10 Financial Questions to Ask Before Marriage
Research has revealed that individuals tend to experience emotions of love before divulging their financial details, a topic that often strains relationships. It is, in fact, one of the primary causes of breakups.
Over the years, countless clients have expressed their difficulty in initiating money-related discussions or their fear of asking inappropriate questions. These concerns prompted the development of “Let’s Talk About Finances, Baby!” This collection of 50 thought-provoking prompts, insightful questions, and engaging conversation starters is specifically crafted to assist you in fostering open dialogues about money matters. By utilizing these resources, you can deepen your understanding of both your partner and yourself. By engaging in open and honest conversations about money matters with your future spouse, you can build a strong foundation for making financial decisions together.
This post shares 10 financial questions to ask before marriage, which will help you both gain a better understanding of each other’s financial habits, goals, and expectations.
Considering the monumental step of marriage, it’s essential to address financial questions as a crucial part of your preparations. By discussing these topics in advance, you’ll be better equipped to navigate any financial challenges that may arise in your married life, ultimately contributing to a more successful and harmonious partnership.
We’ll also explore how to decide on different financial goals and priorities. Additionally, we’ll talk about how understanding each other’s money mindsets is a great way to address questions regarding spending habits and secret accounts.
Lastly, we’ll talk about why seeking professional help is essential for building a solid foundation for your shared future together.
To help guide this conversation, here’s a list of 10 important financial questions couples should ask each other before tying the knot:
- What do you feel I spend the most on? How does it make you feel when I do?
- Do you have any accounts or areas of spending you keep secret? If so, why?
- What is the dollar amount you could spend without consulting your partner?
- How much money do you have to make and/or save in order for you to consider yourself well-off or rich?
- Do you believe we should financially support adult family members?
- What do you need more of from your accountability partner?
- Is there anything that scares you about your current financial situation? How can I support you with this?
- What is your credit score? Are you happy with it, why or why not?
- How many credit cards do you have? Are there any changes you would like to make with this number?
- Do you believe in consolidating debt when married or keeping it separate?
Let’s break down each of these questions in greater detail. By exploring these “10 Financial Questions to Ask Before Marriage,” you’ll be well-equipped to navigate through any potential challenges that may arise during your journey towards marital bliss.
10 Financial Questions to Ask Before Marriage
Preparing for marriage involves much more than just planning the perfect wedding. It’s also about laying the groundwork for a strong and lasting partnership, which includes having open and honest conversations about finances.
1. What do you feel I spend the most on? How does it make you feel when I do?
This question can lead to some interesting answers and help reduce future fights. If your partner likes to spend money on golf, why is that? Understanding why it’s important will help you to come up with a plan together that will leave you both happy.
For example, creating a line item in the budget and allocating specific times during the week for golf can strike a balance between your partner’s interests and your shared financial goals, fostering harmony and understanding in your relationship.
2. Do you have any accounts or areas of spending you keep secret? If so, why?
Not surprisingly, transparency plays a vital role in maintaining trust and preventing misunderstandings or resentment in the future. This is why it’s important to openly discuss your spending habits and disclose any hidden accounts with your partner.
By being honest about your financial situation, you can work together to create a budget and financial plan that suits both of your needs and expectations. This open communication helps build a strong foundation for your financial partnership, ensuring that both partners are on the same page and working towards shared goals without unnecessary friction or surprises down the line.
3. What is the dollar amount you could spend without consulting your partner?
Having this conversation ahead of time can help minimize conflicts down the road. Together, it’s important to decide on a dollar amount that both of you are comfortable with. For some couples it’s $50 and for others it’s $250. Instead of viewing this as a negative or controlling aspect, consider it similar to a work project where spending limits and additional approvals are in place to maintain profitability.
This approach serves as an additional tool for both of you to stay focused on your shared financial goals, ensuring a more harmonious and goal-oriented partnership.
4. How much money do you have to make and/or save in order for you to consider yourself well-off or rich?
The concept of being rich is subjective and can vary greatly from person to person. While the term “rich” generally implies abundance and plenty, what constitutes as abundant may differ for each individual. For instance, the famous song by Barenaked Ladies, “If I had a million dollars – I’d be rich,” might resonate with some, while others might feel that having a $2,000 emergency fund and being debt-free is their definition of being well-off.
It’s essential to have an open conversation with your partner and define what “rich” means to both of you, allowing for a better understanding of each other’s financial aspirations and goals.
5. Do you believe we should financially support adult family members?
Before tying the knot, it’s crucial to address your expectations and comfort levels regarding offering financial help to adult family members who may be experiencing difficulties. Cultural factors can significantly influence your money mindset and expectations when it comes to supporting relatives in need, so it’s important to keep this in mind when having this discussion.
From buying groceries to paying for their cell phone plan or covering health and auto insurance, 45% of parents with a child age 18 or over provide them with at least some financial support, according to a recent report by Savings.com.
On average, these parents are spending more than $1,400 a month helping their adult children make ends meet, the report found (source).
Engaging in a transparent conversation about the reasons behind your stance on this matter, whether in favor of or against providing assistance, will help you both understand each other’s perspectives and establish a mutual understanding on this subject.
6. What do you need more of from your accountability partner?
An accountability partner plays a vital role in helping you stay on track and achieve your financial goals. It’s essential to discuss what specific support you both require from each other to ensure the partnership is effective and mutually beneficial.
Some aspects to consider might include:
- Brainstorming sessions to generate ideas,
- Scheduling calendar dates for important financial milestones,
- Assisting in finding valuable resources, and
- Conducting daily or weekly check-ins to monitor progress towards your shared objectives.
By understanding and addressing each other’s needs, you can strengthen your partnership and foster financial success together.
7. Is there anything that scares you about your current financial situation? How can I support you with this?
This conversation provides an opportunity for you and your partner to open up and be vulnerable about any concerns or fears regarding your current financial circumstances. Create a safe and supportive environment where each person feels comfortable discussing their worries, sharing their thoughts, and possibly even shedding a few tears.
By acknowledging and addressing these fears together, you can strengthen your bond and work collaboratively to overcome any financial challenges that may arise.
8. What is your credit score? Are you happy with it, why or why not?
Understanding your partner’s credit score (FICO) is a crucial aspect of building a life together, as this number can significantly impact your ability to obtain a mortgage, finance a car, and more.
FICO Scores are determined using various pieces of credit data from your credit report, which are categorized into five groups:
- Payment history (35%)
- Amounts owed (30%)
- Length of credit history (15%)
- New credit (10%)
- Credit mix (10%)
If either of you is dissatisfied with your credit score, it’s essential to discuss the reasons behind this discontent and explore potential strategies to improve your creditworthiness. By tackling this issue together, you can work towards a more secure financial future as a couple.
9. How many credit cards do you have? Are there any changes you would like to make with this number?
While Manish Dhameja from India holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of valid credit cards, owning 1,638 cards as of April 2021, the average American has a more modest collection of four credit cards, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review.
It’s essential to discuss the number of credit cards you and your partner have and whether either of you feels the need to make any changes to this figure. Factors to consider may include the overall impact on your credit scores, how effectively you manage your debts, and the potential benefits or drawbacks of consolidating or closing certain accounts.
By examining your credit card usage together, you can make more informed decisions that will contribute to your long-term financial health as a couple.
10. Do you believe in consolidating debt when married or keeping it separate?
The decision to consolidate debt when married or maintain separate liabilities can significantly impact your financial journey as a couple. It’s essential to have an open and honest conversation about each person’s background and experiences, as this will help you understand each other’s perspectives on the matter. Delving into the reasons behind your respective stances can foster empathy and facilitate a more informed decision.
Some situations you might want to discuss include:
- School loans: Assess each person’s student loan debt and explore various repayment strategies.
- Credit card debt: Examine outstanding credit card balances and contemplate methods to accelerate their payoff.
- Mortgage payments: Consider how jointly-owned property with a mortgage will affect your finances, particularly if one partner has already been contributing to the mortgage.
- Other liabilities: Be transparent about any other outstanding debts, such as car loans, and address potential financial issues that may arise.
By thoroughly discussing these topics, you can find common ground and make decisions that best suit your unique financial circumstances as a couple.
Determining Financial Priorities as a Couple
Preparing for marriage means deciding together on financial obligations. Of course, this includes building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, and possibly even paying down debt.
Before you say “I do,” it’s important to create an inventory list of personal assets, including savings accounts, investments like stocks or mutual funds, real estate properties, and retirement plans such as IRAs or 401(k)s, to better understand your financial standing before combining resources in marriage.
For more information on budgeting and saving tools, check out NerdWallet.
Here are some additional suggestions for determining financial priorities as a couple while collaborating on financial decisions that need to be made:
- Set out mutual future goals, like buying a home or starting a family unit, and figure out the amount of money you’ll require to reach them.
- Create a budget that allocates funds towards short-term objectives, like vacations, and long-term goals, such as retirement.
- Decide whether to have joint bank accounts or keep them separate.
- Consider keeping investments separate to provide some level of autonomy in decision-making while still contributing towards common savings goals.
Remember to review your financial plan regularly and adjust as needed based on changing circumstances. If you need assistance managing finances as a married couple, click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with me, Erika Wasserman, Your Financial Therapist.
Understanding Each Other’s Money Mindsets
Understanding the origins of your financial perspectives can play a significant role in finding common ground and making compromises. Our financial beliefs and habits are often deeply rooted in our upbringing, particularly how our parents managed money.
By engaging in open discussions about these influences with your partner, you can gain valuable insight into each other’s financial viewpoints. This process of communication and compromise will help you create a unified financial strategy that takes both partners’ perspectives into account, ultimately fostering a stronger and more harmonious financial partnership.
Get Professional Help for a Strong Financial Future
Finally, don’t let money problems ruin your marriage. By working with a Certified Financial Therapist CFT-I™, you can grow your money mindset and skillset together as well as take charge of your personal finance journey as a couple. This can help reduce stress and increase the level of happiness you experience in your “happily ever after” together.
I would love to help you develop budgeting and saving skills, gain confidence in investments, and ultimately achieve your financial goals together.
Take the first step towards better finances today by scheduling a free consultation with me, Erika Wasserman, Your Financial Therapist.
Investing in professional guidance is crucial for a strong foundation in your future together.
FAQs About Financial Questions to Ask Before Marriage
What Are Some Good Financial Questions to Ask Your Partner?
A few of the recommended financial questions to ask your partner before marriage include: How do you handle debt? What are your current and future saving goals? Do you have secret accounts that we should know about as we move forward together in life? Are you comfortable combining finances or would you rather keep our account separate? Will we support family members including parents, siblings, friends?
When Getting Married, Should We Consolidate or Keep Debts Separate?
Let a financial therapist guide you through your unique financial situation to address the tough or uncomfortable questions that need to be asked.
Is There a Financial Checklist for Couples Getting Married?
Before getting married, it’s important to assess: loans, debts, mortgages, assets, establish joint goals, allocate funds, discuss spending, saving, and investing habits, and evaluate supporting family members.
How to Achieve Financial Stability Before Marriage?
Create a realistic budget for you, pay off high-interest debts, establish healthy saving habits, and maintain an open dialogue with your partner on a consistent basis. Some of my clients like to meet Sundays at 9am or Tuesday nights at 7pm to touch base for the week on goals and obstacles they are facing. By creating small touch points it helps avoid the unexpected and larger surprises
In conclusion, before embarking on the journey of marriage, it is crucial to have financial discussions with your partner. Money plays a significant role in a relationship, and having open and honest conversations about it can set a solid foundation for a successful future together.
Remember, open communication, trust, and compromise are key when discussing financial matters with your partner. By asking the 5 financial questions and engaging in thoughtful conversations, you can pave the way for a healthier, more transparent, and financially secure future together.
So, take the time to have these discussions, and may your marriage be blessed with financial harmony and prosperity.