Some people hire private investigators to delve into their fiancé(e)’s past, others do all the work themselves. Due diligence is required in this day and age, but I can’t help but feel like everyone is just avoiding difficult conversations about money. It’s always been such a taboo subject, but I think it’s important to talk about it early and save some aggravation.
Before I got married, my sister gave me some advice that I have never forgotten. “The only things you’re going to fight about are money and the kids.” And that is exactly what my ex-husband and I fought about. So, from experience I can say being on the same page as your spouse financially is half the battle.
In general, keeping your own money separate is probably the wisest thing to do. You can even use a prenup or a postnup to guarantee certain assets (including bank accounts) are not marital property. It’s always good to also maintain a household account that can be the venue for everyone’s contributions to the marital economy. Of course, many people choose to stay at home with their kids, so a shared account can be very useful for getting money from the earning spouse to the non-working spouse.
My own marriage was an example of what not to do. Back in the 70s, the actual act of paying bills was time consuming and unpleasant. It was always a big issue because there was never enough money, and we had to float checks. We switched who did the actual paying every six months or so, in some strange cycle governed by unseen forces. The bills were always a past-due mess, and I really buried my head in the sand because I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I ended up being ignorant to a lot of what was going on in our finances, by my own choices, and we ended up paying thousands in late fees and penalties.
In order for you to marry better than I did, below are some excellent questions to ask your super-serious significant other:
- Do you have debts?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
- Do you have credit card debt?
- Do you have a decent credit score?
- Are you a spender or a saver? (Best asked with a “No Judgment”guarantee.)
- Do you want to have children? How do you want to educate them?
After having abandoned so many New Year’s resolutions in years past, a lot of people have a cynical attitude about making major changes to their lifestyles. As a Money Coach, I always say it helps when a client has lost a lot of weight or accomplished some other major change. They know it’s possible to recover from a slump and get back on that horse. Well, it’s the same thing for any new financial plan. Most people fall off the horse, but you have to remember to get back on!
For ideas about what to ask your love, contact us.