Having The Money Talk Before You Get Married

by David Bakke

If you are about to get married, there are probably about a million thing on your mind.  Plans for the ceremony, how you’ll pay for the ceremony, all the little details, and everything else.

But, and I cannot emphasize this enough, if you are about to get married or are even considering getting married, I would not underestimate the importance of having “the money talk”.

What is “The Money Talk?”

To me, the money talk is a pretty comprehensive discussion about how you and your future spouse will handle the money that comes in and goes out of your life. If you come from two different “schools” on this topic, it can be a difficult discussion to have. For someone that’s more of a “spender” they may try to deflect having the conversation at all.  This could be a huge mistake.

In a very simplistic sense, I think that in life, there are “spenders” and “savers”. If you and your future spouse are both of the same school then this conversation should be a pretty easy one to have because more than likely, your thoughts will be the same and you’ll only have a little ironing out of details to do.

If you’re not of the same school, it can be a difficult conversation to have, but to me, that makes it all the more important.

Without trying to scare anyone, I can tell you this from very personal experience.  Money can destroy a marriage. It is not something to be discounted or dismissed.  If you want have a long and successful marriage, then have the “money talk” well before you decide to tie the knot.

What To Discuss

While this list is certainly not comprehensive, here are most certainly some of the things I would get straightened out before marrying.

  • If you have credit card debt, what are your thoughts on it?  Is it something you view as a part of life, or is it somewhere in the future to get it paid off? If one has it and one doesn’t, will it be paid off jointly?
  • How do you feel about purchases that you can’t afford? Do you go into debt to get them or do you wait until you can pay for them?
  • How will your finances be set up? Will everything become joint, or remain separate?
  • How does each spouses’ salary come into play? If one makes more than the other, does that change the makeup of the financial relationship? Meaning, will that person have more say in financial decisions, or not?
  • Do both parties have a good understanding of what good credit means, and how important maintaining a good credit score is?

And the list goes on.

On a personal note, I generated this list from my own mind.  It was a list of all the questions that I wish I had asked my wife before getting married.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—money can destroy a marriage.  Especially, when there’s not a lot of it.

Have the talk, no matter how difficult it may seem.  At some point in time, you’ll be glad you did.


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