Does It Help To Talk About Mutual Finances Before Marriage?

Working On the Marriage | | , Journalist & Writer
Updated On: December 4, 2023
finances before marriage

Have just stumbled upon the concept of financial planning for couples and are wondering if it’s really that essential? And if yes, are you thinking about how you should proceed? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand the A to Z of financial planning for couples. No matter how in love you are, it doesn’t hurt to talk shop with your partner and ensure that you’re both on the same page before you tie the knot.

Yes, we mean that you should discuss finances before marriage. Getting into a lifelong commitment is going to bring a lot of new changes for you. From designing the drapes of the living room in your new house to designing the way two of you are going to manage your money, there is a lot to prepare yourself for.

Finances can be a tricky subject to navigate as a couple. Many are now choosing to talk about money before marriage in order to avoid any major disputes later on. So don’t put financial planning for couples on the back burner for too long. Better to get it out of the way as soon as you can so you can enjoy a splendid married life later on! The following first-person account shared by one of our readers is proof.

Does Financial Planning Before Marriage Help?

My husband and I had met through a mutual friend at a house party. Within a year’s time, our families had met each other and we were engaged to be married. But I’d been worried for quite some time. Not about my feelings for this man. I was deeply in love with him and I was excited about our wedding. I was only worried about our financial future together.

Although we had discussed almost every topic under the sun, this was the one thing that we never really brought out in the open. Talking at length about finances before marriage is something that had never occurred to us. He is a simple man, just like me, and money was never on our list of priorities. But finances had to be discussed, along with jobs and roles – and that too before we made our vows to each other.

My sister, Sylvia, had been quietly and keenly observing me over the last few days. She asked me what was bothering me and why I had such a frantic look on my face the whole time. Although my sister is perhaps the closest person to me at home, I wasn’t sure how or whether to discuss this issue with her. But she was unrelenting and pressed me to spill the beans and I told her about how I was worried about discussing money before marriage with the man I loved.

I shared all my fears with her and asked for her advice as an older, experienced, married woman. The equation she shared with her husband had inspired me and she could probably shed some positive light on this issue. And through this article, I’ll help you understand why and how to talk about finances before marriage.

When to talk about finances in a relationship?

money before marriage
Any time is a good time to start discussing finances before marriage

If you ask me what I’ve learned from my experience, any time is a good time if it’s not too late. In fact, I’d go as far as to say you should prioritize financial planning for couples before marriage over anything else that needs to be sorted out. When I spoke with my sister, she pointed out the need for Daniel and me to be on the same page as far as our finances as a couple was concerned.

She revealed how she had articulately and transparently walked the monetary tightrope with her own husband years ago. By the end of our conversation, I was quite relieved and motivated to engage in an honest and open conversation with my husband-to-be for she reiterated that this is one of the biggest priorities in a relationship.

I decided to approach the topic of money before marriage with him

About a week before our wedding, I called him up and asked him to meet me at a coffee shop we both used to love going to. We ordered two strong black coffees and initially, all I did was stare at the whirlpool forming in the center of the black liquid before me. Upon Daniel’s urging, however, I began talking about my concern regarding our financial planning. Eventually, I ended up sharing everything that was on my mind with him, eagerly awaiting his response.

Surprisingly, Daniel remained calm and composed throughout our conversation and made me feel the same way. He told me how glad he was that we were discussing something so pivotal before marriage so that it didn’t give us any shockers in our life after the wedding. He explained how he wanted us both to continue with our jobs and divide our pay between a “Monthly Expenses” and a “Savings” account. I was really impressed that he had thought about money before marriage too.

He revealed how his parents’ honesty regarding finances as well as everything else had a lasting impact on the overall quality of their marriage. It is so crucial to discuss finances before marriage as you step into a whole new life. The key, I’ve realized now, lies in communication – honest, clear, two-way communication. Financial planning for couples, especially, is an issue that can create havoc for a couple if not discussed in depth before marriage and I didn’t want that to happen to us.

Related Reading: How We Divided Our Financial Responsibilities After Marriage

It Is Necessary To Have Such Conversations Before Marriage

When I approached the topic of sorting out finances before marriage with Daniel, it felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew then why I was in love with this man. We were best friends before being lifelong companions. He was my soulmate and my pride.

I could almost hear myself berating myself in my head, “Honey, what were you so worried about? If only you had spoken to him earlier instead of keeping these feelings all bottled up, you could have saved yourself all these days of undue worry and stress!” All that was left to take place was our dream wedding, which was the first step toward our future together.

It’s just been over a year since we got married. I often think of that day when I finally made the decision to discuss the delicate issue of finances with my husband. Even today, I’m so glad I took that step. It changed our relationship for the better. I assure you, it is one of the most necessary conversations before marriage that all you budding couples need to have ASAP.

how to have the money talk Before Marriage

If you’re wondering now how to have the money talk, don’t worry. We’ll look at the different aspects of having that conversation with your partner as well for a more open and secure financial future. Did you know money is one of the biggest reasons behind conflicts and divorce? Money issues can destroy relationships irreparably. To prevent that, it’s better to take steps in advance rather than keep it for later. Here are a few suggestions on how to have the money talk with your partner:

1. Talk about your future goals and dreams

Often, in an attempt to appease our partners, we end up mirroring their thoughts. It would do both of you a world of good if you can lay down your future aspirations and expectations as they are. Don’t keep things from your partner and expect the same of them. You might want to retire early from your job or might have dreams of setting up a business of your own. No matter what it is, tell them and plan your future accordingly.

Related Reading: 5 Ways To Overcome Financial Stress In Relationships

2. Be honest with them

It can be hard talking about money and finances with your partner comfortably. But it’s crucial you do that nonetheless to avoid any future problems. The sooner you do this in your relationship, the easier it would be to navigate any challenges that come your way. The relationship between marriage and finances is a complex one, and the more you delay streamlining it, the harder it becomes to start a conversation about it. How do married couples handle finances? The answer to this question largely reflects how secure their relationship is.

3. Remember that everyone views money differently

This is a mistake many people make. They forget that their partner is an individual with their own views and perspectives, which means they can view their financial situation in a completely different light. This is why money is one of the most important things to discuss before marriage. By assessing the other’s views on money, you can better determine how to plan your financial future.

It’s possible that your partner can be very money-minded compared to you. It’s also possible that they’re entirely opposite i.e. they don’t care where the money goes as long as they have enough in their pockets. Maybe they’re satisfied with simple things and don’t have many financial ambitions. Or it may be so that they have huge aspirations for the future. All these factors make it important to discuss money before marriage before it’s too late.

why is financial planning for couples important

It’s no secret that we aren’t taught how to manage our finances in school. This is why so many of us have debts and end up burning our first salaries in no time. So to assume that the finances between you and your partner will automatically sort themselves with time is naïve and impractical.

Quite often, money in relationships is the reason two people separate. Seems like an exaggeration, no? But that’s how it goes. Have you planned on how to combine finances after marriage? Have you decided how you will proceed if one or both of you are ousted from your respective jobs for some reason? Have you revealed all your assets and liabilities? Have you planned on how you will proceed if you have a child together?

If the answer to any of the questions is no, it’s time you actively start discussing and planning how you will build your financial future together. By learning and implementing the various tips for a financially successful marriage, you can avoid many future issues.

It’s possible that in the craziness that precedes and succeeds a marriage, you don’t find the time to sit together with them about shared finances. But if you avoid this now, for whatever reason, keep in mind that you’re sowing seeds for a possible conflict in the future. Discussing finances with your partner is a lot like taking insurance. You might go on not needing it for years but when you do, you will be glad to have that safety net.

Related Reading: Financial Planning Tips: Best Investment Ideas For Married Couples

marriage and finances – 5 things you should know

There are a lot of things about married finances that you ought to know in advance. Only by talking and resolving these issues can you ensure there’s no conflict at a later stage of your relationship. In this section, we’ve provided you with 5 of the most crucial things you should know about your finances.

1. Not separating your finances

Quite often, couples decide to merge their finances. This can range from your earnings in a joint account to each getting half of what they both earn combined. But this is never a good idea. Consider this. You earn twice as much as your partner but they get the same spending power as you. Maybe they are an impulsive buyer while you prefer saving or investing what remains at the end of every month.

This can be a callous way to deal with money in relationships and a surefire way of setting up a future conflict because resentment will inevitably build. Therefore, it’s preferable that you two work out a system where only a portion of the finances is shared and both of you are accountable to each other for the money you spend. This allows for a more responsible and easy way of dealing with money.

2. Know your partner’s personality

There are clearly two types of people from a financial perspective. There are the spenders and there are the savers. It’s necessary for your relationship that you figure out which category you and your spouse fall into and then decide how to combine finances after marriage. It’s best to look at the bad financial habits you two might possess because of your personalities and try to moderate them as much as possible.

3. Children: Yes or no?

This is one of the most crucial things to discuss before marriage. Do you both want kids? If yes, how will it go? Would either of you stop working? How would you save for the child’s future: their school, their needs, their wants, their higher education? It’s easy to keep it all for later, but unless you want large fissures in your relationship, you two should discuss these nuances in detail beforehand. Only by talking about all aspects of money before marriage can you go about setting and achieving money relationship goals as a couple.

4. Avoid power play

When it comes to marriage and finances, couples tend to fall prey to power play. It’s possible that only one of you earns. Or maybe one of you has a rich family to support them in times of need and the other doesn’t. It can also be that the wife makes more money than the husband or vice versa. If these factors are not brought to the table and discussed, it can lead to conflict in the future.

When one partner has an upper hand financially, they may want to dictate how the money is spent. But it’s important to understand that this is a relationship and for it to function smoothly, it’s crucial that married finances are handled together. This keeps the dynamic between you balanced and transparent, which helps in creating a stable financial relationship. For you to understand how to combine finances after marriage, you have to first discuss if they should be combined in the first place and to what extent.

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5. Extended family

When you’re figuring out the answer to how do married couples handle finances, you have to consider things you might not consider otherwise, such as dealing with in-laws. It can get especially tricky when you start discussing finances in your individual families. It might be that one of you comes from a family that isn’t too financially secure, and thus feels obliged to help them from time to time. Or, one of you may have wealthy parents who like to send you presents now and then and help you however they can.

The involvement of families in a couple’s financial equation can also lead to resentments and fights in marriage, which is why you need to discuss these issues beforehand. To understand how to talk about money with your partner, you have to look at all factors that may come into play and sort it out. You have to be careful to respect the wants, needs, and expectations of your partner’s family while also doing the same for your own.

As we come to the end of the article, I believe you have a much better idea of how to have the money talk with your partner. Unless you take the steps that might seem harder now, you’ll only be setting yourself up for a future disaster. By planning and talking about all things in advance, you can make things much simpler and more efficient. Financial planning in couples is no tough nut to crack if you both decide to crack it together.

We are both working and, as we had decided, my entire salary stays in the bank as our savings, while my husband’s salary is used for our monthly expenditure. This equation has worked out perfectly for us and we are happy. We hope to continue with the same arrangement in our future and lead happy, healthy, stress-free lives!

(As told to Misbah Nayeem Quadri)

FAQs

1. What should be considered financially before marriage?

There are many conversations before marriage about money that one should have. This includes the division of assets, how to manage one’s salary and potential investments.

2. Should you discuss finances before marriage?

Absolutely. Whether you want to consider combining finances before marriage or not, what is your take on your spending habits as a couple and what kind of individual monetary freedoms are we looking at? These are some things you must talk over with your partner.

3. How do I protect myself financially before marriage?

Consider signing a prenuptial agreement to safeguard yourself financially and make it clear how you want to keep or spend your money. This way, in the event of a separation – the monetary hurdles will be the least of your issues.

4. Should husband and wife share money?

It all comes down to what both of you prefer. Do you or your partner like keeping your finances separate? If yes, sharing money is a big no-no as it can create bigger issues with time. But if both of you like having joint finances and treating all of it in the same way, sharing money can be the next step in enhancing your intimacy and trust. And it’s always preferred to keep your finances separate.

5. Is my wife entitled to half my savings?

It depends. Does she earn too? Or does she take care of the house? If it’s the former, then no, unless it’s something both of you want. If it’s the latter, however, you have to understand that you’re only able to work in peace because someone else is taking care of everything for you. And therefore, she’s entitled to at least half of what you earn and save. Legally, it can differ from case to case.

6. Can I empty my bank account after divorce?

No, you can’t. Your financial reports are a part of the divorce proceedings and any attempts to prevent complete reporting can be charged as a crime. It’s, therefore, recommended you don’t empty your bank account after divorce.

7. What’s the 50-30-20 budget rule?

It’s a concept made popular by Elizabeth Warren through her book, All Your Worth: The Lifetime Money Plan. As per the rule, you should distribute your income into three parts after all the taxes and surcharges have been deducted. 50% of your budget should go towards all the needs of your household. 30% should go towards fulfilling things you (and your family) may want. And the rest of the 20% should be kept for savings. This helps you lead your financial life easier. Of course, you can alter these as per your salary and needs, but it’s a minimum sort of budget rule, especially in consideration of your savings.

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