Money can be one of the most polarizing issues in a marriage. But you can eliminate lots of stress with each other if you start by discussing these Money Questions to Ask Before Getting Married.
Guest Post By: Emily from SurefireFinancialCoaching.com
Money is an incredibly emotional topic if you’re single. Toss in a partner’s finances, and you’ve got the real makings for a complicated-emotion-argument sandwich (on special for the price of free 99). Learning how to have money conversations with your partner is CRUCIAL to the success and health of your (hopefully long-term) relationship. The good news? It’s totally possible! I’ve drafted a list of some of the BEST money questions to ask your future spouse.
You can use these thought-starters as a guide as you learn more about your partner, and to help spark deeper conversations around money. For best results, start early with those conversations. I’m not talking Date #1, but certainly by the time you’re getting serious about Mr. or Mrs. Right, these things should come up.
The way people spend money and manage their finances is a window into their habits and their values. If those habits and values don’t align with yours, it could be a real red flag. Or it could be a chance for you to work together on some guidelines and boundaries around your finances. Either way, we’re getting you on your way toward a healthy relationship!
As a recently-married gal, I am SUPER convinced of the importance of these money conversations upfront and I’m SO PROUD of you for being here! Money is an incredibly emotional topic, and if couples don’t have strong communication skills, finances can easily become a minefield. In fact, money is one of those BIG things that is frequently cited as a reason for divorce. SO, let’s create a strong foundation now and avoid the D-word down the road.
Without further ado, the BEST money questions to ask your spouse before getting married:
Past Experiences With Money
1. What do you remember about your family’s experience with money as you were growing up?
It’s virtually impossible to come out of your childhood without some deeply ingrained habits and perspectives around health, relationships and MONEY. Understanding the way your spouse grew up, and what he or she believes about money will be crucial as you begin to build a life together.
2. Have you made any major financial mistakes?
You’re welcome to check out my own list of major mistakes to start this conversation. Talk about what you learned from those mistakes and how they influence your current (and hopefully future) behavior.
Related Post: How To Save Money As A Couple
Values and Mindset About Finances
3. Do you have an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset?
If you’re in a Debbie Downer + Joyful Johnny situation, there might be some friction when it comes to finances. Best to acknowledge it now and work together toward a strong abundance mindset. The answer to this question may also help you understand your partner’s comfort level with financial risk.
4. Are you traditionally a saver or a spender?
What do you consider a big expenditure vs. a small expenditure? If your partner is a spender, is he or she open to implementing techniques to curb that spending habit? And, let’s not forget ourselves – are YOU willing to compromise if you happen to be the spender of the duo?
5. What do you truly value?
Hopefully, you already have a good sense of the answer to this question, but it’s always good to formalize your values. You could even take this a step further by developing a combined list of values. For example, “As a couple, we’re going to value…”
6. What would it take for you to feel like a wealthy person?
This question can get deep, fast! Understanding what wealth looks like to your partner is critical. Is it a number? Or is there a certain aesthetic to the life of a wealthy person? For bonus points (knew you were looking for them!), how do you and your partner define “rich” vs. “wealthy” and do those definitions align?
Current Numbers and Habits: Questions About Your Money Right Now
7. Financial disclosure time!
Ok, now we’re cooking. This is the monster of all money questions to ask your future spouse. Share your real-time numbers: credit card debt, student loans, car loans, savings accounts, checking accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts. ALL of the accounts. Don’t forget to share your credit scores and exact income! Woof, I know. Not fun but necessary.
8. Do you maintain a monthly budget?
If so, feel free to share your budgets with each other. And if you don’t currently track your spending against a budget, are you open to working together to develop one? If you’re just getting started, download a free Spending Tracker template here.
9. If your partner has any debt, what is his or her mindset around paying off the debt?
The truth about debt is that it doesn’t define your (or your partner’s!) character. BUT. It is important to work together to decide if paying off debt will be a financial goal in your relationship. What sacrifices do you anticipate making in the pursuit of debt-freedom? If only one person shoulders the debt, will you share the responsibility of paying it off, or will that person be expected to tackle it on their own?
10. Are you currently working toward any short- or long-term goals related to your finances?
How do those goals affect me?
Your Future Together
11. Are we planning to combine finances or keep them separate?
If you’re planning to combine, what are the logical action steps to combining accounts? If you’re keeping your accounts separate, how will you manage household expenses? Talk through what those day-to-day financial processes are going to look like. This is always a moving target, and I can bet you a dollar the daily management of your money as a couple will evolve over time – even within the first year!
12. Who will be responsible for managing our money?
Is one person more interested in keeping tabs on the accounts and ensuring the bills are paid on time, or will you do this in tandem? Remember, even if you’re not the designated money nerd, you still need access to and knowledge of ALL of the financial workings going on in the background. This is a non-negotiable.
13. How will we handle health insurance?
If both people are working full-time, there may be a chance to evaluate the quality of health insurance each employer offers and choose the best option.
14. Do I need to check in with you before I spend money?
Many couples choose a spending limit ($20 or $50 or $100 or $1,000). Any expenses over the designated amount must be agreed upon by the other person. This helps keep the lines of communication open and creates transparency so there aren’t any surprises.
15. What is our vision of our life together?
Do you want children? If so, how many and how will you save for future expenses for your children? How often do you plan to vacation and what is the vacation savings plan? What type of home and cars do you expect to have? Are there career goals in the mix that will need to be prioritized?
16. Do you anticipate needing to support family members financially as they age?
Or, if there are children from previous relationships in the mix, what are the expectations for financial support? This is a tricky one. But agreeing on the parameters here can help you both avoid chowing down on that previously-mentioned argument sandwich.
17. What are your expectations around retirement?
At what age do you want to retire and what is your plan for getting there? What do you want your retirement years to look like in an ideal world?
I hope you’re able to use these questions to spark compelling and revealing financial conversations with your partner. Seasons of engagement and marriage are such special times; that means it’s that much more important to get these financial conversations out of the way early on. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Author Bio: Emily is a money coach who helps women level up on their personal finance journey. She blogs at SurefireFinancialCoaching.com, where she revels in being the chief resident money nerd. When she’s able to pry herself away from talking or reading about personal finance topics, she enjoys going on adventures with her husband and doggo in the Memphis, TN area.
Sara, a seasoned expert in wedding planning and date ideas, brings a wealth of experience to our couples blog. With a background in the television industry and hands-on involvement in a dozen weddings, including working as a wedding assistant on "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera," Sara has an innate understanding of the magic that makes weddings truly special. Growing up with four sisters has given her unique insights into the dating world, making her a go-to source for practical and heartfelt dating advice. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her the perfect guide for couples seeking to infuse their relationships with creativity and love.