Getting married? Make sure you understand each other's financesOrganizing a wedding is a big undertaking where every detail is planned out in advance.
By: By Joe Harrison, Superior Telegram
Organizing a wedding is a big undertaking where every detail is planned out in advance. Wedding expenses can add up quickly so many couples start their planning by setting up a budget to help keep finances in check so they don’t overspend on the big day. Having a wedding budget is a great idea, but what about managing your finances for your life as newlyweds?
Finances are often one of the biggest topics of contention between a couple, so finding common ground and talking in-depth about finances before you get married is a crucial aspect in preventing future conflicts.
The following are a few good financial-based conversation starters for couples:
Know each other’s spending attitudes — If saving is a financial priority to you but may not be for your future spouse, then a conversation is in order. Talk about what you both feel are comfortable spending and saving limits. Gaining an understanding of how each of you feels about when to spend and when to save will provide insight when establishing your monthly budget as a married couple.
Credit histories — Knowing each other’s financial situation both current and past is important, especially if you plan to have joint accounts. Take some time to sit down together and order your latest credit reports. This exercise will provide a comprehensive look into each other’s financial history, plus there won’t be any surprises after you’ve said, “I do.”
Make a plan to deal with debt — Finances are never easy to talk about, especially when it comes to the amount of debt you have. But discussing items like credit card bills, car payments and student loans — and developing a plan of action to pay them off — will put your marriage and your finances on the right track from the start.
Long-term financial goals — Now that you have discussed your financial past such as credit history and debt, it’s time to focus on your future and figure out what each of you want to achieve. Are you thinking about buying a house or starting a family soon? Once you’ve talked about what your goals are, take some time to incorporate saving for those goals into your monthly budget.
Where to bank — Chances are you’ve been banking at separate financial institutions, so you’ll want decide if banking at separate banks will continue to work. If you plan to get a joint account or need to shop around for a mortgage at some point, you’ll obviously need to pick a financial institution that will meet both your expectations and goals. A good start to determine answers to these questions is to find a banker that will work in your best interest and help you meet your goals.
Talking about money and budgets frequently together is extremely important. Even if you decide that one person will take on more responsibilities with finances, you should both know your current financial state, where financial documents are kept and how to access your accounts in the event of an emergency.
Finally, be sure to have open discussions about your financials. If it’s once a month or every other month, make it a top priority to have a “money date” together. By doing this, you’ll not only avoid arguments with each other, but you’ll both sleep a lot better at night knowing your finances are being properly taken care of.
Joseph Harrison is the branch manager of Citizens Bank in Superior.