Bridal Club Magazine
The Tough Money Talks You Must Have Before Marriage
Don't Dodge the Debt
Make sure all the financial skeletons come out of the closet
before the big day - discuss school loans, credit card debts and
other prior obligations (child support or private loans). As
uncomfortable as this topic might seem, you don't want
any unexpected surprises when it comes to debt
obligations. Your debt - and your partner's - impacts not just your
collective bottom line, but also your ability to jointly make
financial com- mitments, like buying a first home.
Take Financial Inventory
Now is the time to have a heart-to-heart with your future spouse
about his financial past, present and future. Talk about retirement
and other savings, whether you have wills that need to be updated
and work benefits such as retirement accounts, health and life
insurance and disability benefits. Explore whether you can save
money by going on each other's health insurance after marriage and
consider whether you may need disability insurance to protect your
paycheck if one of you becomes disabled and can't work. Also ensure
you are both contributing enough to your workplace retirement plans
to take advantage of the employer match.
Take notice of whether your future spouse spends money
frivolously, frugally or somewhere in between. Dinners out,
expensive vacations and buying the latest "it" item can reveal a
careless approach to money. On the other hand, your partner might
be frugal, ordering the cheapest item on the menu or splitting the
bills down to the penny. Turn the microscope on yourself as well to
identify your money personality. Tuning into these clues can help
you set realistic expectations for yourself and your partner.
Create a Support Network
Your financial inventory should also include financial
professionals who can support you as a couple in working toward
achieving your financial and retirement goals. If you already work
with an accountant, attorney and/or financial advisor, make sure
your partner also establishes a relationship with them - and vice
versa. If neither you nor your spouse has ever consulted with a
financial advisor, now is the perfect time to find one
Look Ahead to the Retirement Horizon
Growing old might seem like it is years away, but planning for
retirement doesn't happen overnight. If you and your fiancé are
already saving for retirement through an employer-sponsored
retirement plan or individual retirement account (IRA), you are off
to a great start. If not, you may want to consider getting started
saving for retirement and set up automatic deductions from your
checking account or paycheck directly into a retirement account.
This is also an opportunity to talk about your collective budget
and make sure retirement savings is a shared priority.
Think About 'Til Death Do Us Part
It may be in the marriage vows, but "death" is not something any
bride wants to consider before marriage. That said, marriage is a
major event that entails joining you for life with someone else.
Protect each other through life insurance and update your
beneficiary information on financial and retirement accounts.
Establish Your Roles
You don't have to figure this out right away, but start to talk
about how the two of you are going to divide household finances.
Perhaps you pay the monthly bills and day-to-day expenses, while
your spouse handles the insurance and retirement savings, or vice
versa. Figure out each other's strengths and natural abilities and
play to those in how you divide up the financial
Be Each Other's Biggest Cheerleader
Make sure you are each other's biggest support when it comes to
making financial decisions. Confide in each other and offer
constructive advice. If the financial inventory uncovers debts or
other financial challenges, figure out how to tackle the issues
together as a team. Don't forget to celebrate your successes, too.
Promotions, raises and reaching financial and retirement goals are
milestones that deserve recognition.