Will you go out with me? Can I call you? Would you like to move in with me? Can you please pick up your dirty socks? There are many questions you will ask your partner before you pop the big question. But maybe you haven’t considered all the questions you should be asking.
Studies reveal that couples who couldn’t get the money thing right, more often than not, ended in divorce. So before you decide to ask the question, consider these pretty important questions as well. Just maybe not at the time of proposal as that could kill the mood.
1. How will you manage your combined finance? Will you have a joint account? Couples should decide beforehand how they will take a double income or a single income and spend it. You now have two people to consider, not just you.
2. Who will pay the bills each month? In other words, who can be the financially responsible one? It’s quite often the case that one of you is the finance nerd and is more equipped to handle paying bills, sorting taxes, that sort of thing. Sort this out sooner rather than later.
3. What is your debt? What are the debts you will be bringing into the relationship? Now that you’re getting married, you’ll be financially responsible, in the eyes of the law. It’s best to know what student loans, car repayments, credit card loans…etc. that your partner may be bringing with them.
4. What are all of your income sources? Sure, you might know your partner to be a store clerk for Marks & Spencer, but how is it that they can drive the E-series Mercedes? By disclosing all sources of income, you get a fuller picture of where the money is coming in from. It might turn out they are receiving royalty checks for designing Truck Nutz™. You never know unless you ask, and that kind of honesty builds trust in a relationship.
5. Are you considering more education? So, you might be considering another class or two at night school, but what if your partner has bigger plans like multiple doctorates in speaking Klingon? I think you might want to know that thousands of dollars of student loan debt are being considered for what some would consider a waste of time. But whether or not you are a Trekkie, be aware of any further schooling your partner may have.
6. What role do parents play in your finances? This isn’t so much about income as it is about attitude. Does your partner receive any financial support from the parents? Are you going to be OK with that? Talking about it early on avoids any major brawl later. What are your feelings about asking Mom and Dad for help if it came to that? Or what about contributing to your in-law’s retirement and medical fund? How do you feel about sharing this financial responsibility with your spouse?
7. How do you plan to save? Again, studies show that one of you is most likely a financial nerd, and has clearer goals in mind about saving and goals. Talk about these goals and savings plans with your partner reduces any stress or misconceptions.
8. What are your financial dreams? It’s fun to dream, so dream together, financially. No, it’s not as dull as you may think. Talk about retirement plans, future goals, houses that you want, cars you desire, trips you want to take. Are your dreams sympatico?
So, before you consider asking for her hand in marriage, consider asking for her budget and balance sheet. Sure, it may not be as romantic, but in the long run, you’ll thank yourself for doing it. Know of friends who are getting married? Share this article with them and you might save them some counseling time.