You recently got engaged. Congratulations!
Does it make you sigh and daydream about your upcoming wedding? Or does it compel your brain to do some mathematical gymnastics and compute the estimated expenses before, during, and after the ceremony and reception?
If your thoughts are juggled with numbers and not with wedding themes and venues, then you’ve come to the right blog! Before exchanging ‘I Do’s, you and your partner should have a thorough discussion about how you will manage finances as a couple. Rarely is money talks welcomed with open arms, especially with an engagement or marital union involved. In truth, financial planning is a vital ingredient to a harmonious relationship.
Subtle Start: Introducing Money-Talk Post-Engagement
Did you know that financial disagreements are among the top causes of divorce?
From a realistic viewpoint, you should not feel intimidated once your spouse-to-be raises questions about your savings or go-to methods to reach financial stability.
For those who feel uncomfortable and unsure how to incorporate money-related conversations in your wedding plans, here are some topics to get you started:
What does money mean to you?
Some people are more accustomed to living a frugal lifestyle and refrain from shopping excessively. Others may have lived in a more well-off household, and so they never had to worry about anything money or budget-related. The concept and meaning of money are not necessarily the same for everyone, even in couples who have been dating long-term. Knowing your partner’s definition of money gives you a clearer picture of what motivates their philosophy about finances. It will likewise serve as a mirror that reflects your own choices and decision-making process with your expenditures and savings.
How do you manage your finances?
If your fiancé or fiancée asked how much you spent on engagement ring, they probably raised it to check whether you know when it is okay to splurge and when it is best to save money.
Does your partner have a savings account? Or are they prone to allotting a budget yet end up exceeding it?
Are you someone who creates a budget plan and religiously sticks to it? Do you keep the loose change? Are you keen on discounts, sales, and bargains as a way of cutting expenses? Or do you tend to spend more money on ‘wants’ than basic needs?
Perhaps you both share beliefs on how to secure financial security. You can use it as a foundation for bigger milestones in the future, such as building or buying a house, having children, or starting a business. Don’t fret if you discover that you and your lover have contrasting practices about money management. The bright side to this is you can learn from each other’s experiences and still meet halfway.
Dreams and future goals
Whether you both want kids, travel the world, or have a big, beautiful house you can call your own, the more common denominators you have, the better.
Imagine marrying a person who, despite being an adult, is content living under one roof with their parents. You will surely doubt whether they have what it takes to be financially independent. Here’s another possible scenario: You want to try a business venture but require a little push from your partner to get started. Can they make adjustments in their life goals and give you some leeway to support your dreams? What about retirement? Where do they intend to get funds to cover your expenses once they reach the finish line of their career?
Although differences in financial management are still reconcilable, ambitions that go the opposite direction weigh heavier and are more challenging to bring together.
A good credit score sets you up for purchasing more high-value property or securing a loan. Inevitably, you and your beau will have to make major purchases during the course of your marriage. You might also encounter an emergency and find yourself in need of a large sum of money ASAP. One of you might have a cleaner and higher credit score, while the other may have a significantly lower credit score. By revealing this information early on, you know which score to use in the meantime and you can devise ways to build the other’s scores up.
Do you both agree to open a joint account?
Opening a joint account is highly cost-effective because you both monitor daily expenses, bills, and track all activities and transactions. If you have personal expenses that you don’t want to mess up your joint savings, maintain the joint bank account and open individual accounts to leverage your spending with your savings.
Never keep your debts a secret from your future spouse. Otherwise, it could lead you both to a life filled with mountains of financial liabilities. Be honest and transparent with your monetary responsibilities. If your partner is currently in the process of paying off debt, ask what you can do to help.
Enumerate any assets that you each have and discuss which of these are to be shared and which are to be taken as part of your introduction to the world of being married. Do you have prior investments? Do either of you own a residential property? If so, will you be moving in and living together in that abode once you get married?
Is your partner supporting a relative’s health or educational expenses? Is there someone in their family who is impaired and relies on your beau’s monetary aid?
Having a beneficiary is not a financial matter that you can brush off with someone else’s well-being on the line. Take the time to explain the circumstances to your partner and assure them that despite covering for a family member’s needs, it shouldn’t keep you from realizing your biggest life goals as a couple.
Your wedding plan can wait. For now, sit with your partner and talk about all these financial details thoughtfully. Who knows? You might be adding more years to your marriage by openly discussing this.