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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Funerals & Weddings In The Financial World

What a title! Some of you may even feel shocked that those two have anything in common at all. After all, they are like worlds apart. One is an occasion to be merry and remembered life long while the other is an occasion of gloominess and brings down tears even from the bravest of all..

Last week I had to attend a funeral and a wedding and I realised that as the world continue to grow economically, people are willing to spend lavishly. And in many customs, weddings and funerals are considered to be a very sensitive and placed in the highest order at the same time. It also represents their status in the community.

You know where I'm heading to, right? Yes. Weddings and funerals these days are becoming a very expensive affair. As to feed their ego, more and more people today spend more than they can afford for their weddings, and they defend their actions by saying, it is only once in a lifetime (and so are funerals!). Whether the parents or the couple to be married themselves are going to finance the wedding function, they seem to forget that life still goes on after the function and there would be more and more expenses coming along the way. Some even go to the extent of taking huge personal loans to cater for this 1-day event!

And if this is not shocking enough to you, nowadays you can even get a burial spot for yourself well in advance. Some people even invest in it and sell a few years later when they get good returns out of it. Funerals are held in pomp and splendour just to show off how what a big name the family has in the society. The longer they have the function and cater for a bigger crowd, it is assumed that their status is higher in the society.

All I want to say is this: whether it is going to be a wedding or a funeral, have it in the most moderate way you can think off.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How To Increase Your Traffic By 1000% ?

What do you think is the common dream of most bloggers? To increase traffic to their sites, right? Imagine increasing traffic by 1000%. Well, imagine no more.That's what exactly I did to my blog, MoneyChurner.

3-4 days back I was reading SVB's article on agregators and she did mention about a new service, Tip'd. So, I did some little exploring on my own and joined Tip'd.

I'll show you what my stats on Google's Adsense Report looked like before I joined Tip'd. In the screen capture below it shows I had merely 30 page impressions.

Now, after joining Tip'd just after 1 day and submitting 3 articles(which are:My Maid/Servant Is Richer Than Me','How To Retire As A Millionnaire By Investing in Real Estate?' and '4 financial things you should know before getting married'), my traffic stats or rather page impressions in my Google's Adsense account show as below:

Indeed very surprising. It shows page impressions of 310! I myself never imagined that. Maybe there are other ways out there to increase the traffic even further. I have to check it out and definitely share my experience with you all later. Meanwhile, do you believe that you too can make the 1000% leap?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vital To Start Planning For Your Retirement Early

Since this blog talks much about retirement planning and saving for the future, I thought it would be good if I could also put in articles published in the papers. This article was published sometime last year. And I have to agree with the writer, Malaysians as a whole are not prepared for their retirement.
Can you imagine that the money saved for more than 30 years gone in 3 years?

Many young people feel that 'there is still long way to go', or 'let me enjoy my money first'. What they don't realise is that this attitude of theirs is going to cost them dearly in their future, especially when they don't have the earning capacity any more.


RETIREMENT is meant to be a rewarding experience when those who have toiled for decades to raise families and contribute towards nation-building can relax and take it easy.

Retirees are supposed to spend whatever time they have left to do the things they have always wanted to but did not have the time as they had to earn a living.

But the opposite is true in many cases as the majority of retirees are in fact facing a nightmare in just trying to support themselves with the basic things in life.

Their main torment is finance or lack of it. It is estimated that at least 70% of retirees and pensioners were just not prepared to stop work because they could not afford to.

Most of those in the private sector depend on their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions for their retirement. This is almost the only money they have to look after themselves. Unfortunately, it has been proven by none other than the EPF that most of the money would be gone in three years after its withdrawal. This is indeed a very sad state of affairs and the workers have only themselves to blame for their plight.

Very few people have proper planning for retirement. They do not save enough for this purpose until too late. Though everyone starting work should be saving for this purpose as early as possible, they only realise the seriousness of their situation in their 40s or 50s.

Without their compulsory EPF contributions, many of them would have been even worse off with almost nothing to their name. Many have their own homes and if they are lucky, they would have settled their mortgage by then.

Life insurance is still frowned upon by some as not being urgent and in any case not many earn enough to put money into shares, bonds or other saving instruments.

Saving outside of the EPF is not a culture as people may have difficulty in coping with their monthly family and personal commitments financially. EPF contributions are also being drawn to meet the demand for funds for housing and health. This will further limit the money meant for retirement.

Too many are expecting their children to look after them when they retire.They are prepared to use whatever assets they have for their children’s education. Many of them would have been left penniless by the time their children complete their studies.They would then be completely at the mercy of their children. If the kids are filial, then the parents would have a comfortable retirement. If not, then the last few remaining years would be extremely difficult for the retiree.

Some children can be extremely selfish and may insist on going to study overseas though their parents may not be able to afford it. Parents may have to mortgage their house or borrow a sizeable loan for this purpose. They may end up bankrupt if their children refuse to repay the loan.

There are countless such sad stories and these are serious social issues where not much can be done to help. It is impossible to tell those nearing retirement that they should keep some money for themselves instead of using it all to educate their children.

Parents should be practical and realistic. If their children are not academically good enough for university, they should opt for vocational education where they would be able to obtain a skill to earn a decent living.

It is worth repeating this message so that hopefully the message will sink in and those approaching retirement would take measures to protect themselves financially.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Which option to take, 11% or 8%?

The most heated argument taking place among working Malaysians today is 'shall we agree to the option given by the government to reduce our contribution to the EPF from 11% of our salary to 8% for two years starting Jan 1, 2009 or not'.

EPF (Employee Provident Fund) is a fund created by the government as a retirement fund once the employees retire. It is made compulsory as for some people, it may be the only source of retirement fund. It is currently fixed at a minimum 11% reduction from the employee's salary and a minimum 12% contribution from the employer.

Lowering the rate of employees’ contribution to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) temporarily is part of the Government’s bag of tricks to stimulate the economy. The idea is to boost private consumption by putting more money in workers’ pockets.According to Government's estimates, RM4.8bil a year will be freed up for spending in the economy if all EPF contributors opt for the rate cut.

It is indeed a good strategy for the short term and good for the country's economy as a whole. More employees who fall under the lower income bracket welcome this move as they are struggling to make ends meet due to the current hike in essential goods after the petrol price shot up lately to its all time peak suddenly.A little more cash at their disposal would definitely ease their burden.

However, the rest of the group or the 'financially savvy' ones are crying foul over this move.Their reason is that it definitely means lesser retirement funds. Bad move in the long run.

For the past few years EPF has managed to give out dividends at around 5%. If you can really discipline yourself, even if you claim yourself to be in the financially savvy group, this move can be seen as an opportunity. How?

If you are earning RM4000, the reduction of 3% in EPF contribution will amount to RM120. That means an extra RM120 in your pocket. Don't spend it. Instead look for ways where you can save and invest this money so that it can give you a higher dividend than the one given by EPF. I believe an excellent investment instrument for this small amount in monthly basis would be the mutual funds/unit trust where you can do a Dollar Cost Averaging for 2 years with this extra cash. Or you can also pay off any outstanding credit card debts as the interest charged is usually very high.

So, now you have 3 options in front of you:
1. Reduce the deductions and spend the money.
2. Stick to the 11% deductions and leave the money to grow with EPF.
3. Opt for the 8% deductions and invest in places where higher dividends are being paid.

Make the right choice and have a comfortable retirement later!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Can You Teach A One Year Old About Finance?

For a one year old who can barely speak, how can I share with him the knowledge that I'm gaining slowly nowadays about the financial world? My first challenge would be to make him understand what I'm trying to tell him. Then, the next challenge would be to get a response from him. But still, I'm just so eager to transfer him all that I've learnt.

Ok, I have to start somewhere. Maybe not on the compounding interest mentioned by Frugal Dad in How to Teach Compounding Interest to Kids or even the difference in needs and wants as mentioned by JLP in his post : Using Mashed Potatoes To Teach Kids About Money. Those are great ideas, but I'll think I'll save it till my boy is a little older.

For a start, I've decided to teach him that he needs to save money. So, how do I do that? My little boy has a habit of digging into my shirt pocket every day when I return from work, usually throwing off my pen and petrol receipts in the process. So, this time, I had on purpose, some coins in my pocket. Everyday, without fail, we dig into my pocket and discover those coins. And what do we do with that? We head for the elephant-shaped 'piggy-bank' and drop the coins into it. Initially, I was putting in the money. As he grew to hold the coins properly in his fist, I have trained him to 'bank in his savings'.

What do you think he would have learnt in the process? I'm sure he doesn't know what is compounding interest or the difference between needs and wants. Heck, I doubt he even understands what money is at the moment. But I'm very pretty sure he knows that the shiny round thing from his dad's pocket must end up in his 'piggy-bank'. That's sufficient for now, I think, don't you agree?

We have been religiously doing this activity for about 3 weeks now. The only concern is I have to be very careful and pay full attention to him as kids tend to put anything they find into their mouth. Otherwise, I think I have put him on a head-start on financial education!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Liberta Financial Freedom Challenge

Francois from Liberta has put up a challenge to everyone out there. It is called the Liberta Financial Freedom Challenge. He has also started the Liberta Financial Freedom Support Network, which focuses on Financial Freedom. The people in the network provide support and encouragement to each other so that each individual keeps going on and meets his/her goals of getting out of debt and achieving financial freedom.

Hopefully, I can settle my debts, achieve financial freedom and finally retire as a millionaire. As I've mentioned earlier, setting goals are very important and it becomes easier to achieve them when you have friends around you to give you support and encouragement. So, I'm taking up the challenge. What about you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

How Much Can I Save From The Current Reduction In Food Price?

How much do you think you can actually save from your daily food? Would you be surprised if I said that whatever little money that you saved from breakfast and lunch today could actually provide you with a comfortable retirement? Enjoy going places and relaxing in your own home after retirement with sufficient money for your daily needs. Isn't that wonderful?Maybe you can make use of the current situation. Read on.

Restaurant owners have agreed to reduce the price of 'roti canai' and 'teh tarik' by 10 sen and a plate of 'nasi kandar' by 20 sen, or at least that was what reported in The Star Online. (By the way, 'roti canai' is a Malaysian favourite pancake eaten with some curry and 'teh tarik' is actually a special concoction of tea, milk and sugar and stirred in a special way) This generosity arises from the reduction of petrol prices by the government, which business owners had used as an excuse earlier to hike up the price of almost everything under the sun.

For an average person who has been practising eating out for breakfast and lunch, it means a reduction of 30 sen for breakfast (assuming they have only 2 pieces of roti canai and a glass of teh tarik) and 20 sen for lunch, if he has nasi kandar for lunch. In total, savings for a day amounts to 50 sen.

If working days is considered 5 days a week, then in a month he'll be working 20 days. Therefore, using simple maths, 50x 20 = RM100. Not bad. I didn't realise it can reduce our expense by that much.

Some people are still wondering what to do with their money now. RM 100 savings can easily be used in an investment vehicle such as unit trust or mutual funds. They should make use of the opportunities given, especially now, because the market is all low and is good time to invest. Save a minimum of RM1000 for the initial investment and use the RM100 as the automatic deduction to do dollar cost averaging on your investment.

As for me, how much extra can I save in this particular case? The answer is none, because I usually pack my lunch & breakfast from home itself and I've been saving more all the while. Cheaper and healthier at the same time!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Maid/Servant Is Richer Than Me

Yesterday as I was going through the reminder letter for my maid's visa renewal, my mind started doing it's own mathematical calculation. And finally decided to tell me: "Hey Boss, you know what? Your maid is actually going to be richer than you!" How is that possible? I pay her salary, I feed her and provide her accommodation, and how is this even possible, you may ask?

Simple. She is a live in maid from Indonesia and comes from a poor family (obviously). When I employed her from the agency, I had spent almost RM6,000 that includes her visa, insurance, health check-up, etc. Her monthly salary is tied at RM500. That means annually she is getting RM6,000 - net. She has told us once before that she plans to work with us for at least 3 years, if its possible. So, using these assumptions, she will be taking home RM 18,000 at the end of her work term(Without any interest).

This is definitely a huge sum.Especially when she is going to convert it into their Indonesian currency and spend it there. All her expenses while she is with us is born by us, so she does not have anything to spend on or worry about.Her CASH FLOW is so strong! Zero outgoing and 100% incoming. Is she smarter than her employers in financial terms or has she educated herself by reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki? If she intends to, she can be a real estate investor and retire as a millionaire as I have disclosed here.

In my opinion, she has done a wise move. Moving on to a foreign country, which gives a higher exchange rate than her own, that too in her young age.The only doubt in my mind is that how is she going to manage her money. If only she invest some portion of it properly in instruments that provide with compounding interest, she can help improve her financial position of her family further.

What do you all think?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

God And Money

A man is trying to understand the nature of God and asked him: “God, how long is a million years to you?”

God answered: “A million years is like a minute.”

Then the man asked: “God, how much is a million dollars to you?” And God replied: “A million dollars is like a penny.”

Finally the man asked: “God, could you give me a penny?” And God says: “In a minute.”

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Savings I Made Last Weekend

My house was running mostly on those dimly litted yellow bulbs after the fluorescent lamp's starter burnt off. For weeks, or probably months I was trying to put off fixing those things back. This week I thought, enough was enough. Had to fix them right away! Went to the hardware shop and got a few starters with the holder to fix to the round, fluorescent bulb. Got the ladder and climbed up. Then, when I was half way up, I suddenly realised that I had this phobia of heights and immediately cancelled my plans. Called my brother, who took his own sweet time to drop by.. Gave him some simple instruction on where to slot in those dangling wires, and in a few minutes we were done!

Water was leaking from the tap when we fixed the pipe to the washing machine. Precious water was simply being wasted.
Reason: The washer had worn out.
Changed the washer instead of the whole tap-head. The washer only cost a few cents, instead of the few dollars the tap-head would have cost me.

Called in my younger brother to help me out, instead of the handy-man who would have charged me for his services. My wife fixed us nice lunch & dinner.So it was an all in family affair.

In conclusion, the activities done were saving on electricity,water and workmanship.How much did I save? Got to check on next month's electricity & water bills.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How Warren Buffet Made His Billions

Warren Buffett is a man who has made millions but he also started working at his father’s brokerage when he was 11 years old, that’s an age when most other kids were playing hide-n-seek and didn’t know how to spell ‘brokerage’..

This financial wizard is by recent estimates, worth $46 billion but how he got there is the fascinating story.

It all began in the family grocery store back in Omaha. Buffett’s great grandfather started the store in 1869 and it was in the Buffet family until 1969, till his uncle finally retired. But it’s at this store, where he began going around his neighbourhood selling gum. This was before his stint at his father’s firm.

Warren Buffett told CNBC’s Liz Claman, “My grandfather would sell me Wrigley’s chewing gum and I would go door to door around my neighbourhood selling it. He also sold me six Coca Cola for a quarter and I would sell it for a nickel each in the neighbourhood, so I made a small profit. I was always trying to do something like this.”.

From small beginnings come bigger things and so after selling gum, soft drinks and working with his father, by age 14, he had bought a 40 acres farm in Washington, Thurston County..

But he confesses that he never enjoyed the farm as much as he enjoyed investing in stocks. But the first stock he bought was “Citi Service preferred stock. I had three shares and made all of $5 on it. I had bought it at $38.25 and then I sold it around $40, it went down to $27 in between and after I sold it at $40, it went to $200!”.

From that poorly timed stock sale in 1944, he learnt a lesson that became his legendary investment strategy - which is essentially - patience pays, so buy them and hold them. He figured out two other critical things about himself in the 1940s - what he is good at and what he likes to do.

This pivotal moment in his journey came in 1956, when he was just 25 years old. This man who was rejected by Harvard and now armed with contributions from family and friends and $100 of his own money starts a limited partnership with seven people.

Over the next nine years, Buffett turned a $105,000 into $26 million - a stunning 24,000 per cent increase! He had invested mostly in textile companies, farm equipment manufacturers and even a company making windmills.

Thirteen years later, Buffett forms another partnership that becomes one of the greatest teams in the history of investing. He convinces longtime friend Charlie Munger to quit his investment partnership to join Buffett as his Vice President of Berkshire Hathaway.

And now with the 82-year-old Munger, Buffett sits on top of the greatest holding companies ever.

So, it’s understandable that this man is looked up to for investment and business advice all the time. But what’s the secret gift he’s got? How does he pick the right investments all the time? He explains, “I look for something that I can understand to start with, there are all kinds of businesses I don’t understand.”.

“I don’t understand what car companies are going to do 10 years from now, or what software or chemical companies are going to win/do ten years from now but I do understand that Snickers bars will be the number one candy company in the US - like its been for 40 years. So, I look for durable competitive advantage and that is hard to find. I look for an honest and able management and I look for the price I’m going to pay.”.

While Buffett’s big acquisitions have made headlines; wise investments in companies like Coco Cola, the Washington Post and Gillette have provided the capital to make those acquisitions possible. Since taking control of Berkshire in 1964, the company has acquired 68 subsidiaries. In March of 1964, Berkshire acquired its first insurance company National Indemnity.

In 1972, See’s Candies for $25 million, in September of 1983, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borhseim’s in 1989. In 1998, Berkshire acquired Dairy Queen and Geico in January, Net Jets in August and General Re Corp in December. In April of 2002, Fruit of the Loom and most recently Buffett is looking abroad for new business.

Recently, he bought 80 per cent of the Israeli Metal Works Company and he did it without even seeing it. He was approached by the promoter via a letter and what was in that letter convinced him that ‘this was the kind of the person I wanted to do business with and it is the kind of business we wanted to own.’ How does this ‘daring bit of investment fit in with his usual careful way of investing?.

He explains, “I had to size up the business but that’s a background of being in stocks. If you put your whole net worth in stocks when you are 20-21 years old - you have not visited the businesses but you are really analyzing their financials, you are trying to assess whether they have durable competitive advantage, assess the quality of the management and the integrity of the management and then you try to figure out whether you are buying it at a reasonable price and that’s it, that is all we do.”

He’s never had anything lacking - his acute business brain has made him a lot of money. He also feels that the youth of today are living better than John D Rockefeller. His own style remains the same - he lives in the same house for 48 years, carries no cellphone, has no computer on his office desk, does not move around with an entourage.

As he puts it, “I have had everything I wanted all my life. At 20, I was having the time of my life doing what I did. Today, I’m eating the same things I always eat - burgers, fries and cherry coke. Only my clothes are more expensive now but they look cheap when I put them on!”.

At 76, he married his long-time companion, Astrid Menks at a low-key ceremony at his daughter Susan’s house. He is also amazingly healthy for someone on a burgers-coke diet. He’s also surprisingly down to earth. He moves around freely unencumbered by a security detail. He does have a few guards with him during the annual shareholders meeting but he says he doesn’t feel the need to put himself in a cocoon.

Which probably explains, why he wasn’t nervous about visiting a factory in Israel, which is close to the Lebanese border. He says of that visit, “Our plant there is about 8-10 miles from the Lebanese border and there were maybe a rocket or two that hit the parking lot or something like that but it can be dangerous being in this (US) country as well.”.

Buffett is comfortable in Omaha in part because people leave him alone with the exception of a random fan or two. This billionaire doesn’t even have a chauffeur - he drives himself around in a 2006 Cadillac DTS, recently purchased after he auctioned off his old Lincoln Town Car, which was famous for its Thrifty license plate. And no, he does not want a yacht or many mansions. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy a good football game in his sweatsuit on a big screen television - with popcorn.

It’s really no surprise that America’s most prominent investor chooses to live far from the nation’s wealthy-elite in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. He says that when he was in New York, he had about a 100 ideas about where to invest but it was over-stimulation.

In Omaha, he needs one good idea in a year and he feels he can think better and with less distraction. He feels there is a sense of community in living there.

His investing theories have been talked about ad nauseum by almost every business/finance writer and is a cottage industry all by itself.

But one he finds closest to reflecting his views is a book written by Larry Cunningham - ‘The Essays of Warren Buffett - Lessons for Corporate America’ is required reading in a one of a kind course start at the University of Missouri School of Business.

The course is called Investment Strategies of Warren Buffett. It turns up Buffett is hot on campus too. The class now in its eighth year and is the brainchild of Buffett’s friend Harvey Eisen.

Harvey Eisen recalls, “This course is a breakthrough in terms of reality meeting academics. I said why don’t we have a course like this and the academics scratched their head and said ‘well we don’t’ and I said ‘why don’t we’ and then we got it done.”.

Dean of the University of Missouri School of Business Bruce Walker bought the idea. He says, “We want our students to be exposed to many different approaches to investing.”.

The Buffett playbook is taught, analysed and written about but it is best summed up like this.

Harvey Eisen explains it, “
Number one - Don’t lose the money and
Number two - don’t forget rule number 1!

Number three - look for unique companies that are hard to replicate - he calls
that a moat around the business.
Number four - he talks about the circle of competence, which means in simple
English, do what you know..

“Everybody in the stock market knows about the economy or about the Federal Reserve. Warren focuses on what he knows and he has made enormous successes at that.”

He does not want his managers to report in at any committee meeting of any kind and he lets them get on with the business of running their businesses. But there is one thing he requires of each CEO. Buffett says, “I asked them to send me a letter, that I would keep in a private place that will tell me what to do tomorrow morning, if they are not alive in terms of their successor.”

But what about his own successor? He says, “The succession plan is very simple. Our board met a few days ago and we talked about that every in single meeting and we have at least three people inside Berkshire, who in many respects will do my job better than I do. I can’t give you the names but the board knows which one of those three they would pick, if something happened to me.”.

Warren Buffett has also given away $31 billion of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and he ‘hopes it will accomplish just what they have set out to accomplish. I have observed their Foundation very carefully and Bill & Melinda decided initially they were spending about a billion a year. They have decided they were going to try and figure how they are going to save most lives, relieve the most human suffering.’

Ultimately, that’s what money is really meant for, isn’t it?

Source :

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How To Retire As A Millionnaire By Investing in Real Estate?

Okay,now let's get down to business.Do you really want to retire as a millionaire and that too by investing in properties? You can, if you really want to. It's not really that difficult. You only need to be disciplined in your savings. The faster you start saving and the more you start saving, the better it is.

All you need to do is from the age of 30 to 60, try your very best to purchase 6 properties worth 100,000 each, with potential of market appreciation. Since our plan is to start at the age of 30, we should have accumulated, over the years of working, at least 25,000. This amount would then be used as the down payment for the property purchased.The remainder can be paid of by taking a 20 years loan.Every 5 years, you have to repeat the same action: Buy a property worth 100,000.The 1st, 2nd and 3rd property would have been paid off by the time you reach 60 years old.So, the rental income that you can get from the properties that has been paid off can be used to pay off the rest of the properties. In fact this enables you to pay off the later properties at a faster pace and not as the initially planned 20 years any more.

When all this is done, you will have a passive income and can retire comfortably. Not to mention that your properties also have potential of having appreciated over the years.

Assumptions made:
- retirement age: 60
- you've got at least 30 years to retirement
- you save around 500 dollars every month: 500x12x5 = 30,000 every 5 years
- rental income is minimum 500 dollars a month
- each property purchased is 100,000 dollars

Warning: You must also be prepared to cover the monthly instalments from your own pocket in case your tenant defaults his payment or when the property is without a tenant. Any cost incurred for repairs must also be born by you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

4 financial things you should know before getting married

1.How are both of you going to manage your money and your expenses? Is it going to be pool your money together (merged finances- as called by Clever Dude) and pay off expenses or each person is going to have a separate account and take charge of selected expenses?

2. What are the 'sins' that each other are committed to? Is there any type of 'sin' that could suck a major portion of your income? A must have drinking session with close friends every Saturday night or being a broadway musical crazy fan that you can't miss even though you know that will cause you to go on hunger for the next 2 days. You may want to read Clever Dude's Have You Committed Financial Infidelity where he has actually shared his experience and how he actually avoided the fights after marriage because he did that before marriage! Another good article regarding this topic that I just saw : Money, fidelity go hand in hand by Sharon Jayson, USATODAY.COM

3. Are there financial dependent family members from either side who needs to be cared for?In case there is someone who needs financial assistance, it would be wise to declare them earlier to your would-be-spouse. Maybe it is a brother who is wheelchair-bound or a sister who needs dialysis every week, just tell.

4. What are the financial 'burdens' that your partner is carrying over? Maybe your future spouse has yet to pay off his/her education loan which is quite a substantial amount. Knowing how much he/she is committed every month would be good so that we don't make any false assumptions or have any expectations that cannot be fulfilled because of this existing 'burden'.

All the financial things listed above should be openly spoken to your spouse before you get married. This opinion is even shared by Bryce in Don’t Keep Secrets.It is better for both of you to have a clear picture of your financial status in order to have a proper financial planning for your life.