When you get married, it is a lot more than simply putting a ring on it. Now that you’re legal, you now share EVERYTHING. However, before you start your membership at knot.com, you need to think about a couple things. We were asked about the type of financial questions one should figure out before their big day.
Before Getting Engaged:
- How much debt do I have? Once you’re married, your spouse is equally responsible for your debt.
- Will we merge bank accounts? Will we keep them separate? There is no right or wrong answer, only whatever works best for you. For us, we have separate accounts but a joint “house” credit card.
- What are your financial goals? Do you want to go back to school? Save for a house? Pay off debt? What are your priorities and are you and your partner on the same page?
- What lifestyle do you want to have? Are you someone who wants a fast-pace lift in the city or a simple and quiet life in the country? How will you afford your lifestyle preference?
- Who will manage the finances in your home? Will there be one person? Will you both be responsible?
- Kids! Do we want them? Can we afford them?
There are a lot more questions, but don’t want to see too overbearing!
Before the Wedding:
- What is your budget for the wedding?
- Who is going to pay for your wedding? If your parents are helping/paying, how much power will they have in planning your wedding?
- What are your priorities? What things can you do on the cheap?
- Are you willing to go into debt for your wedding? If so, how do you plan on paying it off?
Here is another list of more detailed questions to ask (most focus on pre-engagement, but not bad to ask at any stage prior to marriage).
After the Big Day:
This is where life gets real. Don’t panic if you’ve not had these chats with your partner. Better late than never! Even still, you should re-visit your joint and individual financial goals every few months, or yearly, just to make sure you’re still on the same page. You may want to focus more on the long-game with these questions. Ask one another about:
- Retirement: what does this look like to both of you? Will you be traveling or relaxing at a cottage?
- Career: are you happy in yours? Can you afford to take a pay cut for a dream job?
- Kids: Will you both work or will someone stay home with the kids? If you both work, can you afford daycare? (depending on where you live it could be anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 a month)
- Goals: what are you working towards? What gets you out of bed each day?
As we all know, the divorce rate in Canada is nuts – something like 40% of marriages in Canada end in divorce. One of the biggest reasons? Money. Which makes sense, seeing how stressed and emotional finances make us. We know that finances can be a hot-button issue and often used as a weapon when we get in a fight with our spouse. Hopefully, by starting now and talking about your money often, you can beat the odds. Don’t wait too long to find out if you are both on the same page or not.