Walk into Happily Ever After with These Money Conversations
4 Money Conversations to Have Before and After You Say, "I Do".
by Ande Frazier
February 10, 2020 .3 min read
You are tasting the cake, picking out the flowers, or perhaps you just got back from your honeymoon and the reality that you are married or about to be sets in. Marriage comes with a lot of compromises. It’s not the simplest thing in the world to consolidate two lives into one. You start making decisions as a couple, like buying a house, or a new car, or taking vacations. Many of these decisions come down to the issue of money, a conversation which is not always the easiest to have.
With nearly 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, and many citing money as the number one reason for their divorce, having an open conversation about money is key to getting your life together off to a great start. Here are a few things for you to discuss as a couple to keep your marriage sound.
Values and Beliefs
Your childhood is where you first start to form beliefs and attitudes about money. Understanding what your past experiences were can tell you a lot about your relationship to money. When you are entering your life with someone, you begin merging many aspects of it, and money is part of that. Money and how it is used, spent and saved, will be part of your life together.
If your values and beliefs don’t match up with your partner’s then addressing it as early on as possible can avoid future conflict. Sit together as a couple and talk about your personal experiences with money. What did your childhood teach you? Are there patterns that you want to change or keep? How can you work together when you have conflicting views about money? Talking it through gets it out on the table so you can address it together as one.
Joining accounts is something many couples struggle with. You are suddenly very aware of what each other is spending, which can be both good and bad. To merge accounts or not - that is the question?
Don’t worry too much, because both models can work. No matter which you choose, make sure you are open and honest with each other about how you spend your money. Have conversations about whose money is paying for what, and if you decide to keep your accounts separate have conversations around who’s account pays for the mortgage while the other’s pays off the credit card bills.
Don’t be afraid to revisit this as often as needed to get it to feel right for the both of you. As your life changes, so must your approach to handling the financial responsibilities that come with those changes. Have a plan around where your money is going, and how it works together.
Whether it’s from a credit card, or a mortgage, or student loan debt you brought into a marriage, make sure you discuss all of your debt. Hiding debt can lead to mistrust, which can not only affect your money, but other areas of your relationship. No one likes surprises, get all this out in the open so you can deal with debt straight on. Set up automatic payments for all of your bills, reach out to financial institutions to negotiate debt repayment and check your credit scores. The more you work together, the better your financial future will be.
The worst thing you can do is to take yourself out of the equation when it comes to finances. Know where your money is going! Take the time to understand your finances. This way, if the unexpected were to happen, you wouldn’t be left at a disadvantage. Your money as a couple goes to securing your family’s future, so make sure you both are in the know when it comes to financial planning. Have regular meetings with your spouse to discuss that status of your financial plans, and be sure that you both attend all meetings with a financial adviser. This way there won’t be any surprises.
Marriage is a partnership in all aspects, and the more you work together as a couple, the better your marriage and your finances will be.
Ande began her 20+ year career as an adviser and quickly realized that many people weren’t taking into account was how emotions play a huge factor in financial decision making. Leaving behind her practice to focus solely on educating both advisers and consumers alike, she became an expert in behavioral finance. Author, speaker, thought leader, and money educator, Ande is helping women to take control of their money.