As a woman, in a relationship, I must say I’m a little nervous. This guy is nice, and I’m sure he has what it takes to be a good husband. One conversation we have not had is about finance. Don’t get me wrong he knows what I do for a living, and I know what he does. To be honest, because I write financial literacy books and blogs for a living he could easily get an understanding of my financial history. I, on the other hand, don’t have it that easy and neither do you.
We are going to have to has a conversation about money. I must say this makes me a little uncomfortable. I’m used to people volunteering their financial stories in hopes that I can help them. I don’t usually have to go to a person and ask. This conversation is important because it is not just my future it’s my kids future. I need to know his financial standing, and you need to know your future spouse’s finances as well.
How to have the conversation
First of all, there needs to be more than one talk, and you should come to the table with an open mind. You may think you have a good idea of what the other person may earn, owe, or have in the bank but be prepared to be surprised by what you hear. Don’t judge, remember that money is a learned activity and if someone wants to change their behavior they will. Also, you might be surprised to find out that you’re the one in the relationship with the bad money habits.
Which topics to cover
You need a current financial picture. Each person should come to that table ready to talk numbers. Bring your bills with you if you require the Total monthly bills, and taxable income should be on the table for discussion as well. You should discuss credit scores and any current plans to increase a score or what has worked positively for you in the past. Any student loans, credit card, and other debts should be included in the convenience. I know this sounds like a lot and may make you uncomfortable, but you will share the responsible of paying this debt one day.
Now that the scary part is over the fun can begin. Now that you have a clear picture of the hill or mountain of debt in front of you, you can plan. This conversation should be more about debt free plans, life insurance, and beneficiaries. You can create a joint retirement plan or vision board for future careers. Maybe one of you wants to go back to school for a better career. Plan your family on paper including houses and kids. Have fun no need to live in a box.
When do we do this
I believe you should have this conversation before you say yes to the ring. Maybe not the complete details of the numbers but enough to know if you want to say Yes or if you want to ask her in the first place. Money is one of the top reasons for divorce there is no need to start off on a bad foot. About a month after you are married, you will need to have the conversation again to begin to make whatever changes you decided in the first few talks.
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