Marriage is a monumental moment in every adults life, and the changes that come with this step are huge. Everything from living accommodations to how you spend your free time changes once you marry your significant other. With the economy being the top concern for most Americans and marriage rates at all time lows for America’s young adults, it is important to discuss and plan out a few important financial issues before tying the knot. The following list includes certain broad Personal Finance topics that each couple should discuss to see where compromise is needed and where common goals are already shared.
1.Bank Accounts. This is a subject that used to be a moot point in traditional marriages. In the past, bank accounts would be merged and that would be the end of it. But, in today’s America where it is quite common for both spouses to have productive and lucrative careers, many engaged couples are finding the issue of how to deal with separate accounts challenging. Should all accounts be merged or should each keep a separate account as well as opening one joint account? It’s a personal decision, but from a logistical stand point, having at least one joint account makes it much easier to keep track of expenses that are shared by both parties.
2.Housing: Do you or your spouse have bad credit? If so, the issue of buying your first home together could become really troublesome. If your score is significantly higher than your spouses, you might have to consider owning the mortgage solo to take advantage of the better rates that will be offered to you versus a joint application.
3.Spending Plan: If you haven’t had a budget while single now might be a good time to create one for your future combined household. A personal budget is the building block of any sound and successful financial plan. Figure out what you earn and spend each month, and then go through this list to see where waste can be eliminated or where income can be increased.
4.Billy Paying. This again is a generational shift that is occurring. In the past when only one spouse typically worked a full time job, the stay at home partner would handle all the bills. With today’s culture that expects both partners to work, the question of who runs the homes finances is front and center. While it may be beneficial for one to still handle the majority of the bills, the other partner should still be aware of what bills are being paid and where the couple stands financially.
5.Financial Goals. A constant in most Pre-Marriage counseling sessions, a couples financial goals need to be out in the open and accepted by both partners. Compromise might be needed here, but make sure your long term goals are being respected by your significant other.
6.Debt. This is a topic that needs to be discussed by each couple prior to marriage. Surprising your spouse with $100,000 in student loans on the day of your wedding is not the best way to start your life together. Make sure each partner understands what baggage is being brought into the marriage and figure out a plan to eliminate this debt as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Readers, any other financial tips for soon to be couples? Do you agree with the ones listed above? Have you had issues during your marriage about any of these topics? Let us know and maybe you could help someone just starting out in their marriage make it a smoother ride!
Preferred Financial Services is a debt reduction firm certified by the CFC (Center for Financial Certifications) and accredited by U.S.O.B.A. (United States Organizations for Bankruptcy Alternatives). Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts, Preferred Financial Services has been a leader in the debt reduction industry since 2003. Preferred Financial Services has acquired some of the best experience in the industry over the past 7 years. In 2009 alone Preferred Financial Services reduced over $16.5 million worth of consumer debt for just $6.4 million, for a savings of about 60%- and over 2,900 accounts were settled on behalf of their clients.