We talk about money every day: how much we make, how much athletes make, or how much our fathers made. However, when the time comes to get married, talking about money with your soon-to-be spouse can prove difficult. If you’re thinking about getting down on one knee anytime soon, there are some things you should discuss first.
Theresa Bursey, assistant market head for UBS’s Gulf Coast region, suggests evaluating your finances before entering into a marriage. A recent UBS report reveals that being financially secure and taking joint accountability in money matters will diminish stress and relieve pressure from both of you.
“Debt isn’t always on your mind when you’re in the throes of love. The only financials you’ll want to handle at that moment might be the wedding party. That alone is going to cost you, but what most people aren’t considering is the ‘until death do us part’ implications,” Theresa Bursey stated in a recent press release. “You’re going to be spending a lot of time and a lot of money together.”
Being transparent and honest about your finances is the best course of action when you’re thinking about getting married. Try starting a conversation about your financial background with your soon-to-be spouse. UBS Financial advisors suggest that you bring up the topics of debt, investments, money-mindedness, current financial plans and future financial plans.
#1: Pop another question: “Do you have any debt?”
You’re going to share a lot of things in life with your future spouse, and debt will probably be one of them. This is a tough conversation to ease into, so be tactful. The answer to this question might be shocking for either partner, but it’s necessary to ask because you will absorb whatever debt each other has incurred. Start by asking about student loan debt then work your way up to credit card debt and medical debt.
#2: “Where are you on the spectrum of frugality?”
Whether we like to admit it or not, a gargantuan part of who we are can be attributed to our parents. These behaviors were embedded into our psyche and we either reeled away from them or embraced them. UBS financial advisors suggest you ask your future bride how their family handles money, and how they were taught to handle it. They may have opened a savings account in high school or just opened one last month. It’s a good practice to compare your knowledge of finance with your partner and make sure you’re both up to speed.
#3: “What’s your current situation?”
Your soon-to-be spouse may already have some financial plans in effect, and now that you’re joining forces, you’ll want to merge these plans with yours – or potentially not. Some couples decide to have separate bank accounts while others opt for a joint account. UBS financial advisors note that both of these options are completely viable. However, the contents of these bank accounts should be discussed in detail. Also, take into account both of your monthly bills and expenditures, and try to prioritize these.
#4: “Where do they want to be financially in the future?”
Now that you’ve covered the past and the present, it’s time to look cautiously into the future. According to a recent UBS report, 61 percent of millennial women leave financial decisions to their partner. Interestingly enough, 59 percent of divorcees wish they had been more involved in long-term financial decisions with their husbands.
Also ask big, long-term financial questions like: “Do you want to have children?”, “When do you plan on retiring?”, and “Have you considered investing in the stock market?” Sit down with your partner and discuss the investments you both carry, as well as your goals for those investments, both present and future (like retirement, buying property, saving for your future children’s college funds, etc.). Both parties should understand what the long-term financial future holds as a unified family.
Fasten the knot with confidence.
These are all imperative things to know about one another before entering into a marriage. Devising a financial plan is also going to improve your quality of life and help maintain the marriage. Determine what your budget is, how you will save and how you will invest. UBS Financial advisors propose taking a shared financial responsibility in a marriage to improve overall welfare. In addition, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association cites that the most common sources of disagreement and stress for couples are finance-related. Conquer these obstacles together, after all, that’s what a marriage is truly about – collaboration and a whole lot of love.