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8 Real Money Conversations You Need to Have Before Getting Married
“Your money is my money!” All jokes aside, now that you’re engaged, it’s time to have some real talk about how you’re going to manage your money as a married couple.
You’re engaged, and dreaming about your shared future. Alongside your dreams of that newlywed nest and life of adventure, it’s crucial to have some money conversations about how you’ll be financing that new life together.
Finances are a leading cause of conflict in many marriages, making it essential to address these topics honestly and openly, well before marriage. These are the critical money conversations you should have before getting married, that will help you build a strong financial foundation for your future together.
1. Setting Financial Goals and Priorities
One of the first essential money conversations revolves around your financial goals and priorities as a couple. Sit down and discuss your major life goals, such as buying a home, starting a family, or seeing the world. How big a house do you want? When do you want to have children? Do you want to upgrade your home in the future? How often do you want to travel?
In discussing major life goals such as home ownership or career aspirations, many newlyweds forget to discuss lifestyle choices that affect their daily budgets. Once you live together, you may be surprised to find that one spouse has a habit of buying breakfast near their office every day, while the other believes in a weekly meal prep and daily lunch boxes. Other questions include: How often do you plan to eat out or go for date nights? What kinds of leisure activities do you want to do? Aligning your dreams, setting priorities, and creating a financial plan to support your goals are keys to a healthy financial partnership.Rebecca and Abloy’s Destination Pre-Wedding Shoot in Switzerland with Breathtaking Scenery and Powdery White Snow by Wanderlust Dream
2. Understanding Each Other’s Money Mindsets
People have different attitudes and habits when it comes to spending money, many of which evolved from different upbringings. Some people are savers, while others are spenders. Recognise and respect each other’s money styles, and find compromises that work for both of you as you build a life together. This might involve setting spending limits or discussing significant purchases together before making them.
3. Laying Out Debt Situations
Take the time to understand each other’s debt situations thoroughly. Discuss any outstanding student loans, car loans, or credit card debt. Being open and honest about your financial obligations will prevent any surprises down the road and allow you to plan accordingly.
Don’t make the common mistake of having a big picture plan only, and neglect the details of the actual execution. Discuss how you will tackle debt now that you’re married. Does your student loan remain a personal debt, or will you pay off car loans or credit card debt together? How long will you take to pay off the debts, and do you need to restructure any loans? One partner may be fine with a longer repayment plan, while the other may prefer to scrimp and pay it down in a couple of years. You’ll need to come to an agreement on what works for the both of you.Yu Rong and Kevin’s Laidback Outdoor Pre-Wedding Shoot and Cosy Wedding at Wheeler’s Estate by GrizzyPix
4. Merging Your Assets
There are no rules for how you should merge your assets. Some married couples prefer to pay for shared bills through a joint account. Others split the bill responsibilities and manage their own bank accounts. Whether “my money” becomes “your money” all depends on what is most comfortable and convenient for you.
5. Crafting Your Preliminary Budget
Budgeting is a crucial tool for managing your finances as a couple. Together, create a preliminary budget that outlines your income, expenses, and savings goals. Discuss what you envision for big things such as retirement savings and annual vacations, as well as mundane items such as the weekly grocery budget. You can also include discretionary spending for both partners, allowing for personal financial freedom while still meeting your shared financial responsibilities. After a few months of married life, you can revisit your initial budget to analyse your spending habits, and tweak what turned out to be unrealistic.Sheena and Jing Wen’s Elegant Forest Wedding at Clifford Pier by Bekirsozak
6. Saving for the Future
Check that you’re on track for a secure retirement by discussing your retirement savings plans. Don’t forget financial responsibilities such as life and health insurance plans. You should also start building an emergency fund, as it’s a crucial safety net for unexpected expenses that may arise.
7. Designating Financial Roles
If one spouse is savvier with money, it may be easier to designate that person as the money manager. This individual will be responsible for managing and paying the bills on time, as well as keeping all financial documents well-organised. Or, split the responsibilities, such as having one spouse in charge of big picture decisions like the investments and mortgages, while the other manages the day-to-day expenses such as the households bills and grocery shopping. While it’s important to make financial decisions together, having a clear division of responsibilities can reduce confusion and streamline your financial management.
8. Defining Spending Limits and Significant Expenses
Every couple has different spending habits and expectations. Discuss your spending limits and define what you both consider to be significant expenses. Setting a minimum threshold for discussing substantial financial decisions will ensure that both partners are comfortable and aligned with major purchases or financial commitments.
As you embark on this exciting journey toward marriage, remember that successful relationships are built on trust, communication, and shared goals. By addressing these essential money conversations and taking proactive steps to manage your finances as a couple, you’ll strengthen the financial foundation of your marriage. Your financial goals will keep changing throughout your journey as a married couple, so practising open and honest communication through these essential money conversations will set you up for a prosperous and harmonious financial future together.
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