Marriage is more than just an emotional commitment. In a marriage, two individuals decide to come together, to become "one", and to spend the rest of their lives together.
The problem is that since marriage often is the result of a romantic relationship, a lot of people are far too shy to bring up any of their financial concerns. This is a serious problem, because a marriage is a commitment to share all your ups and downs. Without clarifying financial issues first, it's very easy for both parties to end up in unhappy situations.
For example, the matter of matrimonial properties might seem like a no-brainer for some couples. They know that they will share everything they own from the moment they say "I do".
However, in reality there are certain factors that should be taken into consideration.
If you owned a considerable number of assets prior to getting married would you want them to become joint property once you were married? Are you willing to truly share all of your wealth with your partner?
These are just some questions that need to be answered before you tie the knot.
More importantly, clearing up these financial issues can in fact make life as a couple much easier. If you get these issues out of the way ahead of time, hopefully you will not have to deal with too much financial conflict after you say I do.
Don't worry if talking about money isn't romantic. Much of married life isn't romantic, either, because it's a real partnership through and through.
10 Money Issues To Discuss Before Getting Married
It's a good idea to come clean before a marriage, on both personal and financial matters.
Don't hide issues like gambling problems, debt, and other things that could end up harming your marriage. Though it may seem like you're placing your relationship in jeopardy by revealing these past indiscretions, it's actually very important.
Remember not to build a marriage on lies.
If you used to have debt trouble but managed to turn your weaknesses around, it's still important to talk about it. Reveal these things now before they come back to haunt you.
It's very unromantic, but credit scores are actually important in a partnership.
A poor credit score should be discussed. It could be from a simple mistake or it could be a result of some very bad habits that you may not want to deal with once you are aware of them. Don't jump into a relationship without clarifying these things first.
The way you treat money should also be discussed.
If you spend more than you earn, then this is something you should bring up with your future spouse. After all, you'll be sharing incomes in your household, won’t you?
It's a good idea to talk about these habits now, before you get married.
These refer to financial obligations outside of the partnership. Do you take care of your parents or siblings financially? Are you paying child support or alimony?
Are you expected to pay for certain properties like a home or a car for someone else?
These are things you have to point out early on.
Also, if you are paying off debt, including student loans, car loans, and so on, that you have accumulated in your lifetime, be upfront and mention this now.
Since you will have to spend a chunk of your income on these obligations, laying them out in the open before you share a household should eliminate future fights and misunderstandings.
Since you will be sharing a home, it's inevitable that bills will come with the partnership.
Talk about the division of these shared expenses beforehand.
You should have an equal division, if you both agree. But maybe you have other plans on how to handle your joint expenses.
Your incomes should be taken into consideration when dividing your expenses. Make sure that both parties are okay with the distribution of financial obligations, because you definitely don't want to force your partner into paying for something he or she doesn’t agree with.
A pre-nuptial agreement often gets a lot of flak because it seems very unromantic.
However, it's definitely a necessity if one party has significantly more assets than the other. To prevent arguments and unnecessary insinuations over property, it's best to have a prenuptial agreement in place before the wedding.
Plus, it sounds awful now but in the event of a divorce, a pre-nup makes matters a lot easier.
How much do you save? What are your principles when it comes to savings? Though it seems like a minor matter, in reality this is something you need to discuss before it becomes a matter of conflict. For example, a spouse who doesn't see the value in saving up money for a rainy day might upset someone who is very fussy with their savings.
Where do you see yourself in a decade? What are your long term career plans? And what are your spouse’s long term career plans?
Will your career plans include returning to school? If so how will that affect your finances?
Will one of you work full-time while the other goes back to school? Will having to live off of one income put a strain on your marriage? These are all things that should be discussed before your wedding day.
This is closely related to your saving habits. If you are frugal and you marry someone who loves to spend money, things could get ugly.
And what if you like to follow a strict budget and your future spouse says “what’s a budget?”.
Discuss your money principles and beliefs, and encourage your soon to be spouse to do the same. Try to iron out differences and find a happy compromise.
You're partners. You need to make sure that your goals are aligned. If you want a home in five years, you'll have to be vocal about this. If you hope to have children you both need to be in agreement that you can afford to have children. If you enjoy taking several vacations each year, and you hope your spouse does too, you should discuss this upfront.
Don't keep it to yourself then stew in anger if it doesn't happen within your expected timeframe. Share your dreams, and share your plans.