Money and Marriage: 7 Money Questions to Ask Before Marriage
Money and marriage are two things that go together in any loving relationship. But, if a couple doesn’t discuss the seven vital financial questions below, money can be one of the central causes of trouble for even the happiest of couples. Before tying the knot, be sure to have a conversation with your beloved and ask these questions. You may find it’s an awkward talk to have but it can save you from trouble later.
How much debt do you have? If you’ve gotten to the point in your relationship to consider marriage, you may already know the answer to this one. But if you don’t know, be sure to find out as soon as possible. Although your future partner’s debt is his or hers alone, it could still influence you. If you plan to combine your incomes, your future spouse may have to allocate a large portion of his or her earnings toward paying off loans or credit cards. Credit card debt can also influence a person’s credit score and make it difficult to buy a house or a new car. Be sure to ask this question sooner rather than later.
Who will be in charge of paying the bills? This question is necessary in helping couples understand who will hold the financial responsibility for the household. What’s important is deciding who will take on the financial chores, while also making sure both partners feel they’re a team and working together to achieve mutual financial goals. Talk with your future spouse about how they feel about paying bills. One person might like paying bills and the other does not, or vice versa. Take turns if you both hate paying bills, this way you’ll be equals. Arguments over bills can be easily avoided if both partners talk through their situation and decide on a plan early in the relationship.
If someone needs money from us, what do we do? Long-term commitments, like marriage, tend to bring on unforeseen situations over the course of time. One of these circumstances could be lending money to family or friends in need. What if your elderly parents can’t make their house payment? How will you, as a couple, deal with a situation like that? Be sure to get on the same page before something happens. You don’t want to end up in a squabble over when to be generous with your money. Set guidelines with your partner about how much money you can give, and which situations warrant your generosity. By talking about what-ifs like these, you will be more prepared if something happens and won’t have to worry about causing a rift with your partner.
What is the most I can spend before I have to consult my partner? A good way to begin this conversation is by asking your future spouse what he or she likes to spend money on. This could be travel, entertainment, or anything they consider a high priority. By opening the question like this, you both can start to understand what the other values and can lead up to what amount warrants a consultation with the other partner. To avoid feeling micromanaged about spending, create a budget with your future spouse. Allot a certain amount of “fun money” to each partner every month. That money can be spent on whatever the spouse chooses. If you want more than the allotment for one month, check in with your other half to be certain your spending won’t hurt the household finances.
How will we choose stocks if we want to buy some? Have you ever bought stocks or mutual funds? If not, take some time to learn about them. Making your money work for you is a great reason to purchase stocks. Talk with your future spouse about if he or she has ever bought stocks or currently owns any. Go through any portfolios together and talk through your options. Maybe getting the help of a financial advisor is the best plan for you. You can protect and build your wealth with guidance from The Private Bank at PlainsCapital. Our professional financial advisors can help you establish needs and goals, tolerance for risk, any current portfolio allocation, tax considerations, and your unique needs and circumstances. They can help you both decide what investment choices are right for you and your situation.
Do your parents pay for any of your current bills? This might be an awkward question to ask, but it’s important. Knowing your future partner’s current financial situation is necessary in determining how the two of you will build your own in the future. If parents do pay for any bills, will they continue to do so in the future? Be sure to communicate with your partner whether you want his or her parents involved in your finances or not.
Do you want our kids to go to public or private school? It’s no secret that children are expensive. Knowing how you plan to pay for your children’s education is necessary, especially due to ever rising education costs. If you want your kids to attend a private school, it’s recommended to start saving when they are born. You can even begin saving when you decide you want to have children. Saving early can help offset any new education costs that arise. This is an important question to ask because the answer will affect your cash flow in the future.
Hopefully this list of questions will help you and your partner make some money and marriage decisions. PlainsCapital Bank takes your banking needs personally and we understand marriage is a major step in one’s life. For more information on how to make a financial plan, please visit the Financial Planning section of our website.