Key issues to discuss before marriageIf you’re thinking about getting married, don’t overlook important considerations that can predict whether you and your intended are financially compatible.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
If you’re thinking about getting married, don’t overlook important considerations that can predict whether you and your intended are financially compatible.
Marybeth Vigeland, supervisor of financial counseling at The Village Financial Resource Center in Grand Forks, and the National Federation for Credit Counseling identified some key issues that couples should discuss before saying “I do”:
• How much debt do each of you have?
Before you tie the knot, lay it all out for your partner to see: what you owe on credit cards, vehicle and student loans, and any other debt. Don’t hide anything, as that’s really getting off on the wrong foot.
• Review each other’s credit scores and credit reports.
This will eliminate “surprises,” said Vigeland. Each person has their own report and score, but knowing who is in better shape financially can provide direction when making large purchases down the road.
• Does your spouse-to-be’s approach to saving match yours?
Discuss what you consider worth saving money for, whether it’s retirement, a home, sending children to college, or a dream vacation. It’s fine to have your individual goals, but it’s also important to have family goals too.
• Consider getting premarital financial counseling.
“Get it on paper,” Vigeland said. “Talk about your priorities, set concrete goals and look at what your plans are. Putting aside money for a house may be more important than going out to eat every night.” The Village’s website offers tips and tools for creating a spending plan.
• Consider your own and your partner’s spending habits.
Will each of you have your own money to spend? How much can you spend without checking with your spouse? Who will be responsible for household expenses? It’s important to be honest and realistic, or any plan that you develop is sure to fail.
• What will you do if a relative or friends ask for a loan?
This question is sure to come up over the course of a lifetime together, so it’s best to firm up the answer prior to an emotional situation.
For help with money management:
The Village Financial Resource Center, Grand Forks
Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times, contributed to this article. Call Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1107; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.