Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with can be challenging or very easy. Once you and your significant other are thinking about taking your relationship to the next level, it’s important to discuss various issues to ensure your future together works. Whether you want kids or not is surely an important discussion to have. Even if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend are on the same page regarding children, there are still many issues to consider and discuss before getting engaged.
Consider these tips on various discussions you should have with your boyfriend or girlfriend before walking down the aisle.
ChicagoHealers.com practitioner, Financial Planner Julie Murphy Casserly CLU, ChFC, CFP shares various important financial discussions you should have with your sweetheart before getting married. Be sure to bring up these important topics before you and your significant other get married.
Discuss and be honest about debt levels
“When you marry someone, you also marry their money and their debt,” says Casserly. “Everyone brings financial baggage into a relationship but it’s important that each of you disclose exactly how much debt you are carrying so you can develop a picture of your financial responsibilities after marriage. It’s also not a good idea to hide some of your debt from your future spouse. As the old adage goes, “it’s never good to start a marriage on a lie” and it will just create negative energy between the two of you once the secret is out.”
Examine your credit scores
“If one person’s score is below 700, consider keeping your finances separate for awhile until you can work to improve the score,” Casserly recommends. “Work as a couple to help the person with the low credit score pay off debt and take care of overdue bills. Do not apply for any joint credit cards. Instead, put the cards in the name of the person with good credit and make the other person an authorized user.”
Set goals together
“It’s important that you both have a clear vision of your financial goals so you can help each other achieve them, or talk about the differences before trouble starts,” Casserly says. “Create a complete picture of your financial situation in the following three areas. It is easier to stay on track when you understand your full financial situation.”
Financial Planner Julie Murphy Casserly CLU, ChFC, CFP, shares the following tips for setting goals with your significant other:
- Past - “Review and discuss all of your past choices and work to pay them down now.”
- Present - “Review your current monthly bills and purchases and set a budget that fits into your allotted incomes. Try to live the quality of life you want today on a cash basis, not a credit basis.”
- Future - “Plan for your short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals and make them a priority. Enlist the help of a financial planner who can help you set up savings and investment accounts that will help you reach all of your life goals.”
Make choices for two
“Once you have created your complete financial picture, make sure you agree that you will both clear a space in your life to obtain these goals and make life choices that align accordingly,” she says.
Being honest and open with your loved one is vital to a successful relationship, and most importantly, a successful and lasting marriage. Be sure to discuss these important topics with your soon-to-be-spouse before you tie the knot. Best wishes!