Talking Money with Your Partner Before Marriage

Getting engaged to be married is a huge step for anyone who finds the right person to spend their life with. Whether you’re young and just starting out in new career paths, or you’re older with an established financial status, saying “I do” and signing a marriage license requires quite a bit of communication when it comes to sharing a bank account, bills, and other expenses. Studies have shown that financial stress and problems are the leading cause of divorce among married people living in the United States, which can indicate a lack of communication on either end.

If you’re about to tie the knot, take the time to talk to your partner about your finances (including debt, lines of credit, salary, various daily expenses), and follow these steps to ensure solid communication:

What are their financial habits?

Some people have a knack for saving money, and some may not have that ability. Conversely, some people spend more than others on everyday things as well as leisure / hobbies. Not everyone views money in the same light, which can depend on a number of factors. Talk with your partner about their habits – do they prefer to pay with card or cash? How often do they check their bank statements? Do they have credit cards? It’s important to understand your future spouse’s fiscal habits before getting married, so you can see what you have in common.

What are their financial goals?

Once you’re married, if you’re not on the same page with your spouse regarding finances, spending, and even credit building, you’re probably going to have a hard time. Setting goals for the future – the near future and the path ahead – will give you common ground and help you plan your life together. Goals such as retirement plans, homeownership, large purchases (such as a car or home improvements), and even starting a family can help you both plan ahead accordingly.

Take a look at your finances and create a budget.

Write out your debts and assets, and from there, discuss how you’d like to prioritize your financial habits. This can include paying off debt, paying your bills, supplying your household, and so forth. Once you’ve done this, start creating a budget for when you’re married, if you have not done so already. Write out both of your income sources and make a full list of expenses; account for everything you each currently spend per month, and from there maintain a budget that will suit your new joint lifestyle.