When we get engaged, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement. You choose your wedding date, the dress, the destination, and the invitations. You even make sure you pay close attention to the details like food, cake, and music selections. But most couples overlook one crucial thing before they walk down the aisle: discussing finances.
First, you need to know your partner’s spending habits. For example, are they are spender or a saver? If you are both on the opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s easy to see how this will solve problems.
For example, my ex-husband and I had very different ways of spending money. He loved to cook gourmet meals on the weekends, and would frequently come home from the grocery store and hand me a receipt for $300 (I handled all the money). I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to throw up when saw what he spent. But then again, he was none too pleased when I wanted to buy some cool contemporary art for our home.
But even if you are the spender, you can still be unsatisfied with your partner’s money-hoarding habits. You might think he/she is stingy and isn’t living life to the fullest. It doesn’t matter what your spending habits are. But what does matter is whether you discuss it and come to a mutual agreement – hopefully to meet each other half way.
Next, you shouldn’t keep any financial secrets from your soon-to-be spouse. If you have multiple checking accounts, secret credit card bills or student loans, you really should divulge it all.
I have a friend whose husband had an online gambling problem. It took her years to figure it out, but she always wondered where all his (and their) money went. When he took out a second mortgage on their house without her permission, she finally wised up and figured out what was going on. So, needless to say, don’t do that to your partner!
You should also sit down together and create a daily budget. Some people are good at sticking to budgets, but others are not. What you really need to do here is agree on how much you will spend on things that aren’t necessities – like entertainment, travel, or savings. The budget is crucial so that you both can become conscious spenders. In other words, you don’t want either of you to go hog wild with the credit card whenever they want. You both need to be conscious of every dollar you spend.
Finally, money needs to be discussed for the long term. How much are each of you saving for retirement? How much money can you save, and how much should you invest? Should you get a financial advisor? And what about saving for your future children’s college educations? All of those questions need to be answered before you say ‘I do.’
Money problems are one of the top reasons people get divorced. However, it doesn’t have to be. So I strongly suggest you have these real, honest conversations with your significant other. Because I’m sure neither of you wants to become another divorce statistic. It’s not difficult. It just takes open communication and some team work.
*Note: Although I am the author of this article, it was originally published on Wedshock.com*
Dr. Carol Morgan &
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