In this post, I share 10 money questions to ask your partner before getting married. Some of the suggestions are things you’ve probably tried. However, stick around until the end; you may learn a few new tips. Share any additional things that help you stay warm without the heating in the comments section at the end.
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Money is cited as one of the biggest reasons couples divorce in the UK. It’s also one of the biggest causes of stress and relationship arguments. A significant reason for this is that money is a taboo subject that people like to avoid speaking about. Assumptions are better than reality to some, so rather than knowing the truth about their partner’s financial position, they draw conclusions based on what they see.
Having been in over £36,000 debt once upon a time, I know firsthand how easy it can be to mask the realities of your financial situation. From the outside looking in, you would have never known my husband, and I were in so much debt.
Equally, when dating, you only know your partners’ financial position if they tell you. So they drive a brand new Range Rover, live in a nice flat, and work a good job, but that doesn’t automatically mean they are in a strong financial position. Equally, I accept it doesn’t mean the opposite is true either. I guess the point here is you don’t definitively know unless you ask the right questions.
This point leads nicely to the subject of today’s blog post. If marriage is something you see in the future for your relationship, these are ten important money questions to ask your partner before getting married.
Q1. How much debt do you have?
Before getting married, my husband and I had very few money conversations. However, this was one question that we did have a conversation about. I had my overdraft and student loan at the time, and he had the same. We agreed to work together to pay it off once we were married, and that’s what we did.
Don’t make assumptions. Work with facts. If you don’t ask the question upfront, you may be shocked later in marriage to find out that they have unspoken debt. It’s better to lay all these cards on the table before marriage. You can then make an informed decision as to whether you want to continue.
Our debt totalled less than £5,000. However, if one person is over £20,000 in debt and the other has zero, you may think twice about proceeding into marriage. While their debt doesn’t automatically become yours, it may impact the financial goals you want to pursue together.
Q2 What are your views when it comes to renting a home versus buying a home?
Some people are happy with renting and prefer to do this long term, while others are keen to get on the property ladder as soon as affordable. Where does your partner sit when it comes to buying a home? Do they want to buy a home? When would they like to buy a home? How long do they see themselves renting?
These are conversations to explore before entering into marriage. While one partner may want to buy a house within the next five years, the other may have other financial plans they would prefer to prioritise.
Their position on renting versus buying may not be a deal breaker, but it can be an eye-opener and put you in good standing when entering into marriage, as you’ll at least understand the page you’re starting on.
Q3 How much savings (if any) do you have?
This question may seem a bit invasive. However this is someone you’re committing to be life partners with so surely no question should be off limits, right?
You’ll be surprised how many people do not actually ask this question of their partner, even after marriage. While there is no one size fits all approach to finances in marriage, I’m of the persuasion that complete financial transparency is key to a healthy financial relationship with your spouse.
As mentioned in the intro, just because a partner may flaunt their wealth to you, it doesn’t mean they are wealthy or financially responsible. Yes he bought you that £1,000 Gucci bag you wanted for your birthday, but does he have £1,000 in his savings account? Deal with facts and figures, not fantasies or fabrications.
Q4 What are your views when it comes to charitable giving?
If charitable giving is something that’s important to you, it’s important to understand if your partner holds similar or dissimilar views on the subject.
Charitable giving can be a significant expense. If you and your partner have different views on how much to give and which organisations to give to, it can lead to conflict and misunderstandings. By having open and honest conversations about charitable giving, you can ensure that you are both on the same page and can make informed decisions about allocating your resources in a way that aligns with your shared values.
Moreover, charitable giving is not just about money but also about the time and energy you want to invest in giving back to your community. A shared understanding of the importance of giving back can strengthen the bond between you and your partner and provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Q5 How much money do you earn?
It’s essential to know how much your partner earns before getting married. Firstly this information is vital for financial planning. It will help you make informed decisions regarding your shared financial future. With both of your earnings in mind, you can plan your budget, set financial goals, and prioritise your spending effectively.
Moreover, discussing income can build trust and promote transparency in your relationship. Both partners can understand their earning power and what they can contribute to shared expenses and household responsibilities.
Finally, understanding each other’s debts and earning power can aid in informed decision-making about debt management.
Q6 How do you feel about living on a budget?
This is a topic my husband and I didn’t discuss prior to getting married and it caused us a lot of problems in our early years of marriage. I was a spender, he was a saver and neither of us really had a clue how to effectively budget. Understanding each other’s perspectives on budgeting before getting married would have helped us understand our financial compatibility and make any necessary adjustments before tying the knot.
Living on a budget can help you achieve shared goals, such as paying off debt, saving for a house deposit, or building up your savings. By understanding each other’s perspectives on budgeting, you can create a plan that works for both of you and ensure that you are both committed to making it a success.
knowing your partner’s feelings on budgeting can give you insight into their spending habits and how they prioritise their spending; this can help you both avoid any surprises or disagreements about money in the future.
Living on a budget can help ensure your future financial security and stability. By discussing your perspectives on budgeting, you can ensure that you are both on the same page about the steps you need to take to secure your financial future together.
Q7 When we get married, are we going to combine our finances? And if so, how?
I know when my husband and I got married we decided that everything we earned was going to be combined, my money was his money, and the same vice-versa. However we all have preconceived ideas of how we will manage money in marriage. Just because you saw your parents do it one way, doesn’t mean your spouse shares the same view.
Knowing how you will handle your finances as a couple can also help you make informed decisions about your future estate planning, such as writing a will or setting up a trust.
Finding out if you will combine finances is important when discussing the topic of debt. It’s essential to clearly understand how debt will be managed and paid off as a couple. Combining finances can help you both take joint responsibility for managing your debts and working towards becoming debt-free.
Finally, a clear understanding of how you will handle your finances as a couple can help you work towards shared financial goals, such as saving for retirement, buying a house, or starting a family.
Q8 How was money handled in your household as a child growing up?
Our attitudes and values towards money can be shaped by our experiences growing up. Knowing how money was handled in your partner’s household can give insight into their attitudes and values towards money, which can be helpful in managing your finances together.
Understanding your partner’s financial background can help you both make informed decisions about your shared financial future. For example, if your partner grew up in a household with limited resources, they may be more focused on saving and budgeting. In contrast, someone who grew up in a more affluent home may be more comfortable with spending.
Knowing how money was managed in your partner’s household can give you insight into their spending habits and help you avoid future surprises or disagreements about money.
Q9 What are your financial goals?
It’s important to find a common ground when it comes to financial goals in marriage. Having this conversation before you say I do will help you better prepare for finances after marriage.
Where do you see yourself financially in 5 years, 10 years or 15 years. Having these discussions can help you start to paint a picture of what life could potentially look like after marriage.
Knowing your partner’s financial goals can help ensure that you are on the same page regarding your shared economic future. This conversation will help you make informed decisions about your finances and avoid any future misunderstandings or conflicts about money.
By having a clear understanding of each other’s financial goals, you can work together to develop a shared financial plan that takes into account both of your goals and priorities. These goals can include starting a family, planning for retirement, starting a business or even buying a home.
Q10 What are we going to teach our children about money?
This is an important question to ask your partner if you are planning on having children. Money and kids can be a big topic of contention if you are not aligned with one another. One parent may want to give their children all the things they never had growing up, the latest clothes, gadgets and gizmos, while the other may have different priorities when it comes to teaching the children about money, instead prioritising the children working to earn the non-essential things that they want.
Your beliefs and values about money can impact how you teach your children about money. By having this conversation before getting married, you can make sure that your values and beliefs align and that your approach to financial education is consistent.
In summary, these are just 10 money questions to ask your partner before getting married. While this list isn’t exhaustive of all the money questions to address, it serves as a great starting point and should open up other money conversations as you tackle each topic.
If you found this post useful, let me know in the comments section below. Also let me know what other questions you would include in this list
Recommended reading: Your Money or Your Life is a great book that all couples should ready on the subject mof money. It outlines 9 Steps to transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial Independence.
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