Your wedding should be the happiest day of your life to date. You get to pledge your love to the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, in front of everyone you care about. It’s romantic and life-changing. You should enjoy the day and treasure the memories forever. Before that special day, though, you should be thinking of more practical matters.
Not to take all the joy and romance out of getting married, but committing yourself to this other person is not just a loving action. It is also a legal action and a financial one. You are about to join yourself legally to someone else in a partnership that necessarily involves money. Before you tie the knot, go through these three important steps.
Talk About Money
No one likes to talk about money. In fact, many of us were raised to believe that it is impolite to do so. Some of us even learned through our parents’ examples that it is inappropriate to talk about money even within the family. This is an old-fashioned and dangerous idea. The worst thing you can do for your future marriage is to avoid the subject of money. Money is the number one cause of arguments and of the demise of relationships. Here are some ideas for what you need to talk about before the big day:
- Share how much you earn.
- Divulge your debt and any cash loans, online loans, student loans or other types of debts you currently have.
- Make a plan for reducing and eliminating debt.
- Look up your credit scores.
- Discuss taking a loan in the future and how you will decide if and when you need one.
- Talk about your financial goals.
- Talk about what you want for retirement and your careers.
- Decide if you want to buy a home, when, and how much you’ll spend.
Make a Budget – For the Wedding and After
Just talking about money isn’t enough. You need to come to some conclusions too. Budgeting is an essential part of life if you care about having enough money for now and in the future. Being careless with spending is a mistake too many people make and it can cause major relationship problems. Start with the wedding itself. The average couple spends around $25,000 on a wedding, which is a lot of money. Decide together how much you want to spend and then plan each part of the wedding accordingly. If anyone else is helping you plan, make sure they understand the budget. Making and sticking to this budget is a great way to kick off your marriage.
Continue the smart planning by creating a budget for your life together. Now that you have talked about what you earn, your debt and savings, and other financial topics, you know enough about your mutual finances to start planning a budget. Consider how much you want to save, whether taking a loan will be a part of your plan, and most importantly how much you want to spend.
Talk to Professionals
Planning your finances together is complicated and may be fraught with errors if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you two are struggling to work this out together or you are arguing about a few sticking points, get a professional or two involved. Start with a financial planner. This is an expert who can help you and guide you through situations you don’t understand and decisions you are unsure about. A financial planner can help you with debt, deciding about cash loans and online loans, retirement planning, investments, and budgeting.
You may also want to talk to a lawyer before you get married, especially if you and your future spouse have complicated finances, or if either of you is on a second marriage. Finances can get messy when feelings get involved and a lawyer can take the emotions out of it and guide you through the practicalities of financial decisions and their legal counterparts. A pre-nuptial agreement is something a lawyer can help you decide upon and then draft for you if you think it is necessary.
As you plan for a joyful future with your partner, don’t forget your finances. Love is great, but it isn’t all you need. Money problems ruin marriages, but if you plan ahead and make these important moves before the big day, you can avoid being another couple split up by finances. Take the time now to do these important things and when your wedding day arrives you can sit back and enjoy the moment without worrying about money.