When it comes to newlyweds or a recently engaged couple, it can be easy to get caught up in the honeymoon phase of your relationship and disregard financial issues in your relationship. It is easy to get sidetracked when you are wedding planning, searching for the perfect home or deciding how many children you want to have. While these are excellent topics to discuss, to ensure a healthy marriage we encourage you to discuss money matters.
First and foremost, it is most important be honest with each other about your goals and financial assets. How much are you willing to spend on a mortgage? Do you agree on retirement funds and strategies? It is also a great idea to set a plan for how much money you want to put into a savings account and how often. If you differ on any of these topics, try to find a negotiable balance that will be easy for you both to achieve.
To get the conversation rolling, ask these questions:
What do you earn?
No one should be in the dark about his or her partner's income, even if bringing up the conversation feels awkward at first. Income affects everything from your day-to-day lifestyle to your future tax bracket and is an important factor to understand.
What's your credit history?
If your spouse doesn't have a great credit score or has a lot of debt, you may not qualify for a good interest rate on your mortgage. Though it can be tough to talk about, financial secrets cause many more problems than less-than-perfect credit.
What is your debt picture?
Debt affects everything from monthly bills to long-term savings. Be respectful with each other when discussing student loans, credit cards, or loans from family. If the financial inventory uncovers debts or other financial challenges, figure out how to tackle the issues together.
Are spending and saving priorities in line?
Talk about how you'll handle major purchases such as appliances and vacations, as well as regular expenses such as groceries and utilities. Discuss what amount of money is okay for one person to spend without consulting the other. Talk about your values around saving money.
Who will handle your budget and bills?
Talk about how the two of you are going to divide household finances. Talk about whether you'll have individual or joint accounts—or both. You might also consider opening an investment or retirement account.
What are your future plans?
How would you feel if your future spouse planned to stop working to pursue an expensive graduate degree or volunteer opportunity? It's important to discuss whether both of you will continue to work if you have children or other work-related changes that of you are planning.
We Florida Financial can help you and your partner get on the same page for your new life together. Stop by or call us today to see how we can help you in your new life together.