Getting married is a big step in anyone’s life and sometimes we risk getting caught up in the emotional side of the event and forget that we are actually making a big commitment financially too. However, it’s important not to let love make us oblivious to the logistics of this decision and to think things through when we decide to take this important step. Since money can be a sensitive topic, it’s better to make things clear from the beginning, so that you don’t have any unexpected surprises later on. Let’s take a look at the 5 essential money questions you should ask your partner before getting married to make sure that the decision you are making is going to make you happy, and that you are financially secure.
1. What is your annual income?
Even though it is one of the basics, this question can be a total deal breaker if it comes at the wrong time, so make sure you put it in such a way that your partner doesn’t get offended by it. However, since you’re going to spend the rest of your life with this person, sometimes it’s better to be straight-forward with them, especially since being able to communicate efficiently is, by any standards, the true fundament of a marriage.
According to a study from Fidelity, “only 43 percent of respondents were able to correctly identify how much money their significant other makes”. This is both surprising and alarming, since it reveals that a lot of couples are not aware of their financial standing, which makes it really hard for them to plan for their future and to make adjustments if necessary.
2. What amount of your income are you willing to devote to the household's monthly bills?
“Nothing is certain but death and taxes”, so paying bills is going to be one of the inevitable tasks you will have to split with your partner, whether you want it or not. Even if it’s an unpleasant responsibility, being straight up from the get go can make your life so much easier and help you avoid any potential future debates over finance-related topics. After all, who would want to discuss paying bills every month? It’s better to have “the talk” about the serious stuff now, so you are able to enjoy the rest of the time you spend with each other!
3. How much do you believe should be kept in an emergency fund?
One of the best feelings you should be able to enjoy in a marriage is safety. You might not want to be thinking about this right now, but in order to make sure there’s nothing that can bring you and your partner down you need to have some money put aside for a rainy day and be prepared for any financial setbacks. Deciding on how much this sum should amount to and how much each of you should contribute to it, will leave you feeling financially ready and ensure that you never lose the sense of security you get from the home you have built with your significant other.
4. How much debt do you have?
Regardless of what type of debt you might have, we all have some sort of history when it comes to how we managed our finances in the past and most of the time this sets the standard for how we’ll manage our finances in the future. If you plan on building up an honest and stable relationship, your past debt is definitely something your partner should know about! According to BBC, “Up to 8.3 million people in the UK are unable to pay off debts or household bills, according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO)”. You don’t want to be a part of this 8.3 million, so, be completely honest with your partner from the beginning, because when the honeymoon period ends, reality will settle in, and you will have to face all decisions together with your spouse. Who knows? After asking this question you might actually learn something about them as a person!
5. How will we invest in our future?
We can’t always know what the future holds, but one thing we do know is that we have to make the most of it. Setting up a long-term plan and taking the necessary steps to stick to it can be really useful, especially when starting a new chapter in your life. It also provides you with a great opportunity to turn your bad habits around and actually start making profitable investments. So, grab a pen and a piece of paper, take the time to sit down with your loved one, and discuss your goals and potential dreams with your partner. This will also allow you to determine whether you have a common view on how things should progress and set realistic expectations.
When you first discuss this, you may very well find that you are not on the same page with your partner. You may have different investing strategies or have different ideas on managing risk. But don’t worry! These things can be easily compromised. You may also find that your contradictory perspectives might be complementary in the end. If you want to make smart decisions that benefit both you and your partners investment futures, then take a look at these success stories detailed by Forbes and see how can any of these experiences can apply to your situation.
I can hear the bells
Love is the most important aspect of a marriage, but good communication is what keeps things together. So, establishing a healthy long-term relationship depends a lot on being able to speak freely to your significant other without feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable. Asking these 5 important money questions can prove challenging at first but it’s important to take the plunge and be confident in your ability to sit down with your partner and have “the talk”. You might also find that this discussion strengthens your relationship and alleviates any doubts that you may have had regarding tieing the knot!