Marriage isn’t just a romantic relationship; it is also a fiscal one. You and your spouse will not only share a home, but likely a bank account and it’s no secret that money troubles can be one of the most formidable foes to a happy marriage. Being fiscally transparent and setting clear expectations up front can help you and your future spouse thrive both personally and financially long after your special day.
1. Debts and Outstanding Financial Obligations: Marriage legally binds each individual’s assets and debts together, so any outstanding financial obligations, especially debts, should be revealed up front. Nothing will ruin the “honeymoon period” like suddenly learning your partner’s monthly loan and consumer debt payments devour the majority of your income. Not only will surprise debt put a strain on your lifestyle, it can create trust issues in the relationship early on.
Other outstanding financial obligations, such as ongoing assistance to a family member, child support, or alimony from a previous marriage should also be discussed. If your spouse owns a business, a business valuation could provide some insight as to whether or not the business could become a financial liability in the near future.
2. Assets: For younger couples who haven’t had much time to save, discussing assets might be a relatively simple conversation, but for higher-income individuals and those with more mature finances, the conversation could become a bit more in-depth. A pre-nuptial agreement, or a legally binding, pre-determined division of assets, may even be on the table for couples who demonstrate a significant imbalance of wealth between them.