Money is always the subject of a lively discussion, especially in the context of marriage. New couples who are just getting used to the idea of merging their incomes (and paying an endless stream of bills) will discover that finding a financial setup that suits their lifestyle and their spending personalities may take a while to achieve.

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Suzi Entrata-Abrera and Paolo Abrera, who will celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary in May this year, have long figured out a system to handle their money—by having “his,” “hers,” and “ours.”

“There’s stuff that we share. There’s stuff that’s his and mine. May mga ganoon,” Suzi, 44, told Pep.ph

“Whatever I buy with my own money, siyempre whatever that may be is mine.”

She clarifies, though, that it’s a different story when it comes to their shared resources. 

“But if it’s the household money, siyempre that’s something that we discuss before we take out. Insurance, kasama na doon iyong tuition, pagawa ng kotse...” 

She adds that they don’t follow the traditional financial setup where the husband hands over all of his earnings to the wife, but their arrangement works for them. 

“Some families, even modern families that I know of, ang lalaki, nagbibigay pa rin ng lahat ng sweldo sa babae...

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“It’s up to them kung ganoon ang setup nila. Sa amin hindi ganoon, but I respect kung ganoon ang system that works for them.

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“That’s their decision. Dapat as a family nila dine-decide iyon,” she adds, noting that it’s different strokes for different folks.

That said, Suzi does not worry about Paolo overspending on his motorbike hobby, because she knows he has a sensible approach to it. 

Iyong motor niya, kunwari he has three. His friends might have 12...

Pero para sa kanya, sabi niya, ‘Namamatayan na nga ako ng baterya, e... Tatlo pa lang iyan, a, anong gagawin ko sa lima or anim?

Hindi niya kailangan ng kinse na helmet, except kapag binigyan siya, so dumadami.

“He’s very practical,” she says of Paolo, 48.

On GMA’s talk show Mars, the former host once said that in their relationship as husband and wife, there are always things she and Paolo find ways to improve—money just being one of them. (Here's Paolo's advice to avoid sticky situations between married couples.)

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May ma-i-improve pa pala, [sa] tagal na taon nang magkasama na tayo,” she said.

Her realization? “[Y]ou can still keep working on things that you thought you figured out before, or [things that you thought] ‘never am I talking about that kasi antagal na nating magkasama so let’s just go with it.’ 

“At every stage of life, it’s always a different kind of joy or happiness. And you can keep getting not just more, but a different kind of happiness pa pala, pa-progress lang siya nang pa-progress,” she said.

Suzi and Paolo are parents to three teenage daughters.

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