There are certain topics you should save for private conversation. Personal finance is one of them. Revealing a shopping addiction or the tens of thousands you’ve amassed in student loan debt to your partner isn’t going to be fun, but you’re about to be married. Soon, the two of you will begin making financial decisions together; the earlier you discuss your financial history and make plans with your fiancé, the fewer surprises you’ll have after the honeymoon.
Everyone’s situation is different, but there are certain topics that always ought to be discussed. Here are three points you and your spouse-to-be should definitely talk about before tying the knot.
There’s no such thing as “combined credit”, so you don’t have to worry about your future wife’s shaky credit score hurting your own. You two will keep your individual lines of credit, but this doesn’t mean her bad credit won’t affect decisions you make together. Both of your credit histories will be reviewed for joint accounts, loans you apply for together, and mortgages. You might end up with a higher interest rate—or be denied entirely—depending on your partner’s credit score. If you have a low credit score, talk to your partner and devise a plan to fix it. Work together sooner to help prevent obstacles later in your marriage.
Hey, big spender! Discuss your shopping habits with your fiancé beforehand. This may seem obvious, but there’s a lot you have to learn about your future spouse. One’s personal shopping habits go beyond shopping sprees and impulsive purchases. If you aren’t already living with your fiancé, you’ll learn about his little preferences very quickly. Your first point of contention could be something as composing a shopping list. Everything’s fine at the supermarket until there’s a squabble at aisle three: you insist on name-brand ketchup. The love of your life swears he can’t taste the difference between fancy ketchup and the generic option. Next thing you know, there’s two of every condiment in the trunk and you’re both steaming silently on the drive home. Learn to compromise on the little things, and know when to put your foot down.
Now that you have an understanding of your future spouse’s spending habits and financial history, you might want to think about how the two of you will be handling the household expenses. This is mostly old news for couples already living together, but there are some things you might not have considered yet. Do you want to combine your finances into a joint checking or savings account? Perhaps the two of you would rather keep your money separate and delegate certain bills to each other. You pay for the groceries, he pays for the rent, you cover utilities, and so on.
If you decide to share all of your money in a single joint account, you will have to be open about your purchases and avoid splurging on yourself without prior discussion. Having a joint account solely for shared expenses and maintaining your own personal budgets can be helpful, especially when you feel like you need to treat yourself. However, you ought to consider how much you and your spouse will contribute. Is it a fixed amount for the both of you, or will it be a percentage of your monthly incomes? You might not be combining finances or making those big decisions yet, but it’s helpful to know what to expect after the wedding.