Many couples get so caught up in planning their wedding that the only financial talk they have is regarding the wedding budget and who will be paying for what. Many couples neglect to discuss their personal finances, past debts and financial styles in advance of the wedding. This can lead to many surprises and disagreements early in the marriage. If a couple has been living together before they were engaged they may already be familiar with the financial style of their partner but even then there are some details that should be discussed.
It is important to disclose your true financial situation to your intended spouse. Not disclosing debts, past bankruptcies or even the value of your portfolio can be a mistake. Not disclosing such information can lead to severe trust issues as the uninformed party will wonder why the offending party did not inform them of debts and other situations that will affect their combined finances and situation.
After a budget for the wedding is established it is important to establish a budget for your joint finances. Tally your combined income and debts and make a plan for how debts and bills will be paid. Plan on saving for retirement and maintaining any investments either of you may have. Make a plan for purchasing a house together and improving both of your credit scores if you need to do so.
After you decide what money will be used for what debts and bills decide who will be in charge of making sure they are paid. If one of you is better with finances the decision may be easy. If you both want to be kept thoroughly apprised of your financial situation you may decide to share the responsibility. If you decide to share the responsibility, then make a date where the two of you sit down together, pay the bills, and keep the budget on track. Make sure to create a joint account for paying bills and debts so you both have access to that money. If either of you plan on maintaining personal accounts it is important to be upfront with your partner about your intentions and your reasoning.. Make sure to add each other to any 401k plans, property deeds and insurance plans in case something happens to the original owner. Making a will and updating it as your circumstances change is a good idea for both of you. A living will and healthcare directives may also be necessary.
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