12 Money Matters to Discuss Before Marriage
- September 20, 2023
- by Angela
The most sensitive topic for young people before marriage is the topic of money. Many are afraid to bring up the subject for fear of offending their partner if he or she has less money than you. To avoid marital disputes about money, it is wisest to talk about it with your partner before marriage. You will find out what and how you should talk about in the following lines of this interesting article.
1) Share your philosophy about money
The first thing you should discuss with your partner is your beliefs about money. It may be that you grew up in families that had different beliefs about money. For this reason, it is important to share your beliefs about money so that you know how to align and adapt to each other. For example, one partner lived in a rich family from a young age where everything was provided for them and they did not have to worry about money. Meanwhile the other partner lived in a family where money was always tight and savings was a priority but they had trouble affording certain things in life. In other families money may have been a source of stress and confusion due to habitual overspending and debt. Whatever each partners’ past may be with money it is important you are both on the same page.
2) Chat about credit reports and scores
There are a number of benefits to having a good credit score. Unfortunately in a marriage credit scores apply to each individual. The lower of the two scores can be a deciding factor when it comes to getting loans together. When you get married and one spouse has a bad credit score, then it's time to talk to your spouse about how to improve their credit score. If you have joint bank accounts, plan on buying a house together, etc, you’ll want to get that number up as soon as possible.
3) Disclose financial obligations
Sometimes it happens that spouses hide their financial obligations from each other. If you want your marriage to function on trust, both partners need to disclose their financial obligations. Any past debts, bankruptcy, credit card balances, etc - get it all out in the open.
4) Make a plan to cut overlapping expenses
Getting married can lead to significant savings in your budget since you are pooling resources. It often happens that spouses have overlapping expenses before they move in together. For example things like cell phone plan, gym membership, streaming services, etc. In order not to pay double bills, it make sense to consolidate these bills or switch to a family package to reduce costs.
5) Set goals
Today, many are in the habit of setting short-, medium-, and long-term goals. If you and your partner have different financial goals, at some point you will need to synchronize them in order to achieve them much faster. Discuss how much to set aside each month for retirement. Discuss how much you want to have in an emergency fund.
6) Budget together
When you get married you need to learn how to manage your joint money. This means planning the monthly budget together. This requires both partners to be engaged, not just one. The first budget you should plan together is your wedding budget. For that, it will be necessary to allocate a certain amount of money in order to enjoy your most beautiful day. In addition, you should also plan the budget for your honeymoon. These are the first budgets that you should plan together before marriage.
7) Talk about children
Many married couples want to have children, but they should keep in mind that raising children is very demanding financially. By that, I mean food, clothes, and car seats when they are little, but even more so paying for daycare, school and college. Consider these three scenarios for what it might cost to raise just one child.
If you can, consider opening a savings account ccounts for children's college education as soon as the child is born. That way the money builds up slowly over time instead of having to pay in cash out of pocket or incur large debts when they go to college. I know that it sounds harsh, but little kids are big expenses, elementary school kids are medium expenses, and big kids are again big expenses.
8) Plan for retirement
If you see yourself and your spouse growing old together, it would be a good idea to plan for a large enough retirement fund. This especially applies to married couples where one partner doesn’t work. In that case, you could consider setting up an IRA retirement fund for the non-working spouse. But you should also consider taking out life insurance policies, either private or employer-sponsored.
9) Decide if you will have joint or separate accounts?
Discuss if you plan to pool all your money or keep it separate. Sometimes it's better to have joint accounts. For some couples keeping it separate works much better.
Some couples opt for a prenuptial agreement so that in the event of a divorce money matters are already decided.
10) Share career plans
You should definitely discuss the topic of career with your partner. It may happen that in the future you land different jobs. Typically one partner will have a more demanding job than the other.
If kids are on the horizon that means one partner would need to stay home and take care of the children, or a nanny or daycare would need to be covered.
Likewise, if you decide to start your own business, you need to use your savings and live on one salary from month to month, until your business is on its feet and you are making a serious profit.
11) Get life insurance early
Life insurance is cheap when you are young. If you both lock in large policies ($1,000,000+) for 30+ years it will be easy to get approved at great rates.
One of our authors actually lost her spouse while she was pregnant with her first child. It turns out they did not carry life insurance which left her in a financial bind. Here is what she had to say about marriage and life insurance.
12) What’s your backup plan?
Sometimes a financial crisis can happen, but in order to avoid that, you need to have your backup plan, or more precisely, an emergency fund. If you have this fund, you will not have to worry about losing your house or getting behind on other debt payments.
Conclusion: Regardless of whether you are afraid that talking about money will put your relationship in question, you still need to talk about money with your partner in order to get an idea of how much they spend and what they want out of their financial life.