Are you planning on getting married soon? I bet you are very excited, and busy making wedding plans. As a couple in love, and planning for your wedding, hopefully you have already discussed your current income. Along with your current income, there are so many money matters to discuss before marriage to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to your personal finances. While some couples may be very open to this discussion, other people may have skipped right over it. But unfortunately, if you skip this conversation, however difficult it may be, you will need to talk about money at some point. A good way to look at this, is that by talking about some of these money matters today, you will learn a lot more about each other. And, that will bring you even closer, as a couple.
10 Money Matters to Discuss Before Marriage
Spend A Lot, or Save A Lot?
Are you frugal by nature, or do you love to go shopping? When one person loves to shop and the other is very frugal, things can get pretty messy. Once you are married, as you know, you need to take each other into consideration before you pay for things. That doesn’t mean that every time you buy a bag of chips you need to speak to your spouse first. But, it could mean, that before you buy that next car, you should speak to your spouse first.
The best thing to do, if you have different spending habits, is to set a spending limit. Agree that if you spend this small amount of money, it is considered okay by both of you, without consulting each other, but if you want to spend a large amount of money, you will absolutely talk about it first.
Talking about your financial past before marriage is very important.
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 smart to be open and upfront about things.
If you use to have debt trouble but managed to sort your finances out, it’s still important to talk about it. Reveal these things now before they come back to haunt you.
Your credit score is another money matter to discuss before marriage.
Why? Because if the two of you want to buy a house in the future, and you need to apply for a mortgage together, your credit score will be pulled. And if one of you has a bad credit score, and it stops you from being able to buy a house, the other person should know that ahead of time, and not on the day that you are applying for the mortgage.
Other Financial Obligations
These refer to financial obligations outside of your marriage. 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 want your future spouse to know about.
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.
Expenses – Who Will Pay for What?
Before you get married you will want to talk about how you will pay for things, such as your home, groceries, cars, vacations, personal belongings, etc.
If you are both working, will you split all expenses in half? If not, discuss, and come to an agreement on how things will be paid for.
Many people are getting married later in life, after their careers are established. They may already own a home, and other assets as well. A pre-nuptial agreement is definitely a necessity if one of you 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.
Saving and Investing Habits
How much money do you put into your savings account each month, and how much do you put towards other investments?
Do you have a solid financial plan that allows you to save for large purchases, as well as your retirement? Or, do you simply live month to month?
You will want to talk about this.
Perhaps you are both spenders now, and saving money hasn’t been a part of your life. But now that you will be living together and doing things differently, this might be a point in your life where you both come together and create a savings and investment plan for your future.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
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?
And, if you have to live off of one income, will that put a strain on your marriage?
These are all things that should be discussed before your wedding day.
Do You Follow a Budget?
Again, if you are frugal and you marry someone who loves to spend money, things could be stressful.
And what if you like to follow a strict budget and your future spouse says “what’s a budget?”.
Discuss budgets, and discuss the advantages of following a budget.
Is money meant to be spent, or is money meant to be saved? Talk about it.
If you are not on the same page today, work at finding common ground and find a way to work together, by listening to each other, and being flexible.
Your Future Financial Goals
When I talk about money matters to discuss before marriage, I cannot skip your future financial goals. Even if neither of you currently has set financial goals, now is a good time to discuss the future and the role money will play in your marriage. Tell each other what you already know about finances, and what you would like to learn. Talk about planning for a family, and how much that will cost. Talk about where you will live, and how much that will cost. Maybe you want to be able to retire early, or maybe you want to start your own business. The more you can talk about money matters and make plans that work best for both of you, the easier things will be.