3 Financial Discussions to Have Before Walking Down the Aisle
One of the biggest influences on relationship breakdown or stress - is money; and it’s not always about having too little as many wealthy people have just as many if not more problems. So, if you’re planning on getting married or taking a relationship to the next level with shared bills and living expenses, knowing your partners financial situation is a must to avoid serious issues down the road.
Just as important as learning about your partners financial background prior to marriage; is to stay transparent throughout the relationship working as a team to achieve shared financial goals.
Here are three money topics you need to talk about before walking down that aisle:
All things debt: If you plan to spend the rest of your life with someone you need to talk about debt. How much debt do you have (school loans, credit cards, car loan, mortgage) and how much debt do they have? Talk about whether you plan to help pay each other’s debt off or if each person is responsible for their own.
While you are talking about debt, you should discuss how you feel about debt in general and how you want to handle your finances moving forward. If you talk about these things before you get married, you’ll know in advance what to expect and where you stand as a couple moving forward.
Basic Finance: If you don’t talk about how you’ll manage your money every month, you may be in for a rude surprise, especially if one of you is a spender and the other a saver. Talking about and even creating a budget ahead of time will make the transition of shared finances much easier.
Some couples have their own bank accounts, while others feel more comfortable with joint accounts. Either way, you’ll need to decide how the money will be managed. Who will be responsible for actually paying the monthly bills and how much personal spending money will you each have? A conversation now may just save you a fight or two later.
In addition to general monthly finances, future plans also need to be discussed – Investing, retirement, education, etc.
Death: This topic is not only one of the most important; it’s one of the most uncomfortable topics couples will have to discuss. Once you are married, by law, your property belongs to the both of you. Some states have different rules for how much of what belongs to whom, but you’ll want to talk about it together anyway.
Discussing how you want to handle personal items in the event of your death may not sound like a great talk to have over coffee, but it’s an important one that could eliminate some unnecessary stress if the unexpected happens.
Financial matters can impact the quality of a marriage. Many times couples don’t like to discuss finances as it’s a serious topic which requires a lot of time and honesty. For many it’s easier to just put it off and hope that things just work out – things may but not likely. Especially if there are some serious financial skeletons like bad credit, debt or even past bankruptcies.
Whilst some of these things are very serious, they can be overcome as long as they are revealed and a plan on what to do moving forward is established. Relationships can be hard enough as things are; don’t let finances get in the way of having a healthy and happy relationship.