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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Honey, shall we decouple?

"Honey, shall we decouple?"

"Huh!!! Is there another party in our relationship?!"

"Well... yes.  That party that strikes like lightning loh.  Anyway, I think it's best for us to decouple as soon as we can before more cooling..."


If you think I am encouraging couples to file for divorce, read this.  I am actually talking about the report on a rise in couples asking about the process of changing the joint ownership of their matrimonial home to sole ownership, so that their spouse can buy a second property without having to pay additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) of 7%.  Sounds ridiculous, but us Singaporeans are a savvy bunch that will pounce on every opportunity to take advantage of any predicament.  To illustrate this, just two words would suffice - "Meatballs" and "Egg McMuffins".

For those who are close to us, they would know that we believe in having full disclosure and open access to each other's finances.  Joint ownership of our matrimonial home is a given.  Our reason is simple.  Money is one of the most common things that couples quarrel over.  Being open about it builds trust and encourages the couple to make financial decisions as "we" rather than "me".  If a couple cannot agree over money matters, they are more likely to have disagreements over many other things.

I think that when couples decouple, it weakens the sense of dependency and encourage more of "me" rather than "we".  The report also mentioned that as a practical tip, the couple thinking of decoupling may need to have a trust deed in place to protect the exiting party's share in the property, in case of a divorce.  If you agree that pre-nuptial agreements are a bad idea, you would probably also give decoupling the thumbs down.  It just sounds wrong - a couple that decouples.

It is unfortunate that in trying to cool the property market, a side effect that the government created might be a weakening of the family unit.

Do you agree?  Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!


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