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Many suitors may have popped the question over the weekend and couples may be preparing guest lists for the upcoming nuptials—but they may not be having the conversation that could ensure a peaceful partnership for years to come.
“While some may find financial discussions unnecessary, understanding each other intimately in terms of what you both bring to the table – be it wealth or debt – will strengthen your relationship and help to avoid potentially serious friction to your marriage down the road,” according to John Heath, directing attorney at Lexington Law.
A Harris Poll found that 91% of couples would rather start their married life debt-free than have a “dream wedding.” That same poll found that twice as many men as women said they went into debt—or would go into debt—to pay for their wedding.
What to discuss before saying “I do”
The lawyers at Lexington Law offer five questions that newly engaged couples should ask each other before their big day:
- How do you view money? Talk about how you budget, how you handle bills and expenses, and how much you’d be willing to spend on certain items, such as a car, home, or item of clothing.
- How should we budget for a family? If you want to have children, talk about how many you might like to have, how you will cover their expenses, and how you will budget to afford the basics like clothes, food, activities, medical expenses, and school.
- How should we communicate about money? Will one person handle the finances, or will you share the responsibility? Have a plan in place before you get married.
- What should we do when we disagree about spending?It’s a given that you won’t agree on everything. But when you disagree about spending, saving, and managing your money, what will you do? Open up the lines of communication from the start, so you don’t avoid the topic.
- Do you have debts I should be aware of? No marriage should have secrets, especially about money. Lay your cards on the table and be honest about your debts before the big day.
Marriage is a partnership, and asking these questions of each other is one way to strengthen your future together. The folks at Lexington Law offer more tips on marriage, money, and credit at lexingtonlaw.com.