Should you marry for love or money?
Calm down, I’m not telling everyone to find a sugar momma/daddy with a bad ticker.
But when you’re getting serious with that special somewhat, it’s time to talk finances to see if you’re on the same page. Because if you’re not, it can be disastrous.
Money is one of the leading causes of divorce – and rightfully so. If one spouse spends money frivolously while the other pinches pennies, conflicts are bound to ensue.
Before you slip a ring on his/her finger, it’s time to lay it all on the table.
Topics of discussion:
- How much does each spouse make? Some of you may already know the answer to this question but if you don’t, ask. If you make more, is your spouse ok with that? Some might not be. For me and Jay, I’ve always made more and continue to do so. He doesn’t seem to mind.
- How much do you have saved? Be honest. I remember having this conversation with Jay, worried he would judge me. As it turned out, we were on the same path in savings. It was a relief but it also helped us to realize we could be saving more.
- How much do you have in debt? Credit card debt, student loan, car loan, mortgage. Don’t hold back. If you do, it will come back and bite you later. And if your boyfriend or girlfriend lies about it, then consider it a warning sign and tread carefully.
- What is your credit score? If he or she doesn’t know it, this may be an indication that they aren’t in tune with the state of their affairs.
- How do you spend your money? Video games, clothes, vacations, dining out, online gambling. Name it all. If one spouse is a spender, and another is a saver, this can create turmoil.
- Are you content with apartment living or your current housing situation? What would you prefer? If one or both of you are hoping to upgrade your digs, it’s best to talk about it now.
- Do you see yourself wanting to move out of state/country? This was a big discussion Jay and I had. I eventually wanted to move back to my hometown to be close to family. I wasn’t saying I wanted to do it immediately but at some point in the future, that is where I saw myself. Did he want that as well?
- Do you want kids? If so, how will that affect your finances? One spouse stays home? Do the kids go to daycare? Talk about it now so it’s not a bigger issue later. Bear in mind, these plans can change depending on your finances when baby arrives. But get a feel for what each spouse wants.
- How do you envision your retirement? It’s hard when you’re in your 20’s just starting out to think this far ahead. But give it a shot.
Remember, any debt your significant other brings into a marriage becomes your debt. If these means you hold off on walking down the aisle until some of that is paid off then so be it. I have a friend who did that. Everyone was shocked they weren’t married yet after dating for several years but only a few close friends knew the real reason. She was waiting for him to pay off a large amount of debt. She wouldn’t fully commit until she saw him seriously taking control of his finances.
I’m glad Jay and I had this discussion before we married but I know a lot of people who don’t. It’s a scary prospect to come back from your honeymoon finding out your spouse is in major debt – and therefore so are you.
Did you have this conversation with your significant other? How did it go? What did you learn? Comment below!