This past weekend, my fiancé and I had “the talk.” “The talk” meaning we discussed our finances, our goals, and our financial future together. We will be getting married in less than 5 months and before we say “I do,” I wanted to make sure we had the same, clear vision on the path ahead. Finances are always amongst the top ten reasons for divorce on almost every “reasons for divorce” list known to man. According to an article from marriage.com, “10 Most Common Reasons for Divorce,” finances are reason #2 right behind infidelity. So it is extremely important to have these conversations with your partner sooner rather than later.
To be fair, we have always been very transparent about our financial situations. Luckily, we’ve never had any issues discussing our past financial missteps or where we are currently at on our individual financial journeys.
If I can’t afford something because I am still trying to pay down debt, I tell her. Equally, when she buys something, she has no problem telling me how much she spent etc. This weekend, we decided to discuss a few things, as it relates to our financial future, to ensure we are still on the same page.
Like us, maybe it’s time to for you to get financially intimate with your partner, especially before saying “I Do”. To help get the conversation started, run through the below list of questions with your partner. Take the time to listen to each other’s answers, explore your responses by elaborating as much as possible, and try to get to the root of each response by probing for the “why.” Remember to create a safe space to discuss “taboo” money topics with your partner by approaching the conversation with an open mind and heart. Going through this list of questions will help identify the areas where you both can improve your understanding of each other’s ideas.
5 Crucial Money Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do”
1.) What is your current financial situation?
- According to your tax return, how much money did you make last year?
- Current credit score
- How much debt do you have (e.g. student loans, credit card debt, car loan, prior mortgage, collection accounts, past due taxes, outstanding medical bills, etc.)?
- How are you tackling your current debt or what is your plan to get things paid off?
- How much do you have saved now (401K, investments, saving account, etc.)?
- Any bankruptcies or judgements?
- Anything outstanding I should know about (e.g. do your parents give you money, do you owe an ex money, etc)
- How do you feel about credit cards?
2.) When we get married, what type of accounts will we have? (Separate, Joint, or Both)?
- How will we split bills (e.g. 60/40 depending on who brings home more or 50/50, etc.)?
- Will we maintain a written budget?
- How often will we revisit our budget/financial plan (e.g. once a month, bi-weekly, etc.)?
- At what level should we consult with each other about an expensive purchase (e.g. anything over $250, $500, $1,000)?
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3.) What are our financial priorities? What do we need to start saving for immediately and how do they rank against each other?
- A downpayment for a house
- Children (e.g. how many kids)
- Home improvement/remodeling
- Child’s education
- Emergency fund
- Sinking funds (e.g. car repairs, medical bills, etc)
4.) What’s our retirement plan?
- How much are you currently putting towards retirement?
- What is your number (e.g. how much do you want to have saved in order to feel comfortable retiring? $1 million in retirement etc.)?
- What age would you like to retire?
- How will WE save for retirement?
5.) What if _________?
- One of us loses our job?
- We can’t afford to have one parent stay at home if/when we have kids?
- One of our parents gets sick?
- One of our parents or siblings ask to borrow some money?
- One of us needs to get a second job?
The great thing about money conversations and money refreshers, is that they also help to clear up any grey areas, emphasize the importance of your finances, foster teamwork, and help keep the important goals, important goals in the forefront.
These questions should give you a starting point and a safe place to openly discuss your finances with the person you love the most. Remember, we’ve all made mistakes in the past, whether they be money related or not. Be open to how you’re both going to be successful on this life journey together, starting today and going forward.
It may not all get answered or accomplished in one sit down, remember it’s a process, but get the ball rolling and approach it all with an open mind! Remember, at the end of the day, YOU LOVE EACH OTHER!
Other articles you might enjoy-
- The 4 Pillars of Personal Finance
- 4 money mottos to live by in 2018
- New Year, New Focus: Health, Wealth, & Life (Part 2)
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