Lisa was featured by Yahoo! Finance to offer her expertise in the crossing of romance and finance. Which conversations should you be having before marriage?
An article published by GoBankingRates posed four financial questions for couples who see marriage in the near future. The article was picked up by Yahoo! Finance and Yahoo! News. Our own Lisa Jones, who has nearly 30 years of experience working with couples and families, offered some of her expertise to explain why these questions are so important.
The piece pushes both partners to ask about their counterpart’s current financial situation. That can include asking about earnings, take-home pay, retirement contributions, current debt, assets, child or spousal support payments, potential education or employment opportunities, and credit reports. Lisa believes in complete financial disclosure and full transparency.
“Your wedding is a celebration of your love,” said Jones. “But marriage is a legal contract, and it’s important to know what you’re getting into before committing your lives to one another.”
Though no married couple reaches the finish line without overcoming obstacles, the wedding-day dream is to retire together. The article recommends asking about your partner’s plan for retirement. Whether you’re participating in employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)s or contributing on your own to savings accounts or IRAs, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement.
“Consider whether you are both on the same page about your ideal retirement age,” said Jones. “Discuss your expectations for retirement and the lifestyle you envision for yourselves.”
Members of a couple should also be asking their significant other about credit philosophy and financial priorities. Contrasting approaches to credit cards and credit card debt can easily spark conflict in a relationship.
Before marriage, it’s important to know how many credit cards your potential future spouse carries, how much they charge to those cards, and whether or not they make the minimum payments on those cards. Interest and fees can be daunting, especially as they grow exponentially over the course of time, and in marriage, debt for one is debt for all.
Additionally, finding out if your partner’s priorities align with your own can be important. While it’s unlikely that your spending habits and ideas will be identical, common and shared goals are vital, both individually and as a couple.
Finally, it can be extremely helpful to consult your financial advisor as a couple. Advisors work with couples to find common ground, design goals and customize financial plans geared toward their visions of success.
Finding the right person and the right spark is difficult enough, and the only fire in your relationship should be between you and your partner. Proper planning can preserve that flame.