Starting Out On Your Own, Building and Supporting a Family
Discuss Finances with Your Significant Other Before Your Wedding Day
Date:02 March, 2021
Deciding to share your life with someone through marriage means working together on everything, including your finances. Once married, you and your spouse will be financially responsible for joint debts, filing a joint income tax return (or married filing separately, as applicable), and physical things like putting food on the table and paying rent.
An open and honest discussion about your finances can blend your different financial backgrounds into your marriage. For instance, one of your families may be more affluent, while the other relies on budgets and savings. One of you may be more inclined to forget credit card payments, while the other has exceptional financial organizational skills. One may be interested in financial matters, and the other may not care as long as there is money in the bank to pay the bills. These are all things to discuss ahead of time.
Here are some questions you may want to discuss together:
- Are you going to have individual or joint checking accounts?
- How much of each of your incomes will go toward regular household expenses?
- Who is going to be responsible for paying monthly bills?
- How do you determine how to handle larger expenses like how often to buy cars or take expensive vacations?
- How are you going to use credit cards?
- How much risk are you willing to take with your investments?
- How will you handle beneficiary designations on your retirement plans, IRAs, and life insurance policies?
This is Not a One Time Conversation
It is important to continue having discussions about long-term financial goals as you grow in your marriage. Knowing how you both feel about saving for retirement, taking risks with investments, or how much you are willing to contribute towards saving for a child's college education can help avoid problems and potentially bring you closer together.
Over time, the financial tendencies that you bring to your marriage should blend into a financial lifestyle that makes you both comfortable. There may not be perfect answers to these questions, but the discussion will be valuable.