Personal finances can be uncomfortable or even embarrassing to talk about, so it is no wonder that couples sometimes don’t divulge their financial secrets with one another.
However, as they say, communication is the cornerstone of a happy marriage.
Here are five things regarding personal finance couples should discuss before marriage.
Reveal Your Money Secrets
Secrets of any kind can lead to trouble in a marriage, even if the reasons for them are good.
Talk about your personal finance and financial past including the debts you still owe and the accounts you have. Most likely discussing this now will cause a lot less damage than a secret will down the road.
What Do You Do With the Debt?
Many married couples create joint accounts while others keep them separate and there are pros and cons to both approaches.
However, debt is one thing that may not be a good idea to combine. If one or both members of a couple are bringing debt to the table, bringing them together can hurt your personal finance: individual credits and spreads around the liability.
I am not advocating the idea of dealing with your separate debts separately. Even if you don’t combine debt you can work together to pay it off. If you are having trouble doing this talk to the experts at places like Consolidated Credit to see if they can help.
Agree on a Personal Finance Plan
Make sure your ideas regarding spending and budgeting are on the same level. Sit down and create a budget together.
This preset personal finance plan can help you avoid money arguments in the future because sticking to the budget will guide your money decisions.
If there are issues, reevaluate the budget. After this you can even go a step further and make rules for spending. Try setting a spending limit.
Agree on an amount that you can spend without first telling each other. That way there won’t be any big surprise expenses.
Address Your Estates
It may sound pretty strange to plan your estate before you are even married but it gets a bothersome chore out of the way.
Even if you wait until after marriage to make the personal finance plan official, you can discuss it beforehand.
What will happen to all of your assets if something were to happen to you? Make sure you are giving your future spouse what you want them to have.
Be Prepared for Financial Emergencies
Talk about potential emergencies and what you would do if they occurred. Set aside some money for an emergency fund.
The panic of an emergency or tragedy can be a very stressful situation and giving yourself a financial cushion to fall on in such situations goes a long way in helping you to pull together as a couple.
Again, you don’t have to make these decisions official before you even say I do but you can plan and discuss them.
This will assure that you are united on a financial front and that there are no surprises after you’ve already entered marriage.
What is your approach to finances in the marriage? What personal finance tips would you like to add to this list?
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Elaine McPartland is a member of the Consolidated Credit team. After successfully paying off student loan debt much sooner than anticipated, Elaine enjoys helping others find their own financial freedom. She provides realistic tips on how to dig your way out of a mountain of debt.
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