If you are engaged to be married or in a serious relationship, you may be wondering when is the right time to combine your finances. Getting married is one of the most significant and most joyous occasions that can happen to you in your life. Money can be one of those stumbling blocks in a marriage. How can we prevent this stumbling block from ever showing up?
Wait Until You Are Married!
I would encourage you not join any assets or liabilities between the two of you until you have officially been married. When you get back from your wonderful honeymoon, that is when you can combine everything and begin living off of the same budget.
What to do in the Meantime.
You may be wondering if there is anything you can do while you wait for that very special day. There are three things that you can do that will give you a great jump on winning together with money.
- Full Disclosure. If you are engaged or in a relationship that appears to be heading towards marriage, all financial items should be fully disclosed. In fact, by the time you are engaged, everything should be disclosed. EVERYTHING! Any kind of secrets, including money secrets, is a recipe for a bad start to any marriage. Find a time to sit down and discuss not only your personal views on finances, but also what your current financial situation looks like. It may seem a little bit scary, but if you are going to someday marry this person, there should be a level of trust here.
- Building Unity. You may find out that you have different views on how to handle money. This is perfectly normal. The fact that you are dealing with this issue up front will only enhance the quality of your marriage. I recommend reading personal finance books and/or go to a quality class on personal finance and build common ground when it comes to money. The goal when you are married is to be “one” in every part of your life. It is better to agree and be wrong than to disagree and be right.
- Mock Budgets. I would encourage you to begin doing mock budgets. Simply act as if you were married and add all of your income and expenses together and see how things shape up. It will not be perfect. But doing this ahead of time will give you the practice you need to get a head start once you have tied the knot.
Sometimes the question is asked if the relationship should end if there have been poor money management problems. Not necessarily. We have all made mistakes before. If you can tell that the past is the past, and you both can come to agreement on how to handle money together, there should be no problems. However, if the person you are seriously considering on marrying does not want to change their money habits, you either need to get counseling together or this relationship may be worth ending. The number one cause of divorce today is money problems and money fights. There is no need of risking a divorce if there is a major problem in this area.
If you do these things up front, along with some great pre-marriage counseling, you will be well on your way to starting your marriage off right. If you would like to have a trained professional help you begin to have this conversation or just got married and would like to start off on the right foot sign up today for your FREE 30 minute consultation by clicking here. Having a financial coach give you guidance may be one of the best things you can do for your marriage.