Are you making the ultimate commitment and marrying your soulmate? Congratulations! This is a very exciting time. But to prepare for your lifelong future together, you need to plan more than just your big celebration.
It is critical that you have “the talk.” No I am not referring to the talk about if you want to have children, although that is important to discuss too. You need to talk about money!
In any long-term relationship, especially a marriage, you need to feel comfortable talking about finances. Before “the talk,” each partner should prepare for the discussion. To avoid a stressful conversation, follow these nine tips to open up the discussion and start on the path to a positive financial future together.
1. Compile your financial “balance sheet”. List your income and all of your financial accounts: savings accounts, checking accounts, investments and retirement accounts.
You should also list your debts. Including credit card debt, car loans, mortgages, and any other financial liability.
2. List your personal financial priorities and goals to share with your partner during the discussion.
3. Do not involve emotions. Try to focus on just the facts.
During “the talk,” keep these tips in mind, and try to have a basic financial plan in place by the end of the conversation:
4. Do not lie! You are going to be together until death do you part. You must build a strong foundation.
5. Decide how you will manage finances during marriage. Will it be a joint effort? Try to utilize each other’s strengths.
Is one person better at managing the finances while the other focuses on something else for the household?
6. Create a budget that you can both agree to, and is within your income limit.
Also discuss the following points during “the talk,” and follow up periodically:
7. Talk about spending and saving. You have agreed to a budget for your daily, weekly, monthly and annual expenses, so now agree to your savings plan.
Do you want to save for a down payment on a house? A car? A baby? Also, don’t forget to start saving for retirement as soon as possible.
8. Discuss your career plans. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 or 20 years? What will you do if one partner loses their job, goes back to school, or decides to be a stay-at-home parent?
9. Coordinate your spending habits so that you don’t end up buying duplicate groceries.
Discussing finances can be difficult. Be understanding of your partner’s needs and show them that you are supportive. No matter your financial past, you can create a new future together.
You might have different goals, so plan together to reach both of your goals. Keep the conversation going and review your budget and goals at least annually.
Working with a financial advisor may also help you create a productive plan using your budget and goals.
Remember that if you are a Foresters member you have access to Everyday Money, our toll-free financial helpline that connects you to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about your personal financial matters such as debt management and budgeting. Visit MyForesters.com for more information and resources.
415390 CAN/US (07/17)