So you’re getting married? Congratulations! This is such an important step in your life and as such is a decision that you should take very seriously. I want to help you prepare to have the best marriage imaginable! One full of laughter, and love, sharing, and fun memories. But, before you say “I do” you may want to have a serious discussion about finances. So many couples don’t even discuss finances before they talk about getting married, because they are so focused on planning a wedding, or talking about where they may want to live. In this post, I hope to help inspire you to have a conversation that will prepare you for a financially successful marriage!
When you are in a place in your relationship when you are ready to discuss finances, I recommend you both set aside a few hours to be be completely transparent with one another. Have a clean work space such as a table or desk and bring whatever you plan to record your financial plan on. This could be paper and pen, a laptop and excel sheet, or a paper ledger. Remember, this is your initial conversation, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. You just want to have a way to record your finances so you are both aware and prepared for this next step in your lives.
Once you have both decided you want to be financially prepared as a couple, I recommend first discussing what income you are both bringing to the family. Make sure that you include any income you are bringing in including income from your jobs, passive income, and any amount that is being deposited into your account on a pretty regular basis.
Next you will want to write down your monthly expenses. If you already share expenses, this should be easier for you as you won’t have to combine as many bills. If you are preparing to start sharing expenses, you will need to write down everything you individually spend. Include rent/mortgage, bills, loans, personal spending, etc. Anything that is a set amount coming out of your account you need to write down.
3. Personal Spending
Now that you have shared your expenses, you will want to share your personal spending habits. He needs to know if you spend $50 a week on coffee or shoes. She needs to know if you’re betting $100 a month on fantasy football. Be completely honest with how you spend your money, and what you like to spend your money on. Include if you like to eat out a lot, or if you prefer to buy your own groceries. This will help to avoid future arguments.
Discussing your savings is very important as once you say “I do” your spouse may have a legal right to any money or property that you have. If you are getting married because you genuinely love one another, this isn’t a big deal. But let’s be honest, we all want the fairy tale ending with the happily ever after. That just doesn’t happen for everyone. It’s good to be prepared ahead of time of what you both have in your savings, investments, and retirement. Also, when you begin planning a joint budget, you will want to have knowledge about how much you need in your emergency fund.
This is a really hard topic for many people to talk about. I am very open about how much debt my husband and I have, and we talk about it frequently. Discussing how much debt you have individually is HUGE. If you are entering a marriage with no debt, it’s important for you to be informed about how much student loan debt your husband has. If you are $5,000 in debt, but your future spouse is $55,000 in debt, you need to know that. The important thing to remember about this, is that if your spouse brings student loan debt into your marriage, you are not legally responsible for their loans UNLESS you co-signed them. You will have to co-sign income repayment plans, but I was assured by a student loan representative that this did not mean I would be required to pay my husband’s loans back if he or I passed away unexpectedly. Just be sure to know how much debt you both have and make sure you are going to be okay helping to pay that debt back over time if needed.
6. Future Expenses
Now that your current expenses and spending habits have been identified and discussed, you need to talk about how you plan on spending your joint income in the future. Make sure to talk about where you both want to live, if you want to buy a house, if you want to have kids and how many, education expenses, and if you want pets. All of these future decisions are important to talk about now because you will both be financially responsible for them. How much are you comfortable spending on a car or a home? Do either of you want to continue your education that may require student loans? Do you want to have kids and if so, will you be able to afford their college education (among other immediate expenses). There are so many important future decisions to discuss so you know where you both stand on these financial issues. Obviously, your wants and needs may change. So you need to be prepared to discuss this topic in particular frequently.
7. Bank Accounts
Be sure to discuss where you plan to keep your money. Do you want to share everything in one account? Do you want to pay bills out of one account and have a separate spending account? Do you want to maintain individual accounts? There are a lot of options. Personally, my husband and I found that paying all of our bills out of one account and having separate spending accounts was much easier on us. Just be sure to decide what works best for you.
The last thing you will want to do, now that all of your financial habits, expenses, and debt is out in the open, is to make a budget together. Your marriage is going to be so much more enjoyable if you work together as a team when it comes to finances. Make sure you are both in agreement on who is in charge of the budget, how much you will both have in personal spending, and how often you want to discuss your finances or update your budget.
I hope this condensed list of what you should be talking about with your spouse is useful for you. I hope that it inspires you to work together as a team, make better financial decisions, and earn your financial freedom sooner so you can have a wonderful, fun-filled life. I want you to have everything you have ever hoped for in a marriage and to be in love always!
Share below what you think is important to discuss with your spouse when it comes to finances! I can’t wait to hear it! Also feel free to share and like on social media! I love to share the knowledge and encouragement as much as I can!