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The Money Edge - (06/29/2016)

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Marriage and Money: Ten Money Conversation Starters

Summer is the most popular season for weddings. So what better time to discuss your marriage, as well as one of my favorite topics, money?

There are a lot of articles that urge couples to talk over their money with their soon-to-be spouse. But few give actual details on how to discuss the subject. What should you ask? What questions might prompt great conversation?

I've compiled 10 money-related conversation starters here. Not all are questions, but most are; the intent is to get you started discussing some of the real-life issues surrounding money and how it might relate to many years of happiness together.

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1) Share personal information, like credit scores, before you are married.

Perhaps you have already done this, but if not, DO IT NOW. If you are going to marry this person, it is important to know details of their financial past. Mistakes may have been made in immaturity, but you should know what lurks in these numbers.

2) One of you marries with debt, the other is debt-free. Who is responsible for the debt once you are married?

What's the outlook for future debt repayment? Will one of you party while the other suffers? Think the details of life and the consequences of each decision through thoroughly.

3) Will you pool all of your resources into one pot of money every month or keep things more separate?

4) What happens if she wants to save and he wants to spend? Are you going to keep some money separate so spending choices are freely made and not criticized?

5) Let's say you are hit by a financial setback. What items will you cut from your budget?

6) If you both work, what if one of you is laid off?

Will you move? Pare down your expenses? Take any job? Will you downsize housing or get rid of one of the family cars? If you both are in the workplace, a layoff is possible and should be considered. Having a general idea of how you will approach could really help with maintaining harmony if tough times come to your family.

7) In investing, he takes risk and she doesn't. How will you handle these differences? Should you invest separately?

8) What about the idea of one of you being stay-at-home parent? If that is in the planning, what is the catalyst?

9) Are you buying a house or renting? Why? Think outside the box and don't act because everyone else' follows a particular path. Discuss your dreams and your options.

10) When you have kids, is saving for retirement or college the priority?

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You don't have to follow the path everyone else has followed. You can be different simply by being wise, informed and having in-depth discussions that matter.

These questions concern real-life money applications that many of us wish we had discussed before we were married!

(Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. WSFG Registered Investment Advisor Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and WSFG are separate entities. They are independently owned and operated. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of WSFG.)

Marion Syversen owns Norumbega Financial, voted the Bangor Region's Best Financial Planning Firm. She appears every Tuesday on WABI-TV5's Lunch Break segment 'Finance is FUN!' and is the author of 'Real Deal: Making Big Changes with Small Change.' Please read her blog at FinanceWithChocolateSauce.com. Send questions or feedback to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit her website at www.NorumbegaFinancial.com.

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