Money Matters: Discussing Personal Finance Before Marriage

Planning & Saving
on January 8, 2013

Skyrocketing divorce rates have made it more important than ever before for engaged couples to approach an upcoming marriage rationally and responsibly. While a laundry list of marital issues often play a role in the demise of otherwise healthy relationships, financial problems are one of the most common challenges that newlyweds face. Discussing one’s financial situation and approach to managing personal funds may not seem particularly exciting, but it is vital for couples to broach the subject before tying the knot. This will help ensure that things do not spiral out of control down the road.

Full Disclosure: Revealing Debts, Loans, and More
Some couples feel uncomfortable talking about financial issues like debt. While there is somewhat of a taboo tied to financial obligations, couples should understand what they are getting themselves into when signing a marriage license. By carefully outlining the state of one’s personal finances, engaged couples can create a strategy for dealing with debt and moving forward after marriage.

Meeting with a Financial Counselor
There are many different methods of managing one’s personal finances, which can lead to conflict in the relationship of a married couple. Some people are big spenders, constantly shopping and paying for expensive entertainment options. Other prefer to save, stashing away cash for a rainy day. Most couples will need to learn to compromise, finding spending and saving patterns that work for both of them.

In order to deal with these challenges, many couples consult financial counselors. These professionals can provide expert guidance for dealing with financial obligations, as well as helping couples to tackle intensely different spending habits. Taking a proactive approach is a much healthier alternative to simply ignoring financial issues and hoping that they will resolve themselves in the future, as this can lead to resentment and numerous arguments.

Creating a Budget and Game Plan
When a married couple brings their finances together, several different elements suddenly combine. Mortgages, car payments, and utility bills are just a few of the various expenses that can be minimized when two individuals are working together. Some expenses may also rise, such as grocery bills and transport costs. Working with multiple salaries, payments, and accounts can prove to be a major headache. Rather than simply tackling this financial situation without a plan, it is often advisable to break down the various elements beforehand.

Budgets should be established by looking at the combined incomes, determining what a couple can afford in relation to their various expenses. Couples will also want to take personal considerations and preferences into account. For example, some individuals prefer to maintain private personal accounts, with each person taking on certain expenses and bills. Regardless of what works for a particular couple, taking the time to analyze combined expenses and income will help minimize hiccups down the road.

Getting married is an exciting moment in any young couple’s life. While finances only play a small role in the overall relationship two people share, ineffective financial management can cause enormous issues to crop up. Rather than leaving it all up to chance, it is advisable for any couple to sit down and take the town to rationally review their finances together before making the jump into matrimony. This will keep conflict to a minimum, while eliminating unpleasant surprises in the future.

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