So you’re tying the knot…that’s exciting stuff! But before daydreams take over and you start spending all your waking hours planning the wedding ceremony, make sure to keep sight of some other important factors of marriage. First things first: you really should have the money talk with your soon-to-be spouse.
There’s a lot more financial planning to do as a couple than just how to pay for the reception. So many logistical considerations will be coming your way — like bills, budgeting, and staying away from debt. Rather than having the perfect wedding and then being blindsided by it all, approach your finances together with a game plan in place.
Attention cloud nine: A few financial topics need addressing back on planet earth
Yes, wedding budgeting will require some attention — and if that’s the icebreaker you need, great! But an honest discussion about “life budgeting” should precede any cake or floral decisions. We call this the money talk.
Here are some things to talk about with your future significant other before walking down the aisle.
Identify and accommodate financial values
Remember, everyone has a different financial personality and approach to spending money. This means two sets of opinions, backgrounds, and habits. Dave Ramsey refers to this as the idea of a “nerd and a free spirit” in a relationship.
Budgeting gives nerds the sense of caring for their loved ones, whereas free spirits tend to “forget” about a budget and might feel controlled or appear irresponsible to the nerd. Being mindful of this dynamic helps you maneuver in ways that accommodate one another.
Put a system in place that works for both of you
Embrace your differences and actually make them work for you. Allocate tasks that play to each person’s strengths, while also load balancing so that you offset one responsibility with something equal. Maybe one person cooks, one washes dishes, and both divide financial tasks. Or one person handles the food and the other person handles the money. Whatever combination works for you — as long neither party feels like they’re getting the raw end of the deal.
Be on the same page in the budget books
Even if you aren’t the designated “budget person” in the relationship, it’s important to be on the same page of your overarching financial roadmap. Both parties should be involved in the breakdown of money spent, saved, and invested. Knowing things like what expenses are priorities and your discuss-before-spending dollar amount are basic ways to stay in each other’s good graces. Knowing that the money one person intended for savings went to a new entertainment system — that’s next-level need to know.
Set your sights — and spending — on mutual goals
When you’re able to determine and work toward a common vision, compromises don’t feel as significant and can even feel rewarding. Agreeing on areas where to spend and where to cut back keeps you on track, in unison. For example, eating out less in order to splurge on a rewarding vacation might be a solution that appeases both the “spender” and the “saver” in the equation.
It’s true that opposites often attract. While that’s great for chemistry, it may not lead to happily ever after in the financial department. In fact, research shows that arguing about money is the top predictor for divorce. Having open and honest financial dialogue as early and as often as possible can be the difference between marital bliss and marital blunder.
Do your relationship a favor and have the money talk now.