Don’t get married before this money talk

Wedding is the one of the most awaited moments in a couple’s life. Planning for the big day is an experience in itself. The venue, caterers, music, guest list, couture, flowers, etc., there are thousand such things weighing on a couple’s mind. But what theytake for granted is the money part. All they know about each other is roughly the respective incomes before marriage. Money can be a sticky issue later on and many couples are not comfortable talking about it during the courtship period. But it is important to bring it up. Here are 5 important money conversations you should have with your partner before tying the knot.

  1. Discuss Income & Spending habits: The combined annual household income of you & your partner will determine the budget, savings & standard of living in the future. So, talk about your incomes and the mutual financial stability you both can provide to each other. Also, in tackling daily finances as a married couple, it is important to know about each other’s money habits & spending patterns. You can gauge whether your partner is brand conscious, impulsive shopper, etc. If one partner is a spendthrift and the other is frugal, then there are likely to be conflicts on the budget. You need to talk about such issues and find common ground to manage the household budget and a fixed amount for personal spending with which you both are satisfied after marriage. You can decide to have a joint account to share the household expenses and separate account for personal spending.
  2. Disclose financial obligations: Debt could have been accumulated in the young working years, be it student loan, credit card loan, car loan, personal loan, etc. If your partner finds out about loans post marriage, it may create a scare and he/she may doubt your intentions. Your partner may also be uncomfortable about it and doubt the financial stability in the future. It is thus better to come clean and disclose the financial obligations to your future spouse before tying the knot. You reveal the reason why you have taken debt in the first place, how you are tackling it and planning to pay off. The gesture of disclosing the truth and explaining about your future plan of debt management will generate more confidence in your partner about you.
  3. Decide financial roles: It is prudent to have a discussion on the financial role each partner will take on in the family post marriage. If one is earning more than the other, it is better to outline roughly how much contribution each partner will share towards household expenses and other responsibilities. If a woman wants to take care of her parents money-wise after tying the knot, she should discuss with her fiance. Clarity on such issues is crucial to avoid conflicts later on between partners.
  4. Discuss career plans: Many times, career decisions taken by one partner are such that the other has to compromise on his/her job. This could be taking a sabbatical or moving abroad or pursuing further education. A couple of career questions addressed to each other before marriage can help a couple set the expectations straight right in the beginning of a relationship. Whatever career dreams you have, communicate to your partner and ensure that he/she is open to it. Ask each other questions like:
  • Do you love your 9-5 job?
  • Where do you want to be in your job 5 years down the line?
  • Is foreign travel on the cards pertaining to your job and both are required to settle abroad (permanent/temporary)?
  • Do you plan to start your own business in the future?

Getting clarity on these questions can give both the partners an idea about the financial stability and the mutual support they can provide to each other in their professional careers.

  1. Set common financial goals: Each partner may have different financial priorities. One may want to buy a car after marriage while buying a house is the topmost priority of another. Both partners can make a list of long-term & short-term goals individually and observe the similarities. They can review the list and re-prioritise mutually. Establishing joint goals can thus help both partners reconcile their preferences and determine a clear financial path ahead of marriage.

To conclude, money can be the bone of contention between you & your partner. Cracks may occur even in the later years of marriage. It is thus prudent to have the crucial money talk before marriage. The purpose of this is not only to know each others attitude towards money but also about building trust and being on the same page on personal financial matters.

 



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