14 Questions To Ask Before You Wed
Getting engaged is a wonderful thing. It is two couples agreeing to be emotionally invested forever. One thing people forget though is that as a future couple, you will also be agreeing to be financially linked together. Because of this, you should know the finances of the person you intend to wed before the wedding. It will help prevent a lot of financial problems in the future and since money has ruined a lot of marriages, knowing your money situation now might just save your marriage. So, here are some of the top questions that you need to know the answer to.
- How much debt do you have?
This is a very personal and sensitive question but this is somebody you intend to marry. When you get married you will have to share all of this information so why not get it out of the way now. The worst thing in the world would be to get married and one month in realize that you acquired $100,000 in debt. If there is debt, a plan should be devised on how to handle it. Perhaps a personal loan to consolidate it.
- How is your credit?
The second step after you get married will probably be to purchase a home together. A poor credit score can really get in the way of that. If you are rocking a 780 credit score it can be very disappointing to learn your partner is at a 560. A poor credit score is not a deal breaker because credit can be improved, but it should be addressed. This is a good time for the one with good credit to coach the other partner up on how to handle their finances.
- How much do you make?
You probably already have a good idea about this one but let’s nail it down to a number. One of you probably makes a bit more than the other so you need to decide how the expenses will be split up. You can do it equally or the higher grossing spouse could pay more.
- Do you have any judgements against you?
Find out if there are any tax liens or bankruptcies. These things are important and can affect the finances and credit capability in the first few years of the marriage. A bankruptcy, for example could prevent home ownership for years.
- What are your financial goals?
You both probably have financial goals and they will not be identical but they should be agreeable. These should be both short term and long term goals. Do you want to retire to a tropical island while your partner wants to get a condo in New York? Now is a time to talk about your goals and reach some kind of a compromise.
- Who will handle the bills?
It is almost always easier for one person to handle the bills and expenses. Now wold be a good time to figure out who is the more responsible one. Make arrangements for one to give the other money if there is no joint account.
- What will the checking account situation be?
Will you mingle your finances with a joint account or maintain separate ones. One main account means that there will be no secrets as far as finances go. If you maintain separate accounts how will the income be shared. Is one spouse going to make a deposit monthly into the bill payers account? Arrangements should be made early to avoid issues.
- What level of spending needs permission?
The days of doing whatever you want are soon to be over. You need to agree on what level of spending requires you to get approval from the other first. Last thing you want is the surprise of coming home to a new jet ski in the drive. Every couples level will be different so you should decide on yours now and prevent issues.
- Do you have a life insurance policy?
If so, when will the spouse be added as the beneficiary. If one or neither of you has a policy, you should also decide whether or not to get one and if so, for how much.
- Do we need a prenuptial agreement?
A super sensitive situation to handle because it is almost admitting defeat before the marriage even begins. With the divorce rate in this country, it may not be a bad idea however, especially if one partner has way more assets before the marriage.
- How do you feel about debt?
Is debt okay or is it to be avoided? Is it okay to go into debt for a vacation or do you prefer to save and live on a cash basis. If only one spouse is eager to charge up the credit cards, there could be trouble and resentment down the line. Are major loans okay and small dollar loans to be avoided? These questions need answers.
- What happens if a friend or relative needs money?
You need to come to an agreement about whether you would help out friends and family and if so, how much are you willing to shell out. Decide what the limit to your generosity will be and whether the money needs to be paid back. Also, decide whether one or both of you would be willing to cosign for a relative. A decision like that could have huge implications to a couples credit.
- How much do you have in savings?
Does one of you already have a nest egg and if so, you should share what the amount is. Also, a decision needs to be made as to how much the two of you will contribute monthly to savings int he future.
- What happens if kids come?
You should decide right away if the kids will go to daycare or if one of you is going to become a stay at home parent. Also, when the time comes will you be paying for their secondary education.