Getting married is no small thing. It is a major life decision especially that you will be living with someone, who was once a stranger to you. Someone who probably comes from an entirely different background, and might not share the same views and perspectives as yours on important matters –especially when it comes to finances.
That is why divorce caused by financial strains is not an uncommon occurrence nowadays. While love, understanding, and acceptance are some of the most important foundations in marriage, let us not also forget the more practical side of the story. Before heading for the altar, couples should at least be able to have an “adult” conversation about money, as it will be an indispensable part of living together.
Here are some of the things you might want to lay on the table and discuss with your would-be partner in life.
Your money histories
These include your debts such as student loans, car loans, and credit card debts. Are you going to help your partner pay his or her debts or is it going to be his or her own business? Are you comfortable being with someone who is carrying huge balances? Opening up this topic will avoid surprises later on that are sure to cause stress in marriage.
Opening the lines of communication will help you understand where your partner is coming from and how he or she handles her own finances. On the other hand, you can’t blame your partner if debt is a serious issue for him or her and chooses to think things over. You wouldn’t want an unhappy partner, either, would you?
Separate or co-mingled funds?
How are you going to handle your paychecks? Are you going to entrust your savings account to your partner, open a joint account, or retain the arrangement while you were still unmarried?
This is an important money talk as not everyone is comfortable mixing his or her savings or income with someone else, even if that person is a legal partner. Some would prefer having a joint account, but still hold a separate account for his or her own personal use. Others would completely surrender and let their partner do the budgeting and accounting.
Your goals and dreams as a couple
Having the same goals and aspirations and going towards the same destination can make a very powerful partnership between married couples. Make sure that both of you are aligned with each other’s plans and goals, or otherwise, meet halfway on a compromise.
One of you might want to travel first before having a baby, or finish graduate school first before buying a home. These are all big things that need to be talked about early on to avoid disappointments. All these involve money matters, and one partner might feel forced to sacrifice his or her own dreams and aspirations, while giving up control of her own income for the sake of the partnership.