Marriage is a time where you have a lot of decisions that you will need to make. There are two people involved, and possibly more when you think about a family. A lot of people end up feeling scared and helpless when a marriage is on the horizon, because the idea of pooling resources and building financial goals together is definitely going to be a serious matter. You don’t want to delay matters, but at the same time, you don’t want to feel like you have to struggle just to prove to other people that you can make things happen in your relationship. First and foremost, before you do anything, you need to still make sure that you are prepared to get married. Marriage is an important decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. You will be spending a great deal of time with the person you marry, and even if you feel that it’s not something you want to pursue, you shouldn’t do it. Divorce is very costly, which is why the idea that you will just “divorce if you don’t like them” isn’t a very solid plan.
Communication is really the name of the game here. You might think that it’s okay for one person to make all of the decisions, but you definitely don’t want to go down this road either. it’s too easy for someone to turn around and tell you that they really didn’t want to make those decisions, and that you bullied them into making choices that they wouldn’t have made if you had backed off and let them choose. While that’s not fair, that is the way it is. Proper communication is truly a must for a solid marriage.
But what about the financials? A lot of people overlook the type of money issues that can really sink a marriage, and it’s the financials that we’re going to cover today. So once you know that you’re in the right mindframe to talk about money, you should definitely consider the following points in your overall conversation.
Now, before we begin, another warning has to be understood — we’re not telling you to just go out and have this conversation in one long chunk. In fact, if you’ve really gotten serious about the person that you want to be with, you definitely don’t want to just go out and have a long conversation. The issues around money should be something that you already talk about with the person you want to marry.
Now then, here’s what you need to consider:
The first thing that you should consider is what type of goals the both of you have. Homeownership is one of the largest reasons why people marry, because they want to pool both incomes together and get a home. However, you will need to make sure that you really think about the type of house you want, as well as the steps that you will need to take with your future spouse in order to own property. You need to ensure that everyone involved is willing to pay equally on the house. In addition, you also need to talk about what would happen to the house if the two of you decide that things aren’t working out. It’s a complicated legal process as it is to buy a house, and you shouldn’t overlook that at all.
Another point that you might need to talk about is how money will actually be shared. A lot of people hate the idea of joint accounts, but they’re a good way to symbolically declare that you are a shared unit. However, a lot of people still see it as “their money” and it tends to get messy. In order to keep things from flying out of control, you will want to make sure that you really sit down and talk to your potential spouse — and better yet, get it into writing.
Speaking of writing, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should mention the possibility of a pre-nuptial agreement with your spouse. A lot of people think it’s unromantic, but we argue that a pre-nuptial agreement is one of the best gifts that you could give to each other. Simply put, when you decide to talk rationally and build a pre-nuptial agreement, you’re essentially talking about freeing each other from the messy aftermath of a divorce. Yes, there will still be hurt feelings — after all, you are essentially either being rejected by your spouse, or you are the one doing the rejecting. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
The pre-nuptial agreement is a gift that says that some things are more important than just material possessions. It’s not a matter of taking someone to the cleaners or hurting the other person by not giving them a dime. It’s all about making sure that the terms are spelled out so that there can be no feeling of betrayal when the divorce occurs. There are no bloody arguments about who gets what. By having a pre-nuptial agreement in place, everything is already spelled out.
Believe it or not, these agreements aren’t just for people that have a lot of money. Regular people have so much to lose in a divorce, so it’s actually a good idea to make sure that you have taken matters into your own hands with a pre-nuptial agreement. Keep in mind that you will want to probably have a lawyer draw up an agreement. It can cost a little money up front, but it’s an investment in your future — don’t skip over it!
One area that a couple really needs to think about is children. A lot of people really don’t give the subject as much thought as it deserves, but your feelings on children have a role on your finances. If you feel that children are a must in your life, you definitely want to make sure that you already prepare ahead of time to have them. This means focusing on stability as much as possible. Yes, it’s true that no one can ever fully prepare for children, but it definitely helps to already start your marriage out right by saving what you can.
Overall, as you might have already guessed, there are definitely a lot of things to think about when you’re really trying to prepare for a great life with someone. If you really take the time to talk these issues out in a clear manner — without screaming and yelling — then you will definitely be on your way to a great life!