Keeping our financial circumstances private is a practice we are all experts at. We aren’t exactly encouraged to open a conversation with “Hey, I am drowning in credit card debt! What about you?” Nevertheless, withholding this information from your lifelong partner – whether it be outstanding student loans or a shopping addiction – is a bad idea. Your wedding day is in fact an economic union as much as it is a romantic one.
Alongside the heightened romance and party planning of every prenuptial, honest conversations about money in your past, present and future should be taking place. These conversations will develop a wealth of trust between you and your partner and build the foundation of a healthy marriage.
We have compiled a list of key financial topics to address with your (future) spouse and questions to ask before and after your wedding.
Before the Wedding
Set Yourself Up for Success
Leave judgement and disappointment out of the conversation. Your partner will feel vulnerable when disclosing delicate information such as finances. React with empathy and support and avoid any shameful rhetoric. It could even be valuable to reach out to a third party or premarital counselor to help moderate these important conversations and encourage positive communication.
- Do you feel safe to share your finances with me in this time and environment?
- Do you feel this conversation would be better facilitated with a counselor?
Understand Your Roots
Open up about your past experiences with money. Growing up with different socio-economic backgrounds can result in different financial approaches. Awareness of these habits will cultivate respect rather than disdain in future conversations about money managing tactics.
- Are you Type A with managing money? Or do you take a more laid back approach?
- Are you a saver or a spender?
- On a scale from 1-10, how often do you worry about money?
- What do you think I am good at when it comes to managing money?
- Do I have any discipline when it comes to budgeting?
Uncovering the Weeds
Now it is time to dive deeper on some tougher questions. It is easy to avoid asking these questions because they can bring up feelings of guilt or fear. But if not uncovered, these factors will continue to fester beneath the surface of your relationship.
- What, if any, outstanding debt do you have tied to your name?
- What is the status of your credit score?
- Is there something I am currently doing in relation to our finances that adds stress to you, to us?
- Are these things that we can tackle together?
TIP! Bring the fun back into finances!
Nothing feels better than a blissful moment of financial freedom. You and your partner can feel this consistently by creating financial leeway (in a controlled environment, of course). We suggest setting aside $100 a month each to spend on anything you want. Now you can feel the exhilaration of a spending splurge without the stress of keeping tabs on what you’re saving!
After the Wedding
After the prenuptials, nuptials, and post-nuptials, it can be difficult to return to reality. Luckily, with financial transparency already established between you and your spouse, consolidation of financial accounts should be a piece of cake!
There Is No “I” in Team
Moving through these next steps together is crucial. Here are some necessary questions to ask before moving forward.
- Do you think we are trending toward being in a better financial position 12 months from now?
- Who will handle money management going forward? One of us, or both?
- Do either of us need to re-establish or build credit?
Checking and Savings – Yours, Mine, and Ours
Alongside keeping your own individual checking accounts, you can open a joint checking account where you deposit a percentage of your salary each month. This account should cover common expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, etc. – so any “fun” spending you do for yourself could potentially stay on your individual account.
When it comes to saving, you can both continue contributing to your own savings and retirement accounts. Keep in mind beneficiary designations on your personal accounts as you may want to consider naming your spouse as one in the event something happens.
Credit Cards – Boost Credit Together
Proceeding with an honest conversation about credit scores, you can make your spouse an authorized user on your credit card. This can raise their score while you both reap the benefits of lower rates with a higher score. Be sure to maintain open lines of communication as to your monthly spending and budgeting so that you never spend more than you can pay off each month.
The significance of fiscal clarity and confidence is often overlooked in newlywed life. However, if you can treasure your partner, for richer or poorer, with full knowledge of their financial history and set goals for your financial future, you can be set up for boundless success.
Important Disclosure: This content is for informational purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Beacon Pointe has exercised all reasonable professional care in preparing this information. Some information may have been obtained from third-party sources we believe to be reliable; however, Beacon Pointe has not independently verified, or attested to, the accuracy or authenticity of the information. Nothing contained herein should be construed or relied upon as investment, legal or tax advice. Only private legal counsel may recommend the application of this general information to any particular situation or prepare an instrument chosen to implement the design discussed herein. An investor should consult with their financial professional before making any investment decisions.
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