Making smart money decisions is difficult enough when single but when you are about to get married, how do you decide what is best for you and your partner?
Talking about money is stressful, especially when a relationship is new, and there is no right or wrong way to proceed. We took the time to ask and answer five basic questions to help overcome expected financial hurdles that should be discussed before the rings are exchanged.
How much debt is each person bringing into the marriage?
If one person is bringing a disproportionate amount of debt into the marriage, seeking financial advice is advised to protect assets and credit ratings. Don’t be surprised if the next recommended step is seeking legal advice on a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself and your future partner in case of death or divorce.
How much spending is too much?
Finding a balance within the relationship is very important. Establishing a joint budget early on is a great way to make yourself familiar with your future partners spending habits. You may find that your partner’s idea of a monthly allowance is nowhere near to where it needs to be or even financially feasible!
What factors need to be addressed when merging finances?
New couples struggle with deciding whether to have separate accounts, a joint account, or a combination of both. Being smart with your money shouldn’t be confused with trusting your partner. TD Bank surveyed 1,000 couples in 2014 and found 38% of individuals in relationships maintained separate accounts for various reasons including independence and privacy. Convenience for paying mortgages and other monthly household expenses was cited as the main reason to have a joint account.
When merging finances, it’s a good idea stop by your local bank and have a conversation about what account options are the best fit for you and your partner’s specific needs,” said Lindsay Sacknoff, Senior Vice President, Head of Retail Deposit Products, TD Bank. “Maintaining multiple accounts may offer better interest rates and combining incomes in a joint account could mean access to premium benefits like reimbursement for out of network ATM costs.
Is someone keeping money secrets?
Would you be surprised if we told you one third of Canadians in relationships said they keep certain aspects of their finances secret or hidden from their significant other? According to a Valentine’s Day report released in 2016 by BMO Bank of Montreal, this is true. Couples in healthy relationships understand the importance of being honest with their partners. Keep secrets and risk losing your partners trust.
How to plan for an emergency?
Being prepared for the unexpected, when it comes to your finances, is part of properly managing your money. Life is not linear and try as we might the future is not in our control. Emergencies will present themselves in many forms – job loss, medical expenses, vet bills, repairs to your home or vehicle – and often these things catch us off-guard and we are blind-sided. Recently we published an article on the necessity of an Emergency Fund and how to calculate what you will need going into your new life together.
People spend years planning their wedding and honeymoon but how much time is spent planning for the future? Start your lives together aware and ready to make sound financial decisions right from day one.