When it comes to marriage, being on the same page financially is critical for the success of the relationship. So having any sort of “money talk” should happen earlier rather than later. In fact, it should be more than just a talk; it should be an ongoing topic of conversation.
According to a recent poll, two-thirds of adults don’t want to talk to their spouse about money. But not only is it important to talk about, it’s actually not as difficult as you might think. Here are some helpful conversation starters:
- Share Money Philosophy – Are you a spender or a saver? Make a point to talk about how your family upbringing shaped your view of finances.
- Chat About Credit – Talk about your credit score and credit history, including all current debts. Your credit history will always be your own, but you will likely at some point share some debts with your spouse, making credit information truly a “joint” issue.
- Disclose Obligations – It’s important to share your present obligations as well. Do you pay alimony or child support? Do you help support a parent? All these things matter as they affect both of you, even if the obligations originated before you became a couple.
- Set Goals – Goal-setting is not only critical in our personal lives, but also in a marriage. Talk about your personal goals as well as financial goals. It’s a lot easier to stay on track when you are both aiming for the same thing.
- Budget – Make sure you plan your savings and expenses. The best place to start this is when planning your wedding. Most financial advisers would recommend doing this debt-free. Ironically debt can outlast a marriage, so make sure your priorities are right from the get-go.
Bottom line, make sure to keep the lines of communication open so that you and your spouse can thrive in your financial life, and most importantly, in your marriage.