If you are getting married soon, your world is about to change in a big way. If you do not know your spouses finances, it could be in an even bigger way than you think. Tina is here to help you out with a few questions that you need to ask and get the answers to, before you tie the knot. So, grab a drink and find a nice comfortable spot and ask each other the following questions.
- How Much Money Do You Make?
This is a no brainer. There should be no secrets in marriage so you should not be afraid to ask how much your partner makes. Are you going got be the main bread winner in the relationship?
Income is a big deal and, right or wrong, many people tie their self worth in with their income. Prevent any future conflicts by getting it all out in the open now.
- What Is Your Credit Score?
Your credit plays a huge role in your future life. If your spouse has bad credit it can prevent you from buying a house in the future and it could even indicate that they have some very bad financial habits. Bad credit is usually the product of bad luck or bad financial discipline.
If you do find out that your partner has bad credit, you can both sit down and figure out ways to correct it and correct the behavior that led to it.
- Do You Have Any Savings & Assets?
Is your future partner the kind of person that lives check to check or are they a saver. If you like to save while your spouse spends, it can cause a big division over time. Do not be afraid to ask about savings and investments, even going as far as discussing employer 401K programs.
Also find out how much they contribute each month to savings and investments. Do you invest $500 or greater a month while your partner contributes nothing. This could be a problem and lead to resentment in the future.
- Do You Want To Maintain Separate Accounts?
The decision as to whether to commingle checking accounts is a big one. This can be an even bigger problem if a couple has different spending habits. It is not an absolute must to open one joint savings account, as many couples do just fine with separate ones.
- How Much Money Do You Owe?
This is a big must know piece of information. When you get married, in most cases, you will also inherit your spouses debt. How much debt, if any are you taking on? Find out how much they owe on credit cards, student loans, etc. Even better than asking, share credit reports. This will give you a complete debt picture.
- What Are Your Work Benefits?
When you get married, you will often get access to a number of your spouses benefits at work. Whose health insurance plan is better. Will you maintain separate health plans or is one spouses significantly better and/or cheaper.
Also, how is your spouse taking advantage of their employers retirement benefits. Are they maxing out their 401K?
- What Are Your Financial Goals?
Do you or your spouse want to retire early? When you retire, what do you want to do? Goals in life can be drastically different and you need to make sure that you will be able to eventually come to some sort of agreement. One person might want to retire to a loft in the city while another wants a cabin in the woods. Big difference.
- What Does Your Budget Look Like?
Hopefully both you and your spouse have a budget. If not, you need to each make one. Then compare them. See how your spending habits vary and what you can do to sync up. Is your spouse wasting hundreds while you act responsibly.
A budget audit will also allow you to see where you can make cuts and what will happen in the future. These budgets are about to be combined after all. Pretty soon you will only need one car insurance company, one cell phone service, one cable company, etc.
- Do You Expect An Inheritance?
This is something that could be very surprising in the future. Find out now if your spouse expects to receive a windfall in the future.
- Do You Want A Prenuptial Agreement?
If one person wants a prenuptial agreement and the other doesn’t, it can cause a huge rift. Get the question out of the way as soon as possible. For some, a prenup might signify that their future partner does not have complete confidence in the marriage. For others, a prenup might just seem like a reality given the high failure rate of marriages in the US.
- What Are Your Career Goals?
You need to find out if your spouse likes their job or career and if they plan on leaving it in the future. Do they plan on going back to school for more education or to change career paths? The last thing you want is to come home in five years to find out that your significant other has quit their job and enrolled in community college.
As you can see, ,there are a lot of things that need to be addressed financially. Take a few hours one night and sit down and discuss your financial situations with each other. A little time spent now can protect you from some huge conflicts and arguments in the future.
Just be sure to be open and honest about everything. If you can’t do so now, you are in for big trouble in the future.