Marriage is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions of your life. While love and trust are crucial to a marriage, there is one aspect of paramount importance that many couples tend to neglect—money matters. Financial compatibility is something that couples need to consider before marriage. If you plan to tie the knot in the immediate future, make it a point to talk about money with your partner.
1. Make money a topic of discussion: Discussion around money and related matters should get top priority. It begins with the couple acknowledging that money is important for the life they’re going to build together. You can share your short and long-term financial goals with your partner. For example, couples may decide that buying a house is a goal that they wish to fulfil in the next few years or so. Or there may be plans to invest in higher education or buying a car or saving money for vacations.
2. Learn about your partner’s finances: You need to get a broad idea of your partner’s financial status, about each other’s assets and investments, and maybe even little details like credit scores. You and your partner may have outstanding loans, whether it is an education loan, car loan or a home loan or even a substantial credit card debt. It is good to be aware of each other’s debt and then make a plan of how you are going to pay it off. Being honest about one’s financial status will help to avoid any surprises later.
3. Get an idea of income and spending patterns: Find out about how your partner’s income works. Know whether it is regular or fluctuating, if there are yearly bonuses and so on. Also know about each other’s spending patterns. Different people have different spending habits. Some stick to a budget, while some are impulse spenders. While there will be many points of differences with your partner on these, you both will need to be on the same page. That way you know what to expect after marriage and can also reach a common ground going ahead.
4. Decide whether you want to combine finances: A lot of spending after marriage will be on common things. Some couples prefer to have a joint account where they contribute equally, a ratio of their salaries or any amount they decide on. It is also advisable to keep the finances separate at some level so that both have a threshold of discretionary expenses. While there is no hard and fast rule and one can always change the way things work, it helps if a couple makes a decision based on what works for them.
5. Set a plan for the future: A lot of things change after marriage. For example, both the husband and wife would need to review their health and life insurance, make required changes, and build up an adequate emergency fund. The couple would also need to decide where they will stay, make a plan for taking care of elderly parents, and also decide when they plan to have children. All the major changes and decisions post-marriage involve money in some form, which if discussed properly can help you plan for a stress free future.
Marriage is about spending a life together. And it helps if you both are on the top of your finances.