>> Feb 19, 2011
Statistics estimate that 45% of marriages end in divorce. The number one factor leading to couples splitting up? Money-related issues. Relationships disintegrate when partners have different financial expectations, spending and saving habits, and investment strategies than the other. Divorces in and of themselves are extremely costly too, what with lawyer and court fees and settlements afterwards.
It's just better to make sure partners are financially compatible before tying the knot. Going into a marriage, there should be no surprises looking, and that includes with finances. Make sure you are both on the same page by having a frank, open discussion involving the following marriage and money questions. It's not the most romantic or exciting topic in the world, but it is certainly an emotional one that is essential to having a working marriage. It may be what makes your marriage rock-solid where there otherwise may have been cracks in the foundation -- and it will save you a ton of money and heartache later on. For other common sense tips on saving money, check this out.
- Discuss how your parents handled money: So many of our habits are learned from what our parents did, especially with regards to money. It's important to know how each other's parents handled money, both to draw on their successes and avoid their missteps. Did one hide money from the other? How were things when money got tight? Knowing what you each learned, both in what you took from your parents and are consciously avoiding, can help you both understand each other's financial habits and aims.
- Check out your credit scores: Probably the least exciting of any pre-marriage planning, but people forget all too often that money is not just about numbers -- there are deep emotions attached to it. Credit scores can determine whether couples qualify for loans on new cars, houses, or businesses, essential aspects of building a future together. A partner's bad score can be a deal-breaker, one that will come as an ugly surprise if not disclosed previously. Don't let there be any surprises from a partner's past when going into marriage. Learn each other's credit scores, and work together to improve any discrepancies.
- Figure out who handles the bills: Money is power, and those who control the finances have it in a relationship. Therefore, couples used to living on their own and handling their own finances may struggle with each other to take control of paying the bills. Those who don't pay the bills don't know where the money is going, and are left in the dark feeling powerless. At the very least, meet together to do the bills once a month so you're both in the loop.
- Come to a compromise on who decides what: One of you is a tech geek, the other couldn't tell you the difference between a Mac and a PC but loves cars. So the techie gets to decide what computer you buy, while the car aficionado gets final say on your next ride, right? Well, maybe or maybe not. That's something each couple needs to figure out amongst themselves. Who gets final say on what purchases? Coming to decisions together is key, but so is knowing when to defer to the other who is more knowledgable.
- Know your expectations: How affluent do you want to be? Do you want to be extravagantly rich but have a spouse you will never see until retirement? Make sure you each know each other's goals for future financial success. It will help in all aspects of your relationship as you plan your future together because so many of those aspirations will be contingent on money.