Questions to ask before tying the knot

Speaking to your partner about money — how it’s spent and your respective beliefs about saving and investing — can help you avoid unnecessary marital strain in the future. While the thrill of getting married may be in planning a beautiful ceremony, you can ill afford to put financial matters on the back-burner in the name of love. 

There are several things you need to consider when you’re thinking about marriage and the role money will play in your relationship once you’ve said “I do”.  Here are some questions to ask your partner before you tie the knot.

How much debt are you in?

Have you thought about how you’re going to handle debt? Being honest about this aspect of your lifestyle is important. If one of you has a big debt problem, then it might be worth dealing with that before you decide to tie the knot.

What is your credit score?

Make sure you both come to the discussion with your credit scores. You’ll have a better idea of how your partner handles their payments, where they’re struggling, and how you can improve it. Credit scores can affect your ability to get loans, including a bond.

Do you have savings?

Knowing your partner’s thoughts on savings and investments is important.  You should also consult with a financial planner about the measures you both need to have in place to protect your interests. Make sure you cover everything from medical aid, retirement, and insurance to life cover and estate planning.

Are you a spender or a saver?

Drawing up a budget together is important even if you won’t be contributing to the household income in equal measure. Discuss how much both of you earn, what your respective financial obligations are, and how you’re going to contribute to the necessities if you’re going to have a joint budget. Start practicing transparency early on. This will help you get into the habit of always being open with each other.

How much do you support your extended family?

Many of us are in the position where we support family members, whether it’s by paying school fees, helping out with groceries, or sending money home. These should be part of your conversation when you discuss your budget and the full extent of your financial obligations.

Different marriage contracts

The type of marriage contract varies from couple to couple. Consult with a lawyer and financial planner to find out what will work for both of you — and for you as an individual, should circumstances change. This process needs a great deal of honesty and transparency from both partners.

 

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