When two people are in love, everything seems to be a bed of roses. What they fail to realize is that roses have thorns, and they are more than likely to get pricked by these the hard way. Sometimes, couples discover the thorns some years into the marriage, when problems start piling up. Others, though, are wise enough to face these problems head on even before walking down the aisle.
The most common problem that couples face is money matters. Obviously, both the man and the woman each have their own financial portfolio especially if they both have well-paying jobs. It’s but natural to assume that each one has their own savings and/or investments. Realistically, though, one must also assume that each one has their own financial responsibilities and obligations, too.
Credit card debts, student loans, mortgage, and car loans are just some of the obligations a man and a woman might have even before they enter a marriage union. Now the question is what are they going to do about these? Failure to address such financial burdens before getting married has often resulted to insurmountable problems. More often than not, these problems ultimately lead to divorce. Nevertheless, if you want to make your marriage work and you’re keen on honoring the ‘til death do us part’ part of your wedding vow, you and your significant other need to sit down and talk shop.
Since you’re all set to walk down the aisle, it’s a given that you and your significant other barely have any secrets left between the two of you. Apparently, you can talk about anything, especially about matters that might have a bearing on your impending union. Hence, before saying, “I do”, you might want to have an open discussion about each of your current financial standing. After all, if you want to share your lives with each, it goes without saying that you’re bound to share your finances with each other, too.
At this point in your relationship, it would no longer be off-putting to talk about how much you earn, the balances of your checking and savings accounts are, your retirement savings (in case there is one), and any other investments you might have. Full disclosure of these is crucial if you intend to spend the rest of your lives with each other. You also need to be straightforward about any financial obligations and debts you may both have.
Why are all these important? Remember, once you are married, you and your spouse are bound to have conjugal properties, and as mentioned at the get-go, money is one of the leading causes of marital discord and divorce. If you and your significant other know and understand each other’s financial histories, spending patterns, goals, and current credit status, then you’d be able to determine how well you can build a future together. That’s why it’s important to prepare well in advance for the financial aspects of your union; otherwise, money matters would surely cause tension in your relationship as husband and wife.
If possible, try to secure copies of your credit reports and review these together. That way, if you uncover any issues, you can work together to find solutions rather than call the whole thing off altogether. Define your short and long-term financial priorities and/or goals. Is buying a house included in your list? Do you plan to take semi-annual or annual vacations together? Do you plan to buy another car? Will children be included in the picture? Have you talked about their education? These are realistic goals; thus, it would be a good idea to draw up a plan to achieve these goals and revisit it at least once a year.
You would also do well to create a household budget together. Prioritize the needs before stashing money away for your wants. However, try to decide how much money should be spent for the “extras” – food trips in restaurants, entertainment, and even clothing – and try to set an allowance for each of you, something you could freely spend without needing to inform the other.
One of the most important things you need to talk about is how you plan to merge your funds. Are you willing to open a joint account or would maintaining separate accounts be ideal? Perhaps you would want to have both.
Finally, make it clear from the get-go that both of you should resolve any financial conflicts that may arise in the future. Even if you’re on the same page as far your finances go in the early stages of your marriage, some issues about money may crop up at some point. Hence, you need to have each other’s assurance that you would always communicate your feelings openly, work to come up with a compromise, and strive to keep problems at bay to avoid financial woes altogether.