If you’ve been with your partner for a while, marriage is likely on both of your minds. However, marriage comes with more financial implications than you might realize. When asking, “am I ready for marriage?,” it’s important to consider whether you and your partner are prepared for the financial commitment.
True, money may not be the most romantic aspect of your relationship. But getting your finances in order will set you up for a more fulfilling future. This guide will help you decide whether you’re financially ready to put a ring on it.
Signs You’re Ready for Marriage
Here are some signs that you and your partner might be ready to say “I do.”
You Discuss Finances
You and your partner should be open about your finances. It’s true that your comfort with this topic depends largely on your upbringing. However, discussing factors like income, debt, spending habits, inheritances, and investments is critical before committing to marriage.
If you and your partner are in the habit of talking about money, you might be ready to get married.
You Have a Handle on Your Own Money
It’s wise to get your own finances under control before you combine them with your partner’s. Knowing how much you spend, establishing an emergency fund, and having a clear picture of your debt are all part of this process. You want to make sure you’re stepping into marriage from a secure and confident financial place.
You’re Comfortable Sharing Expenses
Consider whether you’re ready to split expenses with another person. If you and your partner live together, you might be doing this already. If you aren’t, it might be worth talking about how you plan to split bills and costs in the future. Couples who are comfortable splitting expenses often make a more natural transition into marriage.
Your Financial Goals Align
You and your partner are a team–and this will be especially true when you’re married. Think about whether your money goals align. For example, you might want to buy a house, retire at a certain age, or start your own business. Is your partner on the same page? Ideally, you’ll be working toward these goals together once you’re married.
Signs You’re NOT Ready for Marriage
While some couples are ready to jump into marriage, others might benefit from waiting. Here are some signs that it might not be time to walk down the aisle quite yet.
Your Finances Are a Secret
There may be parts of your financial life that you aren’t eager to share. A history of debt, poor credit, and financial challenges can be embarrassing. However, Opening up about these difficulties is part of sharing a life. If you’re hiding details from your partner, you might not be ready for marriage.
You Don’t Have a Budget
Out-of-control spending can certainly harm your financial health. However, when you get married, a lack of budget will affect both you and your partner. Make sure to discuss budgeting with your partner before you combine finances. You want to make sure you both take responsibility for your own habits before getting married.
Wedding Expenses Scare You
It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. So, if the idea of making a wedding budget makes you cringe, you don’t have to rush into marriage. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you feel more confident about your finances. You and your partner can also skip the big wedding if you want to allocate funds for other priorities.
Your Money Mindsets Don’t Align
If it’s true what they say, opposites attract. But a quirky coupling isn’t always ideal when it comes to finances. If one partner is a saver, while the other is a big spender, it might be easy to overlook these differences at first. But your misaligned money mindsets might come back to bite you years down the road.
Engaged? Financial Steps to Take Now
You’ve determined that you and your partner are financially ready for marriage. Now what? As you celebrate your engagement, it’s time to start thinking about the future. Here are some marriage financial planning steps to take now.
Decide What You Want to Combine
Every couple has unique financial goals and preferences. With that said, there’s no cut and dry rule for combining finances. Sit down with your partner to discuss which accounts you plan to combine, as well as which you’d like to keep separate.
Some couples will combine all finances. However, you might prefer to combine checking accounts and keep the rest separate. Make sure to discuss your individual debts as well. A financial advisor can help you create a setup that works for you.
Set Financial Goals
Think about what your ideal future looks like. Which goals do you want to accomplish in five years? 10 years? Whether you want to start a family or pay down debt, make a plan with your partner. This way, you’ll have a clear financial roadmap in place once you’re officially married.
Start Saving For Your Future
As you work toward your goals, it’s smart to start a nest egg as well. Consider opening a joint savings account to build a financial safety net. This account can act as an emergency fund, as well as a cushion for big purchases. You and your partner will be ready for all of life’s curveballs from the start.
Consider a Prenup
While you and your partner are committing to each other, it’s still wise to prepare for the unexpected. A prenuptial agreement ensures that your assets are protected in the event of a divorce. The contract outlines how you’ll divide cash assets, properties, and debts. While it might not be the most romantic agreement, it can offer peace of mind.
Marriage is a special milestone for both you and your partner. The financial advisors at Second Opinion Partners are here to guide your financial decisions as you take this next step. We’ve designed our LifePrint® Advantage program to guide our clients through all of life’s transitions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.