Marriage is a huge milestone in life, and while it can be a great source of joy, there are also many important things to know about your partner before you promise to spend your life with them.
Financial honesty in a relationship is important. Talking about money before you get married will set a strong foundation.
Marriage may not always be easy, but having honest conversations about high-impact areas of life will set you up for success. Ask your partner these 3 questions before it is time to walk down the aisle.
The 3 Most Important Money Questions for Couples
Being in love is exciting, and spending a lifetime with a partner you trust and respect can be so rewarding.
If you and your partner are considering marriage, talk through the following financial questions to make sure you have the groundwork in place for a transparent and financially agreeable marriage.
How Do You Feel About Sharing Finances?
Many people see marriage as financially collaborative, where both partners are entitled to the income and assets brought in by each person.
Some people see marriage as a union of the hearts and not of the wallets. Have an honest talk with your partner to ask them how they see finances fitting into a marriage.
Shared Bank Accounts and Cards
It may be helpful to bring up the prospect of a shared bank account. Shared bank accounts can be a positive thing, as they allow for a feeling of financial trust in two partners.
However, some people are uncomfortable with the idea of their spouse spending their money or seeing how they spend money.
Ask your partner if they would like to have a shared bank account, and also how they feel about shared credit cards. It may be helpful to consider the following questions:
- Will you have separate lines of credit?
- Will you both have equal access to the shared account, even if one person earns more than the other?
- How will you keep track of individual spending, if you choose to do so?
Beyond immediate finances, it may also be helpful to discuss investments. Investing in the future through stocks, properties, or more, is a great way to set yourself up for financial success.
Talk to your partner about how you will make decisions on investment. Here are some helpful questions:
- How will you decide what to invest your money in for the long-term?
- Will you make investments together, or separately?
Having these decisions before marriage will set you up to succeed later on.
What Are Your Financial Perspectives?
Everyone has their views on finances and no two financial philosophies are the same. Talk to your partner about the way that they see money, and what they hope to use their money for in the future.
Talk About Savings
Ask your partner what their savings goals are.
Are savings important to them? Some people strictly save for future expenses, such as homes and retirement. Talk to your partner about what they would like to allocate money toward, and why. Do your goals align?
If you and your partner already have savings goals you follow, how will you merge these two ways of savings?
Talk through both of your systems for putting aside money. Explain your perspective now to avoid confusion or miscommunication in the future.
What Do You Spend Money On?
Some people are thrifty, and others prefer to enjoy their money while they have it. Ask your partner how they choose to spend money, and what makes them happiest.
If spending money is a big source of concern and stress for you or your partner, you will need to make this known.
Additionally, knowing what material goods your partner likes will help you be more in-tune with their desires and needs.
Many Americans have some amount of debt. Ask your partner about their perspective on debt, and if they have any. Some people see debt as a thing to be avoided at all costs, while others believe it is a natural part of living in a modern world.
If you or your partner have a large amount of debt, this is also something that you should be transparent about before you enter into a marriage.
Not knowing someone’s financials can be detrimental later on in the relationship if you find yourself surprised by a large amount of debt you didn’t know you would have to face.
Also, if one or both of you does have debt, will this be an individual responsibility or a shared responsibility? Reaching an agreement on this will help you set expectations for any financial burdens that may arise.
How Will You Spend Money on Family?
If you or your partner have family members, inevitably you will need to discuss how you would like to allocate money toward these sources.
It is not uncommon for family members to ask one another for informal loans.
Financial hardships can happen, and many people see family as something they can rely on both for emotional and financial support.
Ask your partner how they feel about lending money to family. Ask the following questions:
- How much money would you be comfortable lending, if at all?
- Under what circumstances would you lend money to family members?
- Would you be comfortable asking family for money if needed?
Asking family for money or giving money is often a complicated mix of morals and pride. Talk to your partner about how they would navigate these scenarios, and make sure you are on the same page.
If you hope to someday have children, you will need to financially plan for this. You may already know if you and your partner plan to have a family, but if you have not discussed financial preparations for this, you will need to do so.
Talk through how you will save for the cost of raising children, and how you both will contribute. This will prepare you to support your children together if you choose to have them.
Discuss Parents and Elderly Relatives
If you have living parents or elderly relatives, you may need to financially support them in the future.
Talk to your partner to see how you can budget for this expense someday, or how they foresee themselves helping their parents in the future.
Money may seem like a taboo topic, but it is a necessary one if you hope to have a successful marriage. Being transparent about your financial philosophies and expectations is a key component to being happily married.
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