Financial Advice: What to Discuss Before Marriage (Part 2)

August 7, 2013

Discussing household expenses and bank account situations are two financial matters that are important to hash out prior to getting married.

Discussing household expenses and bank account situations are two financial matters that are important to hash out prior to getting married.

Continuing from Financial Advice: What to Discuss Before Marriage (Part 1), here are some additional financial matters to discuss with a potential spouse prior to getting married. Although discussing finances is not romantic and can, in fact, be touchy or awkward, it’s crucial that couples who are considering marriage take the time to understand each other’s financial situations so that they don’t run the risk of developing serious financial problems later that could push them towards divorce.

Additional important finance topics to discuss prior to getting married include:

  • Household expenses and bank accounts – Understanding who will be responsible for paying for specific household expenses – such as rent or mortgage payments, food, utilities bills, etc. – is crucial before entering into a marriage, as each partner may have vastly different ideas of how these expenses will be covered. As part of this conversation, it will also be important to discuss whether each partner plans on maintaining his own separate/individual bank account and/or whether a joint checking account should be opened to cover household expenses. Clearing the air on this topic can prevent potential fights down the line.

  • Expenses related to potential children – While many couples who are considering marriage will discuss whether they want kids and, if so, how many they would ideally want to have, it’s far less common that couples will discuss the expenses associated with having children, the expectations that go along with who will cover such expenses and what expenses are considered to be “essential.” For example, discussing whether one spouse will quit working to care for children, how childcare costs will be covered and whether children will be attending private school are all important elements of this topic to discuss.

By discussing financial topics prior to marrying, couples can set clear expectations and do their best to get started on the path to a long, prosperous and happy marriage.

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