Financial Questions to Discuss With Your Partner
You’re in love — emotions are energized, plans are being made and everything in your life seems to be falling into place. You’ve finally managed to convince yourself not to focus on how much the wedding is going to cost but instead to look at the bigger picture — you are about to spend the rest of your life with the person you love.
However, the rest of your life is not the only thing you’ll be spending with your partner. At some point, you both will need to have the money talk. If this conversation seems a little difficult to begin, here are a few of the most important financial questions to ask your partner before you get married.
1. How much money do we make?
This is one of the most obvious and important financial questions to ask before marriage. You’ll want to find out how much money your partner makes, what are their sources of income and how much of that income do they have saved.
2. How much money do we owe?
While a combined income is a perk of marriage, combined debt and expenses are also a reality. How much money you or your partner owes can have an impact on your credit and affect large joint purchases down the road. According to a survey conducted by Experian, the majority of those surveyed said they only knew how much their spouses earned before getting married. Make sure you ask your partner about any debt they currently have, including credit cards or student loans.
3. Who will be in charge of paying the bills?
Playing to each others’ strengths is an important skill to learn in a marriage. That’s why it is a good idea to identify who is better equipped at handling money and place them in charge of your finances. Sometimes it makes sense to delegate certain duties to one partner, such as paying bills each month, while other financial responsibilities, such as long term planning and investing, falls on the other. No matter How you choose to divvy up the work, make sure you draw clear distinctions between who owns what aspect of your financial future.
4. How should we combine finances?
There’s no quick and easy answer to this tough financial question. Some couples decide to fully combine and commit to a “what’s yours is mine” situation. However, it may work best for you to combine some money but also keep some for personal use. Whichever you decide, make sure you set expectations for your arrangement early so as to avoid disagreements in the future.
5. Do we need a budget?
Generally speaking, a budget is a good idea. For some, this question is more about creating healthy spending habits together and less about defining restrictions and governance. Just an hour or so of working out a solid financial spending plan will pay dividends in your marriage in the long run.
6. Do we want to have children?
Get used to this question. Once you get married, everyone will be asking. But, have you and your partner decided? Children can be expensive and the more financial planning you can do, the easier raising children will be. There are many factors to consider such as insurance, school, basic food and supplies and childcare. You and your partner may not be sure of when or how many but if you both are certain you’d like a family at some point, it’s a good idea to clarify your intentions so you can both commit to saving and planning.
7. Should we enter into a prenup?
Another common financial question asked before marriage is whether or not each party should enter into a prenuptial agreement or “prenup”. Prenuptial agreements are a form of asset protection which outlines premarital assets that, following a divorce, will remain the property of the original owner. If you or your partner have valuable assets prior to getting married that you’d like to have protected, you may want to consider discussing this type of agreement.
8. What are your spending habits?
This may be a tough question to answer, but it’s an important question to ask. Does your partner enjoy spending on travel, expensive clothing, or hobbies? While spending habits are often fluid and change with circumstance, there are patterns of spending behavior that may shed light on your future financial dynamic.
9. How financially involved are your parents?
Do your parents pay any bills? Would you be willing to ask for help if we find ourselves in a tight spot? These are a few questions to ask your partner before getting married as they may indicate at what level of financial independence your partner is used to operating.
10. What are your dreams?
Just because two people get married doesn’t mean they lose their individuality. Each of us carries our own set of goals, hopes, and dreams. Maybe it’s owning your own business one day or perhaps you’d like to go back to school. Regardless of what goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s crucial you communicate these to each other so you both can decide the best way to plan financially in order to achieve your goals.
When you are married, you have to be ready for total openness and transparency on many topics, including money. That means taking an objective approach and looking at money issues as a practical challenge you both will face together. Asking these important questions before you get married will help set you and your marriage up for success.
* Please consult with your attorney, financial consultant/planner, accountant, and/or tax advisor for advice concerning your particular circumstances. The information contained herein is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional, tax, financial or legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. The information or opinions contained herein should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any particular product or service. Eloan does not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with this publication, including but not limited to any suggestions contained herein.