Happily ever after: Real couples and their long-term plans
Married people share everything – surnames, homes, finances, and dreams. It’s comforting to plan for the future with someone who’ll be there every step of the way.
But marriage is also a huge reality check, because most dreams come with a price tag. Events like getting pregnant, health emergencies, and the need to support other family members can come into the picture and postpone or derail some of a couple’s shared goals.
Mylene Lopa, Chief Marketing Officer at Sun Life Financial, says that the trick is to spot these “hidden costs of marriage” as early as possible. For example, most newlyweds don’t realize that sending a child from pre-school to college could easily cost 3 Million Php. According to Mylene, couples should discuss these things even before tying the knot.
Aside from saving diligently, couples should also look for ways to get more passive income. In an average household, two people’s salaries can already go straight to day-to-day expenses like mortgage and utilities. Mylene says that investing is a good way of ensuring that you have enough funds for your family, even when you retire.
Now check out how some real-life couples are tackling their own long-term goals.
Emil and Jocelle
Years Married: 1.5
Jobs: They work for the same Japanese chain store: Jocelle is in food production, Emil is in the assortment department.
Long-term goals: a European honeymoon for their next wedding anniversary, a business and a car in the Philippines, and a grand out-of-town vacation with their parents
Emil and Jocelle have been living in Fukuoka, Japan for a little over a year, but they are already looking forward to coming back to the Philippines one day. “One financial concern would be survival from the high cost of living here in Japan,” Jocelle shares. They also want to live closer to their families in Los Baños and Montalban.
To motivate each other, the couple has an annual dream board where they place their long and short-term goals. Jocelle and Emil also say that putting a target date on their goals makes it easier to accomplish them. They constantly tell themselves “by next year we should have this, by next month we should buy that.” Since they don’t have kids yet, it’s also easier for them to commit to their monthly budget. According to Jocelle, they always consult each other when making big-ticket purchases.
Though they’re both meticulous about avoiding debts and sticking to their budgets, Emil always reminds Jocelle to relax. “My husband would always remind me not to pressure ourselves,” Jocelle shares. “Yung pag-set namin ng goals, laging dapat achievable and reasonable. Di din pwedeng pagsabay-sabayin yung sobrang "mabibigat" na goals at baka tumanda ng maaga. So we work on it one at a time, slowly but surely.”
Jackie and Michael
Years Married: 8 Months
Jobs: Jackie works in a government agency; Michael is a Customer Service Representative
Long-term goals: Own a business, have 2-3 children
Newlyweds Jackie and Mike are expecting their first child before the end of they year. At this stage, they’re still learning how to work the ropes, but the good news has already changed the way they are handling their finances. “We started saving seriously when I found out I was pregnant,” Jackie says. Their short-term savings goals already include the cost of their baby’s delivery. Every month, they already allocate part of their income into a fund for their future child.
Fortunately, they have already mastered the important value of being open to each other. “When it comes to our goals in life, we address it in the most intellectual or professional way we can. We are fond of weighing the pros and cons of things before we come up with a decision. Likewise, we respect each other’s opinions and feelings. We admire how each other thinks.” Jackie shares.
Jackie and Mike also spend their “couple time” wisely by using it to align their goals. “Despite our conflicting work schedules, we always find time to talk about what we feel, our dreams, and even our frustrations. We are so open with each other. We are the best of friends and every day, we look forward to coming home to the arms of each other.”
Jea and Mike
Jobs: Mike is a senior manager in a multinational company and Jea is a college professor.
Years Married: 12
Long-term goals: Mike: “To live forever with my wife and kids.” Jea: “to travel more with Mike.”
Jea and Mike have 4 children: a boy, a girl, and twins who are almost three years old. Sending their children to the best schools is on top of their financial priorities. “We try to keep a simple lifestyle and continue saving for their education,” Jea shares.
They’re in their mid-30s, so they’re at the prime of their careers. Mike and Jea make sure to work hard but still have time for their children. According to Mike, they don’t make money the issue. They focus on making the kids happy and rearing them to be supportive and loving to each other.
“We have debts but nothing that my thrifty wife can't handle,” Mike adds. While he works hard as the breadwinner, he trusts Jea to handle their budget. Jea shares, “I am constantly thinking of ways to maximize the resources we have and to cut back on unnecessary expenditures for us to save more.”
Their teamwork has been finetuned through the years, and at the end of they day, they still turn to each other for motivation and inspiration. Mike quips “every time I see Jea smile and say thank you for all that I [have done] is more than enough. It's a promise kept to a man that she once called Papa.” – Rappler.com
For more tips on how to achieve brighter finances, family life, and health & wellness, visit www.brighterlife.com.ph