We hear all the time that one of the main causes of divorce is money. One way you can reduce the chance (it never goes away) of money fights with your spouse is to discuss finances beforehand. But how can you tell if you are on the same financial page? Here are four things to discuss before you marry:
1. Assets and Liabilities
First of all, couples need to get it all out in the open. It is vital to share your assets and your liabilities. “Complete honesty is necessary here,” says Kelly Campbell, the founder and principal of Campbell Wealth Management in Fairfax, Va. “You don’t want any surprises. It might be embarrassing in some cases to admit how much debt you have, but it needs to be on the table from the beginning.”
Having a starting point for creating a financial plan going forward is important. And it is a good idea to know the exact situation before the marriage; that way, you both are aware of where you stand with regard to money. Debt, insurance, pensions, investment accounts, cash flow, income and property are all items that should be covered. As part of the discussion about assets and liabilities, Campbell recommends that couples also discuss their spending and saving habits.
2. Credit History
Another important financial issue to discuss is credit. One partner’s poor credit can reduce the chances of approval for car loans and mortgages. Even if you do get approval, you might not get the best deal on an interest rate. Some states will allow you to use only the better credit score. However, common property states won’t allow this, and your partner’s bad credit could lower your credit score. By disclosing your credit issues, you can face the problem together, and work on a plan to improve a credit score that needs some help.