Marriage is a huge decision no matter how you slice it. If you found somebody who you love, someone who is sympathetic, nurturing and caring, and you’re ready to take a big step, there are a number of financial questions that you really need to ask of each other before you are standing in the church in front of hundreds of people. While this might put a little bit of a kibosh on your lovey-dovey feelings for each other it is vital that you both realize their financial situation that you are getting into. With that in mind, we’ve put together a blog with some of the most important questions that need to be answered before you tie the knot. Enjoy. (And congratulations.)
Simply put, the sooner that you and your spouse-to-be discuss not only your actual finances but your financial preferences, the better you will be able to avoid major financial problems and marital stress in the future. Statistically, one of the biggest reasons cited for divorce is financial problems and so if you wish to avoid divorce court it would be a good idea to discuss finances before you wed.
One of the worst situations to enter into is when one partner has severely damaged credit, huge debts and a very low credit score. If you’re a young couple (and even if you’re not) looking forward to buying a house and having children this could put a serious damper on your plans and inhibit your ability to jointly purchase a home together or even a car. In some cases it may be better to wait until your future spouse has dug him or herself out from under their debt before tying the knot.
One of the best things that a newly married couple can do is commit to building strong individual credit profiles while they are also building a solid joint credit history together. Keeping debt under control, cutting as many costs as possible and merging your expenses are all excellent ideas as well as not overspending and paying bills on time. All of these things will lead to a much stronger financial profile and a much stronger marriage as well.
Unfortunately, one problem that occurs even before a couple gets married is that they take on a huge amount of debt from their wedding. Simply put, taking on a five or six figure debt to finance a wedding and honeymoon could destroy your financial plans before they even begin. Unless you or your spouse have wealthy parents who are going to pay for the wedding you would do best to be a sensible about your wedding, reception and honeymoon as possible. (We like the idea of having a very small reception and an awesome honeymoon.)
Frankly, if both of you are truly care about each other and that care about your future together there is no reason why you shouldn’t put all financial facts on the table and talk them out completely. It is here, at the beginning of your life together, that you need to be totally honest and open about many things, your finances definitely included. By being straight with each other and getting everything out into the open you should be able to determine how to correct any credit or financial problems that either of you has, clean up any of your credit issues and establish a good foundation from where to begin your new lives together.
Once you’re married you’re going to have to do things as a couple and the big word that you’ll need to get used to using is compromise. This might be the hardest word for some married couples to get used to using but the fact is that, unlike before you were married when your decisions generally only affected you, your decisions now will affect 2 people and possibly more in the future. If you can learn to compromise you will avoid many future financial problems.
While we hate to be down on anyone’s wedding plans the simple fact is that if you are planning on marrying someone who has terrible spending habits, finances that are already in ruin and a credit score that looks like Forrest Gump’s IQ, you may well wish to reconsider your wedding plans, at least for now. In most cases marrying someone with awful credit will usually damage your credit rather than helping their credit.
They say that love is blind but, unless you want your love to also be broke, you definitely need to put all of your financial chips on the table and show all of your credit cards (pun!) before you take that short walk down the aisle. In the long run, talking about your finances now will more than likely greatly reduce future financial problems and help you to stay in love and married for a long time.