Throughout your relationship together, you have learned a lot about each other. You know the things you both enjoy and the things you do n’t, but have you ever taken the time to get to know each other financially?
Doing a quick assessment of where each of you are financially today will enable you to make the necessary adjustments to get on the right track before your tying the knot.
Here are just a few topics you and your partner should discuss:
- Reveal your debts: Accumulating debt can be a simple thing to do; sharing preexisting debt, however, can be much more difficult. Whether the debt is in the form of student loans or credit cards, it is important to share this information with your significant other so that you can both determine the best plan of action to pay it off.
- Compare Spending Habits: Chances are by the time your wedding day rolls around; these habits have already begun to reveal themselves. It can become quite obvious whether someone is a spender or a saver if you spend enough time around them. The question is if they continue those habits once you’re married and you disagree with them, what are you going to do? You should align your spending together so that you can each be aware of where your money is going, which will assist you in avoiding the problems that overspending can lead to.
- Share Income levels: Without knowing how much money will be flowing into your household, it is difficult to determine how much you can afford to let flow out. By sharing your income levels with each other, you will be able to set a comfortable level of spending based on how much you both make.
- Align Financial Efforts: Often times this topic is the most difficult. Making the transition from viewing money as “yours and mine” to viewing it as “ours” can be hard to do, but it is a great first step toward aligning your financial efforts. Deciding on “Who is going to be the bill payer?” and “Are we going to join our bank accounts or keep them separate?” are just a couple of questions you should attempt to answer in your discussion.
The most important thing to remember is that being able to communicate with your significant other is vital if you want your marriage to be financially successful. Once you have established a basic framework of your joint financial goals it may be beneficial to meet with a financial planner to discuss the best strategies for your personal situation. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.
Be on the lookout next month for the second installment of “Five Topics to Discuss Before Saying I Do”: Creating a Dynamic Budget.
Photo Credit: Michael Swan