It’s supposed to be the happiest time of your life! You just got engaged and are now planning your dream wedding. No one wants to come off that high to have that awkward talk about their finances. BUT YOU NEED TO!! Did you know that one of the biggest reasons marriages end in divorce is over money? So, ask yourself: how well do you know your partner’s finances? If the answer is that you barely know anything, it’s time to buckle down and make sure you and your significant other are speaking the same money language. Below is a list of financial items to consider before tying the knot.
That little three-digit number is extremely important when entering into a marriage. If you want to purchase a home or make any kind of large purchase in the future, lenders take into consideration both of your scores in determining what you qualify for. Believe me, you don’t want to hear about your spouse’s low credit score or unpaid credit balances when sitting with a mortgage lender trying to qualify for your first home! Save yourselves the argument later, and review your credit scores with each other and talk about how you’re going to build your credit up together! Creditkarma.com is a website that provides a quick and easy way for you to obtain and track your credit scores.
Debt = Joint Debt Once You Say I Do
Ready or not…. what once was just their debt can now become your joint debt! The good thing about obtaining credit scores is all the debt you have gets revealed, so the debt conversation should just naturally arise in conversation. It’s important to understand your partner’s financial obligations and what types of financial decisions they make before their responsibility becomes your responsibility!
To Merge or Not to Merge your Finances
Should you keep your financial accounts separate or make them joint? This is a big, but necessary, decision to make. The most important thing to consider is how much you trust the other person with finances. If you decide to merge, you need to have honest conversations about budgeting and make sure you are on the same page. If you decide to keep finances separate, you’ll have to agree on who is responsible for paying all the different expenses that you’ll incur.
Budget, Budget, Budget
No budget = larger chance of getting into debt. It’s important to talk and be open with your partner about your income and decide together how to best allocate it in order to live within your means.
Plan for Your Future
Where do you see yourselves in 5 to 10 years? Do you want to buy a house? Do you want kids? Have these conversations, make sure you are on the same page, and come up with a game plan to make these goals a reality.
Important Tip – Once you are married it’s important to schedule regular money talks (maybe over a cocktail) to ensure that you guys are still on the same page. Remember that Happy Finances = Happy Marriage.
As always, please reach out to your trusted advisor with any questions.
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