You are engaged. There are a million things you need to attend to before the big day. Is a financial discussion one of those items you have scheduled? If not, it should be. It sets the tone for a fully honest relationship where both parties enter with eyes wide open.
The Financial Discussion: Questions to Ask and Answer Before Marriage
A detailed financial discussion is difficult even in the least stressful times. And the engagement period, or slightly before that period, is often filled with the stress of planning. However, as much as marriage is a union of love, it is also, unromantically, a financial union.
Following are several financial discussion points that will help guide you through the discussion. These are difficult topics, but in the long run, they will enhance your marriage.
Everyone has an opinion about money. Some say it is the root of all evil. Others believe poverty is the root of all evil. What philosophies do each of you have about money? To help answer this question, you can break this concept into smaller questions.
- How should financial affairs be managed?
- What is your philosophy on saving?
- What did your parents teach you about money?
- Take this money quiz on Motley Fool.
Discuss and Share Credit Scores
Once married, each person will have his/her own credit file. But moving forward, a couple will likely share accounts (e.g. car loans, credit cards, mortgages).
Does your partner have good credit? If not, you may need another financial discussion on how to raise credit scores.
Many people have debt. It is not the end of the world. Student loans, and heavily used credit cards are often culprits of young people’s debt. Once married, you may become responsible for your partner’s debt. It is important to determine beforehand, the amount of debt you’re carrying into the marriage. Even more important (and oftentimes more painful) is the financial discussion that determines how the debt will be paid off.
Are you both planning to have children? If so, how many would you envision in your perfect scenario? Family size and financial needs go hand in hand. A financial discussion about children must include private/public school education, day care, stay at home parenting, college savings, and more. Each answer affects the family budget both short and long term.
What long-term financial goals do each of you have? Do you want to travel every year? Does one of you want to stay home during a period of your children’s lives? Perhaps you want to retire early, or purchase a vacation home. In order to make these goals a reality, both partners must have a unified vision and a plan to make it happen. If you have the right financial plan, these dreams are possible, but you both need to be on the same page to achieve them.
Money and Divorce
Even healthy relationships include disagreements and arguments, and this study found that the topic of the argument is a predictor of the risk of divorce.
Yes, you can easily guess the topic—it’s money.
The important thing is to have these difficult discussions, make compromises, and approach your future with a unified vision.