Getting married is not just a commitment to each other; it’s also a financial commitment. There are costs leading up to the wedding, and then a budget to balance for the rest of your matrimony. In this podcast, we give some tips for how to live in financially stable bliss.
Welcome to another edition of our CredAbility [now Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions] Podcast. Along with your host Mechel Glass, here’s Steve Moore with a surprising way to have a great and happy marriage.
Steve: Okay, Mechel, when you’re in love, contemplating marriage, the last thing you probably want to talk about is money. What’s romantic about that? It just leads to arguments anyway. But I know that you believe it’s vitally important.
Mechel: Yes, it is important when you’re thinking of the future, and you’re making plans together. Well, those plans, sometimes they cost money. So it’s important to talk about money and to be honest about it. This is going to help your relationship down the road, I promise you.
Steve: Well, what are the primary areas of discussion when we sit down to talk about finances prior to marriage?
Mechel: First, they need to talk about what their goals are together. Do they want to buy a home together? Do they want to retire at 55? Does one person want to stay home with their children and raise their children full time? Or will both continue to work? How many children do they want? These are major decisions that will change the family dynamic and cost a lot of money. So these are critical conversations that need to take place.
Steve: And when they discuss these things, what will often come into play is their attitude about money, how they were raised as children, what they saw modeled before them from their own parents. So attitudes are important as well, right?
Mechel: Attitudes are critical. And that brings up a great point of, how have we handled money separately before we got together? And a great way to find out how you’ve handled money is to look at each other’s credit report and to look at the credit score. That’s going to be a key indicator of how each person has handled their money in the past.
Steve: So if we know one another well enough to exchange rings, then we should be able to exchange information about our credit reports, really?
Mechel: That’s exactly right. Before you walk down the aisle, you should know what your credit scores are. You should know what’s on the credit reports. You should know how much debt your partner has, because their debt will become your debt.
Steve: All right, let’s say they both have student loan debt and one or the other has 4, $5,000 in credit card debt, should you wait until that gets paid off to even contemplate marriage? Or is there another approach?
Mechel: Well, that depends on the couple. Some couples say, “Let’s clean up this mess before we start our family.” Other couples may say, “I know what you have. You know what I have. We both have student loans. We’re starting out.” And they want to go ahead and get married. Again, as long as the information is out there for both of them to look at and make that decision, it’s up to them to decide when they want to get married.
Steve: All right, they’ve discussed their goals. They’ve assessed their attitudes. They’ve talked about what they want to do in the future. I know that you feel strongly about having a spending plan even right from the honeymoon phase, right?
Mechel: Absolutely, a spending plan is the perfect tool that a couple needs to start their marriage off on the right foot. And what this tool will do is it will outline every single type of bill that they have each month. And they can coordinate that with their goals. So if they have goals towards paying down their student loan debt, that needs to be a line item in their spending plan as well, that a certain amount each month is going to pay off our student loans. That’s what’s going to help them stay on track for their goals for the future.
Steve: And I think if young couples can talk about money, they can talk about finances, then they’ll be able to talk about children and housing and jobs and moving and in-laws and things like that as well.
Mechel: You know, it will get them on the right track to having a great and successful marriage.
Steve: Mechel, thanks. Mechel: Thank you.