance can that have to financial planning?
I think a big part of the success of the arranged marriages I am familiar with comes from having a proper perspective on what is necessary for a marriage to be successful and being realistic about married life.
In terms of financial planning, success comes from starting with a proper perspective, having good objectives and goals, doing what is necessary for success and being realistic about one’s situation. So whether you are single or married the following may be helpful.
Perspective: Acknowledging that some kind of planning is necessary for a successful financial life is a start. It does not have to be formal planning with a financial planner (did I really say that?). It can be as simple as making a budget and living by it. Knowing that emergencies and crises can occur means trying to prepare for the unexpected by setting aside some cash or setting up an emergency fund.
Objectives: Objectives and goals enable us to maintain focus and direction. Plans have to have an objective or goal or you’re just making a list and not really planning. What are you trying to achieve or accomplish? Financial stability in the present should be one thing. Preparation for the future should be another.
What’s necessary: Determining the necessary steps and then following through by taking the proper steps enables the attainment of objectives and success in your financial life. It may be necessary to make adjustments as you go along. Planned or unplanned life events and changing stages of life will dictate some adjustments. Some adjustments may simply result from recognizing that some part of your plan is not working the way you need it to work. Commitment is necessary for success. Just as in a relationship between two people, commitment is necessary in pursuing good financial outcomes.
Realism: Being realistic is one of the things necessary for success. Not everything that is done will be successful. There will be setbacks. There will, most likely, be mistakes made. That’s OK. We don’t have perfect information and we cannot make perfect plans. We definitely cannot see or predict the future so we don’t know what emergencies, problems or setbacks are coming. But, as was said, we can plan for the unexpected and unforeseen. Even then, our planning or preparation may not be enough and hardship may be experienced. If there is a time of real hardship we should be well served by knowing what is necessary to be on good financial footing and working our way out of hardship.
Finally, some things have to work differently being in a marriage than being single. Primarily, that would be that with a married couple both will have a role in the success, or failure, of their financial life. Being on the same page in terms of goals and objectives and the means of accomplishing the goals and objectives will be important. Resolving problems together will be important. For someone who is single, success or failure typically depends just on that individual.
You may not be in an arranged marriage, or know anyone who is, but you can have success in your financial life with a proper perspective on what is necessary.
And if you are married, or soon to be, I hope yours is a wonderful and successful marriage.