It’s the marriage statistic you don’t want to hear: 45% of marriages end in divorce. Of course, this doesn’t have to be your marriage, but it does mean you need to know everything about your partner before tying the knot.
One of the most uncomfortable conversations you might have to have is about money, but you need to clear the air and build a solid, financial strategy. So take a few minutes and sit down with your beloved and lay all your cards on the table. You may be surprised at what you don’t know.
By the end of your conversation, you should be able to answer the following questions:
When planning to take someone for better or for worse it includes every aspect of their life, including any debt they may be bringing into the relationship.
Viewing the negative balances can help you decide on a team approach tackling this problem and can actually help you better assess and budget for your impending nuptials.
What Has Our Relationship with Money Been Like?
Although you two lovebirds are planning a future together, you both have past relationships. Although it is taboo to talk about exes it is imperative that you define your money management style.
Are you a saver marrying a spender or vice-versa? Then a strategy that involves merging some finances into a joint account (for expenses) while keeping separate accounts for a little space can do the trick nicely.
What is Our Credit Score?
Everyone’s life experiences are different and while your choices may have resulted in a score over 800, your soon-to-be may be coming in at the 600 mark. Discussing your credit scores in advance will not only remove any chance for any unpleasant surprises, but will give the two of you the great money management task of improving your credit scores together.
Who’s the Boss?
After years of individually managing your financial resources, you may be hesitant to turn over full control to your honey. Household money management is a two-person job made easier by technology such as online bill-payments.
Whether you both agree who is in charge of this task or just draw straws, the person who is not primarily responsible should still actively take steps to check out account balances and incoming bills so they can be part of the financial planning scenario.
What are Our Financial Plans?
Although today you may be happily and cozily sharing a studio apartment, you may dream of a different tomorrow. If you plan on being a starving artist until the bitter end or plan on committing to an 80-hour workweek to earn that golden ring, the two of you need to share your visions of the future so you can figure out a way to build it together.
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes money matters can get in the way of a great marriage and a happy future. But by taking the bull by the horns and discussing some of the biggest points of contention up front, you can really build a unified front and negotiate terms for your personalized approach to money management.
What do you do to make your marriage work financially?