• Mike Komara

6 Crucial Conversations Needed Before Getting Married

You've found the perfect mate, and now you're planning your wedding. Now may seem like an odd time to talk about money. Before you marry, however, you must have the Money Talk.

6 Crucial Conversations Needed Before Getting Married

Mindset of Money and Beliefs

The first item to discuss is your overall philosophy and feelings about money. For example, how important is money relative to other aspects of your life? Discuss times when you've each experienced financial setbacks and what you learned from them. Likewise, discuss times of financial success and how you achieved that success. The discussions can reveal whether your partner owns up to mistakes and learns from them and how they meet financial goals.

Your Financial Backgrounds

Many develop scripts about money in childhood that carry into adulthood. Learning about how money was viewed in your partner's home when they were growing up can help you understand how your partner developed their views about money.

You may find that you and your partner have internalized views about money that you didn't realize you had. Your backgrounds and views about money aren't likely to be identical, and you may find that they differ significantly. If this happens, seek some common ground, such as agreeing to pay household bills on time and each setting aside a certain amount for a joint savings account. Then allow each partner some latitude in spending and saving beyond the agreement.

Life and Financial Goals

Once you understand your financial pasts, consider your financial future together. What goals do you share? For example, do you hope to raise children? If so, how will that impact your lives, incomes, and finances? Do you hope to own a vacation home someday? Or do you hope to travel in retirement? You'll talk through each of your goals and what you need to do financially to make them a reality.

Debts and Credit History

Many couples have already discussed their debt in general terms, such as whether they have student loans or car payments. Now is the time to discuss details. How much does each partner owe, and how well are they making payments? For example, if a partner has significant credit card debt, are they making only minimum or more substantial payments?

Knowing each other's credit scores can be important because they will affect obtaining loans together, such as mortgages. If one partner's scores are low, talking honestly about it can help the couple develop a plan to get out of debt and improve their credit score.

Spending and Saving Habits

You'll also discuss the amount of savings you have on hand and how much you each save from each paycheck. Part of this discussion might be whether you have a budget and how well it works. Another part of the discussion is about what you feel is worth spending money on and what isn't? The discussion might also include whether each of you needs to save more to meet your joint financial goals.

Managing Money Together

Having widely different views on money is not uncommon. People are raised in different home environments. The key, however, is to figure out how you'll manage money together. You could decide to combine your finances thoroughly with joint accounts. Or, you might decide to maintain individual accounts but contribute to joint accounts for household expenses and savings. You'll also discuss whether you need a prenuptial agreement and how to develop one.

Regardless of the logistics of your finances, you'll want to be on the same page financially. Both partners will contribute to the financial goals they establish, even if the contributions are different because of salary differences. Adjusting to making joint decisions on finances is challenging, especially for those who've been single for a long time. However, making joint financial decisions is the key to a thriving marriage.

How to Have the Money Talk Before Marriage

Set a date for the Money Talk. Choose a time when you're likely to be most relaxed, and choose a power-neutral spot. Be honest with your partner about all your finances. Marriages are built on trust. Be open to your partner having been raised with a different money philosophy than you were and be willing to work toward a joint resolution.

Solas Wealth can help you develop your financial goals and a plan to reach them. We integrate a coaching aspect that helps your money work better for you. Connect with us to schedule a conversation.