Even before I started writing about marriage and money, I knew that finances can have a huge impact on couples. Shortly after we got engaged, my now-husband and I decided we would have the money talk. Yep, the big one.
Based on our conversations and the time we spent together, it seemed like we were in seeing eye to eye on all the big things so our money talk would be a breeze, right? Long story short, we quickly discovered that we were opposites on when it came to debt and budgets. As awkward as it was to discover these differences, it made a hugely positive effect on our marriage.
While I’m happy we talked about our finances upfront, I think there less stressful ways to approach things. So if you and your partner are thinking about merging your finances, here are six questions to discuss together to help you get on the same page with your money.
- If money weren’t an issue, what would you be doing? Saving up for retirement is an okay answer, but if you want to really get to know one another, you two need to open up what your goals and dreams. Do either of you want to travel? Want to start a business, family or both?
- What’s your plan for getting there? This is a softball question to see how concrete things are in their mind. Have they been saving up money for a house down payment? Are they investing for retirement?
- If you had to pick between financial security and freedom, which one is more important? There’s no right or wrong answer here. In fact, you can have a measure of both when you’re on top of your money. The idea is to discover one another’s money styles and personalities.
- How does your monthly budget look? The type of budget isn’t as important as whether or not they have a plan that they keep up with.
- Do you use credit cards? How many do you have? If they do have credit cards, knowing how often they use them, whether they keep a balance, or if they have several can give you a clue about their spending habits.
- What debts do you have? You don’t have to call off the wedding if they have debt, but you do need to have a clear picture of what you’re getting into. Do they mainly have student loans or have they racked up a ton of credit card debt? Besides finding out the balances, see if they have a plan to get out of debt (and if they are already taking steps).
Hope these questions a good foundation for your conversation! Try and keep your tone friendly, this isn’t an interrogation. You want to have a safe space. After all, you need to answer them as well! Talking about finances before you get married is an opportunity You two can see where you can work together and what you need to talk about some more.
I’d love to hear your stories. Did the two of you talk about money before you tied the knot? How did it go?