It’s that time of year again, when heart-shaped chocolates flood grocery store aisles and red roses are sold on every street corner. With engagement season still in full swing, you might even be rocking some new sparkly bling on your finger.
Love is in the (bitter cold) air, and there are some conversation topics that are the furthest thing from romantic.
While these convos won’t make your heart flutter, they’re essential to have.
FREE TOOL: Before your conversation, know your situation. Check your credit report for free.
Here are a few questions to ask your partner before you get hitched.
“So … what’s your debt situation look like?”
We all have things in our history that we prefer not to re-hash, like past romantic mistakes and less-than-appealing exes. But if you’re preparing for a trip down the aisle, one thing you need to be upfront about is all the debt you owe, like student loan debt or credit card debt.
If your partner has massive debt, that might mean temporarily holding off on big purchases or starting a family. That’s something you’ll want to be aware of and be prepared for before you tie the knot.
You both are about to be on the same team, so coming up with a game plan together on how to tackle all that debt will make you both feel more prepared for the financial challenges that might be on the horizon.
“Can I have your number?”
One number you really need to disclose with your partner before you wed? Your credit score.
While some experts say you should disclose your credit score three months into dating, others say it’s important to bring up only before you decide to invest in property together or get married. If your partner has an awful credit score, it could affect what rates you’re slapped if you apply for a mortgage together.
A credit score is also a great indicator of a person’s overall approach toward money. Responsible with making timely payments? Known for taking on more debt than they’re able to handle? Those might be red flags to consider before you make the ultimate commitment.
“What are your money goals?”
Now comes the fun part: Talking about your hopes and dreams for the future.
We all prioritize differently when it comes to our finances. While some people might want to save for their dream house, others might value saving enough to pay for their future kids’ college tuition. Neither is right or wrong, but it’s essential to at least know what your partner thinks when it comes to financial priorities.
Another important topic to talk about — while it might seem a lifetime away — is how much you’re contributing toward retirement and ideally what age you’d like to retire.
“How will we manage money in our marriage?”
After you hash out all your hopes and dreams — the ones that only money can buy — you can create a new budget that reflects saving goals. You’re combining households (what’s yours is theirs, remember?), so it’s beyond important to know how you and your partner intend to save and spend your money.
Money management can be an overwhelming task. Who will pay the bills? Who will balance the checking account? Decide how you’re going to divide up the money chores sooner rather than later to avoid missed payments or a busted budget.
Also figure out how you’ll ultimately divvy up your finances before you get married. Decide whether you’ll keep separate checking accounts for personal purchases, or if you plan to transfer all your income to a joint account.
Having a game plan on how you’re finances will play out once you’re hitched prevents hiccups down the road.
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