Financial Issues to Discuss
When you marry someone, your lives become intertwined in more ways than one. Typically, in addition to being legally wed, you will also share a home, a family, and (of course) your finances. Although you may be more excited about planning your wedding or shopping for a house, don't forget that there are many financial issues to discuss before marriage. How will you handle money matters as a married couple? What are your current financial situations? Who will be responsible for paying your shared bills? Will you have a joint bank account? These may not be the most exciting topics to discuss, but they are critically important if you're on the road to matrimony.
Financial Issues to Discuss Before Marriage
What are your general views about money? Before you dig into specifics, consider discussing your basic philosophies about money. For example, are you a saver or a spender? Do you enjoy keeping a strict budget or are you more loose with your money management? On which items or experiences do you like to splurge? This will give you a good baseline with which to start your conversation.
What are your current financial situations? Discussing your finances in depth with your partner can be awkward, but it's also tremendously important if you want to build a strong and honest marriage. Discuss your credit scores, your savings, your retirement accounts, your debts, your loans, your income, and any other major aspects of your financial situation. For example, you may also need to discuss child support, alimony payments, or charitable donations.
What will your financial roles be? When you marry, some or all of your expenses will combine. When this occurs, you will need to decide who will take on which financial roles. Who will pay your bills? Who will review your bank statements? Who will file your taxes? These are amongst the most important financial issues to discuss before marriage. Remember that no matter who takes on each of these roles, it is important that both spouses are still engaged, involved, and aware of their married finances.
How will you manage your money as a unit? Some couples choose to combine their bank accounts when they marry, some keep them entirely separate, and some do a combination of the two. Which would you prefer? In addition, how will you budget your money? Make a list of your fixed and flexible monthly expenses to create a baseline, and then discuss the nonessential things on which you like to spend your money (movies, electronics, clothes, travel, home decor, sports equipment, etc). Are you comfortable with the amount that your partner spends on hobbies and entertainment? Discuss these decisions carefully, because money issues have destroyed many a marriage.
How will you cover unexpected situations? When you marry, you pledge to stay together "for richer or for poorer." So when an emergency arises, how will you cover the expense? If you don't already have an emergency fund in place, plan to create one.
How will you pay off debt? If you're like most young people these days, you have student loans to pay off. You may also have credit card debt, a mortgage, or other forms of longstanding debt. Before you marry, create a debt strategy so that you can tackle your debt together.
What are your goals for the future? Hopefully, you and your partner will have similar plans for your financial future. Either way, it's important to lay your dreams out on the table early to ensure your long-term happiness. For example, goals that can have a significant impact on your finances include having children, paying off debt, traveling regularly, starting a business, changing careers, retiring early, attending college, and buying a home.
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It can be difficult to tackle these financial issues to discuss before marriage, but in doing so, you can prevent unpleasant surprises during your marriage and create a stronger bond with your partner.
Finally, are you and your future spouse interested in joining a credit union? If you live or work in southwest Missouri, check out BluCurrent Credit Union. With our unbeatable loan options, 6,800 shared branches across the country, and fantastic customer service, we might be the perfect financial service for you. In addition to our three locations (two in Springfield and one in Nixa), we also offer online and mobile banking for your convenience. Plus, we provide nationwide ATM fee refunds with our checking accounts! To learn more about our services and benefits, please stop by one of our branches or explore our website.