Marriage, it’s such a beautiful thing. You’ve found the one you love. You’re deep into planning your dream wedding. You’ve registered for all the necessities, the menu is set, the DJ is booked and ready to give you an epic wedding dance. You think you know everything about the one you are about to marry and spend your life with, but do you really?
One of the most important topics to discuss before getting hitched is finances. Some couples play the “we’ll talk about it when it comes up” game when it comes to money. That’s not the best approach, because financial stress in a marriage can be a real strain.
Here are some important questions to ask your future spouse.
First things first, how much debt do you have and where is this debt? This is a big question and an important one. Student loans, car loans, credit card balances or any other debt needs to be out in the open for both of you. It’s good to be aware of debts in case one of you loses your job and one person has to take on all the bills.
What is your credit score? If you decide to apply for an apartment or a loan together, it’s nice to know where you both are with your credit scores. This can help to avoid any awkward conversations if you were to get declined for a loan because of bad credit.
Would you rather spend money on experiences or a home? This is a great question to see where each other’s priorities are. Some people prefer to have a beautiful home and tangible items whereas others like to invest in traveling and experiences.
Do you owe any family members or friends money? Getting financially involved with family and friends can cause an entirely unexpected set of issues. If you do owe money to friends or family, try to make it a priority to pay them back to avoid any tension and animosity.
Do you use credit cards? If so, do you pay them off every month? Some people use credit cards for all expenses to build up credit and earn points for rewards, but pay them off right away. Does your mate use credit cards because they don’t have money in the bank? That’s a different story. Make sure to get on the same page as each other on credit card usage.
How do you want to handle paying the bills? Will one person be in charge of handling all the expenses, or will it be a partnership? Who will be in charge of certain bills?
Will you have a joint checking account or keep them separate? If you’re going to have a joint account, then you definitely need to have regular financial discussions. There is no hiding that pair of shoes you bought last week.
Are you a saver and do you have a saving account? Whatever your degree of savings is, you should discuss having a savings account. It’s important to have an emergency fund tucked away in case you need money for medical expenses, vet bills, car repairs, or home maintenance.
Do you want children? This discussion has probably happened long before the ring was on her finger, but it’s important to talk about the financial costs of having kids. Maybe you want one child and your mate wants three. Along with talking finances with children, you will have to think about daycare versus staying at home, private or public schooling and will you be paying for their college educations?
Do you have life insurance? Maybe you both have life insurance through work, but that might not be adequate. You want to make sure your loved ones are protected from a financial disaster if you were to die. If you have anyone that depends on you financially, then you should have life insurance. How much depends on you and what you can afford. You can run a quick term life insurance quote and use Quotacy’s needs analysis calculator to help you get a better understanding of how much coverage you need.
With finances being one of the biggest reasons for arguments between couples, it’s helpful to sit down and get it all out in the open. It may not be fun, but it will help to avoid many issues ahead of time. You’ll feel good to have that conversation behind you and you can continue planning the wedding.
Photo credit to: Ben Grey