Things have been smooth in your relationship, butterflies in your belly, and now, you’re about to tie the knot. Awesome!!! But pause, have you discussed money matters at all?
Citibank surveyed failed marriages, and results reveal that about 57 percent of these marriages hit the rocks because of financial disagreements. Of course, money is significant, but who would have thought it had such an effect on marriages?
You might not have had challenges splitting the bill on dates or making purchases so far. But handling finances as a married couple is a different ball game. “Money matters” is one topic couples shy away from, but having these discussions is very important. According to MONEY Magazine, individuals that trust their spouses with finances have fewer arguments.
How do you discuss money matters before you tie the knot? What should you even talk about?
Critical Money Matters to Discuss Before You Tie the Knot
Money is never a romantic topic among couples. You’ll probably feel like you have gravel in your mouth when you begin discussions about money matters. Regardless, you’ve got to talk money matters to set the foundation of your home right and avoid trouble before you start. Here are some essential money matters you should discuss before you tie the knot:
You are two individuals from two different backgrounds with varying experiences that have shaped who you are. No matter how much you have in common, it is unlikely that you would have the same financial backgrounds. The reasons for this include:
- You saw different financial behavioral models while growing up.
- Money influenced your parents’ relationships differently.
- Your families will likely be from different societal classes and economic statuses.
- You will have different financial histories.
Before discussing how your partner views money, you need to know their financial background. How they see money today is likely to result from the models they saw growing up. Most people pick their economic beliefs from models they say as children. As such, you should spend time discussing the financial backgrounds of both your families. Take it further by discussing your first experiences with money and financial planning.
Individual money beliefs and mindsets
It is always very tempting to begin money discussions with net worth and numbers questions. While these issues are essential, they shouldn’t come early in your conversation. Money beliefs and mindsets are more important as they give a background on how you both handle money. Here, it would help if you asked questions like:
- How do you view money?
- What are the most vital money management lessons that you have learned?
- How important is money to you, and what role will it play in our relationship?
- What are your primary financial setbacks and successes?
You will know a lot about your partner’s money beliefs and whether you are financially compatible or not through their answers. You must build a healthy financial relationship with your partner. It would help if you also endeavored to speak about previous economic challenges and how you both could weather the storm. Doing this indicates how much value you both place on money and financial success.
It is excellent to discuss individual and couple goals, but you also need to discuss financial goals. After you understand your partner’s history with money, you should discuss the future. Ask questions about their financial goals and how they relate to their individual goals. The answers you get helps you to understand their priorities and the financial implications of these priorities.
Here are some of the questions that you can ask your partner about their financial goals:
- What are your primary individual goals?
- How do your goals influence our lives, incomes, finances, and careers?
- Do we have any critical shared plans in any area?
- How do these goals match our current financial state and immediate future?
- What actions should we take to achieve our financial dreams?
Ensure that you both lay your big financial plans and aspirations on the table before you walk down the aisle. Being open about these plans helps you be on the same page and more financially responsible.
Saving and spending habits
When discussing money matters with your to-be spouse, you must become “financially naked.” This means that you have to discuss your incomes, assets, and savings. It would help if you took this further by telling the other person about your saving and spending habits. In this part of your discussion, here are a few things you need to discuss:
- Both your earnings and the percentage that you save.
- Budgets and what you believe is worth spending on and what isn’t.
- What you currently have in your savings account (s) and your current net worth.
It would help discuss your money management strategies and how well the plans have worked. If you have issues with financial discipline, this is an excellent time to discuss it and ask for help. Finally, under this section, discuss if you would like to have a joint savings account or not.
Credit history and debt
The “money matters” discussion is one in which you should be as vulnerable as possible. Many couples shy away from one aspect of this discussion is “credit history and debt.” While you may have discussed this topic in passing, you need to spend time discussing it in detail. Ask questions like:
- What debts do you have currently, and what are the details?
- How do you plan to offset these debts by paying at once or making minimum payments?
- What are your current credit score and history like?
The issue with this discussion aspect is that even if you skip it now, you will eventually talk about it. However, it is better earlier than later so that you both can work out a plan to pay off existing debts. Don’t just talk about the obligations vaguely; discuss them in detail. As such, you should talk about the kind of debt, who you are owing, how much it is, and how much time you have to pay it off.
How to Discuss Money Matters Before You Tie the Knot
As we mentioned earlier, discussing money matters is never easy. You don’t want to have quarrels with your partner while having this discussion. To avoid such unwanted issues, you should adopt the right approach. There are no rules for this sort of discussion, however, a few precautions will help.
Begin with an open mind
While you have to be vulnerable in this discussion, you must be ready to accept your partner’s vulnerability as well. You can’t judge them or get defensive. Instead, it would help if you gave the benefit of the doubt. We don’t mean that you will accept everything they say, but you should judge them for their experiences and beliefs.
Never rush it
Discussing money matters is going to take some time. You might need as many as five discussions depending on your personalities, temperaments, and other factors. Don’t follow the pace set by other couples, set yours. Take your time to discuss because what matters is the results. Once you notice that things are tense, you should take a break and go again when the mood is lighter.
Assume that it won’t always be a smooth discussion
Before you even begin this discussion, you must agree that the discussion wouldn’t always be smooth. Both of you aren’t going to always agree, so you have to be flexible. Conditioning your mind ahead helps you weather the storm better. Look for grounds for compromise so that you don’t have to fight so much during your discussion.
Go into this discussion agreeing that all kinds of questions can be asked. If you are going to ask a particular type of question, you must be ready to answer the same question. There are no hiding places. It is a “give and take” discussion. Both parties must answer the same questions and be thoroughly honest and transparent while doing so.
If you notice that you are having difficulty discussing, you should seek help. You can speak to an older couple that you respect first. What if that doesn’t work? Consider going for couples therapy or talking to a financial therapist.
While money isn’t emotional, discussing it involves a lot of emotions. Many financial arguments that couples have are about a lot more than funds. There will be several conflicts between couples, but you can cut them down by having money discussions before tying the knot. Learn how to discuss money before getting married. Follow this guide to make the process easier. Check out GodKulture for other topics relating Christian lifestyle.