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7 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before They Get Married

Daniel Tannenbaum, founder of Consumer Finance Company Pheabs, talks about the financial topics every couple should discuss before they say “I do”
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Marriage is a significant milestone in one’s life, and along with joy and excitement, it brings a whole new set of responsibilities. Every year, 2.3 million couples walk down the aisle, with the average couple spending $30,000 on their wedding day, according to The Knot.

However, one crucial aspect that deserves careful consideration is the topic of money. Discussing finances before tying the knot can lay a strong foundation for a healthy and financially stable future together. 

At Pheabs, we have identified seven essential money conversations to have before you get married.

What Is Your Current Financial Situation?

Before you exchange vows, it’s essential to have an open and honest conversation about your individual financial situations. 

Discuss your income, savings, investments, and any outstanding debts. Different people manage their money in different ways. While some may be more risk-averse, others may be faster and looser with their cash. 

Transparency is key to building trust and understanding each other’s financial goals and challenges.

Would You Prefer To Merge Finances or Keep Them Separate?

Discussing whether to have a joint bank account or maintain separate accounts is an important aspect of the money conversations to have before getting married. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, it’s essential to openly discuss your preferences, values, and expectations regarding shared finances. 

Some couples choose to have a joint account to simplify bill payments and manage shared expenses, promoting transparency and unity. Others prefer to maintain separate accounts, allowing for autonomy and personal financial management. 

Consider the benefits and drawbacks of each approach and find a solution that aligns with your financial goals and values as a couple. Regardless of your decision, open and ongoing communication about finances is key to ensuring a harmonious and financially secure partnership.

What Debt Do You Both Have?

Debt is a common reality for many individuals, whether it’s student loans, credit card debt, or other obligations. Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but undisclosed debt could create problems down the road.

Take the time to discuss your debt burdens openly. Understand the amount owed, interest rates, and repayment plans. Develop a strategy to manage and pay off debt together, supporting each other’s financial wellbeing and tackling remaining debt as a team.

Do Your Financial Goals Align?

Creating shared financial goals is an important step towards a prosperous future. Talk about your short-term and long-term goals, such as buying a home, saving for retirement, or starting a family. 

Making sure that these goals align is central to your financial compatibility. If one partner wants an extravagant lifestyle with multiple homes and another would prefer to spend more modestly, this might cause tension if not discussed openly.

Prioritize making goals together, and outline a plan to achieve them. Aligning your aspirations early on will help you make informed financial decisions as a couple.

What Does A Joint Budget Look Like?

Once you are married, your finances become intertwined. While some couples may choose to keep their bank accounts separate, expenses like mortgages, living costs, and bills will likely come from a shared pot. Collaborating on creating a joint budget that reflects your combined income, expenses, and savings goals is crucial. 

Discuss how you will allocate money for essential expenses, discretionary spending, and savings. By establishing the budget early on, both parties can be held accountable to sticking to it. Regularly review and revise the budget as needed, ensuring it remains flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.

What Are Your Individual Financial Roles and Responsibilities?

To avoid potential conflicts, it’s crucial to clarify the financial roles and responsibilities each partner will assume. In some cases, one party might be the primary breadwinner while the other handles other responsibilities.

Beyond earnings, decide who will manage bill payments, track expenses, and handle investment decisions. Establishing clear lines of communication and dividing financial tasks can help ensure both partners feel involved and accountable.

How Do You Plan for the Unexpected?

Life is full of uncertainties, and preparing for the unexpected is a responsible financial strategy. Discuss the importance of building an emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses like medical bills or job loss. Additionally, consider the necessity of insurance coverage, such as health insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance. 

Having a safety net in place will provide peace of mind during challenging times.

When it comes to marriage, having open and honest conversations about money is vital. By addressing topics such as debt, joint income management, and other financial factors before tying the knot, you can establish a solid foundation for your financial future together. 

Remember, effective communication, transparency, and a shared vision will help you navigate financial challenges and achieve your goals as a couple. Start these conversations early, seek professional advice if needed, and embrace the journey of building a financially successful marriage.

About The Author
Dan Tannenbaum

Daniel is the founder of consumer finance company Pheabs. He set up the company in 2018, as his passion has always been to help customers find the right borrowing options for them. With high-cost loans available on the streets, in-stores, and at the risk of illegal borrowing, Daniel set up Pheabs to offer a safe, secure, and free service to help borrowers when they needed a little extra cash or loan.