The most dangerous mistake any couple can make is entering into a new marriage without first discussing debt, finances, and their financial future. Many marriages fail each year, and the vast majority of couples explain their marriages ended because of financial difficulties and strain. Becoming a statistic is simple when you don’t take the time to discuss your finances prior to becoming legally married. Taking the time to discuss debt, credit scores, savings, and financial goals is imperative for any couple considering a walk down the aisle.
Be Upfront and Honest
When you realize your relationship is becoming serious and a future together is in the cards, it’s time to discuss your debt. It’s not a glamorous conversation, but it’s necessary. Schedule a time to sit down together with a list of your debts, assets, and other financial information to speak honestly with one another. This is the time to discuss how much debt you have, what you pay each month, how much savings you have, and whether you save. Don’t leave anything out, and ask that your future spouse does the same for you.
Handle Your Debt
If either of you has debt, it’s time to handle that. Before you become husband and wife, make it your goal to spend time paying down your debts. No one wants to enter a marriage with debt on their mind, so it’s time to prioritize this. Make a plan, and be helpful to one another with your debt repayments. It’s a personal decision whether you help your future spouse pay down his or her debt or ask that they handle it on their own prior to marriage. Whatever works for you is right for your life, but it’s imperative you don’t enter into marriage with debt.
Discuss Your Financial Future
Now that you both know what the financial future holds for you, it’s time to discuss some important information. How will you handle money as a married couple?
- Bank accounts
- Savings accounts
- Splitting the bills
- Financial contribution of each party
These are all expenses you face in the future, and it’s time to discuss them and how you will handle those as a married couple. Will you have separate bank accounts, or will you share? Will you split the bills evenly down the middle, or will you base the bill payments off who makes more? How will you handle investments, buying a home, and affording kids? If one partner wants to stay home and raise their kids, this is a financial decision both parties must agree to.
Discuss the Future
One of the most important things you can discuss as a couple is how you handle money. You are now aware of one another’s debt and financial situation, but it’s time to dig deeper by asking important questions. How did your spouse become indebted this much? How did he or she get into this situation? Do they have poor money habits, or did they have a problem with job loss they couldn’t control, or did an ex-spouse turn their financial situation around? Find out what it is, and consider how you will manage your financial future if your spouse is simply not good with money.
Marriage is difficult enough without bringing ample debt and poor money habits into the home. Make your chances of successful marriage higher and more probable and discuss your finances before you’re married. It’s time to focus on the importance of a healthy marriage, and you are in control of your financial future with your new spouse.