ARE YOU WONDERING WHAT FINANCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE GETTING MARRIED?
Preparing for your wedding is one of the most exciting times in your life. There’s so much to do and plan that it isn’t surprising that a lot of women forget to ask some important money questions before they get married.
But, this is a very big mistake that could prove very costly and affect your family’s finances down the road.
Did you know that financial problems is one of the leading causes of divorce today?
That’s why it’s really crucial for you to have these money conversations before you say I do.
Don’t get me wrong, talking about money isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it is a necessary one.
So if you’re thinking of skipping this part of wedding prep, don’t.
The benefit of asking these money questions is that you will go into your marriage with your eyes open and you will know exactly what you’re getting into financially.
This way, you’ll avoid any nasty surprises.Hopefully, that’s enough motivation for you to want to ask these money questions.
Another key reason to have money conversations with your fiance is to find out if you’re financially compatible.
Financial compatibility is a thing if you didn’t know and it’s essential to the success of any marriage.
Take a look at this statistic.
A study carried out by TD Ameritrade in 2013 found that couples fight about money five times per year on average, and 40 percent say they don’t fully trust their significant other with their combined finances.
That’s an astounding number of people who don’t trust their spouses when it comes to money matters.
Doesn’t look very good, does it?
As a divorced mom, I have made quite a few money mistakes and learned some harsh lessons that’s why I am really keen to share some of the lessons I have learned to help you avoid making them.
So if you have been debating whether to talk about money with your fiance or unsure what questions to ask without rocking the boat, here are a few you can begin with.
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LIFE CHANGING MONEY QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE GETTING MARRIED
1. HOW MUCH DEBT DOES YOUR FIANCE HAVE? WILL IT AFFECT YOUR FINANCES AND FINANCIAL GOALS?
There’s nothing wrong with marrying someone with debt as long as you know how much debt he has and you guys talk about it (especially if it’s significant debt).
While you shouldn’t choose a partner based on their debt or income, it is foolish to think that your partner’s debt will have no effect on your marriage or relationship.
If you are reading this and contemplating marriage, it is important that you discuss your finances and goals with your future spouse.
Have an honest discussion. Find out where you both stand in relation to debt, spending, savings, kids etc.
It is unreasonable that two people will share the same values or that you will agree on everything, so your expectations should be realistic.
But, any difference in opinion should be insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Be honest and voice any concerns you may have.
Talk about your financial goals and how having a lot of debt could impact them.
More importantly, make sure you have a plan to repay the debt and that both of you share the same commitment to becoming debt free and achieving your financial goals.
2. DOES YOUR FIANCE HAVE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS? HOW WOULD THAT AFFECT THE MARRIAGE?
Some years ago, I read a blog post about getting rid of debt and was struck by one one of the comments.
A woman commented that her husband’s debt wasn’t her responsibility.
According to her, her husband owed a significant amount in child support, had credit card debts, and didn’t earn enough money.
Talk about triple whammy!
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I had a feeling that marriage was probably going through some financial stress.
I am not sure if she knew about his financial situation before they got married, but I can’t imagine how this situation wouldn’t affect their finances.
Along the same lines, I read another comment from one of my favorite personal finance blogs a while ago.
This comment was from a woman who needed advice because she and her husband were spending all their money on child support, and she resented her husband’s alimony and child support payments,
This is a sad, but all too common story.
A lot of women end up paying child support to keep their husbands and marriage intact.
This can put a lot of strain on a marriage.
Some years ago, one of my former classmates got divorced because her husband had kids from a previous relationship, and was spending almost $2000.00 a month on child support payments.
This was a drain on their finances, and caused frequent arguments until she decided she couldn’t handle it anymore.
In her case she knew he had kids from a previous relationship, but I think she may have underestimated the financial impact those child support payments would have on her family’s finances.
I am not saying you shouldn’t marry someone with child support payments, but you need to know what you’re getting into.
I want you to be very realistic about how child support payments, and huge debt can affect your marriage and your finances.
If your husband spends most of his income paying child support, then you may have to become your family’s primary breadwinner.
Is that something you’d like to do?
Many women go into marriages thinking they can handle things like this, or they can keep their finances separate, trust me, it really isn’t that easy.
So think about it and be honest with what you can handle.
Don’t make the mistake of sugarcoating everything or being overly optimistic, or worse thinking you can change someone.
It’s very hard to change anyone. Heck, it’s hard for us to change ourselves!
So make sure you consider everything before taking the leap.
It’s always better to make informed and realistic financial decisions.
3. ARE YOU WILLING TO BE THE PRIMARY BREADWINNER IF YOU EARN MORE THAN YOUR FIANCE?
A lot of women are now the primary or sole breadwinner in their homes.
I have been the primary (and sole) breadwinner for my family for a long time and I can tell you that it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, being a female breadwinner has some challenges you should be aware of.
If you earn more than your fiance (and things are likely to continue that way after marriage), are you happy to be the breadwinner?
If you’ve any concerns about this, it’s better to discuss it in advance.
Talk about your expectations and how this arrangement would work. Better to hash out everything before getting married.
How does your fiance feel about this potential situation? Is he happy and comfortable with it?
4. ARE YOU PLANNING TO COMBINE YOUR FINANCES?
I know the norm is for married couples to combine finances, but increasingly, many couples are choosing to keep their finances separate.
I think it’s something to talk about especially if you have existing savings that you’re bringing into the marriage.
Are you going to have one bank account that both of you contribute into or will you pool all your resources together and spend from that one account?
Do you keep everything you owned before the marriage or do you combine them?
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Do I really need to ask all these questions?”
The answer is yes!
There are so many questions to ask and so many decisions to make, but these are some of the questions I wished I had asked prior to getting married.
I married a man I met in church and did not really have any financial counselling prior to getting married.
I recall the only conversation we had about money was where we were going to live after the wedding.
Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out well for us.
So don’t be like me. Be willing to ask some tough questions and work through the answers so you can create financial stability for you and your future family.
5. ARE YOU FINANCIALLY COMPATIBLE WITH YOUR FIANCE?
Like I said at the beginning of this post, financial compatibility plays an essential part in the success of a marriage.
It is important that your future spouse share some of the same financial goals as you or you risk constant conflict in your marriage.
For example, are you a spender or a saver? What about your future spouse?
If you marry a spender when you are a saver, chances are you may not reach your financial goals.
This can lead to frustration and frequent arguments which isn’t fun.
What are your short and long-term financial goals? Do you share the same goals as your husband to be?
While some of these questions may seem trivial or unnecessary, they can be the difference between having a happy and financially stable home or a home that’s filled with strife and financial stress.
So think about it carefully and don’t shy away from having that money talk (especially if you have some concerns).
6. IS YOUR FIANCE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE?
This one is a very important question for you to ask yourself especially if being financially secure is important to you.
Being fiscally responsible means you make smart decisions and you’re prudent in spending your income.
If you marry someone who is careless with spending money, needless to say you are going to have a hard time financially.
Here is a great pot on what a fiscally responsible person looks like. Check it out.
LIFE CHANGING MONEY QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE GETTING MARRIED
Having money conversations prior to getting married can be a little bit tricky, but the cost of not asking these questions is just too high.
Don’t forget to ask yourself these questions as well since I imagine you wouldn’t want to be the cause of financial stress in your marriage.
Be honest with yourself and your fiance about what sacrifices you are willing to make (or not make), and what you’re willing to take on.
Remember that it’s easier to live with your decisions when they are made intentionally.
Here is wishing you a happy and financially successful marriage!