Important Things to Discuss BEFORE Getting Married
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air…and as many of us know, “when emotions go up, intelligence goes down” - author unknown. That’s why some of us get tongue-tied when we’re around our crush.
The excitement of planning a wedding often overshadows the dullness of planning a life but certain details are essential to discuss to ensure you and your companion are on the same page; or at least headed in the same direction. Given I’m a financial professional, I’ll only talk about some of the main aspects of pre-marriage that affect finances.
Before You Say YES
What are your future spouse’s habits regarding money? Do they save or do they spend more than they earn? Are they bringing a lot of debt into the marriage and what kind of debt is it? Is it good debt, e.g. student loans, mortgage; or is it bad debt, e.g. consumer, gambling?
What is their main source of income? Is it a job they plan to continue for the rest of their life or is it a stepping stone towards their future career? If they plan to stay, look at staff who’ve been there for 20 years. How happy are they? What’s their income? They offer a sneak peek as to what’s in store for you and your spouse.
What are their financial goals? If yours is to live in a big house in the city and theirs is to live in a tiny cottage by the lake, you’ll likely have some late night discussions in your future.
How many children are you planning? From a financial standpoint, more children equal a bigger house, higher food bills, education costs, maybe one parent staying home and going down to one income??? If only one of you worked right now, would that person be able to support a whole family without burning out?
How open is your future spouse to discussing finances and revealing to you their account statements and credit history? If they’re willing to tell you, their future spouse, less than they would a stranger at a bank, that is definitely a red flag. Open communication, especially on potentially sensitive subjects, is vital to any healthy relationship.
Where do they prioritize money? Does it hold more value than the people around them or do they use money as a tool to enrich the lives of others?
Now ask yourself these same questions. What are your spending habits? goals? career plans? feelings about finance?
After You Say YES
Weddings can be among the costliest events in life, but they don’t have to be. Prepare a wedding budget and be clear on who is covering what. Parents and in-laws can be phenomenal resources but don’t ass-u-me they’ll pay for everything (or anything). If they do contribute, don’t forget to show gratitude and appreciation.
Consider hiring a professional. Not only can this reduce stress but wedding planners may end up saving you more money than they cost.
How your future spouse approaches the wedding plans is likely how they approach other aspects of life. Do they contribute in time and resources, or do they leave you to do everything? Are they careful in their planning and know how to stretch a dollar or do they spend without any consideration of budget?
Money is an important part of every marriage but not the most important part. Your companion should be your best friend; someone you miss when they’re not around. Whom you bring out the best in, and they bring out the best in you. Who will grow with you, and who’s looking forward to growing old with you. When all these pieces are in place, appreciate and treat your relationship as one of the greatest treasures life has to offer.
I am so grateful to have these opportunities to share my thoughts. Feel free to share yours.
Tina Michelle Moller
The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect WFG or any other organization. I also claim any errors made as my own. To offer corrections or feedback, please contact me.