Conflicts about money can often be a major factor in why couples end up divorcing. It could be important to discuss finances before getting married to make sure that your values regarding money are similar. It is also important to discover if your prospective spouse have secrets (skeletons in the closest) regarding their finances. Here are some things to think about regarding money, before you decide to get married:
Have open and honest conversations about money to find out if you have the same goals? Do they want to spend lavishly while your goals are to save and be frugal. Or maybe they are very frugal while your goal is to live in the moment and spend more liberally
- Do they have a lot of debt that might require that you use community property to pay off?
- Are you going to have joint bank accounts or are you keeping your income separate? Both approaches work as long as both parties agree. You have to keep in mind that if you decide to keep your money separate, it is still community property to be divided upon divorce.
- If children are in your future, it is important to find out if you both agree about child care. Should one of you stop working to take care of the kids, or should both of you continue to work and find other options for day care?
- Make sure your soon to be spouse doesn't have a gambling addiction or spend a lot of time "day trading." Both of those activities can deplete marital funds and can lead to much stress in a relationship.
- Make sure you know whether your soon to be spouse has an outstanding IRS debt. Getting married might cause you to be jointly responsible for that debt. Regarding any question about taxes, you should contact a tax professional with any questions.
- Does the other person have a job? If not, are they saying that they want one? If your soon to be spouse does not want to work and wants you to fully support them, make sure that this is acceptable to you. Conversely, if your plan is to not work outside the home, make sure that this lifestyle is ok with you soon to be spouse.
It is difficult to talk about money, especially when your relationship is in the “honeymoon” faze. But it is better to walk into your new phase of life well informed.