Congratulations Newlyweds! Your fresh union symbolizes a new beginning facing the world. But before the glow of wedded bliss wears, it’s crucial to talk about finances. Financial planning for newly married couples is a must, but let’s be straight, financial talks should be had well before the ring. Did you know that “68 percent of engaged couples surveyed held a negative attitude about discussing money with their fiancé.1”
That’s a staggering percentage of couples who are afraid to have ‘the talk’. Below are a few tips and areas to consider if you’re in a serious relationship, newly engaged or if you’ve tied the knot!
Be open and honest
This should be a no brainer - if you’re ready to spend the rest of your lives together, you should be comfortable enough to talk openly about finances. But that’s not always the case. Debt can feel like a looming cloud hanging over you. “After you get engaged, you need to have a frank discussion where you can lay it all out. This talk should cover the current amount of savings, the current amount of debt, any delinquent debts, bankruptcies and any other financial obligations that each person may have. This may be a make it or break it talk when it comes to the relationship, but it is an important topic to address before you combine finances and end up with huge legal issues.2”
Investopedia has some tips for helping make these conversations a little bit easier. “Discover what your shared financial goals are and prioritize them. There will probably be some major life events that will happen in the five years after you get married. Discuss how to balance what you want with how you plan to get there in terms of savings. Money can be a big point of conflict in marriages so don’t avoid having this conversation just because it might be a little uncomfortable. Be honest with your partner about what you want in life.3”
It’s a tough barrier to overcome, especially when you’ve spent the majority of your adult life fighting for financial freedom, it can be tough to alter the my money mentality. Plenty of divorce attorneys will encourage you to have separate bank accounts. Still, if you are going to merge your accounts, and you are truly committed to each other, then you should really commit when it comes to your money, says Wayne Gilmore, the wealth management director at PNC Wealth Management in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.4