What do you really know about your future spouse? Are they a spender or a saver? Do you both have the same goals? Do they want to buy a house or rent, and which would you prefer? How much debt do you both bring to the table? How about secret spending habits, accounts, gambling addictions?
These questions can be complicated, but not as complicated as finding yourself in the middle of a financial conflict without being prepared.
So, before saying “I do,” it’s important to find out if you are on the same page with the person you plan to marry. Many times, couples are caught up in the romance of the moment and don’t think about the big questions or they are afraid to ask. And, to most Americans, discussing personal finances and salaries with someone is considered a taboo topic, even with someone you’re going to marry. However, get over it—because this is one conversation you should not avoid. Money is the main cause of arguments that lead to divorce and doing what you can early on to prevent those conflicts and eliminate surprises can be critical.
And that’s why one of the most important things to do before getting married is to talk to a financial advisor.
It’s not romantic, but, working with an impartial third party helps couples bring everything out in the open. A financial advisor can work through the finer details of your monetary positions—individually and jointly—to help carve out the details of your financial future. In turn, laying all your cards on the table can help you and your future spouse build a solid future together with no hidden surprises regarding money.
A Financial Advisor Helps You Tie the Knot Around a Solid Financial Plan
If you’ve not been entirely honest with your future spouse about your relationship with money, now is the time—before you tie the knot. Communication is key to heading off future financial stress. Your financial advisor can help you do that. And, if you have any gaping holes in your financial story, your advisor is going to spot them and help you fix them, too.
Financial Advisors Help You Create a Financial Strategy
Here are some of the things a financial planner can help the two of you do:
Create a Spending Plan– Once all of the income and debts are out in the open, your financial advisor can help build a plan for your future. They can help you create a budget for paying your monthly bills, paying off debt, and to build savings for emergencies and future plans.
Assess Financial Attitudes– What is your expectation regarding your finances? Are you willing to compromise on spending? Do you want joint or separate checking and savings accounts? Who’s going to pay the bills? It could be one person, or both of you could each be responsible for certain bills. Even something as simple as whether or not you should spend money eating out every night can be included in this discussion.
While these questions may seem too personal to discuss, especially with a stranger, it’s important that you know what your future spouse expects when it comes to household finances. Many times, this can be accomplished much easier with a neutral party involved in the planning. And, a good advisor can help you become aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses in these sensitive conversations.
Schedule regular budget meetings – You need to make sure you’re not only on the same page with your current finances, but that you are both looking the in same direction when it comes to the future. Discuss what the future looks like for each of you. It’s important to know if one of you is thinking of making a decision that would impact both of your financial futures. Keep in mind, all major purchases or decisions should be made as a couple. Here again, a trusted financial advisor can help you two navigate the pros and cons to alleviate any miscommunication.
The Bottom Line
It all comes down to trust. Trust over finances is just as important as trusting that your partner is faithful. So, be open and honest about your finances. Building a new life together should be as easy and stress-free as possible—an exciting beginning! Take the proper steps that are available to ensure you reach your goals before and during your marriage.