When many people think of marriage, they envision a romantic proposal, lavish reception, and exotic honeymoon. Bank statements, credit card bills, and mortgages typically aren’t top of mind. But getting your finances in order is just as important as picking a china pattern. These money moves will help your relationship get off on the right financial foot.
Money Moves to Make Before You Get Married
Here are 9 money moves to make before you get married:
1. Discuss debt repayment plans
If either of you are carrying debt, you should create a game plan to tackle your debt together. Some of the best ways to pay off debt include following a repayment method such as the debt snowball or debt avalanche methods, balance transfers, and debt consolidation loans.
2. Get real about money
You’ll want to have a transparent talk about money. Some big items to cover include how you expect to share expenses (Do you have joint bank accounts? Who pays for what?) and shared financial goals. You should also decide how you’ll divide money management responsibilities. For example, who’s in charge of paying the bills each month?
3. Divulge credit scores
Your credit score is a three-digit number that represents the likelihood that you’ll be able to repay loans on time. This score can determine important financial factors such as interest rates for your credit cards and mortgage. Since your credit score plays such a big role in some important life choices, you’ll want to discuss your scores early on.
4. Create a budget
Creating and sticking to a budget can help you both work toward your financial goals together. Examine your fixed and variable expenses, as well as your debts, and create a monthly spending plan. Fixed expenses are expenses that remain the same month to month, such as rent, while variable expenses can fluctuate, such as your grocery bill. It can be helpful to take a look at your last few months of spending and use a budgeting app to see where your money is going.
5. Create a retirement fund
You should talk to your partner about creating a retirement fund. You’ll want to make sure that your savings are getting a full match from your employers. Consider contributing over the match amount if that’s financially feasible. The more you can put aside for the future, the better.
6. Discuss life insurance
While it may be one of the less romantic things to talk about before getting married, life insurance can provide a financial cushion should the unthinkable occur. Life insurance rates increase with both age and the onset of any health issues.
7. Make an emergency fund
Creating an emergency fund can give you a financial cushion against the unexpected. Try putting together 3 to 6 months of living costs, although a year is preferred, for unpredictable expenses like accidents and medical bills.
8. Discuss a prenup
The only thing less romantic than a life insurance policy is a prenup. However, they can be a smart choice for a number of reasons, like if you have more funds than your future spouse.
9. Create a wedding fund
Weddings are expensive. Like, really expensive. The average cost of a wedding in 2021 is somewhere between $29,000-$31,000, and that doesn’t even include the honeymoon. Creating a wedding fund can help you cover these big costs so you and your partner can enjoy your special (and costly) day.