Premarital Financial Advice

Brent Pittman —  01/31/2012

What financial baggage do you have?

Stop. Before you buy the ring or say “I do” take some time and see if you and the love of your life are compatible. This is a process of further discovery to see if they are the person you want to commit to for the rest of your life.

Marriage takes more than just love to be successful, just ask the couples celebrating their 50 year anniversaries.

There are many areas to discuss before you get engaged or walk down the isle: values, dreams, goals, kids, past relationships, spirituality, career, many other topics, and money.

Why is money so important to discuss before you are married? Money is #1 reason for fights in a marriage and also the #1 reason for divorce. This is serious.

So let’s take a deeper look at money and marriage and some steps you can take before you fully commit to your sweetheart.

Your Money Baggage

We all have baggage that we need to unpack before our potential spouse (PS). Some of us have an overnight bag, while others might need a baggage cart. Do it too early and you might freak them out (like on the first date). Do it too late and it seems like you’ve tricked or lied to your PS.

You’ll have to decide when to unpack  your money baggage, but please talk about these issues at some point with your PS.

  • Parent’s View of Money– The way our parents viewed and used money will affect ours. We will either embrace their patterns or rebel against them. Were they savers or spenders? Coupon clippers? Did they have debt growing up? Do you remember your parents fighting about money as a child? Did your parents teach you anything about money or were they silent on that subject?
  • History with Money- Did you start a lemonade stand when you were a kid or did you spend every dime on candy? Did you get an allowance growing up? Did you work growing up or did your parents pay for everything? Did you grow up extremely rich or poor and how did that affect you?
  • Your View of Money- Do you believe money is evil, neutral, or good? What is your view of the poor and rich? How do you view money?

Show Me Yours and I’ll Show You Mine.

You’re going to have to show your cards at some point before marriage, usually later in the relationship. Time to get them out on the table and discuss any issues and impacts on a potential marriage.

  • Income- What do you make? How do you make it? How often to do you get paid?
  • Assets-  Savings? Do you have any major stock or savings holdings? Are the heiress to your families millions and home in the Hamptons?
  • Previous Marriage- If you were married previously how does this affect your future financial situation? Alimony? Child Support? Court orders? Moral obligations?
  • Budget- Do you know how much each other is saving and spending on things? You did do a budget when your single right? If not click here.
  • Debt- This is biggie especially if you’re about to tell your potential spouse (PS) that you have 50K in debt and if they marry you, they’ll have to help pay that off. Do disclose any debt before you get hitched, you’ll both be glad in the end.
[This is part of the Premarital Financial Series]

Photo Credit: Tom Magliery

Related posts:

Brent Pittman

Posts Twitter Google+

Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.