Pre-wedding Money Talk — May 2012, reviewed January 2013

‘Tying the knot’ or getting married means tying a financial life together.  Before walking down the aisle couples need to have money discussions that affect what comes after the honeymoon.  Doing so before the wedding may prevent challenges down the road.

Couples need to know each others’ financial beliefs and practices, including money management skills.  Here are questions couples could ask each other to learn this vital information:

What are your view on spending and saving?  Do you spend cash as soon as it comes in, or do you put money into savings each pay period?

Do either of you have individual financial goals in addition to your shared financial goals?  For example, an individual goal may include paying down credit card or student loan debts.

What about short-term and long-term goals such as saving for a home purchase, children, college funds, or retirement?  Are there goals you will need to compromise on, such as how much you think you should save up before a purchase or spend on certain items?
What kind of assets or debt are you bringing into the relationship?  What is your plan for managing those assets for paying off the debt?  Yes, couples need to talk about the student loans!

How will you divide financial duties such as paying bills, managing bank accounts, or investing?  Who has strengths in handling these issues?  When are will we schedule regular ‘money talks’ to make sure both partners know what each is doing?

These are just a few questions.  The bottom line is that couples need to communicate.  Money can be a major source of stress in relationships.  Open and honest lines of communication, sharing knowledge, ideas and information as well as compromising about finances will help couples reach goals as both individuals and couples.