Couples should be ready for a job loss, especially if they work in the same industry, as both can get affected together
Mukherjee and Guha decided to cut down the initial costs of setting up a house after marriage by not redoing it from scratch and using appliances and furniture they already had
Rituparno Guha, 29, and Anusua Mukherjee, 27, were just putting the finishing touches on their new household after their marriage in January 2019 and planning a trip to Europe when the slowdown hit them, though not directly. They felt the pinch as prices climbed higher. “When we moved into an apartment together, we realized that some expenses came down because we are dividing them between us, but some others went up," said Guha, a financial consultant.
To compensate, the couple decided to reduce the initial expenses. “We kept the appliances and furniture we had before we got married, and decided not to redo everything from scratch, which saved us a good deal of money," said Mukherjee, a senior banking analyst. Their plan to travel to Europe was cancelled due to health reasons, and when they tried to reschedule it, they realized their travel budget would inflate. “We are revisiting the plan and capping the budget at what it was before," said Guha.
Both of them work in the financial services industry, and get their annual appraisals in December-January. “We decided that we will make a yearly budget around that time of the year," Guha added.
The couple decided to take a loan to buy a car just after they got married, but given the less-than-hopeful financial outlook, they want to close the loan as soon as possible. “When we took the loan, we ensured that there were no prepayment charges. We plan to close the loan in three years instead of five," said Guha.
Young professionals like Mukherjee and Guha are redefining traditional financial goals, according to Amit Kukreja, registered investment adviser and founder, amitkukreja.com. “These are new-age employees and in this new work environment, the stability of jobs is never a given. The goals people have are also changing. Earlier, it was buying a house, then raising children and then retirement. Now, retirement comes first," he said. For Guha and Mukherjee, this is definitely the case. “We understand the importance of saving up for long-term goals like retirement. We try to put away 20-25% of our salaries in various instruments each month," said Guha, adding that while buying a house might be on the horizon, the two are not planning to have children in the near future.
They have recently started investing in equities. “Since we earn about equal amounts, we also invest nearly equal amounts in tax-saving instruments. We had some insurance plans and public provident fund earlier, but started investing in mutual funds six months ago through an online platform," said Mukherjee.
But given the financial climate, the young couple should build a corpus, said Kukreja. This is especially true for couples who work in the same industry, because both can get impacted if the industry is hit by a slowdown, resulting in a job loss and lower increments. “The financial trauma caused by a job loss can be paralyzing for a young couple. It’s crucial to build a passive income portfolio incrementally, which can take care of household expenses completely," he said.
Unlike many young couples, Mukherjee and Guha have a solid plan for the future. With a few more investments, the downturn is unlikely to slow down this sensible duo.