One of the most common issues that result in arguments, resentment, and couples separating is disagreements over money. You’d be shocked at how many problems are glossed over or entirely disregarded, despite the common belief that everyone has those big relationship discussions before they get married. And these problems won’t go away. Once you get married, anything you don’t resolve will come roaring back.
While there are things that are beyond your control, you can make sure your relationship is as strong as possible to overcome obstacles. And, ideally, that starts way before you even start planning the wedding. It’s completely normal to disagree on some issues. And asking the right questions can start you on the right foot for married life.
Money always makes things awkward. The last thing we want to discuss with our partners is money, but we know we should. And because getting these conversations out of the way now can spare you so much heartache later, here are five financial questions to ask before marriage.
Financial Questions To Ask Before Marriage
Are We Going To Have A Prenup?
Even though no one gets married with the intention of getting divorced, it’s important to communicate to your partner whether or not you’re comfortable with signing a prenup. In reality, a prenup is a legally binding agreement that can protect everyone involved, not just the wealthier party. It protects your financial assets and allows you to lay out who will be financially responsible for what. And if you have children from previous relationships, you can decide how they’ll be taken care of.
Do You Have Any Debt?
Before marrying, you must understand the legal and financial risks. If either of you has a sizable debt, now is the time to create a strategy for paying it off. One spouse’s premarital debt doesn’t automatically become the other’s upon marriage, but that debt can still affect your joint finances. So, if you or your partner has poor credit, both of you can start thinking of a plan to improve it.
Do You Have Financial Obligations?
All of these financial responsibilities—whether it’s paying child support, a parent’s medical expenses, or a sibling’s education—need to be worked out with your spouse. Even though you don’t have to pay support, knowing that some of your partner’s money is going elsewhere could affect long-term goals like investing or buying a home. Just being aware of what percentage of their paycheck is going somewhere else will help you come up with a management plan.
Do We Manage Our Expenses Jointly or Separately?
If you have other individual financial responsibilities, you need to figure out whether you’ll be managing finances with your partner or on your own. It’s important to decide which approach for managing money as a couple feels the most comfortable to you. There is no right or wrong answer here. What matters is that you are both on the same page.
What Are Your Financial Goals, and How Can We Reach Them?
You can achieve your financial goals by setting up a household budget. The best time to start saving, investing, and planning for retirement is right now. Even if you don’t know all the answers, it’s helpful to get a sense of where your partner stands. Then you can evaluate further what you each might need to think about. You can also decide when to start saving for your goals if neither of you is ready yet.
Before you exchange vows, you need to have serious, brutally honest conversations with your partner about real-life financial scenarios and how you’ll handle them together. Every couple has different ways of managing their finances and communicating spending. But creating a safe environment for an open discussion is crucial. Do it at the right time and explain why it matters to you. Overcoming financial hurdles is never easy, but being on the same page certainly helps.